Cryptic Crossword #1

Welcome to the aggravating world of cryptic crossword puzzles. If you’ve never done one before, they’re like crossword puzzles, but devilishly difficult. (If you didn’t hate me already, you will after you try to solve this!)


These puzzles are too difficult to try to solve online. You’re much better off printing the puzzle and working it on paper. That way when you’re thoroughly frustrated, you can toss the paper in the recycling or burn it after drawing me in effigy with green and blue pencils. Click this link to get the full, printable version.

I usually have scrap paper handy to work out the answers. Burn that, too.

About Cryptic Crosswords

Cryptic crosswords originated in Britain, and came to the US largely through The Nation magazines’ Frank W. Lewis, who died in 2010. A code-breaker during WWII and founding member of the NSA, Lewis developed a unique style on which I, poorly, model my own.

Unlike traditional crosswords, cryptic crosswords seek to obscure the answer with a complex clue. Half of the clue defines the answer while the other half expresses the answer cryptically. For example, the clue “Chimneys hold a thousand oddities (6)” would yield the answer “flukes”:

  • (6) indicates the number of letters in the answer
  • Chimneys means “flues”
  • a thousand is abbreviated “k”
  • Flues “hold” k, making “flukes” or oddities.

This type of clue is called a charade. There are several other variations, and I’m particularly partial to anagrams.

At The Nation, Lewis has been succeeded by Cosima K. Coinpott, aka Joshua Kosman and Henri Picciotto. They’ve put together this fine page on how to solve cryptic crosswords. You might want to print that out, too, so you have yet more stuff to burn.

About the RI Future Puzzles

Unlike most cryptic puzzle makers, I theme all my puzzles; it’s my thing. The theme of this first puzzle should be entirely obvious. (Start with 28 across.) Subsequent puzzles may or may not have a Rhode Island theme or a political theme. As I look through my file, I see ones about thunderstorms, household appliances and China. Whatever strikes my fancy…

I’ll attempt to post puzzles on at least a fortnightly basis, including the solution to the previous puzzle with the new one.

Best of luck to all. Please call ahead if you’re planning on stabbing me.

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Author of Yesterday on the Internet: Diary of a Cultural Warrior from Light Publications. Avoid at all costs and report activities to the appropriate authorities.

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