Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Puzzle #7 Solution

RG2014.7 Hardest/Harder - Solution

RG2014.7 Easier/Easiest - Solution

Apologies for the late post. Busy schedule of late.

I got down on myself for this one, because not only did I have to resort to using such a stinker of an entry such as [the answer to the "Ones accumulating heaps" clue], but I made a typo that didn't signify the entry should be pluralized. I'm strongly of the opinion that if you're going to put a crappy entry in a puzzle, don't draw too much attention to it. It's like removing a band-aid -- it's gonna hurt, but at least make it quick. In the past I've resorted a few times to using parenthetical hints such as "anagram of X" or "hidden in Y," but I might as well fill the grid in with that entry anyway, so I try to just clue it as straight-forward as possible, and move on.

This was nightmarish in that I had to email out the corrected version of puzzle with solvers specifically directed towards the worst entry in the puzzle! Probably it's the worst entry in any puzzle this year, so I had to put my tail between my legs a little bit. Anyway, I hope the pain was minimal, and I'll try my best from a) putting those kind of bad entries in the puzzle to begin with and b) sending out the puzzle with typos in them.

I did like the puzzle overall. There were more single-word entries in the Rows than I usually like to include, but many of them were fresh and (to my knowledge) have not been used in previous puzzles. These include A, B1, D2, E1, F2, and I2. My favorite clue was D2 -- devilishly tricky in retrospect, and with some tough bloom crossings in that region, I suspect it was the final piece to drop for many solvers.

How'd this one treat you? Any and all comments are always welcomed and encouraged.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Puzzle #6 Solution

RG2014.6 Hardest/Harder - Solution

RG2014.6 Easier/Easiest - Solution

Hope folks enjoyed this puzzle. I liked the inclusion of "Rose" in the Row A clue, though with that entry and F1, I thought it may be a bit sports-heavy, so I went easier than usual on the cluing this week. It's rare that I use a floral or quasi-floral entry in Row A; I've largely exhausted such entries that I've intended to use, and it's more of a Patrick Berry trademark to begin the puzzle that way. I'm more than okay to use the top row to showcase a fresh or cool entry or a great clue/entry combination. I have one such seed entry on tap for next week.

In other news, I am excited to announce the launch of a new weekly crossword subscription service. This time around it's standard themed crosswords, emailed out on Saturdays, varying in difficulty. I'm aiming more at accessible puzzles here; there are Easier, Medium, and Harder levels of difficulty, but nothing is super tough here, though I don't shy away from the occasional rebus or similar trickery on the Harder puzzles. To subscribe, visit www.ariesxword.com.

The subscription cost is a mere $5, which will lock you in for the next 52 weeks. And if you subscribe early, you will be treated to an additional 12 puzzles backdated to the beginning of 2014 at no charge. On top of that there are three free bonus puzzles (one from each level of difficulty) posted at the site. So five bucks will get you 67 puzzles; pretty good deal if you ask me!

Big tip of the hat to the great folks at Rumination Software for making this project a reality. Do you use their wonderful iPad/iPhone solving app CRUX? You should.

The Rows Garden schedule will be unaffected by the new site, of course. Puzzle #7 will be mailed out next Tuesday!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Puzzle #5 Solution

2014 Hardest/Harder -- Solution

2014 Easier/Easiest -- Solution

Apologies for the delayed post...just returned from a short vacation in Colorado Springs. It was a great reprieve from the hellish winter we've had in Minnesota (70 degrees above zero on Sunday!), plus it was a treat to see my alma mater, the St. Cloud State Huskies, win the inaugural NCHC regular season conference championship with a road sweep of the hometown Colorado College Tigers. I don't think I did one crossword while I was there; -- I did do plenty of old Patrick Berry Rows Gardens on the flight there and back -- though sometimes it's nice to get a break from puzzling, too. So yes, I loved Colorado and I just may move there some day. Just no pot jokes, please.

I really liked this puzzle, and especially the clues that I was able to muster. My test-solver, Doug Peterson, said that the clue for H2 was a "Hall-of-Famer," and a couple other solvers remarked that they especially liked the clue for I2. I do like when I'm able to turn ordinary entries (such as H2) into something special through cluing. Row A was the seed here, though, and I think this puzzle was overall one of the better offerings so far this year.

Next puzzle drops next Tuesday!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Puzzle #4 Solution

2014.4 Hardest/Harder -- Solution

2014.4 Easier/Easiest -- Solution

Short writeup this week. Row A was clearly the seed entry for this week's puzzle, though I particularly liked a number of entries this week - B1, E2, F1, and J1, for example. I toyed with cluing H2 as "White House occupant for parts of three decades," but thought the misdirect was a tad unfair; let me know if you think that kind of cleverness would have flown for you. Also, I had originally clued D1 as "Many Inception sequences," a clue/entry combo I've been saving for over three years, but with so much movie-ness going on in D2, F1, J2, and K1, I changed the clue to a non-movie connotation. Hope you liked this offering; next puzzle will be sent out next Tuesday.