Crossword phrases

A browsable database of phrases and multi-word expressions for UK style crosswords. 
Particularly useful for Jumbo and Prize crosswords. Great inspiration for crossword setters! 
Arranged by Number of Letters (Column A), then Letter Pattern/ Enumeration (Column B), then in Alphabetical Order (Columns C-K)
Now all in one viewable file (arranged in 2 sheets for convenience, 3 -14 Letters and 15 - 31 Letters):

Double nouns (including plurals), phrasal verbs (including inflections), proverbs, quotations, mottoes, people and places, literature, the performing arts, sport, common expressions, colloquialisms, idioms ...over 800 categories of information have been mined for this database, as well as thousands of answers from old crosswords. All entries have been selected by a human, not computer-generated.

Hyphens are always treated as spaces (i.e. commas in the enumeration). Apostrophes are not always counted, so if the answer is "St Vitus's dance" and it is enumerated in the clue as (2,5'1,5), you'll find it here as "St Vitus's dance" under (2,6,5).
Last update: 12 July 2019 (200 new entries).

There is now a single word Proper Case list too - see link on the side panel.

You come across some interesting and amusing coincidences while looking through phrases arranged by enumeration. There's a list below where the meanings either complement or contradict each other.  My favourite is under 10,2,10.  Numerologists might make something of all this!

1,3,2,1,6,3 a bit of a ladies man 5,3,4,2,2,6 judge not lest ye be judged
  a bit of a roving eye   rules are made to be broken
1,4,4,3,4 a bolt from the blue 5,3,4,3,5 every Tom Dick and Harry
  a gift from the gods   stand out from the crowd
1,4,4,6 a well kept secret 5,3,5 speak the truth
  I won't tell anyone   spill the beans
1,5,2,3,7 a cloud on the horizon 5,3,5,2,3,5 cross the floor of the house
  a spell of bad weather   leave the scene of the crime
1,6,2,1,8 a chance in a thousand 5,3,7,2 extol the virtues of
  a needle in a haystack   stick two fingers up
2,1,3,2,6 do a lot of damage 5,4,3,3 brush with the law
  in a fit of temper   crime does not pay
2,2,3,4,3 do it the hard way   phone nine one one
  in at the deep end   under lock and key
2,2,7,3 et in Arcadia ego 5,4,6,5 crash bang wallop thump
  of no earthly use   throw ones weight about
2,3 ex con 5,4,7 drown ones sorrows
  ex cop   empty ones bladder
2,3,3,3,4,2,3 if its all the same to you 5,5,2,3,7 first thing in the morning
  if its not too much to ask   throw light on the subject
2,3,4,2,3,3 in the back of the net 5,5,4 going great guns
  on the edge of the box   going going gone
2,3,4,2,3,6 in the name of the Father 5,6,8 Large Hadron Collider
  on the side of the angels   split second decision
2,4,2,1,4 as slim as a wand 5,7 Peter Capaldi
  as thin as a rake   Peter Cushing
2,5,2,4,2,2 I'd stake my life on it   Peter Davison
  It makes no odds to me 5,7,1,5 going through a phase
2,5,3,8 go forth and multiply   Rebel without a Cause
  up close and personal 5,7,3 world without end
2,6,3,3 ay theres the rub   worth waiting for
  it drives you mad 5,8 Welsh Assembly
3,2,3,4,2,5 all is not what it seems   white elephant
  fly in the face of facts   windy rhetoric
3,2,3,9 out of the spotlight 5,8,11 broad spectrum antibiotics
  sit on the sidelines   every possible combination
3,2,4,8 all on your lonesome 5,9 muddy underfoot
  set up home together   music festivals
3,3,2,4 the die is cast 6,1,3 caught a bus
  the end is nigh   hailed a cab
3,3,3,5,4 not for the first time 6,1,4,2,6 answer a call of nature
  the boy who cried wolf   heaved a sigh of relief
3,3,5,2,4 get the shock of ones life 6,1,7,4 desert a sinking ship
  see the error of ones ways   offers a helping hand
3,3,5,2,6 its not going to happen 6,2,4 Prince of Wales
  put the world to rights   purple in grain
3,3,9,3,5 not all sweetness and light 6,2,8,2 refuse to consider it
  the end justifies the means   theres no escaping it
3,4,2,1,5 any port in a storm 6,2,10 Houses of Parliament
  The Lady is a tramp   joined up government
3,4,2,3,5 the sign of the cross 6,2,11 Mother of Parliaments
  the sins of the flesh   nation of shopkeepers
3,4,3,3,3 get what you pay for   Palace of Westminster
  the rate for the job 6,3,5,4 scored the first goal
3,4,3,4,4 for ever and ever amen   struck the first blow
  God does not play dice 6,3,8 effing and blinding
3,4,5,2,6 led from start to finish   family get together
  The Pied Piper of Hamlyn 6,4,2 gently does it
3,4,5,6 get rich quick scheme   hammer away at
  one born every minute 6,4,2,4 lowest form of life
3,4,6,6 bet your bottom dollar   travel back in time
  the last chance saloon 6,4,3,3 patchy mist and fog
3,4,8 the cats whiskers   search high and low
  the dogs bollocks 6,4,3,5 turned back the clock
3,4,11 too much information   voices from the grave
  use your imagination 6,4,4 inject some pace
3,5,2,2 get ready to go   Kendal mint cake
  the chase is on 6,4,4,4 escape with ones life
3,5,2,3,4 get ahead of the game   fasten ones seat belt
  rob Peter to pay Paul 6,4,6,5 Angels with Broken Wings
3,5,2,3,5 the truth is out there   depart this mortal realm
  two sides to the story 6,4,4,5 better safe than sorry
3,5,8 the great unwashed   fasten your seat belts
  the moral majority 6,5,6 proven track record
3,6,2,2 get around to it   silver medal winner
  not enough to do 6,8 French mistress
3,6,2,9 the centre of attention   frilly knickers
  the finger of suspicion 6,10,4 become acquainted with
3,6,2,11 The Mother of Parliaments   social networking site
  The Palace of Westminster 7,2,2,3 believe it or not
3,6,3,3 the gloves are off   putting on an act
  the knives are out 7,3,3,7 hanging out the washing
3,7,4 The Selfish Gene   pegging out the clothes
  The Missing Link 7,3,4,2,7 against the laws of physics
3,7,6 The Mounted Police   nothing can come of nothing
  The Perfect Murder 7,3,6 predict the future
3,7,6 two pronged attack   prepare the ground
  war against terror 7,3,6,5 receive the wooden spoon
4,1,4,3,2,2 make a good job of it   rewrite the record books
  make a pigs ear of it 7,4,1,6 painted into a corner
4,1,5,7 beat a hasty retreat   shunted into a siding
  make a quick getaway 7,4,2,6 Newtons Laws of Motion
4,1,8,4 take a backward step   nothing left to chance
  take a downward turn 7,5,3 Mexican stand off
4,1,8,6 have a criminal record   penalty shoot out
  make a citizens arrest 7,5,7 nuclear power station
4,1,9,4 lead a sheltered life   weapons grade uranium
  play a dangerous game 7,6 mammary glands
4,2,1,4,4,7 golf is a good walk spoiled   Marilyn Monroe
  when in a hole stop digging 7,10 literal mindedness
4,2,3,4,4 life in the fast lane   logical positivism
  make up for lost time 8,1,4 shooting a line
4,2,3,5 last in the queue   spinning a yarn
  late to the party 8,1,4,5 fighting a lost cause
4,2,3,8 play to the audience   flogging a dead horse
  rise to the occasion 8,1,6 Category A prison
  take up the gauntlet   Category B prison
4,2,5,4,2 come to terms with it   Category C prison
  lose no sleep over it   compound a felony
4,2,8,7 have an attitude problem 8,2,5 proceeds of crime
  lack of parental control   property is theft
4,3,2,5 feel out of place 8,2,5 schedule of works
  fish out of water   shortage of staff
4,3,4,2,4 don’t try this at home 8,3 mouthing off
  draw the line at that   Muhammad Ali
4,3,4,2,4 lose the will to live 8,3,5 Scotland the Brave
  make the most of life   scrimped and saved
4,3,5,2,6 body and blood of Christ 8,3,5 shoulder the blame
  puts the world to rights   sidestep the issue
4,3,5,3,3 give the devil his due 8,3,7 battered and bruised
  take the money and run   bloodied but unbowed
4,3,6,4 kill the fatted calf 8,3,7 sunshine and showers
  lean and hungry look   whatever the weather
4,3,6,7 cold and frosty morning 8,4 Immanuel Kant
  keep the engine running   immortal soul
4,3,8 tout for business 8.4.2 collided head on
  used car salesman   multiple pile up
4,3,8,3 burn the midnight oil 8,4,6 multiple stab wounds
  make the polluter pay   screamed blue murder
4,4,1,6 back into a corner   wounding with intent
  hold over a barrel 8,5,3,6 cracking under the strain
  make life a misery   groaning under the weight
4,4,2,3,4,4 live life in the fast lane 8,5,4,5 fiddling while Rome burns
  what time do you call this   whatever takes your fancy
4,4,3,11 know ones own limitations 8,6,5 American client state
  some room for improvement   handling stolen goods
4,4,4,2,3,6 have both feet on the ground 8,7 credible witness
  have ones head in the clouds   criminal offence
4,4,4 look like hell 8,13 auditory hallucination
  look ones best   multiple personalities
4,4,5 cast iron alibi   paranoid schizophrenia
  sure fire thing 9,2,3,4 mortgaged to the hilt
4,4,5,3,4,4 wipe that smile off your face   overdrawn at the bank
  wash your mouth out with soap 9,2,3,5 gentlemen of the press
4,4,5,4,4 make ones dream come true   possessed by the devil
  turn base metal into gold   preaching to the choir
4,4,8 tall dark stranger 9,2,3,5 stretched to the limit
  whet ones appetite   teetering on the brink
4,5,2,3,4 sail close to the wind 9,2,3,6 injurious to the health
  stay ahead of the game   pretender to the throne
4,5,3,9 book early for Christmas 9,4 pregnancy test
  kiss under the mistletoe   premature baby
4,5,4,8 dont count your chickens 9,5 emotional block
  here today gone tomorrow   encounter group
4,5,7 here comes trouble 9,6 celebrity gossip
  high speed pursuit   celestial bodies
4,5,8 calm under pressure 9,7 attempted suicide
  can't think straight   attention seeking
4,6,3,6 Eats Shoots and Leaves 10,2,3 casualties of war
  Here endeth the lesson   Walmington on Sea
4,7,4 full frontal nude 10,2,10 Archbishop of Canterbury
  give oneself airs   everything in moderation
4,7,4,2,4 make someone feel at home 10,3,4 guaranteed for life
  pump someone full of lead   overegging the cake
4,7,5 anti wrinkle cream 10,7 unswerving loyalty
  full frontal nudes   unwavering support
4,9,6 self inflicted wounds 11,2,3 brotherhood of man
  semi automatic weapon   declaration of war
4,11,5 Lady Chatterleys lover   11,2,9 presentment of Englishry
  slow comfortable screw     presumption of innocence
5,2,4,2,3,6 first in line to the throne 12,7 extramarital affairs
  suits me down to the ground     heterosexual couples
5,3,1,4 going for a song 13,8,4 consciousness altering drug
  taken for a ride   International monetary fund

© Ben Iscatus 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
A real understanding of cryptic crossword-solving can be gained at Big Dave's site: