Cryptic crossword puzzles
(About cryptic puzzles)
|The Nation||Weekly||Standard||Yes||Frank Lewis|
|Frank Lewis, a cryptographer working in England in World War 2, has been creating the cryptic puzzle for The Nation since about 1947. All recent puzzles are archived, and the oldest are being added steadily. Current puzzles are subscriber-only.|
|The Herald||Daily||Standard||3 mo.||Easily|
|*Not all are cryptics. Click "Subscribe now" for more puzzles, they no longer charge.|
|Private Eye||Fortnightly||Standard||Cyclops||Must edit screenshot|
|Very smarmy, very British clues, often requires in-depth knowledge of Private Eye's internal slang and British politics, etc.|
|Puzzlecrypt||Monthly||Unique||Yes||John de Cuevas||Easily|
|No word ending bars, answers wrap around, often missing letters spell mystery words. Occasional guest puzzles.|
|Harvard Magazine||Bimonthly||Outrageous||Yes||John de Cuevas||Nice pdf|
|Kevin Wald||Sporadic||Outrageous||Yes||Nice pdf|
|Puzzles he wrote for various conventions, and miscellaneous puzzles. Kevin proofreads and pre-solves John de Cuevas' Puzzlecrypt and Harvard Magazine puzzles|
|The Crossword Centre||Monthly||Yes||Various||Yes|
|The Atlantic||Defunct, was 10/year||Varies||Yes*||Henry and Emily||Varies|
|Puzzles often use very non-standard grids, and due to manipulations of answers often amount to three puzzles in one.
Some print very well, others require some care.
*Scroll to the bottom for a link to the rest of the archives that only works from that page.
As of the August 2009 puzzle, this memo has been posted:
"Note: This is the final installment of The Puzzler. For the last 12 years, Henry Rathvon and Emily Cox have produced this engaging feature, first for the magazine and, more recently, for TheAtlantic.com. We thank Henry and Emily for their passion, creativity, and ingenious wit, and encourage readers to purchase their Puzzler collection, Atlantic Cryptic Crosswords."
About cryptic puzzles
As some of you know, I have developed the habit of solving so-called "cryptic" crossword puzzles. While they superficially resemble "normal" crossword puzzles, their clues are little word puzzles in and of themselves. While, typically, the "literal" meaning of the answer will be contained somewhere in the clue, the rest will usually be a confusing set of "instructions" for building the answer.
There are good descriptions of the means cryptic puzzle writers use to conceal the answer in their clues elsewhere, so I won't bother to go into it here.
My first taste of these puzzles was a copy of The Nation I happened across at the World Famous Elvis Room. I brought it home and read it, and inside the back page was what looked a lot like a crossword puzzle - except I couldn't make hide or hair of the clues. Years later, I subscribed, and by then Frank Lewis, their long-time puzzle setter, had added a set of hints on clue solving to the website. For many years, my weekly dose was eagerly anticipated, and apparently enough.
Then I made the mistake of searching for "cryptic puzzle" on the internet. I found this site, which led down a garden path of much delight. I found not only other sources of standard, conventional cryptics, but setters who delighted in adding layers upon layers of manipulation between the clues and the letters that are entered in the grid. I found some less-conventional and also utterly bizarre grids. Since the index I found is not very up-to-date, I decided to build my own here, partly to simplify all my bookmarks to various sources, and partly to snare the next fool who searches for them.