Have I got a treat for you today! It’s a variety cryptic I made with the wonderful Nate Cardin!
Nate and I are both teachers and began making cryptics around the same time. We’re regular co-conspirators behind the scenes, test solving each other’s work, kicking around clues, making cool puzzle plans and the like. You can find our stuff in some of the same venues outside of this blog as well. Nate’s a tremendous force for representation and empowerment in our field — he’s always working to lift up others and dismantle inequitable structures in crossworld and beyond. The Queer Qrosswords packs he helped put together were hugely educational and enjoyable solving experiences for me back before we even connected (if you missed them then, please stop reading this and go try them now). In addition to being a great supporter of his fellow constructors (myself included), Nate’s a cryptic wiz, as you’ll see in today’s offering.
How lucky am I to get to collaborate with Steve on a variety cryptic? He has been such an invaluable sounding board as I’ve gotten into cryptics and I respect him so much, not only for his puzzling talent but also for his thoughtfulness in the types of clues and answers he does (and doesn’t) include in his puzzles. I’ve enjoyed solving his puzzles throughout his cryptic evolution and will one day be brave enough to explore British cryptics like he has been. 🙂 Fun fact: My path as a crossword constructor started with meta crosswords, then onto themed and themeless crosswords, and THEN onto cryptic crosswords. Seeing how I started with metas, you’re right to wonder why it took me so long to write a variety cryptic (which essentially pairs meta aspects with a cryptic crossword), but here we finally are, thanks to Steve’s encouragement. I sent him the idea for this puzzle and we were off to the races. We hope you enjoy the puzzle!
Thanks so much to Mental Playground and Hayley Gold for test solving this one. I’ll be back in a week with a gentler quiptic. Take care and enjoy the puzzle!