About Projects Blog Tags Email GitHub Twitter Press Feed

13 Jan 2014
Cryptic Crossword for 24Mag

Next weekend is the 2014 MIT Mystery Hunt, and I’ve been going through Prolog puzzles to prep in eager anticipation. And since I have puzzles on the brain, and this past weekend was the last issue of 24 Magazine, it seems like the right moment to finally post the first cryptic crossword I ever wrote! (This is from back when I was working on 24mag issue 4 in February of last year.)

This latest and final issue of 24 Magazine is stunningly beautiful, rich with color and texture, and I am a little in love with it. I’m totally allowed to say that, because I didn’t work on this issue at all! But I’m incredibly proud of and impressed by my friends who did. You can read 24 Magazine issue 6 (the last issue ever!) online here.

So, cryptic crosswords! They’re a bit different from the usual sort of crossword you might find in the paper. Each clue actually has two parts - a meaning clue, and a wordplay clue. Common forms of wordplay used in Cryptic clues include (but are not limited to): anagrams, hidden words, double definitions, containers, and homophones. Oh, and you’ll never see the meaning clue in the middle of the wordplay clue, mind - it’ll always be at the beginning or the end.

Here’s a great example from the 2012 MIT Mystery Hunt:

“Charge or no charge, rotten root must be extracted (3)”

You can deconstruct it as follows: “Charge” is the definition, and “no charge, rotten root must be extracted” is the wordplay clue. “No charge” is FREE, from which R (“rotten root” - the first letter of ‘rotten’) is “extracted”. FREE minus R gets you to the answer: FEE.

The following is the first cryptic crossword I wrote, over the course of one long sleepless day and night of magazine construction. If the clues are too hard, I promise it’s my fault. Enjoy!

(Extra thanks to Dave Turner, Mike Develin, and Martin DeMello for test-solving, brainstorming, and generally playing along with me back in February 2013 when I was writing this.)

About Projects Blog Tags Email GitHub Twitter Press Feed