New puzzle format today! I've been getting into cryptic crosswords lately, largely due to solving (and loving!) the cryptics from Neville Fogarty, David Gold, Steve Mossberg, Andrew Ries et al, as well as the #crypticclueaday tweets from Stella Zawistowski. So, here's a variety cryptic for you, complete with weird gimmick and at least one Riverdale-themed clue.
If you're new to cryptics, there are a few guides available online: Andrew Ries has a great guide to solving cryptics, and Stella Zawistowski has written an illuminating series of posts, one dedicated to a different facet of cryptic clues. In case you get stuck/don't understand how a clue works, I've attached a solution grid with full annotations.
Many thanks to David Gold for test solving—I'm a huge fan of his blog, especially his latest puzzle, which has a banger theme + some really impressive wordplay. Check it out!
Hope you enjoy the puzzle! I have a few other cryptics I might release as sporadic bonuses on the site, so let me know what you think about the whole "cryptic" "crossword" deal!
P.S. Shoutout to Wyna Liu, the new associate puzzles editor for the New York Times! I've been lucky enough to work with her editorially at the AVCX, and she's as incredible an editor as she is a constructor/person. Looking forward to seeing what she does! (Edited to add: And Tracy Bennett!! Embarrassment of riches for the NYT)