Category Archives: Uncategorized

Accepted in all the most prestigious journals

I may or may not have a gigantic wrap-up post about the MIT Mystery Hunt, which ended a few hours ago. My team, Palindrome, placed either sixth or seventh — reports vary — but we had a very fun time as always. After the puzzles are posted, I’ll point to a few faves. In the […]
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Why the heck not? The return of Spaghetti

It’s been a while since we’ve played Spaghetti. Let’s correct that, shall we? What is Spaghetti, you ask? It’s simple. I present to you a set of words, chosen at random out of a dictionary. You pretend those words are a puzzle. You solve the puzzle, tying all the words together in some magical way […]
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Feast of Puzzles

I’ve spoken to a lot of kids over the past few years, about puzzles and about my Winston Breen books, and one question that always comes up is this: Are the books real? Are they based on things that actually happened? I tell the kids that, like Winston, I participate in puzzle hunts all the […]
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Let the word-of-mouth campaign begin!

If you like puzzles, I think you can consider this a Big Announcement. I work for a company that produces puzzle magazines. Easy crosswords, word seeks, sudokus — a great many of the magazines you see on the supermarket newsstand. We have something like eighty different titles. For a long time, we’ve batted around the […]
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The probability that I know what I am talking about is zero

All right, math people, help me out. I just completed a section on probability with my daughter, and by and large she’s got it down. We both understand that if you flip a coin and roll a die, the probability of getting tails and a five is 1/12. (You multiply the odds of getting tails […]
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I’m gonna sit right down and write myself 3,295 letters

(Contains spoilers for the final puzzle of the tournament.) Hundreds of people compete each year at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, and the vast majority of these people have no expectation of winning anything. A couple dozen people will win trophies, and precisely nine people will get to compete onstage in the finals — three […]
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Puzzlers Behind Bars

The Maze of Games is a Kickstarter project from puzzlemaker Mike Selinker — he is promising a puzzle-filled update on a “Choose Your Adventure” story, and so appealing is this notion that he’s raised well over $100,000. (His target had been $16K.) People who buy the book will also get a complementary “Conundrucopia,” a whole […]
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State of the Homeschool

When you’re having doubts and apprehensions about the path that you’re on, there’s nothing like an inspirational TEDx talk from an eloquent, homeschooled, 13-year-old kid to turn those doubts into outright panic. It doesn’t feel to me like homeschool is going particularly well these days. It’s just… school, moved into our living room. Lea reads […]
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Practice Meta #3: The Answer

Each answer refers to a form of divination, consisting of a prefix and the letters “-omancy.” (See the first three words of the flavortext for a little clue regarding this.) Each prefix can be found hidden in one of the Magic 8-Ball fortunes. Matching the fortunes to the answers and then indexing by puzzle number […]
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Practice Meta #3: Incomplete Information Edition

Every single practice meta I’ve created, for three years now, has been a “pure” meta — a list of words and nothing more. I really wanted to come up with a decent “shell” meta, which requires the solver to use other information as well as the list of words. This time, I’ve decided not to […]
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