Here’s my December puzzle.
Cryptish Crossword December 2018 by @TheVoidTLMB

I haven’t yet found a way to use Mac software to embed a solvable grid (that also works on iPads) in my blog. Let me know if you know how I can do that, please. (I’m using CrossFire.)

I’ve been wondering… should I explain my clues? After all, if I do a crossword in a newspaper, you don’t have the setter available for consultation afterwards. Just the solution posted a week later, from which you have to work out why the answers fit the clues. And if I do explain, will that mean people get to know my setting style quicker? …Rather than puzzling it out slowly as they go along. (Much as I’m doing myself!) Then again, there are blogs out there which explain some puzzle solutions. I’m not sure. I’m leaning towards silence.

Feel free to share the link or RT/Like/comment on Twitter, if you enjoy it.

The solution to my November Cryptish crossword can be viewed here.

I was reasonably happy with this one at first, but after I’d published it, I realised that I’d used one type of clue 6 times, which was probably too many. Also, 21D, 36D and 42D could all have been made a little better, I think. 41D and 44D were both fairly easy, but they raised a smile, I’m told. I originally had the clue for 1D as half as long, but decided that if you didn’t get the reference (which was already slightly veiled), there was no way of working it out (aside from guessing with the checked letters), so I added the second half.
25D was probably my favourite.

Unfortunately it only got to 4 retweets, so I withdrew the prize offer. But on the plus side, I did get some interest on twitter. Thanks retweeters, and it was also good to hear from Helen, Anna & Richard that they were having a go. (I think you finished it, Richard?) I did receive a completed grid from Mikey (who’s not on Twitter) by email, but he had solved 7A as “Lan”. Actually, it’s a good solve of the clue (and one I hadn’t thought of), as it’s inside “garland”, and can be argued to be a circle. Unfortunately, that makes another clue end up incorrect. Mikey did work it out though.

I’m working on my next one. The grid’s completed, but only a couple of clues are written so far. I might release it this week.

Well, I might not be getting much feedback, but at least I’m still enjoying setting crosswords. I also started following a few more setters and crossword bloggers on twitter. Hmmm, there’s a hell of a lot of crossword talk out there. I’m not sure how interested I am in reading it though. I suppose I’ll get sucked in, and I’d better be ready to admit that I’ve still got a lot to learn.

Meanwhile, here’s another one with a £5 bounty for charity. As I type, the prize is currently still available, so go get it, follow and retweet. Then solve it!

Solution one week after the 5th RT happens.

Right, that’s this blog up to date. Give me a shout on twitter if any of this is of any interest.

With an unclaimed prize for the last one, I thought I’d offer it again. C’mon people, its for charideee!
Back to a 15×15 grid this time. Felt like this one was alright. Not too hard,… let’s see if it gets the RTs.

It did, just.
Cryptish Crossword October 2018 by @TheVoidTLMB
Right-click, Save>Print.

Again, no-one sent me a solve within the week. Hey ho. I obviously don’t have enough cruciverbalist followers… yet.

Solution is in an image in this tweet.

I’d had a brief chat on Twitter with Everyman, who kindly gave me some feedback on my July puzzle. He said he particularly liked some of the clues, didn’t quite get a couple of references (but got the clues anyway). Also gave me a few words of wisdom, so thanks Colin!
Buoyed, I offered a prize again (a whole fiver!) for August’s puzzle, if it got to 5 retweets. It did after a couple of days, but no-one solved it within the week. The grid was symmetric, but denser and larger (17×17). Maybe that made it harder, but also I think that a few of the clues needed a bit more work, to be more pleasing, but, hey, no-one’s paying me to do this. 🙂
Cryptic Crossword August 2018 by @TheVoidTLMB
Right-click to save, then print.

Answers are in an image in this tweet.

I had some feedback on my June puzzle from a twitterer who I’d been talking to about possibly submitting a crossword for a magazine he was starting.
– Don’t have references that are too obscure
– Avoid 2s
– Symmetrical grids are preferred.
– Indirect anagrams are a bit frowned on.
He also told me he liked quite a few of the clues, and my style (which was different from his). That was nice, and encouraging. So with that in mind, I knocked up my July puzzle. No prize offered this time. This one felt more like a “proper” cryptic to me, with a tidier grid, and clues that conformed to The Rules better.
Cryptish Crossword July 2018 by @TheVoidTLMB
Save image>Print, etc.

Answers are in an image in this tweet.

I was on a roll, so only a week after the last one, I made a crossword with a county cricket theme. Niche? Sure, but why not.
The grid’s a bit skew-whiff, but I was having fun fitting in as many references as I could. If you’re bowled over by it, do let me know.

This one’s a pdf. Download, etc.
Cricket Crossword

Answers are in a pic in this tweet.

A cricket blogger told me “if you do another one, I’d love to host it”. Hmmm, well, maybe if I’d had any comments, I might be inclined. Ah well, such is the way of twitter. 🙂

“Whaddya mean, ‘Cryptish’?”
Well, since I’d been breaking some rules, I thought maybe I can’t call my crosswords “cryptic”, so I’ll have a new name. This’ll do.
However, I did decide to try to stick to The Rules (as I was learning them). “Avoid 2s” was another one.

Here’s my next attempt. Smaller, 15×15 (which is a common size, apparently).
I decided to try out offering a small prize for the first correct solution via Twitter.
Cryptish Crossword June 2018 by @TheVoidTLMB
Right-click>Save image>Print [fit to page]

The answers are here, as supplied by the winner, @soozbury.

You can send me feedback, if you like via my twitter account.

This was my first attempt at setting a cryptic crossword. For any non-jugglers reading, it’s only fair to point out that 1A and 65A rely on specific knowledge. Everything else is okay though.

Except… oh gosh, what a mess, I made some mistakes in the clues. (Look, I was rushing a bit to finish it off before the convention started, ok? Hmmm… no, it’s not okay – Be more thorough! Alright.)
72A Typo. Should be “Darshna”.
83A “Platonic” is simply incorrect. A misapprehension I was under. Oops.
41D Should read “atom” not “molecule”.

Also, my friend Hairy is much more experienced than me at cryptics, and he told me “Oh my god, you can’t have the definition in the middle of a clue!”. Alright, I learned something! But he did tell me he particularly liked some of my clues. 21A was his favourite.

Right then, here’s the puzzle, as a jpg.
Bungay Balls Up 2018 Crossword by @TheVoidTLMB

Right-click>Save image>Print [fit to page]

The answers are in an image in this tweet.


Okay, maybe this blog would be a good place to host my crosswords.

I’ve done crosswords for years, but only idly, and I’m really only recently getting to grips with cryptics. I enjoy a binge-solve with a few friends a few times a year when we meet up, but don’t go overboard on solving that many myself. (I don’t buy newspapers, which doesn’t help when the only sane way to solve crosswords is with pen & paper.) For the last couple of months, I’ve been printing off and solving the Everyman from the Guardian.

But earlier this year, I decided to set a cryptic crossword for a juggling convention I go to. I enjoyed doing it, and also enjoyed watching my friends’ struggles/frustrations/delight at solving it. Also, whilst there, I met an Italian crossword setter (Hi Armando!) who showed me that there was such a thing as crossword software, to help create a puzzle. I’d made my one purely by hand, so, coo, that was a revelation. Hmmmm… maybe setting crosswords is something I could get into….