Bonus: LL Themeless by Brian Thomas

Hello, cross folks!

It’s unusual for me to put up a crossword on a Tuesday at Square Pursuit, but I received a mysterious puzzle in my inbox from Brian Thomas this morning, and thought “hey, what’s the harm in just posting it?” I suppose I should also tell you that Brian is my top-of-the-table opponent in LearnedLeague today, which is probably relevant — not sure though. Typical banger from Brian despite a bit of fill that I find objectionable! Why not see what he’s up to on his own site afterwards?

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy this mysterious puzzle…

Solve Online

PUZ

PDF

PDF SOLUTION

Cryptic #5: “The Eternal Question”

Welcome back, cryptic folks!

In this month’s offering we’ll be exploring an age old question that transcends borders and generations. I think there’s a strong possibility that each solver’s answer will be a bit different and that many won’t even fit into the neat little boxes I’m offering you here in this grid. I’m very much looking forward to hearing what you think!

Thanks again to k0rmad for being a wonderful and generous test solver! I’ve tried to calibrate this puzzle to give a light challenge to seasoned solvers and feel welcoming to new folks. Hopefully it hits a sweet spot for you. If cryptics aren’t your thing, next week should be a fun one here at Square Pursuit. There’s going to be some extra fun going on and some special guests as well!

That’s that! Take care, enjoy the solve, and good luck answering the Eternal Question.

Solve Online

PUZ

PDF

PDF Solution/Explanations

Puzzle #41: “Themeless #21”

Hello, crossword folks!

Happy December! It’s themeless day at Square Pursuit, and I’m very happy to offer you the first puzzle I’ve ever made with diagonal symmetry. Yes, I’m late on this particular train, but the ride was a lot of fun, and I hope you enjoy it too. Special thanks to three great constructors, Mike Lieberman, Quiara Vasquez, and Paolo Pasco for the test solve. Feeling all kinds of love from the internet crossword community.

The coming week is going to be the busiest yet on this site. We’ve got the first-Saturday cryptic and then another bonus on the way soon after. Expect guest appearances and other related mayhem in the near future.

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy the puzzle, and I’ll see you on Saturday with a gentle-ish cryptic.

Solve Online

PUZ

PDF

PDF – SOLUTION

Puzzle #40: “Questionable Fill”

Hello, puzzle folks!

This week’s offering is a love letter to the worst crosswords have to offer. I seldom reference puzzles in puzzles, but I feel it’s fitting at some point to pay homage to the collective pain we’ve endured as solvers. I hope it’s more fun to look at from this angle.

I quick shout out to the crossword constructor community. I’ve really been enjoying test-solving some terrific puzzles lately, and greatly appreciate all the folks who have been able to spare a moment to help out with my own. This week’s thanks go to Will Eisenberg, who began his own puzzle blog with a really fun themeless last week!

It’s puzzle time. I hope it hurts in a good way! Be safe, enjoy, and I’ll see you in a week for themeless Wednesday!

Solve Online

.puz

PDF

PDF Solution

Variety Cryptic #2: “Somebody’s Gotta Lose”

Hello cryptic fans!

It was so fun to hear about folks enjoying themselves with last month’s variety cryptic that I just had to make another one. Once again, I’ve tried to create something approachable for less-experienced solvers, though there are a few tricky clues here and there, and of course a bit of a mischievous variety element going on.

I know that there’s an even smaller scene of solvers for variety cryptics than there is for independent crosswords in general, and I really want folks to feel welcome in this space. I’m always happy to hear civil feedback so I can keep making these even better. Extra thanks to cryptic solvers k0rmad and Citizen Ra, who gave this one a test run and picked all the right nits!

Like last time, there’s no .puz file, because this thing is full of bars, not blocks! Also like last time, I think there isn’t much to be lost in solving online, though a bit of scratch paper may be nice to have.

Enjoy, take care, and see you next week with a crunchy-ish themed puzzle!

Solve Online

.pdf

.pdf EXPLANATIONS + SOLUTIONS

Puzzle #39: Themeless #20

Hello, puzzle folks!

Look, it’s big number 20! It’s been so fun to hone my themeless-making skills on the blog this year. Thanks for solving along — I think you’re going to like this one! I’m never sure quite what to say ahead of time about this sort of thing because I’d rather not tip my hand, but I can say I’m proud of the shape and glad to be able to debut a couple of phrases that make me smile. Thanks to Brooke for being this week’s test solver!

In other news, in light of all the kind feedback and requests I’ve gotten following my variety cryptic last month, I decided to make another one. It’s on its way to you this weekend. I hope you’ll come by and give it a try — it’s geared towards folks who are still getting their feet wet in cryptic land but should still have enough spice for the rest of you!

That’s my piece. I hope you enjoy! Take care and see you Saturday for that cryptic business and next Wednesday with a dastardly themed puzzle!

Solve Online

.puz

.pdf

.pdf SOLUTION

Puzzle #38: “Go West!”

Greetings, crossword travelers!

Thanks for stopping by! I’ve got a nostalgic puzzle for you which, should it land correctly, will unfortunately allow you to deduce my age — but no matter, there’s something for everybody in this one.

I’m feeling very grateful today for the independent crossword scene which has been so supportive and also given me an endless supply of solving entertainment. Each time I think it can’t get any better, another talented constructor comes out of the woodwork with a fun puzzle to tackle. Thanks this week to Will and Richard for test solving my grid!

Enjoy the journey, be careful out there, and I hope to see you next week for a themeless adventure and a little bit of variety too!

Solve Online

.puz

.pdf

.pdf SOLUTION

Cryptic #4: “Filling the Crust”

Welcome back, cryptic folks!

I’m in the mood for pie, how about you? My appetite must have gotten the better of me while constructing this one because it’s quite a pie-forward cryptic. I hope you’re hungry!

Folks who have been following my cryptics may have noticed a really difficult one at the beginning of last month followed by a much more straightforward variety cryptic a couple weeks later. Today’s puzzle has a couple of trickier entries, but should resemble the latter more closely in terms of overall challenge. I’m getting the vibe that approachability is important to those who have been solving here. Please let me know if this one hits the spot or if it doesn’t put up enough of a fight for you! Civil feedback is always appreciated.

Thanks for dropping by! Don’t forget to check out the solution document after solving if you’d like an explanation of every answer in the puzzle. I’ll see you next Wednesday with a regularly-scheduled themed puzzle and maybe even another variety cryptic in the not too distant future….

Solve Online

.puz

.pdf

.pdf SOLUTION + Explanations

Puzzle #37: Themeless #19

Good morning, exceptionally well-rested crossword solvers!

I can’t really say why, but I feel like today is the day for a themeless crossword shaped like an adorable bobcat’s face. And so, here’s a themeless crossword shaped like an adorable bobcat’s face.

The shape of this grid led to more short and medium-length entries than I typically use in themeless puzzles, and it was fun to try out some new stuff I haven’t clued before. Special thanks to Brooke Husic for helping me with the science entry in the grid. I think it’s cool to ask people who have a lot of knowledge in subject areas for advice when making puzzles. If anyone ever has jazz or other music questions for me when constructing, bring them on! I’m happy to help.

It’s a new month, so I’ll be back here with a lighthearted and fairly approachable cryptic on Saturday. Take extra care of yourselves and enjoy the puzzle.

Solve Online

.puz

.pdf

.pdf SOLUTION

Puzzle #36: “Nature Show”

Hello, crossword travelers!

This week’s themed puzzle is wholly autobiographical, though there’s not much about me in there — it’s really all about the nature show. We’re heading into a stressful period in a lot of ways right now, so I hope this one serves as a good opportunity to pause and enjoy a moment with a grid.

Thanks very much to the wonderful Brooke Husic for the test solve! In case you missed it, we made this themeless together a while back, but I highly recommend you take a look at what she just made right here.

I’m back with a themeless next Wednesday, which I can only imagine we’ll tackle with bleary eyes. Take care, enjoy, and I’ll see you on the other side!

Note, this puzzle looks MUCH prettier in the Solve Online mode.

Solve Online

.puz

.pdf

.pdf SOLUTION