February 11, 2024 - "Hearts and Arrows" - Sid Sivakumar, edited by Kim Vu

Difficulty ● ● ● ● ○

Puzzle Notes

Dear Friends:

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and we're excited to bring you a new type of puzzle called "Hearts and Arrows," crafted by our very own Sid Sivakumar. Solvers familiar with variety puzzles will recognize that this is a colorful riff on the ever-popular Rows Garden, a crossword variant first introduced by Patrick Berry. In today's "Hearts and Arrows," one or two words read horizontally across each Arrow, while eight-letter words read either clockwise or counterclockwise along the Heart-shaped loops. (Detailed instructions are enclosed in the puzzle files.)

We're offering two difficulty versions of this puzzle, as a sort of choose-your-own-adventure experience. If you've solved variety puzzles with randomized clue lists before (e.g. a traditional Rows Garden) or if you're interested in a meatier challenge, try the harder version in which the Heart clues have been jumbled up. If you're looking for something tamer and more like a typical crossword puzzle, try the easier version where each Heart clue is mapped to a specific Heart in the grid. Just be warned -- we think the "easier" version is still pretty challenging!

With many thanks to the great Alex Boisvert, you can also solve the "harder" and "easier" versions of this puzzle digitally. Just download the corresponding IPUZ or JPZ file, drop it into the Crossword Nexus online interface, and solve away.

Our <3 -> you,

the AVCX+ crew

avxwords.com | @avcxword | @lilavcx | @avcxcryptic | @avcxplus | @avcxtrivia