SQP112 – Themeless #34

Hello, Crossfolks!

Thanks for stopping by! No cryptic business this week, just a tough themeless puzzle. It’s been a while since I’ve dropped a stumper on the blog, and this is definitely on the hard end for Square Pursuit. I hope you like it! If you’re looking for a gentler challenge, I recommend my WSJ puzzle from yesterday.

Thanks to Brooke for the test solve! I think most folks know this, but she was the one who refined and popularized the sort of layout you see here.

Things will be easier for the rest of the month. There’s a variety cryptic on the gentle side coming next Wednesday and a snappy Quiptic aimed at newer solves the Wednesday after.

solve online / puz / pdf / solution

SQP111 – Quiptic #12

Welcome, Cryptic Solvers!

Thanks for stopping by. Today’s quiptic, as usual, features one device per clue, and the version with helpers tells you which device is being used. I hope it’s fun for new solvers and veterans alike! Thanks to Will Eisenberg for the test solve.

Take care and enjoy the puzzle! I’ve got a themeless challenger coming in 6 days, a gentler variety cryptic in 13, and a quiptic in 20!

plain: solve online / puz / pdf

helpers: solve online / puz / pdf

solution and explanations

SQP110 – Cryptic #5782

Happy New Year, cryptic fans!

Thanks for stopping by one day early this week. I’ve got a holiday challenger for you in the cryptic spot for September. There’s a wide range of difficulty in the clues to this puzzle, but if the toughest ones leave you scratching your head, I’ve got a gentler quiptic coming in two days, as well as this fun cryptic 7xwords puzzle that dropped over the weekend. Thanks again to Malaika for having me as part of such a cool puzzle project!

Thanks so much to David Gold and k0rmad for test solving!

Take care, enjoy, and see you on Thursday with that quiptic!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution & explanations

SQP108 – Variety Cryptic #11 “It’s Gone!”

Hello, fellow cryptids!

It’s my great pleasure, as always, to share another variety cryptic with you. This puzzle uses a different mechanism from the others I’ve done so far. I think it’s as straightforward as the others, if not more, though and I’m pretty happy with how fully the theme came through. I feel this is on the gentler side of variety cryptics, so I hope it’s fun for everybody!

Thanks to Hayley Gold and Nate Cardin, for what is always such thoughtful test solving.

Take care, enjoy the puzzle, and come back next week if you want to solve something totally non-cryptic.

solve online / pdf / solution and explanations

SQP107 – Quiptic #11

Hey, cryptic fans!

Thanks for stopping by! I’m dropping a quiptic here for your enjoyment. You know the drill: one cryptic device per clue, and the helper version tells you which one to use. I hope it’s a fun challenge for newcomers and a good speed solve for seasoned folks. Thanks to Will Eisenberg for testing all these puzzles!

If you liked today’s puzzle, and are still easing into solving full-size, harder puzzles, I recommend the variety cryptic that’s coming on Wednesday. It’s a noticeable spike in difficulty, but I’ve taken pains to make this one pretty approachable for the format.

Take care, enjoy the quiptic, and see you in 48 hours with the August variety cryptic!

plain: solve online / puz / pdf

helpers: solve online / puz / pdf

solution and explanations

SPG003 – Demi by Will Eisenberg and Brooke Husic

Hey, Crossfolks!

I’m thrilled to be hosting a mid-sized banger today by two of my favorite people in crossworld! Once you’ve solved this one, I highly recommend going here and here for more excellent puzzles. I’ve had a blast collaborating with Brooke and Will in the past and I really value their advice on my own work.

Here’s Brooke:

“It was such a joy to write this puzzle with Will! He came up with the awesome seed at 16a and I love his fun clues for 11a, 27a, 28a, and 34a!!!! Just to name a few. Many thanks to Steve for running this and for being an awesome test solver and friend!”

and Will:

“Super thrilled to be collaborating with one of my absolute favorite constructors, and doubly so to see it run on one of my favorite blogs! Brooke’s clue for 32a is a straight banger. Thanks to Steve for testing and hosting!”

That’s it from us! Take care and enjoy the puzzle. I’ll be back on Wednesday with my August themeless!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution

SQP104 – Quiptic #10

Hello, cryptic folks!

It’s quiptic time again! As usual, it’s one device per clue, and the helper version tells you which device it is! I hope this one’s fun for new solvers and speed demons alike. Thanks to folks who have been dipping their toes in, racing each other, or streaming these to spread the cryptic love to new people. It means a ton to me!

A note on helper annotations: sometimes I use the phrase “letter sequence” after a clue. That’s my way of saying to look for an acrostic or alternating letter device without telling you exactly what to do and ruining the fun!

Thanks to Will Eisenberg for the test solve!

Take care and enjoy! I’ll see you on Wednesday with a blocked cryptic which should give a stiffer challenge.

plain: solve online / puz / pdf

helpers: solve online / puz / pdf

solution & explanations