In Spellbook of the Lost and Found, Hazel, Rowan and Ivy – a trio of troubled runaways squatting in a ghost estate – wake up every morning to a packet of Digestive biscuits & the newspaper crossword, delivered to their doorstep by Mags Maguire – pub-owner, poteen-maker, unlikely guardian and possible witch. Mags writes out the numbers of some of the crossword’s clues on a Post-it note that she sticks to the newspaper – clues that will somehow predict the three teens’ immediate futures.
The book is filled with crossword clues about lost things, about patron saints, about unexpected guests, about secrets. Most of the clues were supplied by my dad, who is a cryptic crossword wizard, and who then wrote an entire crossword based around lost and found things, just for me. (My dad is wonderful.)
That crossword – the Cryptic Crossword of the Lost and Found – has been added as a bonus feature at the end of Spellbook, so you can try it for yourself (although be warned, it’s tricky).
Here are some tips from the Guardian on solving cryptic clues and here are some explanations of the types of clues to look for. The Cryptic Crossword of the Lost & Found is inspired by the Irish Times Crosair & you can find a breakdown of their latest clues here.
For ebook readers (or those opposed to writing in their books), here is a printable version of the crossword: CrypticCrosswordOfTheLostAndFound