Thinking About Birds

Since my late 20s I have always enjoyed tackling cryptic crosswords, and then one day I wondered why there seemed to be none about birds. So, I decided to try my hand at constructing some. I have since discovered other websites with bird-themed crosswords although not cryptic ones (and not always possessing the symmetrical pattern which is the hallmark of a “good” crossword).

My bird-themed crosswords are published as the "Cross-bird" in the quarterly magazine Australian BirdLife, under the pseudonym of Atrichornis. Can you work out why I chose that name?

I also occasionally have produced cryptic crosswords that are not about birds; for example, to entertain my family at Christmas time.

The links below will take you to individual crosswords. Be warned – the solutions are on the second page!

Atrichornis crosswords (The Cross-bird)   

Atrichornis 050

Atrichornis 049

Atrichornis 048

Atrichornis 047  (I made a numbering error and hence there is no #046)

Atrichornis 045

Atrichornis 044

Atrichornis 043

Atrichornis 042

Atrichornis 041

Atrichornis 040

Atrichornis 039

Atrichornis 038

Atrichornis 037

Atrichornis 036

Atrichornis 035

Atrichornis 034

Atrichornis 033 

Atrichornis 032 

Atrichornis 031

Atrichornis 030

Atrichornis 029 

Atrichornis 028 

Atrichornis 027

Atrichornis 026

Atrichornis 025

Atrichornis 024

Atrichornis 023

Atrichornis 022

Atrichornis 021

Atrichornis 020

Atrichornis 019

Atrichornis 018

Atrichornis 017

Atrichornis 016 

Atrichornis 015

Atrichornis 014

Atrichornis 013

Atrichornis 012 

Atrichornis 011

Atrichornis 010 

Atrichornis 009

Atrichornis 008

Atrichornis 007

Atrichornis 006

Atrichornis 005

Atrichornis 004

Atrichornis 003

Atrichornis 002

Atrichornis 001

The Bittern - my large cryptic bird crosswords

I've been experimenting with a 23 x 23 format for crosswords. That allows me to use longer bird names (the 15 character limit is a frustration at times).  Thus far I've created three of these larger puzzles (which I've dubbed as The Bittern).

The Bittern #01

The Bittern #02

The Bittern #03  

Bittern compilation  

More cryptic bird crosswords

These are some of my early attempts at bird-themed crosswords. The “birdiness” of them is variable (some don’t have much to do with birds at all) and some of them use anagrams (sometimes rather convoluted ones!) to a greater extent than nowadays I would permit. But you might enjoy trying them nevertheless.

Fledgling 001 (this evolved to become Atrichornis 015; several of the answers are the same but most of the clues are different).

Fledgling 002 

Fledgling 003 

Fledgling 004 (this evolved to become Atrichornis 005; several of the answers are the same but many of the clues are different).

Fledgling 005 

Fledgling 006

The Penta Puzzles

I developed these "simple" non-cryptic 5 x 5 puzzles during the 2020 Coronavirus lockdown, as a brief distraction for birdwatchers who for about nine weeks were unable to visit their favourite birding spots. I sent out a new puzzle to the Hunter Region birding community every day over the lockdown period. The puzzles also were uploaded to the BirdLife Australia website (as the "Daily Cross-bird"). For a compilation of the full set of 63 puzzles (and also a bonus 7 x 7 puzzle), click here.

Non bird cryptic crosswords

Christmas 2013 ("Unwrapping the Presence")

At The Cricket

Christmas 2014 ("Presents of Mind")

Christmas 2015 ("Yule Work it Out")