Once Nate became the first person to put a cryptic puzzle on my site I thought, okay, okay, it’s finally time to do one on the site also! As a few of you have requested, it’s a 13×13 puzzle, so a little smaller and easier to deal with than most published puzzles.
Cryptics won’t be a regular feature on the blog; given that I’m already putting out free themelesses and a ton of cryptic clues on the regular, I’d like to get paid for making full puzzles!
Although it may seem that a cryptic must be easy to construct given the small number of words in the grid and that only about half of the letters have to be checked, to me they’re quite a bit harder. You know the stereotypical question about “What do you do first, write the clues or come up with the answers?” that people ask about standard American crosswords, and that it indicates a complete lack of understanding of the construction process? It’s not a silly question at all about cryptics. You’ve got to be thinking at every step of the word-choice process whether that word lends itself to good wordplay in a clue. (I learned this one the hard way, when I filled my first few cryptics with words I found very interesting, as I would for a themeless, but then realized I couldn’t break them up into bits for cluing, which led to some very tortured anagrams.)
End aside; here’s the puzzle! I’m on vacation, so I won’t be checking the comments to this page much, but please do @me on Twitter if you have something to say.
Oh yeah…I realized I didn’t write any explanations for this one (the solution grid is just the solution grid). Will try to get to that when I return from my vacation, which is very much needed.