Anagram flags

Anagram flags are key words that suggest you need to look for an anagram of the word(s) or phrase that follows. They convey an instruction in the process of deciphering the code. If you just read through this list you will get a fairly good idea of these flags or “action” words:Anagram flags


abandoned, abroad, at sea, agitated, alarmingly, altered, amazing, anarchic, another, around, arrangement, arrested, assumed, at work, away, awful, awkward


back, bad , being damaged, being sampled, bogus, bombed, bombing, broadcast, broken, bust


changing, chopped, circulation, collapsing, condemned, confused, construction, cooked, crawling, criminal, crude, cruelly, crumble, cuckoo, cunning, cycling


dancing, designed, developed, disastrous, disputed, disrupted, doctor, doctored, dressed, drunk, dubious


eccentric, entangled, examination, excited, exhibits change


falling, false, falsely, fermenting, flexible, flying, for analysis, for change, for a change, foreign, fouled, free, frenzy, fresh, frightfully, funny


game, getting out of hand, going around, go walkabout, ground


hiding in, high, horrible, hurt


improper, in action, in trouble, incoherent, insanely, involved, is lost, it’s silly


let loose, liquid, ludicrous


malfunctioning, manoeuvring, may be produced, meandering, mess, mixed, model, modelling, moved, moving, muddy


naughty, new, novel, nuts


off, order, ordered, out, outcome


pants, parts, perplexed by, pelting, perhaps, playing, plays, poor, potty, prepared, probe a variety, put off, puzzling


rampaging, reformed, rejected, relaxed, renovated, represented as, resolve, resort (sort again), reversed, reviewed, revolutionary, rickety, ripped, rogue, rolling around, rubbish, ruination, rumbling


savage, scrambled, served, shaking, shambles, shifting, shifting position, shuffled, sloppy, sort of, splashing out, stewed, storms, strangely, stranger, struggles, struggling, stuffed, stupid, supply, suspect, swaying, swimming, switch


tailor, taken up, tattered, tight (as in drunk), to be woven, to create, torn, train, trained, travelling, treatment, turns out


undoing, unfortunately, upset


vagrant, various


wasted, wavering, weird, what might be, wobbling, woolly, working, worried, wriggling, wrong outcome

Note: “at sea” is an idiom meaning, all confused. “Pants” is UK slang for no good, useless, or nonsense (see example 4 below).


1] Hard up criminal in seclusion (6). Criminal is regularly found in cryptic clues indicating an anagram. In this case the answer is “purdah” from an anagram of HARDUP.

2] Got the better of untalked-of criminal (10). Just to prove criminal is often used! Anagram of UNTALKEDOF gives the answer “outflanked”.

3] US admit bombing sporting arena (7). Anagram (bombing) of USADMIT. The answer is “stadium”.

4] Warned I’ve dad’s pants (7). Anagram (pants) of IVEDADS, giving the answer “advised”.

5] It makes hot water muddy grey around London area (6). Muddy is the anagram key of GREY. A London area would be SE (south-east). Thus GREYSE. The answer is “geyser”.

6] Man washing each woolly could be cleaner (7,7). Woolly is an anagram flag for MANWASHINGEACH. The cleaner is a “washing machine”.

7] Cycling Leeds roads will make you this! (6-4). The anagram flag is cycling. So the anagram is LEEDSROADS. The answer is “saddle-sore”.

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By Nigel Benetton

Last updated: Monday, 21st March 2022