School-Safe Puzzle Games

Very Hard Gridless Crossword Puzzle

This Gridless Crossword is a taxing puzzle designed to test all of your deductive skills. Your ultimate goal is to discover the puzzle’s answerline which is a vertical word or phrase reading down through the answers. It reveals the puzzle’s neat but elusive theme. But be warned: your deductive skills will be greatly tested before the penny finally drops!


1. A personal hygiene problem leads to a medical graduate failure of a spectacular kind. (4)
2. Establishes what a person does in an ironworks. (6)
3. Harry Potter’s is feeble against principal Dumbledore’s. (4)
4. Cut tinea short with a prong. (4)
5. Distribute evenly or rainy days become lacking in propriety. (5)
6. Build truck frame and another luxury vehicle. (5)
7. Seafood setting is squalid, drives nearly all out. (5)
8. Sounds like you are in one tangle of nerves. (5-)
9. Basil and pine-nuts and parmesan cheese and some grapes too. (5)
10. Act like a criminal — get a flashing light! (6)
11. Remove it from trivial competition. (5)
12. About face, head right, head north, reach country. (6)
13. Car gate barriers test dummy helmets. (5)
14. Bridgework makes tonsil very streaked with grey. (7)
15. Big __ in Little China, or The __ with Harry. (7)
16. Canines, woodsmen, and flying machines. (8)
17. Take possession of an acclaimed centre. (5)
18. The Scottish monster goes back in at compliance. (6)
19. It all started when the tailless Bengal got upset. (5)


Instead of keeping answers masked for a couple days, submitted comments will appear live immediately (no moderation). This way, the puzzle can be worked out in real-time.

37 Comments to “Very Hard Gridless Crossword Puzzle”

  1. Shawn | PUZZLE GRANDMASTER | Profile

    Well, here’s what I have so far:

    1. ODOR
    2. FORGES
    3. WAND
    4. TINE
    5. INAPT (?)
    7. SQUID
    8. NEURO
    9. WHITE
    10. STROBE
    11. RIVAL
    14. SILVERY
    15. TROUBLE
    16. CHOPPERS
    17. CLAIM
    18. ASSENT
    19. BEGAN

    Any or all could be right or wrong. I really enjoy these types of puzzles!

  2. T | Profile

    1. _
    2. F O R G E S
    3. W A N D
    4. _
    5. F L U S H
    6. _
    7. _
    8. _
    9. W H I T E
    10. S T R O B E
    11. _
    12. _
    13. _
    14. _
    15. T R O U B L E
    16. C H O P P E R S
    17. C L A I M
    18. _
    19. _

    Got a few from Shawn above (Thanks), disagreed with some others. Spread out the letters to make it easier to see a word going down

  3. MrMoto | Profile

    5. RANDY. (oR rAiNy DaYs)

    This isn’t really a crossword puzzle. (grumble)

  4. Gray-T | Profile

    I just eat some smarties, very nice…
    Btw. chapeau, T and Shawn, you may fix it together and still there is missing 20. and 21… much less of 22…
    Anyway, who counts the numbers anymore…
    or Letters?

    No Games, Just Sports…

    without any side-effects,
    have a nice day…

  5. Shawn | PUZZLE GRANDMASTER | Profile

    Gray-T, your neo-existentialism never ceases to amaze.

  6. Shawn | PUZZLE GRANDMASTER | Profile

    I’m not seeing even a hint of a vertical phrase, which means that either the phrase is tilted and not truly vertical, or there are some serious problems with my answers.

  7. Shawn | PUZZLE GRANDMASTER | Profile


    10. BEACON (BE-A-CON)

  8. Shawn | PUZZLE GRANDMASTER | Profile

    12. FRANCE

  9. Shawn | PUZZLE GRANDMASTER | Profile

    1. BOMB

  10. T | Profile

    A Suggestion:

    13. BELTS

    Also, I have a feeling that the words are offset to make the center word and that 8 is a space. What I mean by offset:

    T R O U B L E
    C H O P P E R S
    C L A I M
    A S S E N T

    For example… a word above could be ROLE. This way it’s more like a crossword… as the words aren’t all just listed in a line.

    I’m also not picking up on any themes.

  11. T | Profile

    Err… ok, so putting in multiple spaces doesn’t work. Here is what I meant with the above:

    ____T (R) O U B L E
    __C H (O) P P E R S
    ____C (L) A I M
    _A S S (E) N T

  12. suineg | PUZZLE MASTER | Profile

    I have a suggestion:

    the 8) has a (5-) so I think it must go backwards

  13. suineg | PUZZLE MASTER | Profile

    the 8 word i meant

  14. Shawn | PUZZLE GRANDMASTER | Profile

    suineg – I think the 5- means that the answer is a prefix, like neuro-

    t – do you think there is a pattern to the spaces in front of each word that will make them line up properly?

  15. LadyInsomnia | Profile

    6: BUICK

    (as in the “frame” of BUIld truCK)

  16. T | Profile

    I’m not sure, I don’t think there’s a pattern… I think it will just be whatever you can get to make words that match the “theme”.

    So far I agree with the following answers:

    01. O D O R
    02. F O R G E S
    03. W A N D
    04. T I N E
    05. R A N D Y
    06. B U I C K
    07. S Q U I D
    08. _
    09. W H I T E
    10. B E A C O N
    11. R I V A L
    12. F R A N C E
    13. _
    14. S I L V E R Y
    15. T R O U B L E
    16. C H O P P E R S
    17. C L A I M
    18. _
    19. B E G A N

    8) Why Neuro? It’s a “Sounds like”, so it might be a rhyme. What’s a “tangle of nerves”. Maybe “pain”? So what SOUNDS like pain that’s 5 letters. Also what’s the “-” mean? Maybe it is a prefix? But I’m not sure…

    13) I put BELTS but it doesn’t fit the pattern of the rest of the answers. What could “Gate barriers” reffer to?

    18) Why assent? That clue I just don’t get at all….

    So far the only pattern I’m picking is

    “ORDER IS” as in order is important (order of letters perhaps?)

    01. _____ _ (O) D O R
    02. ____F O (R) G E S
    03. __W A N (D)
    04. ___T I N (E)
    05. ____ __ (R) A N D Y
    06. ____B U (I) C K
    07. _______(S) Q U I D

    But that’s a fairly random way to distribute the letters. I think the start of the puzzle might give a clue as to how to move the letters around:

    But be warned: your deductive skills will be greatly tested before the penny finally drops!

    Penny finally drops is a pretty odd phrase to use (just like the phrasing for pretty much all the questions is odd), so I think it might be relevant.

  17. datakid | Profile

    T, I disagree. I think that BOMB is a much better answer for number 1. Makes a lot more sense.

  18. datakid | Profile

    Also, for 18, ASSENT = NESS (loch ness monster) back in AT…

  19. datakid | Profile

    order is playing a role?

  20. T | Profile

    Why Bomb? (Body Odour (BO), Batchelor of Medicine (MB))? Makes more sense than Odor. I just wasn’t sure if maybe the American spelling didn’t use a “u”.

    Ah, Assent makes more sense now, I would never have thought of that…

    Well yeah order is important. Particularly – the order of the words is weird. But more importantly, the letter order. In Assent, NESS is backwards, the A is at the front adn the T at the end (rather than next to each other).

    So the puzzle seems to be about finding this order from dissorder (with a few exceptions… FORGES, WAND, TROUBLE and CHOPPERS).

  21. T | Profile

    “ORDER IS” was just a suggestion – problem with it is that the spacing of the words becomes random… maybe there’s more to it? Again “Before the penny drops” could be a clue

  22. datakid | Profile

    assent in that fashion is a standard cryptic crossword clue – I thought the whole thing was based on a gridless cryptic?

  23. Shawn | PUZZLE GRANDMASTER | Profile

    “Sounds like you are” = u r
    “in one tangle” = “one” re-arranged
    “of nerves” is the definition of neuro-

  24. Shawn | PUZZLE GRANDMASTER | Profile

    Not sure how this will look on the post. I capitalized all the letters that I think are in the phrase “ORDER ISN’T EVERYTHING” (thanks to T).

    Still need a word with an “R” for #13.


  25. Shawn | PUZZLE GRANDMASTER | Profile

    13. “car gate barriers test” could be CRASH

  26. Shawn | PUZZLE GRANDMASTER | Profile

    but then what does “dummy helmets” mean?

  27. T | Profile

    As in “crash test dummy” (why would a crash test dummy where a helmet anyway?)

    Makes sense… and leaves us with “Order isn’t everything”…

  28. RK | Profile

    very close!

    just added the title to the puzzle…

  29. LaDana | Profile

    Could #9 be pesTo?
    From the clue ‘some graPES TOo’

    This would still result in the required T.
    Basil, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts are ingredients for pesto.

  30. RK | Profile

    Yes, LaDana- Clue 9 is ‘Pesto’

    Clue 2: ‘Founds’

    All others are as Shawn lists above

  31. LaDana | Profile

    So, with #9 being pesto and #2 being founds.. How about the following solution?


    For a solution text of ‘Money isn’t everything.’
    Now that final line of the description makes sense… :)

  32. RK | Profile

    That is the solution.

    Notice the words remaining if you Deduct the answerline letter…

  33. porpoise | Profile

    Nice one! ;)

  34. T | Profile

    That was a tough one. Very clever.

  35. Shawn | PUZZLE GRANDMASTER | Profile

    Very nice!!

  36. GIGS1890 | Profile

    Oh man that is fricken cool as :D

  37. alachigh | Profile

    just wana answer

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