TalkCryptic Crosswords

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Jun 17, 2008, 9:44 am

I thought if I posted a clue and then someone showed me how to decypher it then it'd be a help :)

- Mean and looking ready for a fight (5,6)

Jun 18, 2008, 4:23 am

The first thing is to have a guess at how the clue breaks down. Unless it's a cryptic definition or an "& lit.", the clue should either start or finish with a definition. So your first thought here might be that 'Mean' is the definition and 'looking ready for a fight' is some kind of wordplay (anagram, charade, etc.), leaving 'and' as a link word between the two.

Any ideas for a two-word phrase meaning 'mean', then? (Hint: as it happens, it's an adjective.)

Jun 18, 2008, 10:15 am

Here's another

Forbidding Bill with gin cocktail from pulling a face (9)

Edited: Jun 19, 2008, 4:45 am

Two words here stand out as being typical of crosswordese. 'Bill' often gives you the letters AC (from 'a/c' for 'account'), while 'cocktail' is often an anagram indicator – specifically, it looks as though 'gin' will be shaken. This clue also contains a link word between the wordplay and the definition, namely 'from'.

'Mean and looking ready for a fight', by the way, actually consists of two definitions, rather than a definition and some wordplay.