Crossword Compiler Reveals her Secrets

Barbara Gettinby has been compiling cryptic crosswords for more than 20 years.

Frustrated when compilers would not reveal how they arrived at their answers, she decided to compile crosswords herself. Thus Finnegan’s Cryptic Crosswords was born. Finnegan’s Cryptic Crosswords solver was the first cryptic crossword book to contain all solutions fully explained. Barbara released 10 volumes in magazine format throughout newsagents in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

In 2005 Barbara released two books entitled Cryptics Made Easy, a blue and a purple edition (now out of print).

Barbara continues her love of crossword compiling in Cryptic Crossword Secrets – Where Every Answer is Fully Explained.


I used to be wary, even scared of trying a Cryptic. Not now – I’m an avid fan of Barbara’s books. These books show me the many tricks that are used. I can read the Straight clues and then successfully tackle the devious Cryptics. I wouldn’t have been able to learn without the precise explanations of each solution.
Jim Whitlam – Sydney

I don’t do Crosswords, but after giving Cryptic Crossword Secrets to my seventy-one year old mother she barely has time to speak to me. She talks about hidden clues, reversals, anagrams etc. and now has me reading the instruction pages which explain how clues may be set. For both of us it’s the full and unique explanation of the answer that teaches us most.
Kelly McDonald – Canada

Straight crosswords I managed OK. Barbara’s books ‘Cryptic Crossword Secrets’ taught me the simple tools to crack the code of Cryptics. The Introduction pages conditioned a novice like me to take on the cryptic challenge. Now I can spot word reversals, alternate letters and anagrams and other compiler’s tricks. Yes – I still smack my head after reading the solution and wonder why I didn’t see that!
Les Nelson – N. Ireland

Thanks Barbara. I applaud your C.C.S. books. Still pithy and I don’t have to remember my Latin roots or Greek mythology or dive into dictionaries for long-lost archaic words. Logical clues with every aspect of the answer broken down and fully explained. Your ‘how to’ section provides a great kick-start to any novice.
Susan Slaughter – New Zealand

Barbara Gettinby resides on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. She writes cryptic crossword clues whilst on holiday adventures with her husband Des Gettinby, travel author. Barbara is more than happy to share her knowledge of cryptic crosswords and has therefore put together a FREE e-book titled How to do Cryptic Crosswords. Free E-book.