Monday, November 5, 2018

Aries Cryptic #3

Back again with the first variety Aries Cryptic, titled "Slasher Film." This puzzle is PDF-only, and is offered in two versions: one with full enumerations, and one with no Down enumerations, which is a more challenging version. If you're an experienced cryptic solver like myself, I'd recommend solving the harder version. If you're newer to cryptics, or especially if you're new to variety cryptics, I'd recommend solving with the full enumerations. Hope you enjoy!

Aries Cryptic #3 - Harder version (no Down enumerations) - PDF

Aries Cryptic #3 - Full enumerations - PDF

Aries Cryptic #3 - Solution - PDF

Intro to Cryptics - PDF

P.S. Thanks for the feedback regarding the split six-letter answer in last week's grid. I'll avoid splitting them in the future; ultimately I just think it will be easier (and will save future confusion) to use three-letter entries in cryptics. I'll keep those to a minimum - zero ideally, and two at most in a grid.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Aries Cryptic #2

Thanks for the comments regarding the first puzzle! Let's keep it going with Cryptic #2, which is a 13x13 puzzle.

Aries Cryptic #2 - PUZ

Aries Cryptic #2 - PDF

Aries Cryptic #2 - Solution

Introduction to Cryptic Crosswords - PDF

A note about 9-Across/17-Across in today's puzzle: Treat these two three-letter grid entries as one 6-letter entry, broken up into three-letter chunks. For cryptics, I prefer cluing one 6-letter entry to two 3-letter entries, with the caveat being that both three letter chunks are valid words unrelated to the full 6-letter entry. I'm curious what solvers think of this. Is it too confusing or inelegant? Would cluing two separate three-letter entries be preferable to this approach? I just don't like using 3-letter entries in a block cryptic, but I would be okay with them if solvers overwhelmingly preferred them. Feedback is greatly appreciated, as it will help future gridding endeavors.

Happy solving!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Introducing Aries Cryptic

I'm very excited to announce the launch of a new crossword series, Aries Cryptic! Every other Monday, I'll be posting a free cryptic right here at this site. Most of these will be standard block cryptics, often 11x11 or 13x13, but I also plan on featuring the occasional variety cryptic and Puns & Anagrams, which is a spiritual cousin of the cryptic crossword.

Cryptics can seem like impossible at first glance if you aren't familiar with the cluing conventions that define cryptic crosswords. If you are new to cryptics or struggling to make sense of everything, I've prepared an introductory guide that explains the basics of cryptics:

Introduction to Cryptic Crosswords (PDF)

And here is Cryptic #1, which is an 11x11 grid. The solution page contains explanations of each answer, which is helpful for newer cryptic solvers to better understand how each answer works.

Aries Cryptic #1 - PUZ

Aries Cryptic #1 - PDF

Aries Cryptic #1 - Solution

Feedback is very much encouraged, and be sure to tell your cryptically-inclined puzzle friends about the new service. Cryptics have notoriously struggled to gain a large audience in the U.S., and I'd love it if these puzzles turned some solvers into cryptic fans. Above all, I want these puzzles to be fun, challenging, and different - let me know how well I do in that regard.

Happy solving!


Monday, June 4, 2018

OFFICIAL RELEASE: Maverick Crosswords, and June charity drive!

I am proud to announce the official release of Maverick Crosswords! This book is a compilation of 72 puzzles originally published through Aries Xword, which was an email-delivered puzzle service that ran from 2014 to 2017. Edited by Peter Gordon of Sterling Publishing, this spiral-bound book features an equal split of Easy, Medium, and Hard puzzles, mostly themed puzzles but also including a few meta puzzles and freestyles.

The book is available in bookstores nationwide or online through Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

Also, 50% of all purchases and 100% of all tip jar contributions made during June 2018 will be donated to charity! This includes 2018 Subscriptions, Rows Garden Archive and FIVE purchases, as well as items for sale in the Store page such as The Stagger Sessions, a Crossword EP (now discounted at $8). This year, I'll be donating to the American Red Cross. Thanks to all who have subscribed and donated in the past!