There are lots of amazing puzzle creators out there in the puzzle world, many of which we get to call our friends. One of these friends is Kevin Wald, also known as Ucaoimhu (often shortened to Uc). Kevin is an amazing cryptic creator, and its said that he can make a cryptic for any event. In particular, he made a cryptic for our wedding based off the fact that the nom “Cute Mage” contains two Apocopes (which we hadn’t noticed until then). He has a website with a lot of the puzzles he’s written (including his cryptics), and it’s a wonderful place to get lost for a couple days.

I would like to highlight two collections of puzzles on that website. In the bullet about the National Puzzler’s League, there’s a page that contains all of Kevin’s Con Cryptics. In addition, in the bullet about the MIT Mystery Hunt, there’s a list of all of Kevin’s Mystery Hunt Warm-up Cryptics (link to the pre-2020 one). If you’ve never seen these before, go ahead and just read some of them for a moment.

The two of us joke that part of the fun of an Uc Cryptic is reading what ridiculous stuff he’s put into a cryptic this time. Whenever we solve one, we usually spend a couple minutes just reading the instructions and trying to digest what exactly is going on before even diving into the clues. So when the two of us wanted to write our first Con handout puzzle, one of the first ideas that came to mind was “What if we made an Uc cryptic, but more ridiculous?” Thus, Unnecessarily Cryptic was born.

The Unnecessarily… series is a series of variety cryptic-adjacent puzzles. They’re shenanigans puzzles written by two people who love puzzle hunts, so keep your eyes and ears open as you solve them. In addition, we hope that even if you don’t solve it completely, you’ll still enjoy reading them. They’re written to be funny. Lastly, they’re easier to get into than they look like, so don’t be intimidated!

There are currently 2 puzzles in the Unnecessarily… series, and we’ll keep writing more the more ideas we have for them (and assuming that Kevin still finds them funny).