SQP092 – Cryptic #11

Hello again, cryptic lovers!

Well, it’s been one day, and we’re back with a stiffer challenge. No theme or funny business here, just pure cryptic goodness (I hope you agree)!

Speaking of which, one of the beautiful parts of cryptic land is that folks don’t always agree on what’s fun! At this point in my cryptic journey I’d say I’ve become a mostly Ximenean setter, but my feeling is that if I don’t try to push things a bit, then I’m missing out on a creative opportunity.

Some things that folks have loved and hated in my puzzles (mild spoilers here) include that tiny hidden indicator, the trick with the chemical symbol, the reverse clues, the double letter homophone that time, and the general use of vernacular terms in my wordplay. I promise that when you see a clue that works in an unfamiliar way, it’s been crafted with care and consideration!

I’m so lucky to have had Will Nediger, Paolo Pasco, and k0rmad test solve this one. Thanks all!

Take care, enjoy, and see you next week with a non-cryptic themeless!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution & explanation

SQP091 – Quiptic #6

Hello, cryptic folks!

Since I’ve got a stiff challenge coming tomorrow with the monthly blocked cryptic, I thought I’d do a gentler quiptic appetizer for you today. As usual, there’s a smaller grid, more common words, and most clues use just one cryptic device, but I still try to hide the meanings to make things smooth and entertaining. Also, as usual, there’s a version with “helpers” that tell you which device to look for in each clue!

My gratitude to everyone for coming by, and to the two mighty test solvers Will Eisenberg and Nate Cardin for the help!

Take care, enjoy, and see you tomorrow with the tougher blocked cryptic!

plain: solve online / puz / pdf

helpers: solve online / puz / pdf

solution and explanations

SQP090 – Hidden Classics

Hello crossword folks!

Thanks for coming by! Today’s crossword is pretty specific, and dedicated to a gem from a generation before mine. If this theme misses you, I hope the rest of the puzzle is plenty of fun. If you have an ironic or unironic love for the topic matter like I do, I hope it’s extra fun!

Thanks so much to Brooke Husic and David Gold for the test solve!

Take care, enjoy the puzzle, I’ll see you next week with a tricky unthemed cryptic.

solve online / puz / pdf / solution

SQP089 – Variety Cryptic #8 – “I Had No Idea”

Hello, puzzle buds!

It’s variety cryptic day! I’m always so happy to make and share these with you. It looks like this one may be a bit tougher than some of the others, but I still feel it’s on the easier side of what’s out there for this sort of puzzle. If it’s giving you too rough a ride, may I recommend one of my intro-level quiptics here on this site?

I want to give my gratitude to the cryptic setting and solving community on all continents! Special thanks to Hayley Gold, Nate Cardin, and k0rmad for the test solve — I can assure you this puzzle was way more wicked (and not as shiny) before they got their hands on it.

Up next week we’ve got a themed non-cryptic with some personal significance. I’m feeling a bit of a creative swell for the non-cryptics right this minute. We shall see what comes of it. The following week I’ll be back with a blocked cryptic that I hope stretches your brain and makes you laugh.

Thanks for stopping by. Take care and enjoy!

solve online / pdf / solution & explanations

SQP088 – Quiptic #5

Hello, cryptic lovers!

Nice of you to stop by! How about an appetizer for this week’s variety cryptic? Today’s quiptic gave me a chance to play with a pretty grid shape I’ve never tried. This one’s for everyone, especially newer solvers. If you really need a push, check out the version with “helpers,” which lets you know what kind of device is being used in each clue.

Thanks to Will Eisenberg for test solving!

Take care, enjoy, and see you the day after tomorrow with a slightly crunchy variety cryptic!

plain: solve online / puz / pdf

helpers: solve online / puz / pdf

solution & explanations

SQP087 – Themeless #30 with Brooke Husic

Hello, crossword folks!

I’m pleased as punch to share this new themeless puzzle that Brooke and I made! She pitched me 33-Across as the seed, and I agreed it was a valuable thing to give real estate in a grid. Brooke is a great friend and collaborator, and it’s always a learning experience when we work together. She’s a great role model in terms of intention and rigor when it comes to construction, and I think her influence is apparent in the way a lot of folks in our community are making puzzles these days. I’m sure you already know this, but in addition to her published work and other collaborations, Brooke posts a very hard experimental puzzle every 27th of the month at her own site, which I highly recommend.

Here’s Brooke:

Collaborations with Steve have invariably been supremely fun and this was no exception — he set up this architecture around our seed entry (or, as my friend says, “anchor entry”) and I love all the great stuff we got in there without sacrificing Steve’s trademark hyper-cleanliness. I super love our cluing teamwork on 44D and Steve’s fresh takes on 12D and 42D. As always, I’m extremely grateful for Steve’s friendship/support and for all the extremely thoughtful 57A and discussions we have when creating puzzles together. Beyond this puzzle, I’ve so far shied away from cryptics but I really enjoyed Steve’s first quiptic, which I was able to finish!

Thanks to Will Nediger for the thoughtful test solve, and to you for taking the time to try our puzzle. I’ll be back in a week with a variety cryptic (and a gentle quiptic) and in two with a themed non-cryptic puzzle. Don’t forget to visit Brooke next week as well for an innovative challenge! Take care and enjoy!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution

SQP086 – Cryptic #10

Hello, cryptic people!

Thanks for stopping by. Today’s puzzle has no title, no theme, just a bunch of ahas and laughs (or so I hope). Since the last bunch of puzzles have been on the easier side, I’ve taken the opportunity to throw you some harder stuff here, though I’d left plenty of footholds around the grid as well. It will probably play a touch harder than most North American puzzles, but I’ve been known to be strikingly wrong about difficulty level before.

As always, thanks for stopping by! Thanks also to k0rmad and Nate Cardin for the test solve. If this one’s too opaque to be fun, I recommend one of the variety cryptics on the site, or if you’d rather start off more gently, perhaps one of the quiptics (which have been so fun to make). If you’re looking for a non-cryptic offering, there’s a fun themeless collaboration coming next week!

Take care, enjoy, and see you in 7 with that themeless!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution

SQP085 – Quiptic #4

Hello, cryptic folks!

Since Wednesday’s cryptic is going to be a bit of a challenger, and since folks seem to be really enjoying these little puzzles, I thought we’d have a little Quiptic pregame today. As usual, this one is small, aimed at beginning solvers, and comes in an optional “helper” version that gives clue types to help solvers parse each entry. I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks to Will Eisenberg for the test solve! He and I made a fun collaborative non-cryptic crossword last week, and you can find it on his blog right here. I hope you’ll go give it a shot if you’re into that kind of thing. I also have a newspaper puzzle running this week, and I hope that brings you joy as well.

See you on Wednesday for the big blocked cryptic and a week from then with a collaborative themeless! Take care, enjoy, and thanks for coming by!

plain: solve online / puz / pdf

helpers: solve online / puz / pdf

solution & explanations

SQP084 – First, I’d Like to Thank…

Hello, hello, Crossword Friends!

This week’s themed crossword is a timely offering. Without saying too much, it’s my feeling that it’s important to consider a lot of different experiences when showing appreciation. This one’s on the breezy side among my puzzles, but has a bit of the bite I think you’ve come to expect if you come around here regularly. By the way, if you do come around here regularly, I really appreciate you!

I also appreciate Brooke Husic who has been crushing it on puzzles in all sorts of places lately (with more excellent stuff coming soon!) for test solving.

I also appreciate all the great cryptic vibes I’ve been getting from folks lately! Next week’s puzzle is a challenging cryptic by this blog’s standards, so it’s likely to be accompanied by another one of my introductory-level quiptics in its near vicinity. I also have a fun collaboration popping up somewhere soon and a gentle newspaper puzzle in the next couple of weeks.

Take care, enjoy, and go thank somebody you love!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution

SQP083 – Quiptic #3

Surprise, cryptic fans!

This rainy Thursday afternoon (at least where I am) comes complete with another introductory-level quiptic. The inspiration for the puzzle comes from a chat I had with some nice crossword people during last weekend’s American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. This one’s for everybody, especially new solvers, but the folks I was “sitting with” on Sunday might notice a four word message in the grid upon completion.

As always with my quiptics, I’ve tried to represent a wide array of cluing devices including two unusual ones this time. Don’t be afraid to use the helpers version with cluing device tags in each clue if you need an extra push, and to check out the explanations if you’re wondering what’s going on. Neither of these devices are novel, and both are far more common in the UK than North America. They’re always an nice treat when they pop up.

Test solving thanks go to the double Will sensation of Will Nediger and Will Eisenberg, whose puzzles you should go solve.

Take care, enjoy, and see you next Wednesday with a themed non-cryptic crossword.

Plain: solve online / puz / pdf

Helpers: solve online / puz / pdf

solutions & explanation