Guest qryptic from Nate Cardin!

Meet guest qryptic constructor Nate Cardin and his absurdly cute pupper, Eero!

A few of you have asked me for an easy cryptic to help you practice the solving skills you’ve gotten through my Decrypting the Cryptic series or #crypticclueaday. And I keep saying “no time for that, sorry…”

Simultaneously, the utterly delightful Nate Cardin has become addicted to cryptic construction and is ready for his puzzles to come out in the world. Well, if that isn’t a happy confluence of interests, I don’t know what is.

So I’m thrilled to bring you one of Nate’s first completed puzzles! Here’s a little about him: Nate is a high school chemistry teacher in Los Angeles, where he lives with his husband and his puppy, Eero.  He is very much into word games, Survivor, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and caring.  Black lives (and experiences, thoughts, contributions, and so much more) very much matter to him. [Those are Nate’s words, but let’s not forget that he’s also the founder and co-editor of Queer Qrosswords, a kickass puzzle diversity initiative that publishes LGBTQ+ constructors. I binge-solved the entirety of Queer Qrosswords 2 on a flight from NYC to Los Angeles last year, and I highly recommend it!]

And here’s a note from Nate (that’s basically a cryptic clue waiting to be written, amirite?): I’m so proud to debut my very first cryptic crossword on Stella’s site, since her #crypticclueaday tweets inspired me to delve into cryptics so earnestly. For this and other cryptics I’ve been working on over the past few months, I’m indebted to the time, advice, wisdom, and feedback of folks like Stella, Andrew Ries, Neville Fogarty, Steve Mossberg, and Joshua Kosman. I am made better by the crossword community and I hope I can give back even a fraction of what they (and you all) have given to me. I hope you enjoy the solve – let me know if you particularly enjoyed (or hated!) any of the clues. You can find me on Twitter @naytnaytnayt.

I think you’re gonna love it: Those of you who’ve already seen Nate’s clues on Twitter know that his take on cryptics is FRESH AF. ENJOY!!!!

Nate Cardin for Tough as Nails Qryptic – Across Lite

Tough as Nails Themeless #21

I’m in a fashionable mood, between yesterday’s #crypticclueaday and reading writeups of the Emmys red carpet at-home awards lewks. So this week you’re getting a puzzle whose central entry relates to fashion. This despite the fact that I’ve been living in sneakers and baseball shirts for the past week, after a couple of months of living in tank tops and flip-flops. God, I miss getting dressed up! (Clearly, so did Tracee Ellis Ross. Get it, woman!)

Hope this puzzle makes you feel a little more fabulous during end times.

Tough as Nails Themeless #21 – Across Lite

Tough as Nails Themeless #20

It’s a brave new Dropbox world! Hopefully this works with everyone able to access the .PUZ files with no issues. (I filed a complaint with Google to try to get my puzzles reinstated because they’re, you know, MY puzzles, but that is going nowhere.)

This puzzle was inspired by, as you might guess, the song at 34-Across. If it gets stuck in your head afterward, I’m not sorry.

Tough as Nails Themeless #20 – Across Lite

Tough as Nails Themeless #19

Another Wednesday, another themeless. Today is a big birthday for Mr. Tough as Nails, so if I’d been thinking ahead I would have built my husband into this grid somehow. Sorry ’bout it, hubby. (He does not, for the most part, do crosswords. This is a good thing. If we were both competitive solvers I don’t think our relationship could have survived; instead, we’ve been together just about 17 years at this point. #old)

Digression over. Solve away!

Tough as Nails Themeless #19 – Across Lite

Tough as Nails Themeless #15

After my self-indulgent 74-worder, here’s a proper 68-word themeless for y’all. Enjoy!

I also tried using the .puz to PDF site someone posted to generate an ink-saving PDF. The layout is different, but it should work for you. If you prefer the old layout, print the file from Across Lite instead.

Tough as Nails Themeless #15 – Across Lite

Tough as Nails Self-Indulgent Bonus

6/27/09 🙂 Photo by Chad Johnson.

Hey, look, it’s a bonus puzzle! Can I really call it a themeless if there’s a running thread of self-indulgence through the entire thing? Be nice, it’s both my 17-Across AND my 9-Down.

Somebody posted asking me to make the PDFs ink savers. I don’t know how to do that. I usually make the PDFs from Across Lite. If you know how to make ink-saver grids from Across Lite or Crossfire, tell me and I can start doing that. Otherwise, you get what you pay for!

Also, it has 74 words. Like I said, self-indulgent. I think you’ll like it anyway. 🙂

Tough as Nails Self-Indulgent “Themeless” – Across Lite