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Negroni's Cocktails: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a cryptic crossword?

A cryptic crossword is a specific type of crossword whose clues are half straight definition and straight wordplay. To learn more, see the many cryptic crossword guides on the web.

How do I sign up to receive access to the puzzles?

You can sign up at my Patreon page.

Why cocktails?

As my name might suggest, I am a fan of cocktails. I am also a big fan of varierty cryptic crossword puzzles, and it has been a fun project to combine the two concepts.

When are the puzzles released?

In 2024, there will be 6 puzzles, released every two months in even-numbered months. The February Cocktail was released the third Saturday, February 17, at 4pm Eastern / 1pm Pacific. Subsequent puzzles will be released on the second Saturday of the month, at 4pm Eastern / 1pm Pacific.

What is a twist

These are variety cryptic crossword puzzles, which means that there is a twist. Perhaps certain answers have to be amended before they are entered into the grid, or some clues have a word that needs to be removed before solving, or any number of other things. In the first puzzle that is released each month, there will be no instructions, just a recipe for that month's cocktail, and solvers will need to determine what the twist is all on their own. In the second released puzzle, the cocktail recipe will be replace with instructions regarding the twist.

What is a meta, or final answer, and how do I find it?

When each crossword is completed, there will be another puzzle hidden within it that solves to a final answer. There are any number of ways that this might work, and it is up to you to figure it out. In Negroni's Cocktails, that second puzzle will be related to the twist in some way. You can read about meta puzzles and metas in crossword puzzles in various places on the web, and there are several puzzle authors offering these types of puzzles. The more of these that you do, the more you will understand the possible mechanisms for finding that final answer.

How many entries may I submit for a puzzle?

You can try multiple times to solve the puzzle and still get on the All Solvers list when you enter the correct final answer, though note that if you enter any wrong answers, you will not qualify for the No Help Leaderboard even if you solve the original puzzle before the hinted version is posted. There will often be some answers that I call partial answers, in that you solve for them in the process of solving for the final answers. If you enter these answers, they will not count against you, and will just let you know that you're on the right track and should keep solving. Please do not misuse the ability to enter multiple answers. I, and I think everyone else, would like to avoid someone just guessing the final answer 10 times. Also, note that for the year's final answer, each person can only submit one guess.

How do I get on the No Help Leaderboard?

To get on the No Help Leaderboard, you must solve the original version of the puzzle with no help (solo) before the hinted version is posted. If you enter an incorrect answer, you can still solve the final answer and enter it later, but you no longer qualify for the No Help Leaderboard. As long as you solve it before the solution is posted, regardless of whether you qualify for the No Help Leaderboard, you will appear on the alphabetical All Solvers list.

What does it mean to solve the puzzle solo?

A solo solve is a solve without any help from any other person, no matter how small. If two people are solving any part of the puzzle together, it is not a solo solve.

When does the second version, with instructions about the twist, come out?

A puzzle that has the cocktail recipe replaced by instructions will come out exactly a week after the original version of the puzzle is released. This will help you with the twist and may give a hint on how to find the final answer. At that time, your chance to get on the No Help Leaderboard will have passed, but you can still get on the All Solvers list.

When are the solutions posted?

Everyone will have ample time to get on the All Solvers list. The first puzzle's solution was posted the last Saturday of the month before the next puzzle, and I may keep that pattern or something close to it unless there is a reason to change that. In any case, members will be notified before the solution gets posted.

How do I find the year's final answer?

There is a final answer for the year hidden in the six puzzles. It probably won't be solvable until several puzzles have been posted, and it can use any infomration at all. Good luck, and remember that you have only one guess at the year's final answer, so make sure you have it right.

What if I have other questions or comments?

Feel free to email me at