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Puzzle #84: Clubs, but not Hearts (cryptic)

 Hi friends!  It's been a while since I've had a cryptic puzzle on the blog. If anything, that's been due to how MUCH cryptic setting I've been doing lately. You can see some of that work in the Browser , AVCX , Lemonade Disco , and editorially at the Rackenfracker . If you solve any of it, I'd love to hear about it! Thanks to Norah and Steve for their help in making this puzzle the best it could be. I've left a note after the solve in rot13 for those who are interested in learning more about the puzzle.   .puz   PDF Solution   Mmm, banana cheesecake bars with homemade malted milk balls SPOILERS (rot13): Avar ragevrf va gur tevq ner anzrf be avpxanzrf bs Cerzvre Yrnthr sbbgonyy grnzf: PVGL (Znapurfgre Pvgl), NEFRANY, JBYIRF (Jbyireunzcgba), FCHEF (Gbggraunz Ubgfche), ZNA H (Znapurfgre Havgrq), ORRF (Oeragsbeq), PURYFRN, OYNQRF (Furssvryq Havgrq), naq CNYNPR (Pelfgny Cnynpr). Gur grnzf V hfrq jvyy nyy or va gur Cerzvrefuvc va gur 2023-2024 frnfba. N terng jnl

Puzzle #83: Naturally, It's Important

 Hi friends!  Back with a themeless that I think you'll find pleasantly challenging! Thanks to Norah for help in testing this one.  I had this week's AVCX Classic, which is titled "Doing Labor " and was edited by Ben Tausig -- give it a go!   .puz PDF   Solution    Mmm, puff pastry with orange mascarpone whipped cream, lemon curd, and berries  

Puzzle #82: Chow Fun

 Hey gang, It's been a little while since my last puzzle here! But I've been busy elsewhere: you can find collaborations with Norah Sharpe in Lemonade Disc o (a cryptic), AVCX Trivia , and These Puzzl3s Fund Abortion . I also had the most recent AVCX Cryptic ! It was a joy to work with Nate Cardin, and I'm very happy with how it turned it out! I've now had a puzzle at all of the various AVCX branches (Classic, AVCX+ (themeless), Lil AVC X (midi), Cryptic, and Trivia)! I'm very grateful to all the incredible puzzlemakers over there who I've gotten a chance to work with along the way. Alright, enough of that. Here's what you came for: a friendly themed puzzle.      .puz   PDF   Solution     Mmm, carrot cake

Puzzle #81: Get Low

 Hi friends! Back with a themeless this week! I hope you'll find it, well, relatable.  Many thanks to Norah for helping to test this one - you'll see several of our collaborations appearing this month. I also had a cryptic puzzle in The Browser earlier this month. Dan Feyer was kind enough to lower the paywall on that, so feel free to give it a try if you haven't done it yet. Having a published cryptic has been a big goal of mine for a while, and I'm really proud of the result. .puz PDF Solution   Mmm, blondies

Puzzle #80: (T)Ricky Themeless

 Hi friends, Back with a challenge this week! If you'll remember from the last Half-Baked, the crossword Discord server had a "Secret Santa" style exchange of crossword grids. This is the one I made for Ricky Billingsgate, a great constructor you can find at Lexicon Devil for all types of awesome puzzles, with a special emphasis on meta puzzles. Rather than attempt to make a meta for a master of metas, I instead took Ricky's request that he was looking for a tough puzzle akin to the Saturday Stumper or a Stormy-level Boswords grid. This is that puzzle, a themeless that I think is easily the hardest puzzle to date on this blog--but one that I think you'll really enjoy.  Thanks to Norah for help in testing this one.   .puz Solution PDF Mmm, rice pudding cake with mango caramel

Puzzle #79: A PUZZLE FOR @TlMBERWOLVES by Paolo Pasco

 Hi friends, Super excited to bring you a guest puzzle this week from constructor extraordinaire Paolo Pasco . You can find his work in the New York Times, AVCX, cryptics at the New Yorker and the Browser, and generally you'll find him anywhere quality grids are found. This puzzle was made for me (!) as part of a "Secret Snowflake" (aka Secret Santa) exchange on the crossword Discord where a bunch of us made grids personalized for our giftees, and then gave them anonymously. Now that we've all been unmasked, Paolo graciously gave permission for me to run this puzzle here. It was truly one of my favorite puzzles of 2022, and I think you'll love it too. Paolo says: "HONORED TO BE ON THE BLOG, TO CELEBRATE ONE OF THE GREATS NO LESS—HOPE YOU ENJOY!"   .puz PDF   Solution   Mmm, apricot hamentaschen

Puzzle #78: America’s Finest Crossword Puzzle (with Alex Boisvert!)

 Hey friends, Got a cool collab for you today. This one is the brainchild of the talented Alex Boisvert , and I'm so grateful to him for bringing me along on this one. We think you'll really enjoy it. Special thanks to Kate and Norah for their help on this one.  Solve online iPuz download Mmm, pecan pie