Thanks for coming by for the first of two December quiptics. As usual, this one is aimed at solvers looking for more straightforward wordplay, and the one device used in each clue is revealed to anyone who likes in the “helpers” version. Thanks to Will Eisenberg for the test solve.
There’s no one right way to make a cryptic — even a relatively gentle one. One totally valid way to make a puzzle easier, very common in North America, is to hide things less on the surface. My strategy here is to simplify the wordplay instead while still hiding the definition a good deal. This might make my quiptics a touch harder at first than other gentle American cryptics. It’s the way I prefer to experience puzzles when solving, and I hope the beguiling experience is fun for you too!
Take care and enjoy the puzzle! I’ll see you next week with a variety cryptic and more news about my new Square Chase subscription series.