PQRS AlphaMinis

January 20, 2024

When I began this effort, I had no idea if or how I would finish it. I understood that the difficult part was not creating a grid with each of the letters of the alphabet in the top left corner but rather the requirement that each puzzle’s clues had to start with the same letter without reusing that letter in another puzzle. I tried to knock out as many of the more difficult letters as I could but avoided the truly problematic ones for as long as possible thinking maybe I would eventually just reuse certain letters or finesse a solution another way.

No longer. I finally grappled with the idea that I can do this: one clue set for each letter, no matter how difficult. I may have to bend the “No Clue Torture” rule a little bit — or maybe a lot, you get to judge. This group of AlphaMinis includes four new ones: P, Q, R and S. The R puzzle has clues that begin with the letter Q and the S puzzle has clues that begin with the letter X. With these, I have knocked down what should be the two most difficult letters to use as clue starters.

I will admit to changing my process a bit for these puzzles, working backwards from clues to grid. That is to say, I found a bunch of words that were easier to clue with phrases that began with X’s or Q’s and then built grids around them. Still, in both cases that only got me about 30% of the way there and then I had to get creative with the rest. By their nature, I am guessing you will find the R and S puzzles to be among the hardest of these AlphaMinis. Still, I hope you find them quite xcellent.


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