Hey folks! I am very psyched (as are Stella Zawistowski and Claire Muscat, the rest of the AVCX Cryptic team) to bring you our first regular-season cryptic, a mediumish-difficulty puzzle by our good pal Nate Cardin, who you may know from his work organizing the charity puzzle packets Queer Qrosswords and Queer Qrosswords 2 (both still available here if you don't have them!), or from his cryptic contributions over at The Browser, or because maybe you just follow him on the Twitter (@naytnaytnayt).
In future weeks we'll be telling you all about how and when to submit puzzles if that's a thing you're into, but for now I will point you to our handy solving guide, which, if you are new to cryptics, will hopefully give you a handle on getting started. Another thing that may be helpful to novices is the tried and true method of Giving Up And Looking At The Answer. This is an underrated technique! Below the answer grid you'll find shorthand explanations of how each clue works, and you'll learn all sorts of stuff about the tricks that cryptic constructors pull.
As for other upcoming stuff, newer solvers can look forward to bonus mini cryptics with easy clues, and experienced solvers can look forward to the occasional variety cryptic. But for now, please enjoy this one!