Hello, all! We have another first for you this week: our first variety cryptic, "The Medium Is the Aged Mess," supplied by the impossibly inventive Kevin Wald. Kevin has been constructing cryptic crosswords for about 25 years now; living in puzzle-dense Massachusetts, he has also occasionally been distracted by other puzzle types. Many of the results of this can be found on his easily-misspelled website, www.ucaoimhu.com.
Now, there are a few things to know here. Firstly, since this cryptic has bars instead of black squares, it is impossible to create a .puz version of it. If you strongly prefer to solve digitally, there is a .jpz version as usual, which can be solved in various apps, including Crossword Solver, or you can even solve online using the interface at Crossword Nexus. There is, of course, a PDF that you can print out, although since there are no black squares to eat up all your printer ink, there is no Inksaver version this time. Instead what we've included is a version with easier instructions, for people who may not be familiar with variety crosswords and the way they indicate their instructions a bit obliquely. That version of the PDF has footnotes that explain the instructions more fully.
As ever, you can contact us with comments, praise, advice-column-style questions, or praise at email@example.com. Enjoy the puzzle!