Custom Cryptic Crosswords


Really quick and helpful. Thank you so much for your hard work, and I am in awe of your talents! - RF, June 2022

I really am so pleased with this and can’t wait to give it to my husband next week. A very special present! - VA, August 2021

A puzzle by Claret was featured in the event ‘Danny does the crossword’ at Latitude Festival - a collaborative solving experience in lovely Suffolk surroundings.

Thanks again for the crossword, she was speechless, which isn't something that happens very often. - EN, July 2021

Have had some very happy hours solving the brilliant birthday crossword. I can’t get over the originality of such an amazing present. - MJ, July 2021

This is brilliant! Thank you so much, I think he's really going to enjoy this! ... I think you've done a great job incorporating everything we mentioned as ideas, it's wonderfully personal! - ES, May 2021

You did a great job with whatever you needed to do to find synonyms and references which were just helpful enough to make the puzzle fun but still a challenge. It was fascinating to see how many layers are involved. I also worked on trying to write out the advice that I would give someone like me doing a puzzle like this for the first time … Thank you for this wonderful experience. - WS, May 2021

"He loved it!! Thanks so much. We’re going to hang the blank version in our kitchen so that friends can puzzle away over it when they come round." EJ, August 2020 - and from the recipient (pictured, right): "An absolutely fantastic present and a brilliant crossword!"

"WHAT fun I have had solving this. So many really great clues that just had me smiling with glee. You've gone the extra mile (or km) to include almost everything I sent you, and I am full of awe." - DR, July 2020

"Soup was commissioned to write a special crossword for the 20th anniversary of my novel, Stormbreaker. It took me a while to crack - and it was a joy." - Anthony Horowitz, April 2020

"It went down a storm. She said it was like walk-through of her life. It is just the right level of difficulty as well, which means she didn't just rattle it off in a day. Thank you so much, she was really chuffed with it." - PS, October 2019

"It was perfectly pitched. A challenge - but one I felt proud to have completed." - AB, February 2019

"I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful crossword you made for our wedding. It was a lovely surprise for my husband, was thoroughly enjoyed by our guests, and my best friend was delighted (and relieved!) that she was the first to finish it. Looking at our wedding video, there are several shots of people sitting puzzling over the wonderful clues, and I have had requests since the wedding for copies, as they had been left behind!" - SY, October 2018

"Puzzle duly completed! As you predicted it took him a little over two hours. M sends you a huge thanks - he has greatly enjoyed his birthday morning." - JS, July 2018

"Very many thanks for doing this for me/us. I am absolutely delighted with the result and can't wait to see people puzzling over it and enjoying themselves! The whole process has been immense fun and I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes cryptic crosswords. The hardest bit from my point of view was deciding which words to give you, but it was wonderful how you managed to use so many, either in the grid or in clues. Thank you too, for allowing me to make suggestions - it's lovely to feel that I've been a (very small) part of the process!" - SY, July 2018

"It was a privilege to correspond with the long-admired Enigmatist while he compiled a 90th birthday crossword for my mother. He rose to many challenges, including much Welshery. The result was entirely personal, and done with finesse, sensitivity and kindness. One clue in particular would have brought a tear to a glass eye. The puzzle was beautifully designed and presented, too. In all, a great experience." - AW, May 2018

"I just want to thank you for taking the trouble to research my past and come up with a crossword that I thoroughly enjoyed doing. It was just the right level for me and occupied an evening while sipping and eating my other birthday gifts! The mix of standard clues, special solutions and anecdotes in the clues was great, especially when it meant that I would be the only one who could deduce some of the solutions." - AS, January 2018

"Thanks so much, Windsurfer. Very happy with the crossword and I've found the whole process very straightforward - it's also great that the person ordering can be as involved (or uninvolved!) as they like!" - SM, December 2017

"I particularly liked the high level of communication and interaction with you as the setter, which has made it feel much more like a joint effort :-) I’m sure my dad will be thrilled with his crossword; it should keep him amused for quite some time!" - EY, October 2017

"Just wanted to say how very much I enjoyed the crossword you compiled for my 80th birthday. A lovely surprise gift – very original and of course very personal. It’s now framed and hanging in our bedroom. It will remind me, not only of my 8oth,but of times past." - GS, September 2017

"In terms of feedback on the process, I must say I found it very smooth. I googled for bespoke cryptic crosswords to find the site in the first place, and found the site informative and clear. Our communication has similarly been constructive, professional and all of your responses prompt and considered. I am delighted with the product overall, and as I come from a family of cryptic crossword fans, we are all now considering when the next significant birthday or event may be for which we could commission a personal one! Lastly - it's even converted a couple of people in the office to the joys of a cryptic." - EW, July 2017

"I've found the whole process to be excellent. The website was prominent enough on Google; your timely response initially was a pleasant surprise and it has been smooth, friendly and professional approach ever since. Thank you." - JS, May 2017

"I thought the process was wonderful. Even with my limited knowledge of cryptic crosswords I felt completely involved throughout the process. You were wonderful to work with and I enjoyed corresponding with you throughout the process. Overall I am very happy with this service and would highly recommend it." - AM, March 2017

"Thank you so much for all of your help. Frank really enjoyed the puzzle. It was just the right level of challenge for him. He and I (mostly he - but I did manage to get two answers on my own!) worked on it over lunch together and it was a lot of fun. " - JF, August 2016

"Just wanted to let you know that the puzzle was a big hit at Ted’s Birthday party. It was a really original gift and very much appreciated. Thank you very much for all your efforts on this. I was really pleased with how smooth the process was and the timescale." - KB, August 2016

"My Golden Anniversary crosswords were the most amazing surprise. I had been totally unaware of the secret plotting between my husband and the setter. Tackling the clues provided entertainment throughout our celebration holiday. The ingenuity of the setter in weaving personal details into the solutions was quite astonishing. Who would have thought that Dumfriesshire could be an anagram of ‘if she is murder’? Family names, favourite holiday destinations , pets, paintings, hobbies all made an appearance. A priceless gift!" - SH, November 2015

"The crossword was an ideal gift for my father's 60th birthday. The difficulty was pitched just about right (we specified hard and were not disappointed) and he really appreciated how relevant the clues and answers were to him and his life." - CC, July 2015

"I've been really happy with the service - you have been very quick, responsive and have provided exactly what I was after - I couldn't ask for more - and it is much more ingenious than anything I imagined - thank you!" - AB, June 2015

"The effort, thought and genius put into the crossword was quite incredible - Dad was so overwhelmed and enjoyed every second of working out the amazing clues. The standard of the crossword was exceptional." - CT, June 2015

"My husband made a short visit to [the recipient] on her birthday and so she received the puzzle on the day. It was a little while before she realised that this was no ordinary crossword, and then of course it was a few days later that she got down to solving it, but she was DELIGHTED! We were both with her over Easter and she keeps saying "Thankyou, it was a lovely idea" and she has now asked me to send her a further number of copies to give to friends and relations. All in all a great success and we thank you again for the time and trouble you put into it, it was well worth it. - JC, April 2015

"The puzzle was fabulous! He was so touched that we'd arranged such a personal birthday present for him and delighted that it was something he would actually enjoy doing. Much to my mother's relief he didn't settle down straight away to finish it during the dinner. There are still two clues he's working on - he won't let us give him the sanswers so I think you pitched it perfectly - he's looking forward to showing everyone at his bridge club!" - EH, April 2015"

"Thanks for crafting a delightful puzzle and a pretty perfect Christmas present!" - SW, March 2015

"Pat really liked the custom puzzle! It was a perfect present for someone that's really hard to buy for. It took him the weekend to finish so that was just right. We're going to get it framed next. I will definitely recommend you!" - CO, February 2015

"Just to let you know that Roberta really enjoyed tackling the crossword and completed it on Sunday - using only one hint!" - EK, February 2015

"I received a custom cryptic crossword as a Christmas present; the whole puzzle hung together beautifully as a top-notch piece of cryptic clueing which had me scratching my head, smiling quietly and laughing uproariously." - AD, January 2015

"Chris really, really enjoyed the crossword you compiled for him - he couldn't wait to get going on it, so started at midnight after his party, and then got up at 5am to carry on, as he was so keen to finish it. He said it was pitched perfectly for him, and he's very, very impressed. Thank you so much!" - KC, May 2014

"I'm the delighted recipient of a birthday crossword - I absolutely love it! I had great fun completing it - I laughed out loud at many of the solutions. Excellent work! - JW, May 2014

"This is really brilliant... I'm absolutely sure J will love it, so many, many thanks. Your work is much appreciated." - BD, April 2014

We helped with a proposal!
Skipjack, one of our bank of setters, created a special puzzle for RP, with the hidden phrase 'will you marry me' included around the perimeter. RP says: "The crossword made for the most perfect proposal - my puzzle-loving fiancée finished the last clue under palm trees and stars... and said yes!"

"I just wanted to say how excellent I found the crossword you did for me! it is pinned up and still makes me smile. It was just exactly like the Guardian cryptic in the length of time and level of thinking I needed to finish it – and it was a good mixture of types of clue." - MF, March 2014

"My parents really liked the crossword, and enjoyed solving it. It took them a solid couple of hours so about the right length - they're planning to have it framed now! I would definitely recommend this service to friends and family who regularly do crosswords! Thanks for all your hard work on it and creating a unique gift for my parents." - RC, March 2014

"Thank you so much, the crossword is splendid and a perfect present for A. She will love it!" - LN, February 2014

"Thank you again for all your hard work to make David such a special present - it really was the ideal gift to celebrate his 70th birthday." - RW, February 2014