Bonus Cryptic #2: “The Book or the Movie?”

Hey cryptic people!

I’m so happy to have teamed up on another cryptic with Chris Evans (MentalPlayground)! Chris makes lovely puzzles at an astounding rate and I highly recommend you solve them twice a week over on his site. He’s one of the first people I began talking about cryptics with and we’ve had a lot of laughs solving British puzzles together.

We made today’s offering with a tight theme and some British conventions, and I’d say it’s about twice as difficult as the ones I typically put up on Square Pursuit. I think it’s a really fun puzzle and you should totally give it a try! Here’s some stuff to watch out for, if you don’t solve British newspaper crosswords regularly:

  • We are using British words and more abbreviations than US solvers typically face.
  • We are using UK spellings in this puzzle. You’d surely realise this on your own, but I’m giving fair warning.
  • This puzzle contains cryptic definitions, which are not used typically used in American cryptics. There is no literal half of the clue! Think of a misleading and cute “?” clue from a NYT puzzle or something like that, and you’re pretty much there.

Take care and enjoy the puzzle! 4 days until a themed crossword, 7 days until the February variety cryptic, and 11 days until the one year anniversary of Square Pursuit! See you soon.

Solve Online @ MentalPlayground’s Cryptics

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Puzzle #51: Themeless #26

Hello, fellow crossworders!

I’ve been thinking a great deal about challenging puzzles lately and figured I’d set myself the challenge of trying making something harder than usual! It turns out it’s quite a difficult thing to keep things fun and fresh while also giving folks a really hard time. I don’t think I’ve achieved pure, unmitigated, evil yet, but I do think it stands a chance to entertain you!

The inspiration for using two sets of clues, of course, comes from friend and collaborator Brooke Husic, whose devious puzzles are no secret to connoisseurs. Thanks to Brooke for the encouragement and test-solving as well as Andrew Bradley and Mike Lieberman, who also suffered for the cause.

I’m two weeks out from the one year anniversary of Square Pursuit, and it with it will come some changes to the blog’s format, but I can promise there will still be lots of good puzzles coming in year two!

Take care and enjoy! I heard there was an interesting cryptic collaboration dropping soon…

Solve Online – HARDER

Solve Online – GENTLER

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Cryptic #7: “Apples and Oranges”

Hey there, cryptic fans!

With the first Saturday coming so late this month, it feels like ages since I’ve been able to share a cryptic with you folks. As always, I tried to gear this one toward beginning solvers, with a few sneaky challenges in there to trip up the seasoned folks. I hope it’s all sorts of fun for you!

Test solving thanks this time around goes to my fellow cryptic setters Nate Cardin and David Gold! I’ve really been enjoying both of their output lately and highly recommend you check it out if you’re looking for a further cryptic fix. I’ll be around very soon with a special U.K. style-cryptic collaboration which is a great deal harder than what you’ve been solving on my site recently. In two weeks with a gentle-ish variety cryptic that I’m so excited about!

Take care, enjoy the solve! Non-cryptic themeless this Wednesday.

Solve Online

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Puzzle #50: “Mexican Picnic Basket” with Enrique Henestroza Anguiano

Hello, Crossfolks!

Whoa, 50 weeks of Square Pursuit! So happy to celebrate with one of my favorite crossword people and collaborators, Enrique Henestroza Anguiano. This is not our first time making puzzles together but it’s the first one to see the light of day. We connected over some serious culinary interests this time around — it was hard not to get hungry while making this crossword!

Here’s Enrique:

Excited to be back on Square Pursuit with a culinary crossword collab! This one started with an observation about 28-Across, and it was deliciously fun to elaborate the theme with fellow gourmand Steve. It’s been a joy working together, and I expect you’ll see this byline again in the future. Fair warning: don’t solve this on an empty stomach.

As always, it’s great to get to make and talk puzzles with like-minded folks. Thanks to the wonderful test solving team of Brooke Husic and Matthew Stock, who made our puzzle so much better with their work. This weekend is the first Saturday of the month, so if you’re up for something different, I hope you’ll drop by for a cryptic!

Take care and enjoy the puzzle!

Solve Online

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Puzzle #49: Themeless #25

Hello, cross people!

I’m so excited to share this one with you! I’m constantly inspired by the amazing themeless game in the indie crossword community, with veterans turning out great work time and time again and lots of fresh voices to enjoy and learn from. I hope this one brings you joy.

I’ve got lots of fun stuff coming up in crossworld! Next week on this site I get to publicly share something I’ve made with one of my favorite puzzle people and collaborators. I’d like to thank Will Nediger and Brooke Husic for the test solve this week! The 27th is Brooke’s themeless day, so after you solve this one I hope you’ll head her way for a super-fun super-stiff challenge!

That’s my story! Take care, enjoy, and I’ll see you with another puzzle soon!

Solve Online

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Puzzle #48: “Sing Me a Shanty”

Hello, Sailors!

Since everybody seems to be singing shanties or making puzzles about them, I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring with today’s offering. It’s a little tricky, but I hope it’s a fun one!

Thanks for all the lovely feedback on last week’s themeless and variety cryptic. It just makes me want to keep pushing to make better puzzles. It’s great to have you along with me! On the invaluable test solving team this week, we’ve got Brooke Husic, Will Eisenberg, and Ryan Fitzgerald. Thanks so much for the help!

Belt out some sea songs, grab some grog if that’s your thing, and enjoy the puzzle! I’ll see you next week with a regularly-scheduled themeless!

Solve Online

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Variety Cryptic #4: “Sliding Scale”

Hello, cryptic lovers!

What a pleasure it’s been to make variety cryptics for you these past few months! This one’s definitely up to some tricks, but should have enough straightforward bits to help newer solvers slide right in. I hope it’s fun for everyone.

I’d like to give my thanks to Chris Evans, Quiara Vasquez, and ky for their generous help test solving. It’s been so fun to talk to make puzzles and talk clues and solve with these folks!

I’ll be back on Wednesday with a themed crossword! Enjoy the challenge and take care of yourselves.

Solve Online

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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!

Solve Online

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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!

Solve Online

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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!

Solve Online

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