**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!**
Welcome back, intrepid puzzlers!
For this October bonus, we’ve got a variety cryptic! For those who haven’t done one yet, that means that this is a barred (not blocked) puzzle with a sneaky meta-like challenge involved.
This particular construction had to motivators. First off, I’ve been itching to make a barred grid, and I found the challenge rewarding! Secondly, it became clear to me through feedback that the October cryptic was REALLY HARD. I decided right away to give you folks something much more approachable and to not make you wait a month for it. I don’t think this one’s a gimme by any means, but I hope it’s lots of fun for everybody. Thanks so much to Avid (have you solved his amazing collaboration that dropped last weekend?) and k0rmad, who I hope makes a puzzle soon so that we can all solve it and grow our brains to massive proportions.
Because of the barred grid, there’s no .puz file this week. I think the .pdf looks nice, and printing it to solve may make the variety element a bit easier to work out. The puzzle plays just fine with the “Solve Online” option too. If you’re stumped or curious, the solution, as always, contains a parsing of each clue and an explanation of the variety element.
Take care, enjoy, and see you next week with a themeless that should be a stiff challenge.