Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Snowflake #1

Snowflake #1 - PDF | Solution (PDF) 

Back with the last variety puzzle of the year! I was recently solving this old Hex variety cryptic and thought it would be fun to make a fully interlocking grid using the same snowflake framework. So the end result is not a cryptic, mind you, just a standard variety puzzle with a bonus message to unravel. Testers thought this was a nice moderate challenge - not too difficult but with a satisfying bit of resistance. PDF only for this format - hope you enjoy!

The monthly bundles have been updated through December, and I've also bundled up the 2021 Second Half bundles for both Aries Rows Garden and Aries Freestyle. ARG Year 9 and AF Year 5 kicks off next week, and a reminder that subscriptions are always open! I'd love if you joined the weekly fun. 

Thanks for stopping by and solving in 2021! Personally speaking it was a challenging year, and I'm grateful to have this outlet and I'm especially grateful for the support of all solvers. I hope the puzzles provided a healthy distraction this year! Here's for a better 2022.

Happy solving!    

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Twists & Turns #6

Twists & Turns #6 - Standard (PDF) | Harder (PDF) | Standard (JPZ) | Solution (PDF)

It's been a little bit since I've posted a Twists & Turns puzzle, so here's another! As I mentioned back in March when I posted the last one, I have been working on a T&T project that I hoped would be ready by summer. Well, it's definitely past summer and I'm still working on that project. It'll get there eventually so stay patient! 

As usual I've posted both a Standard and Harder version of the puzzle. For those new to the format, start with the Standard version; for those experienced with T&Ts and looking for and extra challenge, try the Harder version which lists the Twists clues alphabetically. There's also a JPZ file for digital solving, though keep in mind this version is only available in the Standard difficulty. Download the file and then head over to Crossword Nexus to use their JPZ solver. 

A reminder that subscriptions for Aries Rows Garden and Aries Freestyle are always open! Also, monthly bundles are a good way to get a small taste of what you'll get as a subscriber - the monthly bundles have been updated through November.

Happy solving, and Happy Thanksgiving! 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

From A to Z #1

From A to Z #1 - PDF | Solution (PDF)

To commemorate my recent move to AZ, I thought it would be appropriate to try a From A to Z variety puzzle. To my knowledge this is a format developed by Will Shortz - do correct me if I'm wrong on that. PDF only for this format, and instructions are included on the PDF. 

This was a fun format to construct. Even with unchecked squares involved, the grid was challenging to construct and the cluing conceit allows for some fun misdirection. The format has an ideal amount of constraints - the rules are tight enough that it doesn't feel too loose, yet there's also enough leeway built in that it's not overly challenging to construct as well. Which is a formula for a good variety format! Let me know what you think - I'd be very happy to revisit this format if solvers especially want to solve them.

October monthly bundles are now available! Also, here's a reminder that subscriptions for Aries Rows Garden and Aries Freestyle are always open.

Happy solving!  

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!