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    Hello Everyone,
    I just joined and thought I would give setting a go.
    The puzzle I have set has no theme and isn’t very large.

    Please let me know how I have done, but please be gentle.
    The answers have been included on the second page.



    Thanks, Mdean. I will try your puzzle soon. For furture reference, it’s probably better to upload the puzzle and solution in separate docs, so there’s no accidental spoiling.



    Hi Mdean,

    Thanks for posting your puzzle. I don’t often attempt this style of grid, as I find the limited number of crossings can make it rather frustrating if you can’t get a definite answer from the wordplay or definition.

    Having started quite well, I came unstuck with 5. As I mentioned in the introduction to my own first post, I had several seemingly-brilliant two-part anagrams of this sort scattered through the puzzles I had set, only to realise that they are basically a no-no. I eventually solved the clue, as in this case there weren’t many options, but the word I settled on didn’t fit the grid, as I already had 7 written in. Unfortunately, you have the wrong spelling for 7. At least with this style of grid it could be resolved by simply moving 7 and 1 a space to the right.

    I got most of the rest, although not all were straightforward, and 2,3,8 and 15 I did not get at all or made a lucky guess. I think most of the clues worked, but perhaps need to be made a bit snappier?

    Keep at it, and just put the misspelling down to experience. I am not always the world’s best speller at times, but I do try to make sure I check things thoroughly. Well, I do now – when I was in my early twenties, I was responsible for tens of thousands of bus timetables being printed in Manchester with “Phoenix” spelled wrongly.


    Phil / Vanellus.



    Mdean, I downloaded your puzzle and printed page 1 to avoid seeing the solution.

    The first thing to say is that we don’t use this type of grid for Cryptic puzzles, because there are not enough cross-checking letters, which are an important aid to solving. Part of the skill of setting is creating a grid full of words, the difficulty of which this style mostly avoids. You can, of course, use software such as Crossword Compiler or another package (including some which are free), where you can not only select a suitable grid from a library, but, if you wish, populate it automatically. I would suggest you read Alberich’s discussion of grid creation at http://www.alberichcrosswords.com/pages/gridconstruction.html and the other pages he links to at the end.

    Having decided that you probably had little experience of cryptics, I didn’t attempt to solve it, thinking your cluing might also not be too good. I did read the clues, though, and solved a couple (6a and 3d). I then looked at the answer page and found it difficult to understand how most of the clues worked, and where I could see what you were trying to do, found fault with them, the details of which I won’t go into.

    Basically, I think you need to spend some time learning about setting before attempting another. One thing you could do is study Big Dave’s Guide to Cryptic Crosswords at http://crypticcrosswords.net/crosswords/crossword-guide/2/#introduction and also look at the Rookie puzzles on his site at http://bigdave44.com/category/crosswords/rookie-corner/ . These are all set by relative newcomers and are given a full review by (semi-?)pro setter, Prolixic, and have feedback from solvers. That will give you a better idea of how cryptic clues are supposed to work and what kinds of things people approve and disapprove of in cluing.

    I look forward to seeing you back when you have spent a little time studying to master the art.

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