Saturday, November 21, 2020

Barred Cryptic #6: Themes and Variations (plus Variety-ish Cryptic-ish #1!)

Hello all! Two thematically related puzzles today - one of a genre I've been meaning to try out for a while, and one that's less of a crossword and more of a "here's a list of clues, have fun!" type puzzle. Thanks for kormad and Ra for test-solving. I'd recommend solving the Themes and Variations first, just because the second puzzle (name witheld) might spoil the nature of the thematic entries. I absolutely adore Themes and Variations-type puzzles, but they can be tricky, so I've included an example set as well as three hints for the actual puzzle, so hopefully it's decently accessible. Onto the explanation!

In the puzzle, there will be 3 "Themes" that have something in common. Each of these will also have 3 variations (only two in this example), that are derived from/related to/have something in common with the theme in some way. For example, were the 3 theme words SNAP, CRACKLE, and POP, the variations may be:

  1. PANS: STOP and REMIT (reversals of kitchen tools)
  2. CRACKLE: CACKLER and RECLACK (anagrams)
  3. POP: SIS and MOM (palindromic family members)

In general, it might help to think of the different forms of cryptic wordplay you use in general when solving. If you get stuck, there’s three levels of hints (all ROT-13’ed) below the interactive solver that might give you the push you need. Find the pdf here and the PuzzleMe client below. Once you've finished, enjoy a smaller variety puzzle with pdf here or a copy-able Google Sheets here. Hope you all are staying safe and enjoying the puzzles!

Hint 1: Bar tebhc vf pbaarpgrq ubzbcubavpnyyl, bar jvgu “cersvkrf," naq bar jvgu qryrgvbaf.

Hint 2: Gur ubzbcubar tebhc vf “zvffvat” sbhe jbeqf. Gur qryrgvba tebhc qryrgrf gur yrggref C, B, L, naq L. Gur cersvk tebhc sbezf n purzvpny grez, n yvathvfgvp grez, naq n gurbybtvpny grez.

Hint 3 (essentially the explanation of each theme group): Gur inevngvbaf bs gurzr jbeq N pna nyy cerprqr gur gurzr jbeq gb sbez arj jbeqf. Gurzr tebhc O vf znqr hc bs snzbhf qbtf zvffvat gurve ynfg yrggre ynfg yrggre qryrgvbaf (n yn FABBCL > FABBC). Gurzr jbeq P naq vgf frg bs inevngvbaf vf znqr hc bs jbeqf gung ubzbcubavpnyyl znxr hc 2/3 bs fbzr bgure snzbhf gevbf, jvgu zvffvat jbeqf crnpr, ynetr, ba, naq cnepry.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Blocked Cryptic #7: Odd Ones Out

Hello all! Sorry for the long wait between puzzles, it's been a rocky few weeks recently. Trying out my hand with a themeless puzzle today, with some fun 15s in the mix. A couple of odd clues (ba dum ksh), especially 19A and 8D, but I hope they're fun - would love to hear any feedback or thoughts, as always. Hope that you all are staying healthy, both mentally and physically, and enjoying the puzzles!

Grab the puz file here, the pdf here, and the interactive solver below. For anyone tired of blocked grids, don't worry: some fun barred ones to follow in the coming weeks!

Blocked Cryptic #9: Kangaroo Court

Not much to say today, just a fun little bonus puzzle as promised! We helped to hit 400 donors here , but if you've yet to donate and if...