Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Blocked Cryptic #3: Major Seventh

Hello all! Hope the last two variety cryptics have been fun diversions. No such offering today, just a standard cryptic with a theme and a fresh grid shape. If you want more themed indie cryptics, look no further! On the site of fantastic constructor and good friend Mental Playground, you can find a puzzle I helped clue for another friend's birthday. If you enjoy half-American, half-British puzzles like that one, I'd also recommend you check out MP's collaboration with yet another friend of ours: incredible constructor Steve Mossberg. It has a fantastic theme and some delightfully absurd surfaces - check it out! Cryptic collaborations have been great fun so far in my experience, and if anyone wants to take a crack at constructing or cluing with me, please reach out! I'm always happy to meet new people in the crossword community, and would love to see more people constructing cryptics.

Today's puzzle is called "Major Seventh," and it has a slight theme that should be clear from the central across entries. For pencil and paper solvers, here's the pdf, and for Across Lite fans, here's the puz file!

Finally, here's the solution with entry-by-entry wordplay explanations if you get stuck. Good luck!

As a side note, thanks to all who have emailed with feedback! It has been immensely useful, and I'm grateful to everyone in this community for helping me to make better puzzles - please continue to let me know if and when you find mistakes. I especially need to thank my test-solvers, who have been great at catching my errors - any of the residual ones that find their way into the puzzles here are fully my own fault, and I apologize in advance.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Barred Cryptic #3: Funky Behavior

Hello All! So much to say in this post, but feel free to skip right to the puzzle/download files if you don't want to read my ramblings.

First off, congrats to all who participated in Lollapuzzoola this weekend! I had a great time co-solving with my family, and enjoyed seeing everyone's puns in the Twitch stream :)

On a totally different note, some exciting news about cryptics on this blog: PuzzleMe supports barred cryptics! They're a pain to input, but for any online solvers: I hope that me including it will make life a bit easier! In addition, I was able to add hints to each clue for this puzzle, telling you what kind of cryptic clue it is. Let me know if you like this, or if there are other types of hints you'd like to see instead.

Finally, a warning: this puzzle has some... substandard... clues which involve slightly “hidden” transformations. For example, while “loser” wouldn’t signify anything in most standard clues, here, it might indicate dropping an R, after you re-space the word as “lose R.” These can be tricky, so if you’re hesitant to try and find them on your own, I’ve ROT-13’ed a list of all such clues below, also including how you need to read the words that need reparsing. They're marked as "Funky Transformations" in the hints tab of the interactive puzzle below, which I think sums them up nicely. Anyways, onto the puzzle!

For pencil and paper solvers, here's the pdf, and for all who need clue or theme explanations once you're done, here's the solution! Hope you enjoy! Prepare for a non-variety cryptic next week, which'll have a theme near and dear to my heart.

Hints for the "Funky Transformations:" va gur svefg s pyhr, "hapnfg" zrnaf gb haqb gur "p nf g" genafsbezngvba: "pvgehf > pvpehf," juvpu arrqf nantenzzrq. va sbhegrra q, ernq "abo" nf "ab o," fb erzbir n o sebz bar jbeq gb trg nabgure. va fvkgrra q, jung unf punatrq orgjrra "unz" naq "uzz"? gel gb qrfpevor gur genafsbezngvba fhppvapgyl.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Blocked Cryptic #2: Snake Cryptic, or Snyptic

The cryptic hiatus is over! I've returned with a new contender for "cutest puzzle mascot:" the snake at the center of this cryptic grid. What secrets does he hide? Solve to find out!

As with my first two puzzles, I strongly recommend printing the pdf out if possible, but I've made an interactive version avaliable below, as well as a puz file if that's your prefered medium. Note that numbering differs from platform to platform, as some are less tolerable of un-numbered entries.

Finally, here's the solution with entry-by-entry wordplay explanations if you get stuck. Enjoy! As always, please share feedback with me on Twitter @d_avidgold or via email to

As a side note, I'd love to feature more constructors/setters on the site - if you'd wanna co-construct a cryptic, an American themed or themeless, any kind of variety puzzle, anything puzzle-related at all: drop me a line! Especially looking for new, diverse voices to introduce to the wonders of cryptic construction - it's a beautiful (but, at times, outdated and behind on the times, in my opinion) form that hasn't seen the progressive change that some American puzzling has, and I'd love to do any part I can to change that.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Themed Crossword #2: "Split An Atom With Me"

Another standard American puzzle! It's got a funky shape, circles, and the word 'doggo' in a clue, so (in my eyes, at least) it's sure to be fun one. Find the in-browser version below, the pdf file here, and as always, the puz file! Enjoy!

Blocked Cryptic #11: Completing the Square (META)

Another meta-puzzle! This time, in standard(-ish) cryptic form. Hard to pick a favorite, but of all my blocked grids, I think this one has m...