Puzzle #15: Cryptic Themeless #2

Link to puzzle on Amuselabs is Cryptic Themeless #2, hints can be found under the Reveal menu and will tell you what portion of the clue is the straight definition. PDF can be found at the bottom of this post. Forgive me, but I’m about to be a bit chatty.

I had been doing improv for about 5 years, and found myself watching a college team performing a show. During a scene someone made a move I hadn’t seen before, despite its simplicity: a clicking of a mimed pen. The skill of the object work was so simple and effective. I turned 39 two days ago and have been doing improv for more years than I haven’t at this point. My object work for pens, should the scene call for it, is to mime pulling a pen from my non-existent breast pocket, clicking it, and looking up from my empty hand holding my notepad. In improv its hard to steal a joke, the whole “you’ll laugh a lot and it won’t sound funny when you tell your friends about it later” really is true. But you can steal a move and repurpose it for your scene, in the same way all art is influenced by the art before it.

15 Across: 151 (4)

You can almost hear the pen click in my brain. This clue from the October 16th Costume Party variety cryptic by juff and joeadultman is so simple when you figure it out, but is utterly mystifying before. And just like the improv pen, it lays a foundation to build on top of. I won’t pretend to be the foremost expert on the indie American cryptic scene(s), but seeing the growth of fellow constructors has been such a delight for me this year. I love that saroota took a joeadultman construction gimmick and built an excellent Where in the World puzzle. I love that kaybart’s first cryptic exists, not just for a theme that my partner assumed couldn’t be right at first because “who puts [spoiler] in cryptics?”, but for the little “clearings” the grid makes. “Clearings” is what I am calling the boxes of extra-checked short clues that I’ve put in my cryptic grids (and which should help with 21D, the hardest clue in the puzzle). And these are just examples from when I started writing down what I’ve solved on stream two months ago.

Each new little trick, each repurposing of an older idea, each innovation in puzzling influences what I’m trying to do in my puzzles. I hope to do more direct collaborations in the new year, but I’m happy to be making puzzles at a time of innovations. I’ve been such a big fan of so many constructors this year, and I have never felt any as competitors, but only as people I’m lucky to call peers. If you make puzzles and read this, please consider it an open invitation to post a link to your puzzles on this post. (And doubly so if I haven’t done one of your puzzles before, I love trying new things!) Cheers to us, and to new mind benders and laughs next year!

I hope you enjoy this one. Lastly, I value his opinion highly, so I was happy he was able to take the time: Many thanks to joeadultman for giving this a test solve.

Link to puzzle on Amuselabs: Cryptic Themeless #2

Easy to print PDF downloadable below, if that’s your preference.

One thought on “Puzzle #15: Cryptic Themeless #2

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