SQP153 – Alphabetical Jigsaw #2

Hello, Cryptids!

The last time I did one of these puzzles, it was the beginning of winter, and people really seemed to love it. Now it’s the beginning of summer and I think I’m going to make it a twice-yearly tradition.

For those who haven’t done an alphabetical jigsaw, it’s a cryptic crossword in which the clues are listed alphabetically and at least one answer begins with each letter, A-Z. The catch is that you don’t know where to put them, and need to do some inferring along the way using the clue order, length of entries, crossing letters, and trial and error.

Commonly this kind of grid has 26 entries, one for each letter, but I’m choosing to go with a 28 entry variety in which two pairs of entries share the same square in the grid (and first letter to go with it). I first encountered this sort of layout in the Financial Times, where alphabetical jigsaws are in the very capable hands of Julius (Knut). That extra little break-in point helped me out a lot, particularly as a new solver at the time. I’ve also followed his lead in making many of the first letters of entries checked, as opposed to unchecked, as you often see in jigsaws.

That said, this is still not an easy puzzle as mine go, and it’s definitely a stiffer challenge than last December’s offering. I’ve come to enjoy doing some harder clues than we typically see in the States when posting full-sized grids here. I hope it’s tricky in a fun way and that you enjoy solving it!

Thanks to Mental Playground and the fellas at The Rackenfracker for test solving.

Take care and enjoy! I’ll be back in July with quiptics and more.

pdf / ipuz (squares.io or Puzzazz on mobile) / solution & explanations

SQP152 – Quiptic #31

Hello Quipsters,

Happy summer! Thanks for stopping by. I’m kicking off a pretty dense 10 days of crosswords with the easiest of the bunch. It’s got one device per clue, and the helpers version tells you which device to look for each time. I hope it’s fun for both the beginners and the daredevils who time themselves and race each other alike! Thanks, as always, to Will for being a great quiptic test solve guy.

In seven days there will be the twice-yearly alphabetical jigsaw cryptic, which should be one of the hardest things to date this site but also one of the most rewarding. Then, on the first of July I’m dropping a really unusual Square Chase variety cryptic that I’m also pretty excited about. Add a Saturday Stumper somewhere in that mix and it’s going to be good times.

Take care and enjoy the puzzle! See you with that challenge next week.

plain: solve online / puz / pdf

helpers: solve online / puz / pdf

Solution and Explanations

SQP151 – Quiptic #30

Hello, Quipsters!

Thanks for stopping by. I made you a one-device-per-clue quiptic with a helper version to tell you which device is being used. It may be a teensy bit harder than some others, but we’ll have to see what you think. I hope it’s fun! Thanks to Will for test solving.

I’ve still got that alphabetical jigsaw on its way this month as well as another little quiptic, but I think I’m going to push it to the 29th, as I don’t want to overshadow the Square Chase puzzle dropping next Wednesday. If you’re looking for something quite hard (though non-cryptic) in the meantime, my Saturday Stumper from the other day might occupy you for a while!

Square Chase vc next Wednesday, Quiptic in 14 days, Alphabetical Jigsaw in 21 days!

Take care and enjoy the puzzle!

plain: solve online / puz / pdf

helpers: solve online / puz / pdf

solution and explanations

SQP150 – Quiptic #29

Hello, Quipsters!

Today’s puzzle is 95.54% one-device-per-clue, which is to say I mistakenly put something extra into 1-Across and liked it too much to get rid of it. This darling lives! The rest is as straightforward as usual, and the “helpers” version will give you a boost by telling you what to look for. Thanks to Will for test solving. We’ve got something cool appearing elsewhere soon!

I’ll see you in two weeks with another quiptic, followed by a special cryptic treat the following week. If you’re looking for a stiffer challenge in the meantime, my Browser puzzle from this past weekend was a bit of a workout, or if you want to get more playful and do a variety cryptic, I’ve got something fun coming at Square Chase in one week.

Take care and enjoy the puzzle!

plain: solve online / puz / pdf

helpers: solve online / puz / pdf

solution and explanations

SQP149 – Quiptic #28

Hello, Quipsters!

So good to see you. I’m back with another one-device-per-clue quiptic for you today. If you’re bewildered, why not try the “helpers” version, which tells you what to look for? I’d also like to take a quick moment to normalize revealing answers we can’t get to gain footholds in the grid. It’s absolutely how I learned to solve these puzzles, and thank goodness! I love cryptics so much. Thanks to Will Eisenberg for the test solving.

Speaking of getting into cryptics, Will Nediger and Hayley Gold will be streaming a variety cryptic solve-a-long with special celebrity guest noob solvers tonight at 9 PM ET.  They’ll be solving a Margaret Farrar themed cryptic to tie into Hayley’s graphic novel Letters to Margaret (available now here) and the sequel which teaches the reader how to solve cryptics and Will is puzzle editor on. I’ll be hanging in the chat, and hope to see you there!

No puzzle next week, but if you’re hungry for more, I’ll have a Browser cryptic and another variety cryptic coming at Square Chase in the interim. Take care, enjoy, and see you in two weeks with another quiptic!

plain: solve online / puz / pdf

helpers: solve online / puz / pdf

solution and explanations

SQP148 – “Forward Roll”

Hello, Puzzle People!

Thanks for stopping by. Today’s puzzle is likely the last standard crossword you’ll see for a while on Square Pursuit. So much cool stuff has been happening for me in crossworld that I’m finding it a bit tough to keep up with everything. Here’s the plan:

I’m going to keep the quiptics coming on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month, because they’re a unique part of my constructing load and I know they’re a big solving ritual for a lot of folks. Full-sized and variety cryptics, like the standard crosswords, are going to pop up when it feels fun and there’s bandwidth on my end. It will end up being 2-3 puzzles per month instead of 4, but I’m always around! My cryptics will continue to run in The Browser and elsewhere, my variety puzzles at Square Chase, my themeless crosswords as part of the Newsday Saturday Stumper, and my themed ones when they come up in other newspapers. There will still be cool things on some Wednesdays here in addition to those quiptics, like a second Alphabetical Jigsaw in June!

Thanks to Brooke for the test solve!

Take care and enjoy the puzzle! I’ll be back in a week with a fresh quiptic!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution

SQP147 – Quiptic #27

Hello, Quipsters!

Nice to see you again. Today’s quiptic contains, as usual, only one device per clue. The “helpers” version reveals which device to look for in each. I hope it’s fun for newer folks and seasoned solvers alike. Thanks to Will for the test solve.

I’ll return next month with more quiptics and other crosswords, here and elsewhere. The fun also continues over at Square Chase, which is becoming a pretty lively community of variety cryptic solvers. It’s an honor to keep making those puzzles for everybody!

Take care and enjoy! I’ll see you next week with something completely uncryptic.

plain: solve online / puz / pdf

helpers: solve online / puz / pdf

solution & explanations

SQP146 – Cryptic #17

Hello, Cryptids!

Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad to have a good old-fashioned blocked cryptic up for you today. This one should be a little more challenging than my Browser and AVCX puzzles, and I hope it’s fun! Thanks to Ben Zimmer for the tip on linguistics terminology and to Mental Playground for test solving.

Take care and enjoy the puzzle. I’ll be back in 7 with a quiptic!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution & explanations

SQP145 – Quiptic #26

Hello, Cryptids!

Thanks for dropping by. This week’s quiptic is a little funky. In an honest mistake, one of the clues contains (gasp) two wordplay devices: charade and letter deletion in one! I think it might actually be a cool thing to try for folks who have yet to venture beyond the quiptic realm. Generally speaking, most cryptic crosswords I solve involve more than one device in the majority of the clues. I hope this one proves more fun than frustrating. One more thing: sometimes a pair of cryptic clues will be joined in the surface… …like this. It’s there just for fun, and will have no bearing on how you solve each of them.

Thanks so much to Will for test solving, Marlowe for cat solving, and Chandi for helping to set up his modeling gig!

I’ll be back next week with a blocked, themeless cryptic, which should play a little harder than my Square Chase, Browser and AVCX+ puzzles — more like a mid-week UK cryptic.

Take care and enjoy the solve!

plain: solve online / puz / pdf

helpers: solve online / puz / pdf

solution & explanations

SQP144 – “Figures”

Hello, Crossfolks!

Thanks for coming by for the monthly non-cryptic crossword. I had an absolute blast speaking to so many crossword folks this past weekend at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, and it really got me fired up to share a puzzle of this sort. It was exceptionally cool to meet so many of my constructor friends in person, finally. Thanks to Brooke for the clutch test solving on this one.

Speaking of puzzle people, the crossword graphic novel “Letters to Margaret” by longtime cryptic test solver Hayley Gold is finally here! If you haven’t yet, go check it out!

In cryptic news, I’ll be back later throughout the month with two quiptics and a blocked cryptic, which I hope you enjoy as well!

Take care and enjoy the puzzle! I’ll see you in seven with a gentle quiptic.

solve online / puz / pdf / solution