Brightly-colored letters spell out Tijuana in red, orange, purple, green, blue, yellow and red

Cryptic #1

What’s this? A cryptic!? That’s right—it’s my very first cryptic crossword!

I started this grid back in April and finally finished cluing it last week. Slow and steady was the name of the game, but I’m really happy with how it turned out. Just don’t expect another one anytime soon.

Special thanks to joeadultman for his test solve and invaluable advice. Joe makes many wonderful puzzles, including cryptics for The Browser and AVCX and a beautiful tribute to his mom. If you’re reading this you’ve probably already solved them, but if you haven’t, maybe skip mine and do one of Joe’s instead.

Thanks also to the rest of the amazing crossword community on Twitch, especially Dob and Momes of CrossweirdTV, whom I watched do cryptics for ages before daring to attempt one myself. I never would have solved a cryptic much less made one if not for their streams.

Sorry in advance for any newbie mistakes; Joe probably already warned me about them, so 8-Across. I hope you enjoy—please let me know what you think if you solve it!

Vaguely spoiler-y notes below the puzzle.

.puz / fullscreen


  • I started with 1-Across when (highlight for spoiler) I noticed that the first two letters of PIKACHU are a synonym of detective. Funnily, it was one of the last clues I finished.
  • My favorite clues are 1-Down (if you don’t get it, watch this), 8-Across and 11-Down, and my favorite def is 6-Down.
  • At times I nearly despaired of being able to write a cryptic clue for 2-Down, but I’m really happy with the end result.