Fall is here. Apparently that means it’s team-building season. To that end, I need your help — I’m building a few puzzle games for clients and I need playtesters. I will be running 60-minute playtesting sessions at my office in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood on October 22, 23 and 27 at lunchtime (I will supply the pizza). Sign up here.
Name a titular character from 20th century American fiction, first and last name, nine letters total. Rotate one letter 180°, then anagram to get the names of two adjacent countries. What character and countries are these?
While BuzzFeed’s puzzle revolution fizzled, a devoted band of ragtag agitators remains devoted to the cause. A vibrant ecosystem of independent crosswords — “indies” — exists on the internet, its component puzzles multiplying and evolving, finding their niche and trying to find ways to survive. And some of them can outrate the gold standard over at the Times.
Last Thursday’s New York Times crossword puzzle broke new ground in a very important way. Spoilers ahead; don’t read if you’re still planning on solving it.
Three Collections Of Really Great Puzzles
Did you know that Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight has a weekly puzzle column? The answers often veer towards heady math, but even so, they’re fun to grapple with. Example titles: “Can You Figure Out How To Beat Roger Federer At Wimbledon?” and “Can You Outrun The Angry Ram Coming Right For … Oh God!”
Shinteki is a longtime puzzle hunt company out of the west coast that also publishes a monthly online puzzle. It’s usually a one-page printer-outer. They’re a little more robust than The Master Theorem, and almost always very clever. There are nine years of back archives to wade through. Have fun.
In this academic paper, Peter Winkler has “compiled seven puzzles which have often been greeted by words similar to “Wait a minute—I must not have heard that correctly.” Some seem too hard, some too easy; after you’ve worked on them for a while, you may find that the hard ones now seem easy and vice versa.
Escape Rooms, Rated
USA Today is going to name the Best Escape Room in America. Oh, to be the one to have that assignment.