**Hello! You’ve found one of my cryptics from before I figured out how to make cryptics well! Please enjoy the diamonds in the rough, but expect neither elegance nor fairness. It takes a while to learn how to do it right!**
Greetings, puzzle buffs!
About a week ago, U.K.-based cryptic bud Chris Evans (who sets puzzles twice a week on the excellent Mental Playground site) showed me a peculiar grid idea he had come up with. We ended up talking a lot about how it might work and decided we were up for a cryptic collaboration. This was a really fun process in which we each wrote dueling clues for much of the puzzle and refined the ones we liked most together. In addition to being a fun guy to work with, Chris taught me all kinds of things in the process, like what a camber actually is.
Spending time with folks from across the Pond has shown me that there are plenty of ways to add depth to a seemingly traditional puzzle. I’ve been solving cryptics for years and the idea of one with themed entries is fairly common – so I decided to make you look a bit harder to find those themes! I sent the idea over to Steve Mossberg, who liked it, and we set upon cluing the grid together – I think we’ve managed to get the best of both of our styles. I hope you enjoy the solve!
Have fun, people! Explanations are in the solution document. See you on Wednesday with a tricky themeless!