Ries graduated from St. Cloud State University in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in history and film studies.
Aside from crosswords, Ries is an avid college hockey fan. He is a longtime season-ticket holder for the St. Cloud State Huskies hockey team and also attends at least one road series per year. Ries strongly believes that the University of North Dakota has both the best arena in college hockey and the most annoying fan base in all of college athletics.
Ries is also a big fan of David Foster Wallace, 1977-1993 Woody Allen films (sans Interiors and A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy), electric Dylan (before he went religious), and seasons 3-9 of Seinfeld. He is of the mind that a Manhattan is best when using Canadian whiskey rather than bourbon, and should always be stirred rather than shaken. When it comes to sipping whiskeys, however, bourbon and scotch are definitely preferred.