Monday, October 8, 2018

Introducing Aries Cryptic

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.

Happy solving!



  1. I'm thrilled that you'll be adding cryptics to your menu! I've started to really get into them in the last year, and there just aren't enough American constructors -- I can handle Kosman/Picciotto with time and the right amount of crunch, Cox/Rathvon a little less so, but anything from a British source stumps me.

  2. Yes! A big thumbs up for cryptics, Andrew. Enjoyed the first one.

  3. wow, terrific puzzle. quite thorny despite the small size.

  4. Really enjoyed solving this. Thanks!

  5. Thanks for adding cryptics! I've been looking for a source of cryptics. I prefer straightforward cryptics to variety cryptics - the format is challenging enough without extra gimmicks thrown in.

  6. Hubby & I do Lovatts cryptics each evening. I agree with Mat that some of the British are too hard or too challenging. hooray for Aries!

  7. Thank you thank you . . . . . etc. several hundred times!

    BEQ let me know about this, and I'm very grateful.

    Judy M.

  8. Very glad to see this - thank you!

    For 12A it seemed perfectly obvious that one would toast Christmas and that "you'll" is the oral version of it.

    It took me a while to figure out how the right answer fits. I prefer my answer. :)