Puzzle #31: Themeless #16

Greetings, crossword folks!

Today’s themeless Wednesday has a shape that keeps making me think of the situation pictured above, though it contains no references to anything of the sort. It was fun to try to lay things out a bit differently this time.

Thanks for trying my holiday puzzles out last week! I don’t think I’ll be doing any more this year, because too much of a good thing, but you never know! There will be plenty of fun stuff to come though, which is important to me in these unmistakably heavy times. I’m glad to help facilitate a moment of escape for you.

There it is! Enjoy, take care, and see you in one week with a themed offering.

Solve Online

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.pdf SOLUTION

Bonus Crossword: Talk (Trash) Like a Pirate Day

Ahoy, puzzle mateys!

That’s right, it’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and Square Pursuit has got you covered with a bonus grid. This being a Saturday, and a puzzle about pirates, it’s fitting that there would be a bit of extra sting in the tail, and while it’s not as rough as the ones published in the papers today, it should give you a bit of a workout.

For those of you who came looking for the Rosh Hashanah puzzle, it’s here. I realized yesterday that those of you (and there were many) who chose “Solve Online” got a puzzle that was missing the 54 circles that make the theme explicit. My apologies! It’s all fixed now, so if you want another look, it should make a bit more sense. No circles in today’s grid though — this one’s just serving up cannonballs and plank-walking, baby!

Take care, enjoy, and see you on Wednesday with your regularly-scheduled themeless offering!

Solve Online

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.pdf SOLUTION

Puzzle #30: “New Year’s Nosh”

Shanah tovah, puzzle fans!

It’s a holiday puzzle for you this week! If you’re like me and celebrate Rosh Hashanah, you might be finding it hard to ring in 5781 in the usual ways this year. I hope this one makes things a bit more festive for you. If this holiday’s not yours, never fear! You don’t need to know anything about Rosh Hashanah to solve and enjoy, so I hope you have a blast! Besides, I’ve got another puzzle coming on Saturday for a different holiday that I’m pretty sure everyone in the world will be celebrating.

Speaking of holidays, today is Mexico’s Independence Day, and puzzle friend Enrique Henestroza Anguiano has got an amazing pack of Mexico-themed midi puzzles available over at Datalexic with a donation to a worthy cause — relief for farm workers and their families. This is an awesome set of puzzles, and I hope you’ll head over there and give them a try.

Take care and enjoy! Back on Saturday with a bonus themed crossword for yet another great holiday!

Solve Online

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.pdf SOLUTION

Puzzle #29: Themeless #15

Hello, Crossfolks!

I’ve got to be honest, I’m a little overwhelmed by how much excellent indie puzzle content there is out there these days, but how great it is to be so spoiled for choice! Themeless days here always place my puzzles in the company of some excellent puzzle makers and here’s hoping today’s no exception.

This week’s offering afforded me the opportunity to use a lot of fun mid-length entries, and I’m not sure if that’s going to make this one super-easy or super-hard. We’ll just have to see, but either way, I hope it’s a fun one for you.

Take care of yourselves and enjoy! I’ll be back next week with not one, but two holiday puzzles that I’m really excited to share.

Solve Online

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.pdf SOLUTION

Cryptic #2

Hey there, cryptic fans!

It’s some guy’s birthday over here at Square Pursuit, and September’s cryptic offering is a throwback to the parties of my childhood. I hope it’s lots of fun and that the pizza you eat while solving it provides an even better cheese-pull than the one pictured above.

The next, unspecified-aged year of my life should bring many more puzzles to make and solve. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into either stack, and I’m so glad you’re all along for the ride.

Take care, enjoy, and see you on Wednesday with a fun themeless!

Solve Online

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.pdf SOLUTION with explanations

Puzzle #28: “Undersea Menaces”

Hello, puzzle friends!

Today’s offering features a corny take on something I find a hundred times more horrifying than the lovely characters pictured above, but as Joan Didion wrote, “we make ourselves silly puzzles in order to live.” Wait, that’s not it…

Thanks for dropping by and giving this tricky one a try. I recommend a paper solve from the .pdf for the best experience this time. If you go electronic, it should still be fun but will require a small stretch of the imagination. In other news, this Saturday is the monthly cryptic day at Square Pursuit and somebody’s birthday as well, apparently. It’s going to be appropriately themed, so I hope to see you there!

Take care and enjoy! Back in three days with the monthly cryptic, and in one week with another fun themeless!

Solve Online

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.pdf SOLUTION

Puzzle #27: Themeless #14

Hello, puzzle people!

It’s hard to imagine this thing at Square Pursuit has been going on for half a year! The original goal was to get a puzzle up every week, but things have gone so much better than that. I’m really grateful for all the folks I’ve met through puzzle-making in the past six months, and believe me, I’ve learned a ton along the way. Here’s to you!

No wordplay this time around, just a nice open themeless. I’m dialing the difficulty back down just a little this week, since we’re out of tournament season. I’m trying for stiff but not brutal! I’ve got great some puzzles planned for the fall and plenty of special things to come as well, and can’t wait to share them with you all.

There it is. Take care, enjoy, and see you in September (yeah, that’s next week) with a cheeky themed puzzle!

Solve Online

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.pdf SOLUTION

Bonus Puzzle: “Camber Cryptic”

Greetings, puzzle buffs!

About a week ago, U.K.-based cryptic bud Chris Evans (who sets puzzles twice a week on the excellent Mental Playground site) showed me a peculiar grid idea he had come up with. We ended up talking a lot about how it might work and decided we were up for a cryptic collaboration. This was a really fun process in which we each wrote dueling clues for much of the puzzle and refined the ones we liked most together. In addition to being a fun guy to work with, Chris taught me all kinds of things in the process, like what a camber actually is.

Here’s Chris:

Spending time with folks from across the Pond has shown me that there are plenty of ways to add depth to a seemingly traditional puzzle. I’ve been solving cryptics for years and the idea of one with themed entries is fairly common – so I decided to make you look a bit harder to find those themes! I sent the idea over to Steve Mossberg, who liked it, and we set upon cluing the grid together – I think we’ve managed to get the best of both of our styles. I hope you enjoy the solve!

Have fun, people! Explanations are in the solution document. See you on Wednesday with a tricky themeless!

Solve Online

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.pdf SOLUTION

Puzzle #26: “All About Ed”

Hello again, puzzlers!

I had a blast last weekend at Lollapuzzoola, and if you were there, I hope you did as well! Lots of gorgeous tournament puzzles, some nice challenges, that unforgiving clock, and plenty of great hanging out. Fingers crossed we can all get back out in person next year.

This week’s puzzle isn’t about crossword competitions, though. This one’s all about Ed. I hope it’s a gentle challenge with a theme that puts a smile on your face. There’s more to come as well — I did a little intercontinental collaboration this week, and the result (not a standard crossword) is going to be up on Saturday as a bonus for those of you who prefer their wordplay more cranium-splitting than today’s variety.

Take care of yourselves and enjoy! Back on Saturday with that bonus I mentioned and then next Wednesday with a fun themeless offering.

Solve Online

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.pdf SOLUTION

Puzzle #25: “Themeless #13”

Well met, puzzlers!

We’re just cruising along through the summer crossword tournament season. The only good thing about remote competition is that I get to “go to” pretty much anything I want. This week I’m excited about Lollapuzzoola, which is happening on Saturday, and I’m glad to be able to count friends among the puzzle constructors and fellow solvers!

I solve crosswords for fun, and do so pretty quickly. I am earnest about trying to improve my skills, and will push myself on Saturday to go as quickly as I can. That said, I’m absolutely nowhere near the superhuman solvers that can fly through these puzzles a full minute or two faster than me. I’d like to give a special welcome today to the extra-brave souls that are tackling their puzzles this week downs-only. My sincerest wishes that today’s themeless offering won’t be too rough on you. I also just so happen to have a gentler puzzle running today in the Universal, a great venue that’s of my favorite daily solves!

Take care, folks. Enjoy, see you at the big game on Saturday, and I’ll be back next week with a themed puzzle!

Solve Online

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.pdf SOLUTION