Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Guest Cryptic #2: A Snack from the Cookie Jar (by Nate Cardin)

What's this? A Wednesday cryptic? It sure is! Brought to you by the one and only Nate Cardin, fantastic constructor/human whose puzzle I am honored to host here today :) Nate claims to have nothing interesting to say here, which I doubt, but fair enough: he's been busy these past few weeks! A few of my quick thoughts/praises before the puzzle:

I solved this puzzle over breakfast last week and it made the start of my day absolutely radiant. There's so much to love here: 2D and 13A were laugh out loud moments for me, 1A and 10A have some of the cleanest wordplay I've seen in a while, and 25D is probably just overall my favorite clue I've seen all month. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and make sure to tell Nate how great it is on Twitter! The more puzzles he writes the better the world will be :) Find the puz file here, the pdf here, and the interactive grid right below.

Finally, another all-call to my friends in the crossword community: if there are any LGBTQ+ folx (or allies, or anyone who cares about crosswords and equity in any way) who are interested in collaborating on any type of puzzle, please reach out! DMs always open, and my inbox could use more crossword content, so drop a line! Enjoy the puzzle, and stay well, all.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Blocked Cryptic #6: Lucky Number 7!

Short post today! Dropping a puzzle that is just a bit over the top. Feel free to just solve the puzzle and ignore everything else (except my beautiful drawing in the pdf): this weekend was Conline 3, so I felt like just going all out with a very extra cryptic in classic NPL style. Even if you choose to ignore the "variety" parts of it, there's some fun fill going on, so I hope it's a fun solve!

For those brave enough to tackle the whole thing, here's the pdf! For those who just wanna solve the cryptic (good choice), peep the online solver below. Any feedback is welcome! If this puzzle doesn't tickle you, though, I can promise that the next one is very exciting and will come early - later this week ;)

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Barred Cryptic #5: Tag Yourself! (with Amanda Rafkin and Finn Vigeland)

Very special puzzle today, for a variety of reasons! First of all, I got to work with two incredibly talented constructors, and we had a blast writing a bunch of whacky, weird, and fresh cryptic clues. Second, it's a super pretty grid (keep reading to find out why)! Third, and most importantly, today is National Coming Out Day, and since it falls on the same day as Matt Bomer's my birthday, I'm using it as the perfect time to come out as bi to my family, and to the crossword community. Obviously the only way to do this is with a cryptic: more specifically, a very meme-y queer qryptic, which you can find below.

Before the puzzle, I have many a thank (and a request!) to give. I can't begin to describe how lucky I am to have worked with Finn and Amanda: they're such great people, both way more talented than I am at writing puzzles, and they're also just generally hilarious. I hope the fun we had while writing the clues is obvious from the puzzle. Also, this puzzle wouldn't have happened without Queer Qrosswords' Nate Cardin, who inspired me to make this puzzle, set me up with my two co-constructors, and made this a reality. Sending love and gratefulness to you all ♥ Here's some quick thoughts from Amanda and Finn:

Hey all, I'm Finn (he/him). I've written many crosswords but proud to be marking my cryptic debut on this auspicious day. Follow my twitter if you like crosswords, transportation, or Survivor.
Hi! I’m Amanda (she/her), here to represent the UHAUL category 😉. I’ve been solving cryptics for about a year, but this was my first time participating in the creation of one, and I have to say it was a lot of fun! Not to mention an amazing opportunity to do something for such an important and meaningful day. Thanks for putting this together, David!

Finally, if you enjoy the puzzle (or if you've enjoyed any of my puzzles!) and have the means, please consider donating to an LGBTQ+ charity today - I know I can't provide as much fun as the full Queer Qrossword packs, but now more than ever, these communities need support. My blog will always be free, but I hope the enjoyment it's given you is worth at least a small donation to one of these very worthy charities.

Time for links! Two versions of the puzzle: one that's fairly normal, and one that's "disastrous, functional, and distinguished," with clues all mixed up (and a few more antics to be found). Also, you can grab the pdf in full color or in black and white. For online solvers, just keep scrolling and you'll find the "normal" version in interactive form below! Here are the standard versions, in color and black and white; and here are the "disastrous" ones, again in color and black and white. Enjoy the solve, and a happy NCOD to the whole LGBTQ+ crossword (and non-crossword!) family.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Themed Crossword #3: Pullin' a Fast One

Hello all! No cryptic this week - got a very exciting collab dropping next Sunday though :) This week, we've got a standard, themed puzzle that I've had sitting around for a bit! It's a silly little theme, and I hope it's enjoyable. Some whacky clues thrown in, some attempts at question mark devilry, and (hopefully) not too many abbreviations - let me know what you think!

Find the puz file here, the pdf here, and the interactive solver below! Best of luck, and enjoy the solve!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Blocked Cryptic #5: Three of Hearts, Eight of...

The cryptic zoo is expanding! No shenanigans going on in this one though: all wordplay is normal (or, at least normal for my style of puzzles), but there’s a “nina” - cryptic slang for a hidden set of words/phrases/anything that’s relevant to the puzzle or somehow thematic. Hope that the puzzle is fun to solve, and that the hunt for the extra layer is rewarding.

For pencil-and-paper solvers, enjoy the pdf here, and for online solvers, check out the interactive tool right below. Sadly, puz files don't allow for fancy colors, but if you wanna solve in Across Lite, here's the download link. Enjoy!

Solutions document to come hopefully soon. Wishing an easy fast to anyone celebrating today - g'mar chatimah tovah!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Guest Puzzle #1: A Cryptic with a Purpose (by MentalPlayground)

Hello all! Wishing a Shanah Tovah to all those who celebrated the past weekend! Read to the end of the post for a relevant (and hopefully sweet!) bonus puzzle :)

We've got a special guest on the blog today! MentalPlayground is one of my favorite people to co-solve (and co-construct!) puzzles with. From the true home of cryptic crosswords, he's been blogging (and cryptic-ing in general) for longer than I have, and it's always fun to get a British twist on things, so I'm sure you'll enjoy his offering. Here's his commentary on the puzzle:

I've been enjoying avid's puzzles for a while now - so I'm delighted to appear as a surprise guest on his site! This grid may not have any funky rules, but I hope the theme is enjoyable! It's a passion of mine, but I can't tell you what it is for obvious reasons. Also avid apparently likes it too - which is great! I hope you enjoy the solve!

I had an absolute blast solving this puzzle: 22-Down is very funny, 13-Across is super interesting (and slightly wicked - worth it though!), and 9-Down has a hilarious surface. Find the puzzle below in interactive form, or here as a pdf!

Lastly (and leastly), here's the "snack" I promised above, in cased you missed it! Solution right below, so don't scroll too far. (Minor error: first enumeration should be 3 4, not 4 3)

Solution: hey jude, ipod nano, garden of eden, envy, and new york city are all APPLES (sorta) dipped in HONEY, my way of wishing all of you a sweet 5781 :)

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Barred Cryptic #4: Global Warning

Hi all! Apologies for the late post - I'll be moving my publication date to Sunday night for the forseeable future, just so I can keep up with school stuff during the week.

This puzzle is hopefully more immediately approachable than my previous ones - it's still a variety cryptic, but the instructions are a lot shorter than usual. The theme entry is just one entry on a long list of possible "Green Policy Now" slogans that I believe in and would love to fit into a crossword. Whether or not you enjoy the puzzle, make sure you're registered and ready to vote in November! This puzzle is me urging you to consider giving your votes to candidates who are making progressive climate change policy a priority.

Anyways, here's the pdf file, and for online solvers the grid is below. Haven't had time to finish up the solution grid, but I'll try to post it within the week. If you get stuck, click on the "Reveal Letter/Word" button in PuzzleMe for a quick hint! Best of luck, and enjoy!

Guest Cryptic #2: A Snack from the Cookie Jar (by Nate Cardin)

What's this? A Wednesday cryptic? It sure is! Brought to you by the one and only Nate Cardin , fantastic constructor/human whose puzzle ...