Thursday, September 23, 2021

Double or Nothing #2

Double or Nothing #2 - PDF | PDF (Grayscale) | Solution PDF

Back with a Double or Nothing puzzle! This is another format developed by the great Patrick Berry. It's a fun twist on a freestyle crossword - each square in the puzzle either contains zero or two letters. There's a bit of logic involved with figuring out how to place the answers which adds a nice extra layer of challenge. PDF only for this format. Hope you enjoy!

A reminder that subscriptions for Aries Rows Garden and Aries Freestyle are always open! Still a bit to go in September so check back in early October for the September monthly bundles. 10/10 UPDATE: September monthly bundles are now posted!

Happy solving!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Marching Bands #2

Aries Marching Bands #2 - PDF | JPZ | Solution (PDF)

Back with a Marching Bands puzzle this month! It took a bit of elbow grease but I'm happy with how this grid came together. The best part of a Marching Bands puzzle is getting long entries included in the bands, so Band A was especially fun to get construct. Coincidentally, Marching Bands creator Mike Shenk had an MB in this past weekend's Wall Street Journal, so give that a shot if you haven't already.  

There's a PDF as well as a JPZ file above; to solve digitally, first download the JPZ file, then visit the Crossword Nexus Solver, upload the file, and solve away! 

Still have one more week to go in August, so check back next week when the August monthly bundles are posted. [9/2 UPDATE: Monthly bundles are now updated through August!]
Happy solving!

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Aries Cryptic #32 - "Left Behind" (Contest)

Aries Cryptic #32 - "Left Behind" - PDF | Intro to Cryptics (PDF)  | Solution

Back with another variety cryptic, and it's a contest! There are full instructions on the PDF, and be sure to email your final answer by Thursday, August 12th for a chance to win a two-month Aries subscription. I'll pick both a current subscriber and a non-subscriber as winners, and I'll post the solution once the contest period is over. Special thanks to Neville Fogarty for suggesting this puzzle's title.

UPDATE: Thanks to all 102 solvers to submit a correct answer, and congrats to winners Arnold Reich and Louis Lana! I've added the solution file up top. 

I've updated the monthly bundles through July so be sure to scoop those up if you're not already a subscriber. Speaking of which, subscriptions are always open!

Happy solving!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Diagramless #2

Diagramless #2 - PDF | PUZ | Solution PDF

Back with another Diagramless puzzle! I've got a PDF (with hints included on pages 2 and 3, so be sure not to print those pages if you're looking to save paper), and there's also a PUZ file for digital solvers. Across Lite is no good for diagramlesses, but both the Diagnil or Xword solving programs allow for digital diagramless solving. After downloading the PUZ file you can open the file in either of those programs and solve away. UPDATE: You can also upload the PUZ file and play in the solving interface if you'd rather not download an extra program. Thanks for the tip Alex B.! 

I have had this puzzle idea on ice for a while; my thought for the longest time was to make a variety cryptic out of it, but I felt the elements didn't quite come together well enough for a cryptic. I think the diagramless format works well for this concept, particularly for the visual element - as always, I'm happy to hear your thoughts!

There's still one week to go in June so I don't have June Rows Garden/Freestyle bundles yet, but check back once July rolls around for those June bundles as well as the 2021 First Half  bundles. A reminder that subscriptions are always open!

This year I've also enjoyed writing cryptics for The Browser newsletter. They're block cryptics but I've been channeling Hex's National Post cryptics and featuring themes in these puzzles over the last few months. And I'm just one member of the crack team of cryptic constructors shepherded by editor Dan Feyer. There's a special 20% off subscription offer for puzzlers available - be sure to subscribe if you aren't already!

Happy solving!