As Hot and Trazom hinted a few weeks ago, we have a variety cryptic this week in The Nation. Variety cryptics usually but do not always have a bar-style grid instead of a block grid. The thing that defines a variety cryptic is some kind of systematic breaking of the basic rules. It could be an alteration to some of the clues, an alteration to some answers before they go into the grid, a set of unclued answers or answers which are not numbered so you have to sort out where they go. It can get much more complicated from there, working up to the well-loved forms seen regularly in The Listener and in Harper’s and the intricate and unique twists Kevin Wald creates. This puzzle is an invitation to explore that universe.
Link to puzzle: http://www.thenation.com/article/180658/puzzle-no-3331
Degree of difficulty (by standards of this weekly puzzle): Easy. I think that was intentional, as a means of not scaring solvers off from trying a variety puzzle. Still, there were some good spots of misdirection to trap solvers who want things to be too proper.
Hozom’s comment: “Writing a letter,” in which Hot and Trazom explain how constructors get and use single letters in their clues. There’s a lot of opportunity for misdirection here if constructors are alert and creative.
Cluing challenge: “HORSESHOE”
We got a nice comment a coupla weeks ago correcting an earlier post about the MIT Mystery Hunt.
Erin Rhode wrote:
>>Sometimes I Google myself to see what comes up... regarding the Mystery