"We couldn't have imagined a more perfect wedding present - thank you so much!" - Alice and Matthew Harper
Unusual, quirky and completely bespoke, a custom cryptic crossword is the ideal present for the wordsmith in your life. If you'd like one of the country's top crossword compilers to create your puzzle, we've got Boatman, Enigmatist and Arachne on hand; alternatively, we've got a bank of up-and-coming setters, who you may not have heard of, but all of whom can craft elegant and witty puzzles.
Because we're working on a puzzle for a specific person, we can put in all sorts of references personal to them, both as answers within the grid and elements within the clues. These could include:
A custom puzzle will usually have about thirty clues in it, of which at least half will refer to some element of the theme, either in the clue or in the solution. The remaining half of the clues will be 'normal' cryptic clues - necessary because it's pretty much impossible to compile a symmetrical grid from just themed words.
We usually set 15x15 symmetrical grids, just like in the newspapers, but sometimes branch out to jigsaw-style puzzles (where the grid isn't numbered and, in the immortal words of Araucaria, the solutions should be 'fitted into the grid jigsaw-wise, wherever they will go') or novelties (a recent Boatman commission took the form of a game of Scrabble, for example).
You’ll receive your puzzle as a .PDF file, with solutions and explanations of the wordplay on a separate page. We can optionally arrange for a framed presentation copy to be created and sent to you.
Our bank of compilers can usually create a custom puzzle for you within a month, but the more time we have, the better. Please note that Boatman, Enigmatist and Arachne are very busy, and generally need more notice - two to three months is normally enough, but they can only field a certain number of enquiries per month, so they may not always be available.
For each puzzle commissioned via this site, and in memory of John Graham (Araucaria), £10 (£20 from puzzles set by Boatman, Enigmatist or Arachne) will be donated to Brookfield Care Home in Somersham, whose staff cared for John at the end of his life.