tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
I'm not a fan of April Fools' Day. Perhaps it's because, hello, I spend all year making stuff up, and once a year a bunch of amateurs are going to try it? Please. But what really fails to impress me on April Fools' Day is...a bad puzzle.

By the time anyone reads this, they'll presumably already have gotten the news about Google Treasure Maps. It's kind of clever, though "street view" is certainly the best part of it. Anyway: The rest is after the jump, lest someone not want this 'puzzle' 'spoiled' for them )

And I think that's why I hate April Fools' Day. Yeah, I make stuff up, but they're one-off little jokes, and they aren't anything that anyone's going to spend time worrying about or otherwise engaged in. Pranks that waste people's time? That's just stupid.

tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
All right, all right, I should get these down on metaphorical paper. I'm going to talk freely about the answers to the puzzles, so if that bothers you, go do the puzzles first or something.

cut for extraordinary length and because mostly you don't care )

So, overall impression: There were a few nice standalone puzzles here and there, but overall I'm glad I didn't put too much time in it, and kind of sorry I put in as much as I did.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
The CiSRA competition having ended, I have any number of thoughts which I ought to get around to posting, but lest I forget, the two major lessons I learned are:

1. If there aren't any other particular constraints on either your clue phrase or your answer, you might as well make it unambiguous.
2. If the theme for your puzzle very nearly works but doesn't quite, maybe you're better off not using it instead.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
Why can't I get a job solving puzzles all day? I suppose I have one, in some sense, but. Saxikath and I are now in fifth place in the CiSRA puzzle competition, not that we're competing for anything, but they're good puzzles. We're "Just a Couple of Hacks" (because Tah + Saxi = Taxi, taxis are hacks, get it?), and have gotten the exalted position of "fifth" by being one of the five teams who's solved six puzzles (and thus behind the team that's solved seven); fifth and not sixth by dint of my having hit on the right format for our sixth answer about fourteen seconds before the sixth-place team. And, you know, five hours behind plugh. Hi, plugh!

Anyway, I like solving puzzles, which is more or less the entire point of this post.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
A question about one of the entries in the 3/8/09 puzzle:

Cut, obviously, for the spoileriffic nature )
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
Before the Hunt, I mentioned that I'd written a puzzle early Friday morning. Specifically, I'd promised a puzzle to my aunt in North Carolina for an inauguration-themed party.

So if anyone's curious: Four More Years?. It's designed to be solved by non-puzzlers, of course; it's geared to be of fairly easy difficulty.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
As for me, I have, this morning, already:
  • Written a puzzle
  • Had the puzzle testsolved
  • Printed it and prepared to send it out
  • Discovered that I'd written it to lead to the wrong final answer
  • Rewritten the puzzle
  • Printed it and sent it out.

And the Hunt starts in two hours. How was your morning?

Puzzle

Nov. 11th, 2008 09:47 pm
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
Today's Abstruse Goose. Not a very hard puzzle, perhaps, but I found it interesting.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
Once again, in the category of "unclear on the concept" puzzles, this one from Tanga.

There's a lot wrong here—the solution method has problems, I think, and the pictures are too small to make out clearly. But the real issue...well, let the author explain. In case you don't want to go look, it's an odd-one-out puzzle, and the third and fifth lines are, respectively, pictures of: a helicopter, an airplane, a kite, an eagle; mouth, nose, chin, eyes. Now, from the answer:

In case you want to solve it )
Dude. If you know that your puzzle is ambiguous, perhaps fixing it is a good idea.

Con report

Jul. 17th, 2008 05:35 am
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
I'm no good at Con reports, not really. So a few semi-random passing comments.

Cut for length. And to spare non-NPLers the boredom. )

As they say, l'shana ha-ba'ah b'Altimore.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
Hey, friendslist puzzlers, especially those who worked for Games Magazine in the '80s.

Tanga, a website I've pointed to in the past for the astonishingly low quality of some of its puzzles, had an interesting pair of puzzles today. Here's the "hard" one; the easy one looks identical but, cleverly, has a different solution. Even the hard one didn't take me long, though.

That's because I'd seen the puzzle before. In fact, it appears in the Games collection The Book of Sense and Nonsense Puzzles (see here; skip to page 9), (c) 1985, so it presumably appeared in Games somewhat earlier.

Question 1: did this guy Arnott ever work for Games? Did he write this crossword? (In the book, it's credited unhelpfully to Margot Seides, which someone clued me in several years ago is an anagram, enumeration "5 7".)

Question 2: anyone, especially anyone with a vested interest in this (e.g. a copyright holder), have thoughts on how to proceed? Because speaking as both a puzzler and an academic, there's pretty much nothing I hate more than plagiarism.
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
I've been resisting writing about the 2008 Mystery Hunt because I've been waiting to see the answers to some things, as well as the overall structure. But, well, it strikes me that I don't want to wait too long, so...

Cut for length, of course )
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
About a year ago, I complained about a puzzle on a website called Tanga which I found particularly, er, terrible.

As part of an ongoing series, then, I offer: this puzzle. You can try to solve it if you want, though I don't recommend it. (Tanga puzzles lead to a single word. Heh.) Or you can read on...

Bad puzzle! Bad! )

Personal aside to II&F members: if you ever write a puzzle like this, you'll be solving remotely from North Dakota next year.

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