EDIT (8:11 AM Pacific): A few missing clues have been added, and an enumeration fixed.
We’ve got a very special puzzle for you today, a hybrid coded and cryptic. Here are the instructions for such a thing:
Each answer in a coded crossword is a common, lowercase English word. The numbers 1 through 26 each stand for a different letter of the alphabet, and instances of a given number stand for the same letter throughout the entire grid. To help solve this one, cryptic clues are presented in alphabetical order. It is up to you to determine where in the grid the answers to those clues should go.
This is such an unusual puzzle that the Crossword Nexus solver can’t handle it! Luckily, our second-favorite solving website, squares.io, handles it just fine. We strongly recommend making use of squares’s notepad feature to solve the clues in the clue pane before entering them in the grid. Hover over a clue, click the pencil, and enter what you think the solution is. Once you’ve got enough of them you should be able to use logic to enter them into the grid. If you want to go old-fashioned we’re also offering a PDF this week.
If you want an extra challenge, try to solve this as just a regular coded or a regular cryptic. The ideal solving experience for this one is going back and forth between both bits, but it’s your puzzle now; solve it any way you want.
I could not have done this on my own, so here’s a quick shout-out to my collaborators, who were a joy to work with, and really helped make this idea shine. Check out Frisco’s puzzles on Crosshare and Liari’s puzzles at her site. You can also check out Liari streaming on Twitch for more cryptic goodness.
Enjoy the solve!