Seedborn Musings – Crossword Vampire

Have you ever wanted a Magic-themed cryptic crossword?  Here’s one.

Maro mentioned on his Tumblr page that he likes puzzles, particularly cryptic crosswords.  So I asked him if he wanted a Magic one, and he did.  This is what I made.


Each box is a spreadsheet cell, so you’ll be able to type in them as you wish.  Clues are on one sheet and the crossword is on the other; each is formatted to print as a single page, which is what I recommend you do.  Most answers are card names or parts of card names, though anything related to Magic is fair game.

I’ve also put the clues below if you don’t want to flip back and forth in the spreadsheet, or if you just like solving the clues but don’t want to do the crossword.

For those unfamiliar with solving cryptic clues, each clue has the definition of the answer in one half of the sentence and a wordplay construction in the other half.  They’re always separated, but it’s unclear where due to sentence structure and general trickiness.  Common wordplay includes:

Anagrams – “Roam wildly, Mr. Rosewater (4)” would be the four-letter answer Maro, because Mr. Rosewater is Maro and Maro is an anagram of roam (i.e. “roam” has gone wild).  Similarly, “O sewer rat, strange Magic designer (9)” would be Rosewater, because Rosewater is an anagram of “O sewer rat” (it’s gone strange, so to speak).

Hidden words – “Jars in Kholed hiding land destruction (8)” would be Sinkhole, a land destruction spell hidden in the phrase Jars in Kholed.

Adding or subtracting letters from something, abbreviations, etc. – These are rebus-type things normally.  Sometimes words like “back” or “sent up” (in a Down clue) will tell you to reverse a phrase; sometimes you’ll need abbreviations for something, Roman numerals, or the like.  “Red audio-visual battery without 500 of the large 2005 set (7)” would be Ravnica.  Red = R, audio-visual = AV, and NiCad is a type of battery.  Put them together and you get Ravnicad, so take off the D (Roman numeral for 500 – Ravnicad is “without 500”) and you get the answer, the large 2005 set.  This is the sort of thing for people who think the capital of Paraguay is the P.  P is also the first in Paraguay, while D is the end of the world, and so on.

Homophones – Occasionally, words like “heard” or “sounded” indicate that you’re supposed to say one half out and it will sound like the actual word. 

Now that it’s been a week, here are the answers, filled in to the crossword for you.  Feel free to ask how to arrive at each one.


1 Indent and reclean agitated worship hall (10)
6 Knife of Dominaria (4)
9 6-player game led by artifact wizard?  Has myself, government member, and queen, alternatively (8)
11 Is a blade spliced?  N…n…nope (6)
12 Lion could kill Lions (4)
13 Mr. Giancola to lose nothing, to take error, to give away (6)
15 Mine stands first on vacation (5)
17 So I, a Sith mind, air strange revelation about invasion plans (4, 2, 9)
18 Note: in Alabama, punishment and fortune (5)
19 Sir Morphs-a-Lot?  Add nine and one, sir (6)
21 Raid strange mesa (4)
23 Mr. Rosewater loses second (one and one), adding null vampire (6)
24 First heard description of Mirrodin bubble (8)
27 Calvin Klein ends the Northeast – snap (4)
28 Grand vote moved weird (10)
1 “Books on card draw are hidden,” Tom established (5)
2 Sacrificial thing ye removed from going up, possibly (3)
3 Set code is fishy (3)
4 Human minion: damage by swamps legitimate ( 7, 8 )
5 Journey used to be Hell with no right in it (10)
7 Solo, North America by ship is legendary (5)
8 Set symbol final: Girl’s beef (8)
10 By a sibling, Theodore returned to the battlefield (9)
14 At first, nothing obvious varied about barbarian’s lore at story time (9)
16 Echoing cycle that cycles (10)
17 List a weird guy’s onyx, for example (8)
20 Heartless column features right adjective for Zendikar ruin (5)
22 Leveled wrongly without the French mechanic (5)
25 Golgari dirt gone from mind (3)
26 Who wants Merfolk of the Pearl Trident? (1, 2)

About Brandon Isleib

Author of Playing for a Winner: How Baseball Teams' Success Raises Players' Reputations; sometimes-writer at GatheringMagic and Muse Vessel; card name/flavor text team for Magic 2015; Wizards of the Coast's first Digital Event Coordinator; directly responsible for the verb "create" on Magic cards; legislation editor for Seattle; voracious music consumer; Christian.
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9 Responses to Seedborn Musings – Crossword Vampire

  1. shmebula says:

    I knew I was bad at crosswords, but figured I’d do well with this.

    Nope! Not a single one.

  2. shmebula says:

    Ok, I’m getting a few now.

    is 9 across a dirty colorless legend that’s scary in EDH? It fits, but I’m not sure how it works with the hint.

    • Seedborn Muse says:

      Here’s 9 broken down like a cryptic clue normally would be.

      6-player game led by artifact wizard? / Has myself, government member, and queen, alternatively (8)

      I put the slash in to show where the definition and wordplay are separated.

      This is a rebus-type answer. The artifact wizard is Memnarch, but what would be a 6-player format led by him? The answer does start off MEM_____.

      On the wordplay end, myself is the ME, and the next three things – government member, the Queen, and a word for “alternatively” – also are two letters each.

      This is one of the strangest clues I put in, admittedly.

  3. Graveborn Muse says:

    So the answer is “Memperor”?

  4. shmebula says:

    I did manage to get around 5 or so answers, but I think I’m just not cut out for crossword puzzles. I got MEM—OR, but still don’t understand MP=gov or ER=queen.

    I’m hoping you’ll post the answers sometime soon.

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