I’ve got to be honest, I’m a little overwhelmed by how much excellent indie puzzle content there is out there these days, but how great it is to be so spoiled for choice! Themeless days here always place my puzzles in the company of some excellent puzzle makers and here’s hoping today’s no exception.
This week’s offering afforded me the opportunity to use a lot of fun mid-length entries, and I’m not sure if that’s going to make this one super-easy or super-hard. We’ll just have to see, but either way, I hope it’s a fun one for you.
Take care of yourselves and enjoy! I’ll be back next week with not one, but two holiday puzzles that I’m really excited to share.
It’s some guy’s birthday over here at Square Pursuit, and September’s cryptic offering is a throwback to the parties of my childhood. I hope it’s lots of fun and that the pizza you eat while solving it provides an even better cheese-pull than the one pictured above.
The next, unspecified-aged year of my life should bring many more puzzles to make and solve. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into either stack, and I’m so glad you’re all along for the ride.
Take care, enjoy, and see you on Wednesday with a fun themeless!
Today’s offering features a corny take on something I find a hundred times more horrifying than the lovely characters pictured above, but as Joan Didion wrote, “we make ourselves silly puzzles in order to live.” Wait, that’s not it…
Thanks for dropping by and giving this tricky one a try. I recommend a paper solve from the .pdf for the best experience this time. If you go electronic, it should still be fun but will require a small stretch of the imagination. In other news, this Saturday is the monthly cryptic day at Square Pursuit and somebody’s birthday as well, apparently. It’s going to be appropriately themed, so I hope to see you there!
Take care and enjoy! Back in three days with the monthly cryptic, and in one week with another fun themeless!
It’s hard to imagine this thing at Square Pursuit has been going on for half a year! The original goal was to get a puzzle up every week, but things have gone so much better than that. I’m really grateful for all the folks I’ve met through puzzle-making in the past six months, and believe me, I’ve learned a ton along the way. Here’s to you!
No wordplay this time around, just a nice open themeless. I’m dialing the difficulty back down just a little this week, since we’re out of tournament season. I’m trying for stiff but not brutal! I’ve got great some puzzles planned for the fall and plenty of special things to come as well, and can’t wait to share them with you all.
There it is. Take care, enjoy, and see you in September (yeah, that’s next week) with a cheeky themed puzzle!
About a week ago, U.K.-based cryptic bud Chris Evans (who sets puzzles twice a week on the excellent Mental Playground site) showed me a peculiar grid idea he had come up with. We ended up talking a lot about how it might work and decided we were up for a cryptic collaboration. This was a really fun process in which we each wrote dueling clues for much of the puzzle and refined the ones we liked most together. In addition to being a fun guy to work with, Chris taught me all kinds of things in the process, like what a camber actually is.
Spending time with folks from across the Pond has shown me that there are plenty of ways to add depth to a seemingly traditional puzzle. I’ve been solving cryptics for years and the idea of one with themed entries is fairly common – so I decided to make you look a bit harder to find those themes! I sent the idea over to Steve Mossberg, who liked it, and we set upon cluing the grid together – I think we’ve managed to get the best of both of our styles. I hope you enjoy the solve!
Have fun, people! Explanations are in the solution document. See you on Wednesday with a tricky themeless!
I had a blast last weekend at Lollapuzzoola, and if you were there, I hope you did as well! Lots of gorgeous tournament puzzles, some nice challenges, that unforgiving clock, and plenty of great hanging out. Fingers crossed we can all get back out in person next year.
This week’s puzzle isn’t about crossword competitions, though. This one’s all about Ed. I hope it’s a gentle challenge with a theme that puts a smile on your face. There’s more to come as well — I did a little intercontinental collaboration this week, and the result (not a standard crossword) is going to be up on Saturday as a bonus for those of you who prefer their wordplay more cranium-splitting than today’s variety.
Take care of yourselves and enjoy! Back on Saturday with that bonus I mentioned and then next Wednesday with a fun themeless offering.
We’re just cruising along through the summer crossword tournament season. The only good thing about remote competition is that I get to “go to” pretty much anything I want. This week I’m excited about Lollapuzzoola, which is happening on Saturday, and I’m glad to be able to count friends among the puzzle constructors and fellow solvers!
I solve crosswords for fun, and do so pretty quickly. I am earnest about trying to improve my skills, and will push myself on Saturday to go as quickly as I can. That said, I’m absolutely nowhere near the superhuman solvers that can fly through these puzzles a full minute or two faster than me. I’d like to give a special welcome today to the extra-brave souls that are tackling their puzzles this week downs-only. My sincerest wishes that today’s themeless offering won’t be too rough on you. I also just so happen to have a gentler puzzle running today in the Universal, a great venue that’s of my favorite daily solves!
Take care, folks. Enjoy, see you at the big game on Saturday, and I’ll be back next week with a themed puzzle!
I realize that I’m treading extremely close to having to rename Square Pursuit “The Blog with the Food Puzzles,” but I thought that this one was timely, playful, and ridiculously true to life. I hope you can relate!
Thanks to everybody who tried the Cryptic puzzle I made last weekend. I got such a warm and wonderful response, and am feeling happy to be able to do it every month.
Hang in there, people. Stay safe and enjoy the errand! Back with a themeless offering in one week!
I’ve been solving American-style crosswords for over twenty years, but I’ve recently become enamored of the cryptic, and I’m here to tell you, I’ve got it bad for these puzzles. Naturally, I had to have a try at making them and I’ve been working hard, putting out some early efforts, and refining the process to point where I felt I could share one with you.
Every first Saturday of a month from here on in, I’m going to post a cryptic puzzle on the site for you folks. Everything else you’ve come to expect from Square Pursuit is staying the same. If you’re not familiar with the cryptic style, it’s probably going to seem impenetrable at first as it did to me, but it absolutely can be solved, and at least in my experience is tremendously fun and rewarding once you get the hang of it. Constructor/Puzzle Editor Stella Zawistowski has written an excellent series of essays called “Decrypting the Cryptic” on how to crack into these puzzles, and was so kind as to allow me to link to it here to help new solvers get started.
In addition to my gratitude to Stella for letting me use her writings, thanks go out to folks on the crossword Discord who test-solved some of my earlier attempts: romkd, UnwiseOwl, edderiofer, and Lebronswanson (are these their real names?), and to Eccles for helping me smooth out that clue!
Whew! There it is. Hope you all enjoy Cryptic #1. It’s only going to get better from here on in! Back on Wednesday with your regularly-scheduled themed offering!
What a great time last weekend! I really enjoyed competing in the online version of Boswords, where I got to solve puzzles from some of my favorite constructors, and “hang out” with all kinds of cool crossword people. If you’ve never done a tournament online, I highly recommend it. Even the really great solvers are super-friendly and everybody takes the day in stride.
I’m glad to be giving you a tricky themeless offering today, having just tackled the brutal championship puzzle (no, I was not even close to qualifying). It’s fun to get inspired by the deviousness of other constructors when sitting down to write clues.
A few folks have asked for some more wordplay-heavy puzzles, and I’ve got good news! On Saturday I’ll be launching a new monthly feature that’s a bit different and huge on wordplay. If it’s not your bag, I promise some puns in next weeks standard grid.
Take care and enjoy! Back on Saturday with the new thing, and next Wednesday with your regularly-scheduled themed offering!