SQP153 – Alphabetical Jigsaw #2

Hello, Cryptids!

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!

Thanks to Mental Playground and the fellas at The Rackenfracker for test solving.

Take care and enjoy! I’ll be back in July with quiptics and more.

pdf / ipuz (squares.io or Puzzazz on mobile) / solution & explanations

SQP146 – Cryptic #17

Hello, Cryptids!

Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad to have a good old-fashioned blocked cryptic up for you today. This one should be a little more challenging than my Browser and AVCX puzzles, and I hope it’s fun! Thanks to Ben Zimmer for the tip on linguistics terminology and to Mental Playground for test solving.

Take care and enjoy the puzzle. I’ll be back in 7 with a quiptic!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution & explanations

SQP138 – Cryptic #16

Hello, Cryptids!

Thanks for coming by! It’s been a while since I’ve done a straight-up blocked cryptic here so I felt today was the day. Little did I know it would be part of this little cryptic streak; Monday I had a fun themed collab with Liari on her site (UK vocab/abbreviation warning!), Tuesday I dropped a variety cryptic I’m proud of Square Chase, and here we are on Wednesday.

As for today’s offering, standard US cryptic conventions apply. Expect something maybe a tick harder than what I’d make for the Browser, but nothing too intense. Speaking of which, I’ve got more cryptics and themeless crosswords coming out in the wild pretty soon too. Stay tuned!

Thanks so much to k0rmad for test solving this, like so many other puzzles the entire length of my cryptic-setting journey thus far.

Take care and enjoy! Quiptic in 7, US themed crossword in 14.

solve online / puz / pdf / solution & explanations

SQP123 – A Portrait In Jazz (cryptic)

Welcome, Cryptids!

As promised, here is your monthly blocked cryptic, with a theme no less. For those who are new to the site, my puzzles of this sort follow the conventions of the stricter UK newspaper cryptics, but with American spellings and vernacular. They’re harder than most US cryptics, and this one should be similar to an early week puzzle from such a venue overseas. Thanks to k0rmad for the test solve. I hope you enjoy!

I’ll leave the Square Pursuit survey open for the rest of the week, and will have some announcements about my future plans at the beginning of December. Thanks so much to everyone who has responded, and if you haven’t had a chance yet, I’d appreciate knowing your opinions!

Take care and enjoy the puzzle. I’ll be back next week with a themeless crossword and the following week with a variety cryptic.

solve online / puz / pdf / solution & explanations

SQP117 – Cryptic #15

Hello, cryptic solvers!

Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad to be here with October’s blocked cryptic puzzle. No theme here, just some challenging clues and plenty of laughs (or so I hope). If you find yourself totally stuck and not enjoying things, may I recommend revealing an answer or two? It’s something that I did a lot when learning to solve the British puzzles I love so much. It would be great to normalize that sort of thing as it opened the door to a lot of joy for me.

Many thanks to k0rmad for test solving, and to Ali for lending me his letter Y.

See you next week with the October themeless, which is not at all cryptic, but should be fun (or so I also hope).

Take care and enjoy the puzzle!

solve online / puz / pdf / answers & explanations