Puzzles

Updated October 27, 2017

We've been solving various kinds of puzzles for years, and after meeting and chatting with puzzle authors, Cathy was inspired to try it herself. She had made numerous puzzles for Tom over the years, and was able to use that experience – and Tom's excellent feedback from play-testing – to create a set of puzzles for Puzzled Pint. She got great advice and feedback from friends, and her first set of puzzles debuted in July, 2014.

That evolved into authoring puzzles for DASH and another Puzzled Pint set. After enlisting Tom to help with testing and refining her puzzles, Cathy managed to convince him to co-author a set with her.

Here are a few of the puzzles we created. Check back later for more!

If you have any comments – or if you'd like a hint on a puzzle – you can email [puzzles] at this domain.

Resources

Note that many of the puzzles below don't have specific instructions for solving – figuring out what to do is one of the challenges. If you aren't familiar with puzzles like this, you will find it useful to read the Puzzling Basics sheet on the Puzzled Pint site, and we'd recommend starting with our January 2015 set.

A useful resource for all solvers is the Puzzled Pint Code Sheet, which lists many of the common encodings used in puzzles like these. The Puzzled Pint Resources page has links to some handy smartphone apps.

Puzzles

Pi Day

The mathematical constant pi (π) has the value 3.14... That looks like March 14 when using the US date format of month/day, so March 14 is Pi Day.

In 2016, we were on a cruise during Pi Day. The highlight of the cruise was seeing a total solar eclipse, so it was a very geeky crowd, and there were several people excited about having Pi Day activities. Cathy created a sheet with three beginner-friendly puzzles for part of the day's festivities.

In 2017, Puzzled Pint's second-Tuesday-of-the-month date fell on March 14. For the bonus puzzle at that event, Cathy revised her Pi Day puzzles from the cruise. For this version, there's one tweak in the word chain, and the answer phrase from the grids is a lot less geeky.

Both versions of the Pi Day puzzle set are below (on letter-size and A4 paper). Which should you choose? If you're a math geek, you'll probably appreciate the phrase revealed by the solution to the puzzle with the grids, so play the 2016 cruise version. Otherwise, play the 2017 Puzzled Pint set. (The word search is the same in both versions. The word chain in the original uses a less-well-known pie, but was still solved successfully by many people.)

Letter-size paper:   A4-size paper:

Halloween

This sheet has two puzzles with a halloween theme. These are also beginner-friendly (it has full instructions), but the second puzzle may be a little challenging.

Microsoft Intern Puzzleday

Every summer, Microsoft hosts a day of puzzle solving for interns. This event is geared for novice puzzle solvers in teams of 6-12 people. For the 2016 event, the theme was about traveling around the world, so all of the puzzles have a title indicating a location. Location names provided inspiration for puzzles, but knowledge of a place isn't necessary in order to solve its puzzle.

The banners at the top of each puzzle mimic the signs you'd see on a road trip telling you the distance to nearby locations. The numbers aren't used in the solutions to these puzzles.

Cathy created the five puzzles below. (We've been to four of the five locations.) Print the second page of Arctic Circle in color if possible. All other puzzles can be printed in black and white.

Puzzled Pint

Puzzled Pint takes place in dozens of cities around the world on the second Tuesday of every month. Teams solve a puzzle to learn where the event will be, then show up at the designated bar to work a set of 4-6 puzzles while they have dinner and drinks.

These puzzles sets were designed to be solved by a team, so grab a few friends to work with you. We hope you enjoy them! (And remember to consult the Code Sheet and Puzzling Basics references mentioned above.)

The links below will take you to a page with more information on each set, including the puzzles, hints, and solutions. Solve times are estimates for the timed portion of the set, based on how long teams typically took at the event. (Individual solvers should expect to take longer!)

DASH

DASH (Different Area, Same Hunt) is a day-long event where teams in cities around the world solve the same puzzles. Each year has a different theme, but the general concept is the same: teams solve a series of puzzles as a story unfolds, walking to a new location for each puzzle. After participating on a team in several DASH events, Cathy wrote her first puzzle for DASH 7, which ran in 2015.

The links below will take you to a page with more information on each puzzle, including the context in the story, puzzles, hints, and solutions.

  • DASH 7: Interview with Rita Skeeter – The theme was Harry Potter, and Cathy's puzzle represented the team's interview with the infamous journalist Rita Skeeter.
  • DASH 8: GHOST in the Machine – Teams were part of a spy organization that had been hacked. We (Cathy and Tom) wrote the "mixer" puzzle that kicked off the event by having groups of three teams collaborate to discover the hacker's identity.

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