The last time I did one of these puzzles, it was the beginning of winter, and people really seemed to love it. Now it’s the beginning of summer and I think I’m going to make it a twice-yearly tradition.
For those who haven’t done an alphabetical jigsaw, it’s a cryptic crossword in which the clues are listed alphabetically and at least one answer begins with each letter, A-Z. The catch is that you don’t know where to put them, and need to do some inferring along the way using the clue order, length of entries, crossing letters, and trial and error.
Commonly this kind of grid has 26 entries, one for each letter, but I’m choosing to go with a 28 entry variety in which two pairs of entries share the same square in the grid (and first letter to go with it). I first encountered this sort of layout in the Financial Times, where alphabetical jigsaws are in the very capable hands of Julius (Knut). That extra little break-in point helped me out a lot, particularly as a new solver at the time. I’ve also followed his lead in making many of the first letters of entries checked, as opposed to unchecked, as you often see in jigsaws.
That said, this is still not an easy puzzle as mine go, and it’s definitely a stiffer challenge than last December’s offering. I’ve come to enjoy doing some harder clues than we typically see in the States when posting full-sized grids here. I hope it’s tricky in a fun way and that you enjoy solving it!
Take care and enjoy! I’ll be back in July with quiptics and more.