Old, cross-looking man holding a grid-wand

The Hindu Cryptic (THC) crosswords by Gussalufz

Interactive versions of my THC puzzles that were published 4+ months back. Each puzzle includes revealable/checkable solutions and annotations as well as some notes by me, so be sure to click on "Reveal all!" after solving.
Some Jazz Players?

THC #13,902 from Tuesday, June 27, 2023
Sketchy People?

THC #13,878 from Tuesday, May 30, 2023
A Tall Tale?

THC #13,866 from Tuesday, May 16, 2023
THC #13853: May 1, 2023

Inner Secrets?
THC #13828: April 1, 2023

Two grid-related transport mechanisms.
THC #13802: March 2, 2023

Pioneer P!
THC #13776: January 31, 2023

Yes, there's Madonna in it.
THC #13751: December 31, 2022

THC #13726: December 2, 2022

What a cracker!
THC #13711: November 15, 2022

Nunc est Bibendum!
THC #13695: October 27, 2022

Bond's story in 21, 23, 25?
THC #13671: September 27, 2022

Charles's story
THC #13647: August 29, 2022

3 + 3 + 1 about 7
THC #13633: August 12, 2022

9 + 21 = 25 + ?
THC #13619: July 27, 2022

Don't tell anyone!
THC #13591: June 24, 2022

Prime time!
THC #13563: May 23, 2022

Four of clubs?
THC #13543: April 29, 2022

Multilayered puzzle
THC-Sunday #77: April 10, 2022

Do 26-downers curse in Hindi??
THC #13502: March 12, 2022

Then male qualification should also be important!
THC #13495: March 4, 2022

A bit Qaotic?
THC #13449: January 8, 2022

THC #13425: December 11, 2021

Yes, this is what 52 looks like.
THC #13401: November 13, 2021

Seeing red?
THC #13380: October 19, 2021

Brainy, essentially?
THC #13361: September 25, 2021

Self-referential, moi?
THC #13335: August 25, 2021

For a rocket scientist?
THC #13310: July 27, 2021

Ninas and theme? Boy!
THC #13287: June 30, 2021

Aap ki yaad...
THC #13266: June 5, 2021

Some cross words in this one...
THC #13242: May 8, 2021

"Visitor" in many clues...
THC #13221: April 14, 2021

A hidden drawer!
THC #13199: March 19, 2021

Is there a running theme?
THC #13172: February 16, 2021

THC #13147: January 18, 2021

भौतिक विज्ञान
THC #13120: December 16, 2020

Good for the constitution.
THC #13094: November 16, 2020

Guru aani guruche ...
THC #13072: October 21, 2020

THC #13044: September 18, 2020

Dr. Who?
THC #13013: August 13, 2020

#13013 on August 13: lots of 13s in there, Ghalib!
THC #12983: July 9, 2020

THC #12950: June 1, 2020

What connects Bela and Diana?
A Zoologist and DNA

THC #12,917 from Thursday, April 23, 2020

THC #12,884 from Monday, March 16, 2020
Thoda Khao...

THC #12,852 from Friday, February 7, 2020
A Powerful Relationship

THC #12,820 from Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Recent THC crosswords by Gussalufz

The links below go to THC web site.

THC #14,031 from Tuesday, November 28, 2023
A Puzzle With Layers

THC #14,006 from Saturday, October 28, 2023
L for Lufz

THC #13,981 from Thursday, September 28, 2023
THC #13954: August 26, 2023

25 25
THC #13930: July 29, 2023

Woke abruptly
THC #13929: July 28, 2023

Covertly convert (13)

Other cryptic crosswords by Gussalufz (and doppelgängers, and friends!)

Several puzzles have special effects and/or trickery. Nearly all puzzles are intereactively solvable (please click on "Reveal all!" after solving, to see my notes).

July 2023

The preamble reads: Solutions to four Down clues have a common element that's called out by the title. These solutions are also the definitions for four other special Down clues that do not include definitions. Solutions to these special Down clues have to be entered in the grid in a cryptic manner. Enumerations shown in these special clues are for the grid entries, not for the solutions. When finished, the phrase formed by the circled letters will also confirm what you did.

My third crossword in 1 Across, UK.
Browser 131

July 2023
The Browser Cryptic #131


This is my second crossword appearing in The Browser. It has a theme and an unusually hidden nina that solvers were asked to find (with a prize going to one lucky solver).
Object 001

July 2023
Object Cryptic Crossword 001

Kutch ni Koyal!

This is my first crossword in Object magazine, a sleek coffee-table-worthy magazine from Bombay that goes deep into Indian socio-political-cultural issues *and* fashion. I have tried to make my crossword reflect the authentic desi vibe of the mag.
By Hitchhiker & Gussalufz

April 2023
Random Number Doubled

My first collaboration with the hoopiest of all froods, Martin DeMello!

We ran this one as an online contest in April 2023.
Browser 112

February 2023
The Browser Cryptic #112

Browser aficionados may spot a theme!

This is my first (non-mini) cryptic in The Browser Crossword. The Browser is a subscription-based newsletter from UK. Every Sunday, it carries a US-style cryptic crossword brilliantly edited by Dan Feyer. This puzzle has some pukka American features, such as American spellings, no Commonwealthy abbreviations, no setter-pseudonym, and a couple of crass surfaces :-). With kind permission from the editor, I've made this puzzle freely available here. I'll be doing the same with all my Browser crosswrods, roughly six months after they are first published.

December 2022
IXL 2022 Finals: On-stage Grid-2

Also themeless and ninaless.

I was the anonymous setter for this very last Indian Crossword League (IXL) 2022 crossword that was solved on-stage by the finalists. This is a recording of the live stream from the event.

November 2022
IXL 2022 Round 8

Themeless and ninaless.

I was the anonymous setter for this Indian Crossword League (IXL) 2022 online round crossword.

October 2022
IXL 2022 Practice Round


I was the anonymous setter for this Indian Crossword League (IXL) 2022 practice round crossword.

November 2022
Browser Sevens #10

This is a mini cryptic (5x7) that's meant to be an easy puzzle (but hopefully is fun, nonetheless!).

This crossword was published on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 (the day of mid-term elections in the US).

July 2022
Missing Links

The preamble reads: Each across clue omits one or more letters from its wordplay. Figure out a few ways to connect and recover the missing links.

My second crossword in 1 Across, a monthly subscription crossword magazine started by the legendary Araucaria in 1984. This crossowrd has been made available here freely with kind permission from 1 Across.

December 2021
IXL 2021 Finals: Preliminary Round 2

Minus or plus?

I was the anonymous setter for this Indian Crossword League (IXL) 2021 crossword, used in the finals.

November 2021
IXL 2021 Online Round 9

One does a lot of talking...

I was the anonymous setter for this Indian Crossword League (IXL) 2021 crossword, used in an online round.

December 2021
Blame Ancients?

This crossword is a part of IIT-Madras Alumni Association's 2021 annual gathering event, Sangam. The crossword's theme is borrowed from the event's theme, which is, "Restoring Balance in STEM." It was run as an open contest in early 2022.

August 2021
Trump is Trump

Is W the only titular connection?

My first crossword in 1 Across, a monthly subscription crossword magazine started by the legendary Araucaria in 1984. This crossowrd has been made available here freely with kind permission from 1 Across.

November 2020
IXL 2020 City Round

Encouraging words...

I was the anonymous setter for this IXL 2020 crossword.

October 2020
Unlock and find a bug

Elementary, etc.

I ran this as another fun competition across a few online groups. Solvers' comments can be seen after clicking on "Reveal All" in the solved version.
By Ribelle & Gussalufz

September 2020
Chain Letters

A puzzle jointly created with Faten Ismail, a brilliant and natural setter.

We ran this as a fun competition across a few online groups. Solvers' comments can be seen after clicking on "Reveal All" in the solved version.

July 2020
Last Solo

Is shahar mein...

In the Los Altos Town Crier

May 2020


In the 1ACross blog

February 2020
Bar Bar Dekko

Reading between lines?

In the 1ACross blog

December 2019
Al's Trick

Who is Al and what's his trick?

In the 1ACross blog

July 2019
Puzzling Times


In the book Cryptic Crossroads Volume 2

July 2019
Untitled Crossword

Ninas foreshadow Exolve!


June 2019
Putting Two And Two Together

Partly diagramless; metas probably my best.

In the 1ACross blog

May 2019
Cursory Appearances

Why is "squinting" part of the instructions?

In the 1ACross blog

January 2019
Fifteen Puzzles

What is a fifteen puzzle?

In the 1ACross blog

December 2018
Missing Instructions

Find the instructions!

In the 1ACross blog

August 2018
King's Rule

Hhgttg-themed clues, but is that it?

In the 1ACross blog

April 2018
Do Squares Reveal?

Does the title reveal?

In Preston Pages

April 2018
French Toast

Appropriately numbered puzzle.

In the 1ACross blog

January 2018
Hidden Figure

Rocket scientist needed.

In the 1ACross blog

December 2017
Smashing Plates

Moving puzzle.

In the 1ACross blog

September 2017
22⅘ Across

Fractionally crazy.

In the 1ACross blog

July 2017
Many Rustams

Lots hidden!

In the book, Cryptic Crossroads

June 2016

My first grid after at least 10 years.

In the 1ACross Facebook group

Scrypbles: short essays on cryptics

April 2023 Cryptic Grammar
April 2022 Composite Anagrams

Links to crossword resources

Exolve Free open source software (MIT License) for setting up interactively solvable crosswords. All my puzzles above are powered by it. I have developed this software and I actively maintain it. The link takes you to the Exolve GitHub project that includes a detailed README file with instructions.
Exolve Player: https://exolve.app This is a powerful web app that uses Exolve to provide you with interactively solvable crosswords from .puz and ipuz files. Of course, you can also open Exolve-formatted files with it. Any crossword opened with Exolve Player will also have the Webifi interface available (see below).

Moreover, it also lets you create an interactive version for any standard blocked crossword, starting from just the text of the clues (copied from a PDF or any web site), by automatically inferring the grid using clue numbers and enumerations.
Exet: https://exet.app Free open source software (MIT License) for constructing crosswords. You can save the crosswords as Exolve files as well as .puz files. I have developed this software and I actively maintain it. You can directly start using the web app link given to the left, or you can access the Exet GitHub project for the source code and documentation.
Versions of Exet for creating Hindi iand Portuguese (Brazilian) crosswords! Early days for these, lots of rough edges, but they will only get better.
Webifi Free open source software (MIT License) that complements Exolve by adding an "interactive-fictionesque" solving interface to crosswords. You can navigate through clues, enter solutions, get assistance, etc., all in a manner similar to playing a text adventure game. You can use audio output and (if available on your platform) voice input, to create a screen-free crossword-solving experience. Webifi is enabled on most of my crosswords here, and in any crossword opened with Exolve Player. See documentation and details at the Webifi GitHub project.
Intro to Cryptic Crosswords When someone asks me to recommend a good introduction for cryptic crosswords, Sarah Lolley's excellent site is what I usually start with.
Crossword Unclued @ShuchiU's blog with excellent articles on various aspects of cryptic crosswords, including nice compilations of lists of indicator words.
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Blog articles on Daily and Sunday Telegraph cryptic crosswords. Many other interesting sections (such as an annotated list of mythological characters).
Fifteensquared Daily analysis of most British newspaper cryptic crosswords. If I come up with an indicator that I'm not sure of, I search in this site to see if someone else has pulled off the same trick previously, without inviting ridicule.


Old, cross-looking man holding a grid-wand
I'm Viresh Ratnakar, a cryptic crossword enthusiast and a setter for the Hindu Cryptic (and elsewhere). Other interests: Books. Running. Cooking. Eating. Writing. Coding. Movies. TV. Cricket on TV. Red wine. Beer. Scotch. Dogs. I get along best with dogs.

Here's a feature on me that appeared in Los Altos Town Crier, accompanying an entry-level, locally-themed crossword that I constructed for them.
Contact @vireshratnakar on Twitter, @viresh@mastodon.social on Mastodon, viresh at gmail d0t com.