Happy June! Here’s a little puzzle to snack on.
Oneth of the Month Mini Cryptic #13
It’s the return of mini cryptics! I decided to stop doing them because there were other outlets for them, but now The Browser has taken a pause on its Sevens puzzles and AVCX is also running them less frequently. At ACPT I was persuaded that we need more gateway drugs, so your dealer is back. This one is inspired by Eurovision!
And although this site is still called Tough as Nails, these minis are easy! If you’re scared of cryptics, minis are a great way to work yourself up to a full-sized puzzle.
Oneth-of-the-Month Mini Cryptic #11
Here’s the latest bite-sized cryptic! If you’d like more practice with solving cryptics but aren’t yet up to an entire puzzle, be sure to also try the free weekly Browser Sevens.
Oneth of the Month Mini Cryptic #10
Here’s your bite-sized cryptic for October. Enjoy!
Oneth of the Month Mini Cryptic #9
Happy September! Here’s a lil’ puzzle to start your month off right. I think you’ll agree that the 1D clue reflects my Philly upbringing.
Oneth-of-the-Month Mini Cryptic #7
I’m on vacation! You still get a puzzle! Aren’t I nice?
Oneth of the Month Mini Cryptic #6
It’s themeless day AND cryptic day today! 1-Across is a nod to the season.
Oneth-of-the-Month Mini Cryptic #5
I hope these lil’ puzzles are helpful with graduating some of you to solving a full-sized cryptic for the first time!
Oneth-of-the-Month Mini Cryptic #4
Hope you’ve been enjoying the minis and using them as a way to dip your toe in the cryptic waters! Here’s another quickie for you.
Hope to see many of you at ACPT this weekend!
Announcing the Oneth-of-the-Month Mini Cryptic!
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!