The aim of the current series of weekly posts, Never a cross word, is to improve the English vocabulary of speakers of other languages through the medium of cryptic (yes, cryptic) crossword clues.
Why choose this method of teaching ESL when 99% of native English speakers cannot themselves solve cryptic crossword clues? That is a good question and I should confess there is no hard scientific evidence that this novel but counter-intuitive methodology works. However, I instinctively feel that learners of English at a fairly advanced level will enjoy an unusual challenge – and simply understanding the answers may – who knows? – help to open untapped neuronal pathways in their minds.
Seeing how so many words in English fit within other words, how letters can be rearranged to form anagrams, getting the joke (where the clue involves a subtle joke or pun), or coming across strange English idioms all help, I believe, to make new vocabulary more memorable and learning it more fun.
Give it a go and see what you think.
Website: Patently English