Variety grid puzzle/cryptic. Acknowledgements to Patrick Berry.
This puzzle was written on the heels of an announcement from my friends Martha and Kyle Ingols (42itous and not here in the National Puzzlers' League) way back in February. I first gave the puzzle to them, to be shared with their friends and family, and Martha's father Dick Plotz (aka Geneal) suggested I write a version with cryptic clues that could go in the Enigma. It took me a little while to "cryptify" the puzzle, but eventually it came together, and the puzzle appeared in this month's edition of the Enigma.
Variety Cryptic. From my 2013 Mystery Hunt warm-up extravaganza
Each year, one of the highlights of my puzzling activities is the MIT Mystery Hunt. I have been hunting since 2003, and this year I hunted with my fourth team, having made the switch from Just for the Halibut to Immoral, Illegal, & Fattening. I intend to write a bit about my Mystery Hunt experiences in the future, but not just yet. For now, I wish to share one of the warm-up puzzles I wrote for this year's Hunt. Since 2007, I have often (but not always) chosen to write a warm-up extravaganza to give my teammates more practice at solving puzzles. Also, it's fun.
At long last, another cryptic. I decided to reprise the Ringmaster form that I used several months ago, and I think it turned out well. It turns out that the format is not as original as I thought; it is topologically identical to the "Crazy Eights" puzzle from the Big Game Hunt extravaganza presented by Mike Shenk at the 2011 NPL Convention. But while I participated in that extravaganza I did not see that particular puzzle, so I can at least claim to have come up with the idea independently.
Variety cryptic. From my Flag Day 2012 extravaganza, "A Banner Occasion"
I've been putting so much time into the extravaganza I posted on Thursday, A Banner Occasion, that I haven't had the chance to format a regular puzzle for the weekend. So instead, I will give you a taste of that extravaganza, in case you haven't seen it already. Here is "Flags of Our Fathers," which is a variety cryptic. I won't say much about the gimmick in this puzzle, except that it leads to an eight-letter word as the answer.
Today I am offering what I believe to be an original format for a variety cryptic. It is inspired by some of Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon's cryptic creations in the Wall Street Journal, as well as Patrick Berry's Boxing Rings format. I'm particularly happy with the overall quality of the cluing, compared to my earlier cryptics. Enjoy!
ETA on 2/26: Oops! I somehow managed to forget to upload the puzzle and solution files. That has been fixed!
Variety cryptic. First published in the January 2011 Enigma.
Here's a puzzle I've been meaning to post for a while. This was my first variety cryptic, which appeared in the January 2011 edition of the Enigma, the monthly publication of the National Puzzlers' League. I wanted to do something special for my first published cryptic, so I went for broke on the grid. While I am still happy with the construction, it is certainly propped up by a lot of short answers, which I would have avoided had I been going for a more conventional grid. Enjoy!
For Day 10, here's another cryptic. In response to some comments on Themeless Cryptic #1, I have tried to cut down on obscurities in this puzzle. If I had more time, I'd want to tweak some of the clues for surface readability, but I don't, so I won't.
8/18/11: Oof. I had a factual error in the clue for 21 across; "Greek" should be "Roman" in that clue. I have uploaded a corrected version.