As many of you know, I’m an evangelist for cryptic crosswords. I make them for The Browser and The New Yorker and I’ll soon be editing them for the AVCXpansion. And of course there’s #crypticclueaday and the #crypticcluecontest on Twitter.
I’ve been really gratified by how many people have told me that the daily clues on Twitter have helped them understand cryptics a little better–that solving an entire puzzle was too intimidating, but one clue at a time was totally doable, especially with explanations come Friday.
I’ve been thinking for a while that just as mini (5×5) puzzles have brought lots of solvers into the fold in the standard-crossword world, the cryptic world desperately needs minis as a gateway drug, er, way to get more Americans to try this wonderful puzzle type. It is likely that at least one market will do this in the not-too-distant future, but I’m getting impatient. So here’s one from me, with the promise that I’ll do at least one a month this year!
If you’ve never solved a cryptic before, start with my Decrypting the Cryptic posts, which explain the various clue types:
- #1: Charades
- #2: Anagrams
- #3: Containers
- #4: Hidden Words
- #5: The Basics
- #6: Double Definitions
- #7: Reversals
- #8: Homophones
- #9: When to Stop and Try Again
- #10: Beheadings et al.
- #11: Letter Banks
- #12: Beginnings and Endings
- #13: Drop It!
- #14: The Cryptic Alphabet
- #15: &lit.!
If you’ve never solved a cryptic before and you give this one a try, please do let me know in the comments. If the evangelism works, I want to know about it! There are only six words in this puzzle, so YOU CAN DO IT!
5 thoughts on “Announcing the Oneth-of-the-Month Mini Cryptic!”
Fun mini, thanks!
I try to solve cryptics, but it can get rather disheartening when I get five or so answers, and then get stuck staring at a mostly-empty grid.
Games magazine used to publish just this type of mini-cryptic, and I miss them. So thanks for your evangelical efforts.
I rarely do cryptics, because my inability to spell combined with the lack of crosses makes them almost unsolvable. A mini is doable; I can run the alphabet a few times if I must.
Thanks for this! It’s the first cryptic that I ever completely solved and understood 🙂