Thursday, March 4, 2021

Hockey Game Solution and Contest winners

Aries Cryptic #31 - Solution (PDF) 

Thanks for all how entered into the Hockey Game contest! There were 83 correct submissions, and the two winners picked at random are Mary Maynard and Gerald Becker. Congrats Mary and Gerald! They've won two-month Aries subscriptions as their prize. See above for a PDF of the solution. 

Speaking of subscriptions, Rows Garden and Freestyle subscriptions are always open! It's been a great start to the new year. Of note the Freestyle difficulty has been bumped up so if you're craving a challenging themeless puzzle be sure to snap up a subscription. 

I've also updated the Monthly Bundles to include the first few months of 2021. If you'd like a taste of what you'd get every week as a subscriber, pick up a monthly bundle or two!

And finally, since January I've been writing a monthly-ish block cryptic for The Browser - click here for subscription details.

Back in a few weeks with this month's variety puzzle - I've got a Twists & Turns lined up! 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Aries Cryptic #31 - Hockey Game

 Aries Cryptic #31 - "Hockey Game" - PDF | Introduction to Cryptics (PDF) | Solution (PDF)

Back with a variety cryptic this month, and it's a contest! This cryptic is titled "Hockey Game," and it's inspired by the "medley"-style cryptics that I primarily associate with the great Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon. If you're interested in some of Hex's medleys, here's one from 1983 and another from 2006.  These kinds of variety cryptics tend to play pretty tough, so get ready for a real workout!

It was fun to conceptualize a puzzle around hockey, which I love but aside from Bobby Orr gets pretty short shrift in puzzles. I get it - it's a niche sport and so I tend not to reference hockey all that much in my work. And if you're not a hockey fan, don't worry - there's no obscure hockey knowledge required to solve this puzzle. As always, hope you enjoy! 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Marching Bands #1

Marching Bands #1 - PDF | JPZ | Solution (PDF) 

I've got a Marching Bands for the variety puzzle this month! This format, developed by the great Mike Shenk, regularly appears in the Wall Street Journal and you can also subscribe to bi-weekly Marching Bands from Brendan Emmett Quigley. If you like the format you should give the Patrick Berry puzzle "Twister" a try - it definitely plays like a Marching Bands, but there's an extra layer or two and the payoff is really satisfying. "Twister" was probably my favorite variety puzzle from 2020, so it's highly recommended if you haven't solved it already.  

I've got a PDF for paper solvers and a JPZ option for digital solvers - just save the JPZ file and then open it Crossword Nexus to solve online. 

Now that 2020 is over I've updated the Rows Garden and Freestyle archives to include the 2020 Second Half puzzles, so be sure to check those out. If you're interested in a smaller bite, I've also updated the Monthly Bundles through December. And of course Rows Garden and Freestyle subscriptions are always open! Get yourself a subscription in order to get weekly puzzles delivered straight to your email inbox.

Happy solving!