Cryptic #23: "A Solver of Distinction" (Variety)

  PDF  -  Solution PDF I'm proud to present my first variety cryptic! Having once been a [see theme], it was particularly meaningful to me to use [see theme] as the inspiration for this puzzle's gimmick. I hope it brings a lot of satisfaction to work out! PDF only this month. Many thanks to bolgat from the Crosscord server for testing an early version of this and for providing helpful feedback.

Cryptic #22

  PDF  -  puz  -  online  -  solution Feeling a little proud of myself for managing to be on the ball with a new blog cryptic this month, amidst family/work/other life obligations (as well as keeping up with my American crosswords). This puzzle has a couple clues that I feel might be just on the edge of acceptable grammar, though of course where one draws the line on "acceptable" depends a lot on whom you ask. Let's just say, I like the clues and I think they give a fair and entertaining route to their solutions. Enjoy!

Cryptic #21

  PDF  -  puz  -  online  -  Solution PDF First post in a while, and it's nice to be back with a new cryptic. Hope you enjoy it!

Cryptic #20

  PDF  -  puz  -  online  -  solution Last puzzle of 2023. I started off intending to make this a midi but quickly it turned into a full-size grid. 1A's clue was fun to come up with and I hope it will click with solvers. I struggled with 14D for a while, but I like what I came up with for a surface, and in any event it's an entry that has a lot of personal meaning to me.  It's been a year with lots of creative highs and lows in cryptic construction for me. At times I've felt like I've really come a long way with my clue composition skills; other times I feel like I can't write a clue to save my life. Balancing lively fill with clueable fill also continues to be something of a guessing game, though I think my personal philosophy generally remains on the side of taking the liveliest fill I can get and the clues will figure themselves out eventually.  Enjoy the puzzle! And thanks again for checking out my work. Happy holidays to those of you celebrating, and I hope

Cryptic #19

  PDF  - puz  - online  -  solution PDF I got writer's block in the middle of cluing this one and had to step away from it for several weeks. I finally came back to it this weekend and finished the clues in two sittings. I'm actually really happy with how this turned out and hope you enjoy it!

Cryptic #18

  pdf  -  puz  -  online  -  solution pdf I began work on this puzzle around mid-June, completed the grid and about 80% of the clues by July 4th, then needed two weeks to grind out the remainder (mainly a handful of short clues whose surfaces were giving me fits). Hope you'll enjoy the end product!

Midi Cryptic #5

  PDF  -  puz  -  online  -  solution Here's a fresh midi cryptic for the month of June. Apologies for radio silence to any regular visitors wondering why there was no May puzzle: it was an unusually busy month on top of the regular schedule of work/parenting. I've also been working on multiple crossword projects, including a long-overdue rescoring of large sections of my wordlist, which means cryptic construction time is further limited. In the future, I'll try to post in advance if I'm going to miss a month. Anyway, regarding this puzzle, 7A was the seed (it seemed apt for a certain type of clue), and 15A was the toughest to come up with.  Hope you enjoy it! As always, comments welcome.