I recently returned from the National Puzzlers' League annual convention, this year in Montreal, Canada. I'm a relatively new member to the NPL, and this is only my 3rd convention, but it was the League's 183rd gathering. NPL Con isn't like a regular convention, where you sign up for sessions or panels. You go to NPL Con to play games, solve original puzzles, share your puzzles with others, and, of course, make new puzzle friends.
One big feature of Con is a huge table of puzzle handouts, so I formatted and printed off some of the Mysteries that I've been making here on Signals. As someone who much prefers solving puzzles on paper, I'm not sure why I didn't think of this earlier. This is now a perk of becoming a Signals Booster: printable copies of each Mystery. Members can find a PDF of the first 12 puzzles at the membership page, and eventually, on each individual puzzle page.
Every month I offer a new bite-sized puzzle. Here's the latest one:
Think of a name-brand toy for kids, in 5 letters. Remove a letter and anagram what remains to get a part of the body that is often injured by this toy. What toy and body part are these?Submit your answer here 🗳
Aptonyms in movies
When Harrison Ford was cast as the president of the US in Air Force One, did anyone reflect on how appropriate it was to cast someone in that role who shares their first and last name with the last names of two former US Presidents? Was that the impetus for casting him? If anyone has better Googling skills than me and can find evidence of this, please share.
I was reminded of this when I heard about the new Michael Mann-directed Ferrari biopic coming out later this year. The top-line actors in this movie, starring as Enzo and Laura Ferrari, are two superstars whose names align really well with the subject matter. Almost as if they were born for these roles. Take a guess and then scroll to the bottom for the answers.
Mystery League, brought to you by Arkansas PBS
I wish I could say I helped develop this, but I know nothing about it and only learned of it via a Google Alert. No such thing as bad publicity, I guess?
This is a good place to remind you that The Mystery League was also a book imprint in the 1930s, with a set of sick cover designs. (These designs were the inspiration for the book covers that Sarah Hemburger made for the Word Salad puzzle in the Pilcrow Bar hunt.)
Grandmaster Puzzles Season 1
I love Grandmaster Puzzles' daily logic puzzles. They're always so elegant and clever. Last month, GMP started a paid subscription model. Reader, I could not smash that subscribe button fast enough. Only $10 gets you 175 puzzles.
My latest Mystery is an embiggened* version of The New York Times' popular Spelling Bee game. There are a few leaps of deduction in this one, but overall, I believe it's a pretty smooth solve. Hints are posted for Signals Boosters.
*Would Spelling Bee accept this word, coined by The Simpsons? According to this article, it was added to Dictionary.com, but the NYT's wordlist often omits some words you'd expect, to say nothing of new words you may not know. It'd be a lovely answer: embiggened is composed of 7 unique letters, making it a possible pangram, and shares a letter bank with another (much more common) pangram, embedding.