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

SQP083 – Variety Cryptic #7: What’ll It Be?

Hello, Cryptic Friends!

It’s that special time of month again! I’m so excited to have this variety cryptic for you to solve and hope it’s full of laughs and ahas. Let’s call it a 1.5/5 difficulty compared to other variety cryptics in the North American style.

Many thanks to k0rmad and Hayley Gold for the awesome test solving, as usual. It was so fun talking to folks about cryptics and other puzzles at this year’s ACPT this past weekend! Feeling lots of love for the cryptic community and crossword community at large. Thanks for coming by today and thanks for the awesome hang!

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

solve online / pdf / solution and explanation

SQP082 – Themeless #29

Hello, puzzle folks!

For this week’s themeless puzzle, we’re going asymmetrical. The hunt for an appealing shape with fewer rules got me thinking about abstract art, and my favorite painter, Joan Mitchell. Her “Ladybug” from 1957 is shown above. In hindsight I wonder if I might have used the lack of restrictions to leverage some ungainly fill I’ve been dying to use or to do something I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do. This time, however, I was just trying to come up with something pretty and here you have it.

In keeping with the desire for beauty over function, this isn’t the most challenging puzzle I’ve put up, but I hope the the jokes land and the aha moments entertain! It was very fun to make. Thanks to Brooke Husic for test solve!

Next week is variety cryptic week, and it’s going to be pretty gentle, so I hope you’ll drop by even if you’re on the fence about that style of puzzle. Take care and enjoy the themeless!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution

SQP081 – Cryptic #9: “Sprung!”

Hello puzzle people,

I’m thrilled to be sharing this month’s blocked cryptic with you! So glad you stopped by to give it a try. Since I’m practicing writing puzzles of varied difficulty, I’ll be gauging the puzzles at these levels for the time being:

Quiptics – .5-1/5 (relative to blocked standard cryptics worldwide)

Blocked Cryptics – 2-2.5/5 (relative to blocked standard cryptics worldwide)

Variety Cryptics 1-2/5 (relative to North American variety cryptics)

Let’s cautiously call this one a (2/5). If it gives you too rough a ride I recommend the Quiptics on my site! Special thanks to Nate Cardin and k0rmad for test solving. I’m very grateful for my cryptic community!

Take care, enjoy, and see you on Wednesday with a non-cryptic themeless!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution & explanations

SQP080 – Quiptic #2

Hey there, cryptic lovers!

Since my regular cryptics have been getting more challenging and folks liked the last quiptic, here’s another! Once again I’m gearing this toward newer solvers by keeping devices very straightforward, but I’m still aiming for smooth surface readings that bury the definition as much as possible.

Many thanks to Will Eisenberg for test driving this one and catching some stuff I was glad to change! Don’t forget that there is a version for true beginners here that contains “helpers” that reveal the devices used in each clue. The solution document gives a brief explanation for each answer as well.

Good luck, have fun, and I’ll see you on Wednesday with the full-sized, more challenging cryptic.

plain: solve online / puz / pdf

helpers: solve online / puz / pdf

solution and explanations

SQP079 – “Pure Imagination”

Hello, crossfolks!

It feels like ages since I’ve done a standard crossword here at Square Pursuit, and I hope the extra column of letters in this 16×15 makes up for it a bit! It was pretty wild to fill this grid after making so many cryptics and other kinds of puzzles as I have been lately. It was kind of like going back to the gym after a week or two on the couch. Gentle-ish difficulty, with some stuff in the grid that I’m pretty pumped to work in.

Thanks so much to ace constructors Brooke Husic and Quiara Vasquez for giving this one a test drive. I always look forward to the next Steely Dan reference in a Quiara puzzle and I’m excited/terrified about Brooke’s upcoming Boswords themeless challenger.

Next week is cryptic week, and it’s not the easiest puzzle I’ve ever made. I’ve heard reports of a lot of beginning solvers enjoying the Quiptic, so there’s going to be one of those this weekend too in case you’re not sure sure about tackling the big one next Wednesday.

Take care, enjoy, and see you soon!

solve online / puz / pdf / SOLUTION

SQP078 – Spiral #1

Hello, puzzle people!

Today is a fifth Wednesday, so it felt like a chance to push myself to make something new and different! I’ve always liked spiral puzzles. They’re a good deal more straightforward than crosswords of course, but they have a nice elegance about them. I definitely had to think in some fresh ways while making this one, and it hurt my head a little, but I had a great time. I hope you have as much fun solving as I did constructing.

A few quick shout outs for test solving: my wonderful wife Arielle, who tackled this in its roughest version, Will Eisenberg, whose puzzles need no introduction (go solve them), and Jacob Cohen, who is a seasoned constructor of spirals and other variety types. He provides weekly sheets of puzzles for charity on his site.

Thanks for stopping by! Take care and enjoy the spiral. I’ll be back in 7 days with a themed crossword and 14 days with a blocked cryptic.

pdf / pdf SOLUTION