214. Zep!

November 12, 2014

An action-packed tale of adventure, intrigue, and gadgetry for kids; a baffling, multi-step puzzle for adults hidden in the art.

zep-bookIn a thud of inspiration about 25 years ago, I wrote and sketched up a book called Zep (in the Curse of the Evil Dr. Sumac Who Lives Next Door). The book’s 130 pages were held together using a single binder ring. When my daughter came along, I started reading Zep to her, and it soon became one of her favorite stories.

For years I’ve dreamed of turning Zep into a real book, and the time has finally come. But I’m looking to do something I’ve never done before — self-publish.

You can help in that effort by pre-ordering the book on Kickstarter (you’ll also get some insider extras). There are additional levels of involvement, such as buying yourself a piece of original art from the book, that will help in funding the project. EVERYTHING IS EXPLAINED HERE.


210. Heroes & Mystery

June 23, 2014

heroesAvailable now:
Hunting for Heroes
Includes 40 unique puzzles, plus full-page articles on the Poison Squad; Sgt. Reckless, the Korean War’s bravest horse; women spies of The Civil War; the Star Trek star Martin Luther King Jr. looked up to; Brooklyn’s unlikely chess whizzes; five amazing super-rodents; a 100-year-old marathoner; hero kids around the world; and tons more! [CLICK for more info]

mysteryPlunging into Mystery
Includes 40 unique puzzles, plus full-page articles on Clever Hans, the four-legged adding machine; Strasbourg’s dancing plague, what do dreams mean?; the White House’s secret defenses; the pea-headed children of Woolpit, England; did a U.S. vice president’s daughter really walk the plank?; a Pacific city built of huge lava logs; and tons more! [CLICK for more info]


209. Final Impressions

March 10, 2014

A trio of snapshots from the American Crossword Puzzle Championship. I took blurred photos, then made adjustments in Photoshop, including the addition of a watercolor effect (it shows up more when the photos are enlarged). The last shot is a rare photo of Don Christensen, the man who takes pictures of everyone else over the weekend. Don is about to capture Will Shortz and Mike Shenk, the final-puzzle constructor, for posterity … and hopefully not fall off the stage.

Click on the titles to enlarge: 1. Easels, 2. Winners, 3. Invisible Man

acpt-easels3acpt-winnersacpt-don


205. Up, Up and (when I catch my breath) Away

December 20, 2013

Free. An original 15×15 crossword puzzle of mediumish difficulty.

If you like it, consider it a Christmas or belated Hanukkah gift, even though the theme has nothing to do with either holiday.
geezerbowIf you don’t like it, demand a refund!

Click to download:
PDF  • PDF solution
Solve online (super smooth)
Across Lite


204. Puzzling Thoughts: House Hunt

December 9, 2013

By chance, about five years ago, I heard that Will Shortz would be hosting a small get-together at his house for a few puzzle friends. That didn’t involve me, but an annual crossword tournament Will holds in his hometown the week before — that would. The event is always followed by a trek of the puzzling faithful to stately Shortz manor for snacks and drinks and hobnobbing.

After the tournament, while clogs of puzzlers were clustered in Will’s kitchen, dining room, and living room, I planted a small puzzle hunt around the house. There were three clues. Each was a 4-line poem on a small piece of paper giving a hint as to the location of the next clue.

On the day of Will’s party, I sent him an email explaining what I’d done. At the end of the email was another 4-line poem to start the hunt.

cokeThe first clue was hidden in a vase on his mantel, not far from a Rotten Tomatoes award for the best-reviewed documentary of the year, Wordplay. Where was the second clue? I’m not remembering. But the third one was inside a fake can of Coca-Cola in a kitchen cupboard otherwise filled with cans of Campbell’s Chunky soup. Its message led to the “prize” I’d squirreled away in the back of his freezer, a small container of mustache antifreeze for use during the upcoming winter.

I’ve never asked if he’s used it, but I suspect not.


203. Wynne Win

December 5, 2013

Here’s a “fun” puzzle, adapted from one that appears in iFlush: Hurtling thru History. Click on the image to download a PDF.

puzwynne3


201. Rejected Puzzler Cover

October 9, 2013

adequateAvailable Now:
People ? Celebrity Puzzler

Here’s the cover we didn’t use. To find out the actual title, click on the cover.

Inside you’ll find a dozen of our patented Top Ten Jumbo Puzzlers, plus a quintet of Top Ten Fun Fact pages covering today’s sizzlingest celebrities. Also, back by popular demand, seven types of puzzles and a six-page treasure trove of trivia.

Puzzles and art direction by Patrick Merrell; edited by Cutler Durkee and Lisa Russell; photos by Linda Pacheco; brought to fruition by Isata Yansaneh; published by Time Home Entertainment; 128 pages; $11.99 less on Amazon.


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