I'm very excited to announce the launch of a new crossword series, Aries Cryptic! Every other Monday, I'll be posting a free cryptic right here at this site. Most of these will be standard block cryptics, often 11x11 or 13x13, but I also plan on featuring the occasional variety cryptic and Puns & Anagrams, which is a spiritual cousin of the cryptic crossword.
Cryptics can seem like impossible at first glance if you aren't familiar with the cluing conventions that define cryptic crosswords. If you are new to cryptics or struggling to make sense of everything, I've prepared an introductory guide that explains the basics of cryptics:
Introduction to Cryptic Crosswords (PDF)
And here is Cryptic #1, which is an 11x11 grid. The solution page contains explanations of each answer, which is helpful for newer cryptic solvers to better understand how each answer works.
Aries Cryptic #1 - PUZ
Aries Cryptic #1 - PDF
Aries Cryptic #1 - Solution
Feedback is very much encouraged, and be sure to tell your cryptically-inclined puzzle friends about the new service. Cryptics have notoriously struggled to gain a large audience in the U.S., and I'd love it if these puzzles turned some solvers into cryptic fans. Above all, I want these puzzles to be fun, challenging, and different - let me know how well I do in that regard.