Puzzle #47: Themeless #24

Hello, Crosspeople!

It’s themeless time again and I’ve got one that I’m extra fond of to offer you! There’s been some spirited discussion about a lack of hard puzzles in the crossword solving community lately, and while this is no Saturday Stumper (RIP), I hope it gives you a little (pleasurable) trouble.

I’m enjoying a nice leisurely winter cruise to the one-year anniversary of Square Pursuit and have been revisiting some of the old stuff, just for my own curiosity’s sake. Let’s just say that it took a while to get to where things are. My quality control thanks this week go to Brooke Husic, Quiara Vasquez, and Andrew Bradley, who may not remember this, but actually test solved my very first grid, long before I had a newspaper byline or blog.

Enjoy the puzzle! I’m back with a variety cryptic this weekend and a themed puzzle next Wednesday!

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Puzzle #46: “Furious Five”

Hello, intrepid solvers!

It’s the first themed puzzle of the year and I’ve got a bit of a challenge for you this week. This one was a real pleasure to fill up with words, many of which are exciting to me. I hope it’s fun for you!

2021 is definitely going to be a big puzzle year for me, and I’m looking forward to sharing my work with you. Thanks, as always, for showing up! My gratitude to Brooke Husic and Mike Lieberman for the test solve this week.

Enjoy the solve, take care of yourselves, and stay tuned for a themeless offering in one week!

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Cryptic #6: “Ancient Styles”

Happy New Year, cryptic folks!

It looks like the first puzzle of 2021 is going to be the January monthly cryptic! This one might play a little harder than last month’s but is hopefully still approachable for folks. I’d happy to dial the difficulty back next time if it’s too rough on people.

As always, I’m thankful for the supportive crossword community. Special thanks this time around go to k0rmad and Nate Cardin for the insightful test solving. Nate has some phenomenal new cryptics that you folks will be seeing soon. Don’t miss them!

Good luck, enjoy, and see you with a themed crossword next Wednesday!

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Puzzle #45: “Big Themeless”

Hello crossfolks!

Seeing as this year has been so long and the coming occasion so big, I felt I should make this one big as well, so it’s 21×21. It’s also on the tough side, but I think it’s certainly doable, and hopefully more fun than flummoxing to grapple with. Thanks for coming by all year long. This blog has been a big deal for me as a constructor and your part in it as solver means a lot!

I’ve really enjoyed some 21×21 themelesses from members of the constructing community lately and looked to them for how I might make this big thing work. For taking on the big test solve, I’d like to thank Brooke Husic and Will Nediger. I’m very happy to be able to throw this first 21x themeless effort on the pile with some of the gems that are coming out this week.

Have a happy New Year, and I’ll see you on the other side with the January cryptic, which drops on Saturday.

Take care and enjoy!

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Puzzle #44: Seasonal “Delicacies”

Hello, crossword lovers!

I’m feeling festive. Let’s eat! Pull up a chair and dig into this week’s themed puzzle. It should bring a little challenge and a lot of fun, or so I hope.

Thanks the great response to last weekend’s variety cryptic! That one was a pleasure to make and see the community enjoy. Speaking of community, I’m feeling grateful today for Brooke Husic and Will Eisenberg who not only make great puzzles but give great advice. Thanks for test-driving this one!

Next week’s themeless is a bit different from its predecessors as it feels like sort of a BIG thing to close out this puzzling year of 2020. I hope you’ll stay tuned for that! In the meantime, take care of yourselves, happy holidays, and have fun with the solve!

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Variety Cryptic #3: “So, How’s It Going?”

Hello, puzzle friends!

It’s time for another variety cryptic at Square Pursuit. Once again, I’ve tried to keep things pretty approachable for all solvers while putting a tricky clue or two into the puzzle for the experts. I hope this one is as fun to solve as it was to make!

I’m so thankful for the warm welcome I’ve received from folks in the cryptic community on both sides of the pond. Setters, solvers and streamers have been incredibly kind and encouraging to me as I continue to my explorations in this new form. Special thanks to ky, Hayley Gold, and Neville Fogarty for test solving this one, and helping me make it as good as it could be.

Take care, enjoy, and I’ll see you on Wednesday with a themed non-cryptic crossword!

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Puzzle #43: Themeless #22

Hello everybody!

Thanks for dropping by! This week’s themeless is another adventure in mirror symmetry. I think there’s some fun stuff in there and a few challenges as well. Hopefully it’s a satisfying one. Special thanks to Brooke Husic and Will Eisenberg for test-solving!

I’m feeling very happy to be closing out a wonderful 2020 in crosswords (glad it’s wonderful somewhere) and have some fun things coming down the pike. There’s a variety cryptic popping up here soon, a U.K.-style cryptic collaboration that’s been really fun to make, and of course next week’s freewheeling themed puzzle. Looks like the last puzzle of the year is a themeless. Should I try to do something special with it?

Well, there it is! Take care, enjoy the puzzle, and see you in a few with a variety cryptic.

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Puzzle #42: “Off We Go!” with Brooke Husic

Hey there, puzzle people!

For this week’s themed offering I’m thrilled to offer a joint effort with the one and only Brooke Husic! Brooke is a great friend and an inspiring collaborator in crossworld. It’s always a treat (and learning experience) to make something together. For those of you who have been paying attention she’s been on an excellent puzzle-a-day streak since last Friday—you can find her Friday and Tuesday USA Today Puzzles on their website, and three “demi” puzzles on her must-solve blog—so it’s very cool to get to share in a bit of the fun!

Here’s Brooke: What a privilege to collaborate with Steve! The revealer is relevant to recent changes in my life, so while I was running around, Steve did the heavy lifting on setting up this 72-word (!) grid. Steve’s constructing skills and cluing ingenuity aren’t new to me, but I’m always happy to be impressed again and again! On a personal note, it’s so cool to have made such a great friend, especially in current times, and I’m certainly a better and more thoughtful person for knowing Steve.

Only time will tell the true duration and splendor of Brooke’s puzzle streak, but I can say for sure that tomorrow she will be making her Inkubator debut, in which she will unleash her trademark diagonal symmetry on a host of unsuspecting subscribers. I recommend signing up if you haven’t tried their innovative puzzles yet!

Special thanks to star constructors Enrique Henestroza Anguiano and Matthew Stock for the test solve!

Enjoy the puzzle and let us know what you think! I’ll see you folks next week with your regularly scheduled themeless and perhaps a variety cryptic as well sometime soon!

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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…

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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.

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