Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Twists & Turns #1

I'm excited to debut a brand new variety puzzle format called Twists & Turns! I've worked hard to develop this format over the past few months and now it's time for solvers to take a crack at it.

The directions for Twists & Turns are included in the PDF below. For the maiden puzzle, I'm only offering one difficulty version, with the Twists listed in grid order, though if I write more of these, I do intend on also offering a "Harder" version that lists the Twists alphabetically (similar to a Harder Rows Garden listing the blooms alphabetically). I want solvers to get the hang of the format first, however, so this first puzzle lists the Twists in grid order.

Because this is the first ever T&T, I'd really appreciate solver feedback on this one! If you liked it, or if you didn't, I'd very much like to hear from as many solvers as possible. I really enjoyed writing this first puzzle, and I have some ideas for further exploration of this format, but you the solver are the ultimate judge, and your feedback will be extremely helpful as I consider the future of Twists & Turns. Don't hesitate to leave a comment below, or you can always send me an email too.

Happy solving!

Twists & Turns #1 - PDF

Twists & Turns #1 - Solution

Wednesday, May 22, 2019


This week I've got a Rows Garden! See below for the links for the PDFs and an RGZ file for use in the Rows Garden app for iPad and iPhone. An explanation of the four difficulty levels can be seen on the sidebar on the right side of this page.

Happy solving!


May FREE RG - Hardest (PDF)

May FREE RG - Harder (PDF)

May FREE RG - Easier (PDF)

May FREE RG - Easiest (PDF)

May FREE RG - Solution (PDF)

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Aries Throwback - "Comeback Kids"

Aries Throwback this week! Going back to 2015 for this puzzle, titled "Comeback Kids." I made a slight revision, mostly in the northwest corner, which included changing part of the first theme entry. Looking back on this puzzle, one thing I really like was the non-theme long fill, particularly 11- and 34-Down. I always made interesting non-theme fill a priority for Aries Xword puzzles; this is a good example of that effort.

If you're interested in solving more Aries Xword puzzles, be sure to check out Maverick Crosswords, which was published last year by Sterling Publishing. It's essentially a greatest hits mixtape of Aries Xword puzzles, which were originally published 2014-2017. It seems like eons have passed since I've written those puzzles, and it's always fun to look back on that early work. Hope you enjoy today's throwback!

Comeback Kids - PUZ

Comeback Kids - PDF

Comeback Kids - PDF (Grayscale)

Comeback Kids - Solution

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

May FREEstyle

This week I've got a 71-word, 33-block freestyle to share. I've really enjoyed exploring freestyle layouts with either left-right or top-bottom symmetry in the last few years; this is an example of the latter. Using atypical symmetry can accommodate some stacks of unusual lengths. I'm fairly certain this is the only 14/12/14 center stack that I've written.

You'll see that I've included a second PDF with a grayscale version of the grid, as an ink-saving option for pencil-and-paper solvers.

Happy solving!

May FREEstyle - PUZ

May FREEstyle - PDF

May FREEstyle - PDF (Grayscale)

May FREEstyle - Solution