Hello, puzzle people!
I’ve been solving American-style crosswords for over twenty years, but I’ve recently become enamored of the cryptic, and I’m here to tell you, I’ve got it bad for these puzzles. Naturally, I had to have a try at making them and I’ve been working hard, putting out some early efforts, and refining the process to point where I felt I could share one with you.
Every first Saturday of a month from here on in, I’m going to post a cryptic puzzle on the site for you folks. Everything else you’ve come to expect from Square Pursuit is staying the same. If you’re not familiar with the cryptic style, it’s probably going to seem impenetrable at first as it did to me, but it absolutely can be solved, and at least in my experience is tremendously fun and rewarding once you get the hang of it. Constructor/Puzzle Editor Stella Zawistowski has written an excellent series of essays called “Decrypting the Cryptic” on how to crack into these puzzles, and was so kind as to allow me to link to it here to help new solvers get started.
In addition to my gratitude to Stella for letting me use her writings, thanks go out to folks on the crossword Discord who test-solved some of my earlier attempts: romkd, UnwiseOwl, edderiofer, and Lebronswanson (are these their real names?), and to Eccles for helping me smooth out that clue!
Whew! There it is. Hope you all enjoy Cryptic #1. It’s only going to get better from here on in! Back on Wednesday with your regularly-scheduled themed offering!