Thursday, April 28, 2022

Spiral #2

 Spiral #2 - Harder (PDF) | Easier (PDF) | Easier (JPZ) | Solution (PDF) 

Back with a Spiral puzzle!. If you're used to solving Spirals in the New York Times, the Easier version here should look familiar, as it provides the starting and end points for each answer. If you're looking for an extra challenge, give the Harder version a shot - it still presents the answers in correct order, but starting and end points are withheld. There's also a JPZ file for digital solving (Easier version only) - just download the link above and then head over to Crossword Nexus to solve. Hope you enjoy!

Monthly bundles have been updated through April. And a reminder that subscriptions are always open as well. Sign up if you haven't already!

Happy solving!

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Cryptic #33 - "Let's Bowl!" Contest + ACPT Bundle Special

 Cryptic #33 - "Let's Bowl!" - PDF | Solution

Back with another variety cryptic! This one's called "Let's Bowl", and it's a contest. Two randomly-selected correct submissions will win a two-month Aries subscription/subscription extension. Happy solving! UPDATE 4/14: Congrats to Lisa Chambers and Jack Fidler who were the two randomly-selected solvers who won Aries subscriptions! Thanks to all 78 solvers who submitted a correct answer. The solution PDF is now posted above. 

Also, the Monthly Bundle archives have been updated through March, so scoop those up if you're interested in what you'd get as a subscriber

Finally, good luck to all competitors at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament this weekend! To celebrate the occasion, there's a special on a 6-Month Bundle for just $18. This 6-Month subscription gets you a weekly Rows Garden and a weekly Freestyle delivered straight to your inbox - 52 puzzles total. This special runs for a limited time, so if you're not already a subscriber, now is a perfect time!

ACPT Special - $18 6-Month Bundle

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Marching Bands #3

Aries Marching Bands #3 - PDF | JPZ | Solution (PDF)

Back with another Marching Bands puzzle! This format, developed by the legendary Mike Shenk, is always a fun one to construct. To solve the old-fashioned way, there's a PDF to print out. There's also a JPZ file for digital solving - to do so, first download the JPZ file, then visit the Crossword Nexus Solver, upload the file, and solve away! 

Monthly Bundles for both Aries Rows Garden and Aries Freestyle have been updated through February. A reminder that subscriptions for both are always open, so if you don't want to wait a month between your fix of Aries puzzles, subscribe now for weekly puzzles straight to your inbox. 

Also for cryptic crossword fans, here's a periodic reminder to subscribe to The Browser newsletter, which features a weekly cryptic written by, among others, yours truly! You can get a discount on a subscription using the promo code CROSSWORD20 when signing up.

Happy solving!

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Puns & Anagrams #4

Puns & Anagrams #4 - PUZ | PDF | PDF (Grayscale) | Solution (PDF)

Back with another Puns & Anagrams puzzle! Here's another recap of trademark P&A features to keep in mind while solving:

1) P&As feature a fully interlocking grid, and each answer is an acceptable entry in a standard crossword. Unlike standard block cryptics, where roughly 50% of the squares are checked by crossing entries, P&A grids qualify as standard themeless crossword grids, with a max of 72 entries in the grid. Every square is a part of an across and down entry. This affords solvers many more opportunities to solve an entry than a cryptic does, which helps explain some of the looseness of P&A clues.

2) Anagram clues (which comprise about half of the clues in a P&A) do not include anagram indicators, which are required for cryptics. In addition, homophones of letters (or groups of letters) included in the anagram are fair game. So, the word "sea" could signal a C to be included in the anagram; the word "seize" could signal multiple Cs to be included in the anagram; and "seedy" could signal the letters CD to be included in the anagram. The best anagram clues incorporate an anagram into a natural-reading definitional hint for the entry.

3) While anagram clues will include a definitional hint to the entry, non-anagram clues do not require a definitional hint. Non-anagram clues will include cryptic tropes such as hidden words, containers, and homophones, as well as more P&A-typical conventions as visual rebuses, puns, and fill-in-the-blanks.

Hope you enjoy! As always, any and all feedback is greatly encouraged - feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email. 

A reminder that subscriptions for Aries Rows Garden and Aries Freestyle are always open! I've updated the monthly bundles through January 2022, so pick up a bundle or two to see the kind of puzzles you'd get as a subscriber. 

Happy solving!