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  • Writer's pictureJacob Cohen

#115: Mini Crosswords Meta: Ebbed Cafe

Hello, and welcome to an edition of Puzzles for Progress unlike all previous editions! While I want to manage expectations, and not every puzzle is for everyone, I must say this is one of my all-time favorite issues of Puzzles for Progress so far. Even if you don't usually solve PfP, I recommend this one.

Before the main attraction, we've got Puzzles fordle Progress, my custom wordle (which may be the last — or not — of the seven-letter offerings): solve

The Main Attraction

I've been wanting to make a set of mini crosswords for months, but I didn't have a good thread to tie them together. That ends today! I've made six mini 5x5 crosswords, New York Times-style, labelled A, B, C, D, E, and F, hopefully starting easy and gently ramping up in difficulty. Those puzzles are designed to be solved independently, and you can be done once you've finished!

But this is also a meta puzzle, like those found in puzzle hunts. What that means is that, once you've solved all six minis, if your puzzle hunger still needs to be fed, let me face you with an extra challenge to beef up your solving credentials: somehow make connections between the starred, purple entries of the crosswords A, B, C, D, E, and F to determine the meta answer of these minis: an eight-letter, two-word phrase for something that might be sold at a mediocre cafe.

The title is Ebbed Cafe. Quick note: if you solve online, and you want to do the meta, I suggest you use the individual links to puzzles, since there's a subtle aspect of the all-on-one-screen option that will make the final step of the meta part less clear. (When I originally released these puzzles, I recommended against all online for this reason, but then I realized the individual links are fine.) However you choose to solve, I hope you enjoy! There are hints if you need them.

By the way: since I've been making crosswords for awhile, and since I aspire to submit crosswords to major venues, I decided to upgrade from creating on Crosshare — which is great, and you can create puzzles on mobile, but the wordlist and customization is a bit lacking — and I was willing to pay for a service. So I asked online what the best crossword construction software is today. To my surprise, I was recommended a free service! Today's set of puzzles was made using Ryan Fitzgerald's Ingrid, and it was a great experience — super smooth, convenient, and user-friendly. I think the puzzles improved as a result, and would recommend Ingrid to budding crossword constructors out there!

Thanks also to John Kugelman, bolgat, both my parents, Aurath, and Deusovi for testing and/or providing suggestions that made it into the puzzle. I really should start thanking testers more regularly — I haven't done it enough in the past!

Sorry I'm a few minutes late. I've never been this last-minute before. Don't forgive me for this, I'll regret it tomorrow morning (this morning...).

(If you find any errors, it’s possible that I’ve fixed them on If I haven't, please tell me about them!)

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