Help with a cryptic

Bits about Queen creating rock music and stage shows,say


Google says “performing arts”.

I still don’t get it

Bits = PARTS
the queen = ER
creating = FORMING
rock music and stage shows = PERFORMING ARTS


I do not understand “the queen” = ER

Elizabeth Regina, the official title of the current Queen of the United Kingdom.

FWIW, this is the first time in my over fifty years I’ve ever seen “cryptic” used intentionally as a noun.

Google results tell me that it’s an informal shorthand for “cryptic crossword.” I guess that’s a thing. :confused:

So, a term of art in a restricted domain of interest.

Yep, “cryptic” is a common way to refer to them, and, to this day, I can’t figure them out. Cryptics stymie me, no matter how many damned tutorials I’ve gone through.

Cryptic crosswords are a type of crossword popular in England. Each clue is actually two different clues for the same answer, typically one clue based on wordplay or letterplay, and one a straight definition (figuring out which part is which is part of the challenge of solving one). If you manage to find two different parts of the clue which can be interpreted as giving the same answer, then you know you have it.

In this case, “bits about Queen creating” is the letterplay clue (already explained above), and “rock music and stage shows, say” is the definition.

I usually have a tough time with them, but can solve them eventually. How long? Let’s just say I’m glad Harper’s is a monthly.

However, I got the clue in the OP in about 30 seconds. Not sure why. Of course someone had beaten me to posting the answer.

For me, the problem is I would never have gotten the “ER” part.

Cryptic clues often make complete sense only after you’ve cracked them, and sometimes not even then.

I usually do the Cryptics first in GAMES magazine. There’s one I’ve been stuck on, and I refuse to look at the answer, because it’s the principle of the thing.

Mythological character had romance at sea (10)

Andromache. An anagram of “had romance” signified by the phrase “at sea”

Nice. I understood the clue, but the character was too obscure for me.

Hint: What does “at sea” refer to?

A big part of solving cryptics is learning certain common bits of wordplay for common letter combinations (or just letters). A lot of these are UK-centric, I’m afraid. E.g.

Queen =ER
King = K or R
America/n = US
Debt = IOUS
Soldier = GI, PI, LT, RA (Royal Artillery), RE (Royal Engineers)…
Airforce = RAF
Police(man) = PC (Police Constable), MET (London police force), DI (Detective Inspector), CID (Criminal Investigation Dept.)
Hospital dept. = ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat)
Sailor = AB, Tar, Salt, Jack
Nurse = RN
Scot = Ian, Mac, Mc
…and many, many more. But somehow if you do cryptics long enough you learn them.

Me too, but from the given letters and the rest of the clue I was able to get the right answer, which I then looked up to verify. That’s the beauty of cryptics - often you only need to get one part of the answer, then the other part acts as verification.

And sometimes, cryptic clues can be just totally off-the-wall. I remember one from years ago, which had me and my colleagues in the office, racking our brains for hours (in the intervals of doing our work). We felt absurdly pleased with ourselves when at last the penny dropped.

The clue was: “No passengers in this house.” The answer was DOVECOT. The tortuous mental process: a dovecot is a purpose-constructed building or annexe, in which pigeons are kept. The passenger pigeon is an extinct species. Thus, there’s no way that any present-day dovecot can be inhabited by passenger pigeons.