Puzzle Me This
November 16, 2009 2:00 PM   Subscribe

I love logic/word puzzles. Where can I find more/better puzzles? I've getting into word puzzles like the stuff you find in Games Magazine, or those PennyPress books. Are there other good periodicals or sources of puzzles I should know about? Preferably offline puzzles, as doing puzzles on the computer just isn't the same.

I used to only do crosswords or the purer logic puzzles like the ones nikoli publishes. While there's tons of Sudoku and Kakuro books out there, one big book of the same kind of puzzle gets old. (Crosswords are a different story, but there's no shortage of those.) And after picking up a few of those PennyPress/Dell collections to keep me busy on a plane, I've realized that there's a ton of crossword/acrostic/anagram type word puzzles I've never really given a fair chance.

Are there better sources of puzzles? Those PennyDellPress periodicals are ok, but not fantastic. (And what's the difference between the two magazines anyway? They are published by the same company, are they supposed to be significantly different?) Games magazine is ok, but there's really only a few good puzzles per magazine. Oh, and while I prefer variety is there a good source of American Cryptic Crosswords out there? (I say American because cryptics are already a bit too hard for me, but when all the clues rely on UK puns/references I'd have more fun just making up words that fit the spaces.)
posted by aspo to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have much of an answer for you, expect to be surprised that Dell and PennyPress are now one company. I grew up on those magazines, and the Dell ones were always vastly superior to the PennyPress ones.

But there is always at least one, it not several, huge (like 400 pages) of variety puzzles available on sale in most Chapters here; usually around $6 a book. (Chapters in the canadian equivilant of Barnes and Noble, for example). They're even inferior than the PennyPress puzzles of old though, but include every type of puzzle imaginable (but sometimes leave out crosswords)
posted by cgg at 2:10 PM on November 16, 2009

You sound a lot like me. I recently found Picma, and I'm betting you'll enjoy it as much as I do. (I'm sure you could probably find Picross puzzles in book form too, if you're looking for something on the go.)
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 2:15 PM on November 16, 2009

No magazine suggestions, but you might be interested in The Oxford Guide to Word Games - gives examples, history etc. Also Words at Play by Willard Espy - not directly about word puzzles, but language exuberance.
posted by paduasoy at 2:15 PM on November 16, 2009

Oh and this - Lewis Carroll's puzzles.
posted by paduasoy at 2:17 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: P&A Magazine.

Say goodbye to your spare time.
posted by painquale at 2:45 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also by the guy who does P&A (Foggy Brume): The Puzzle Boat.
posted by painquale at 2:54 PM on November 16, 2009

Best answer: Oh and for the American cryptic crosswords, try to find cryptics by Fraser Simpson. He does the Saturday cryptic crossword for The Globe and Mail and a monthly for the Canadian magazine The Walrus (The Walrus's puzzle page is really quite good). I find his cryptics to be easier, more intuitive, and better than most others.
posted by painquale at 2:58 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Harper's and the Atlantic each have a tricky acrostic word puzzle each month. I'm pretty sure they can be found online.
posted by OHenryPacey at 3:35 PM on November 16, 2009

You probably are aware that Nikoli has a lot more puzzle types than Sudoku and Kakuro.

They have a website where you can buy books (shipped from Japan) and play many of the logic games (flash interface). I have ordered a lot of the books and they are great. The website has some puzzles you can play for free but if you are a member (about $5-6 per month, depending on exchange rate) you can play a huge backlog of puzzles (700+). Right now there are 11 different types.

My personal favorites are Heyaway, then Slitherlink and Akari.
posted by jockc at 4:18 PM on November 16, 2009

I forgot to mention for nikoli members there are about 4-5 new puzzles posted each day.
posted by jockc at 4:20 PM on November 16, 2009

from 6 days ago. my life has been ruined by some of the links in there.
posted by Frasermoo at 4:45 PM on November 16, 2009

The Winsome Parker Lewis: "You sound a lot like me. I recently found Picma, and I'm betting you'll enjoy it as much as I do. (I'm sure you could probably find Picross puzzles in book form too, if you're looking for something on the go.)"

If you like this, try griddlers.net which is the same puzzle type with an IMO much better interface.
posted by alexei at 5:06 PM on November 16, 2009

My favorite online source of logic puzzles is conceptispuzzles.com.* I know you said preferably offline, but they list the publications they license their puzzles to (Games Magazine among many others), so you can browse that for some new sources. Alternately, you can print their puzzles. They're all pure logic puzzles, though some generate pictures while others are number/symbol based (like sudoku and battleships).

Logic puzzle products is the publications listing. It is not as tidily organized as it once was, but the info on it is no longer stale as it once was. Tradeoffs, always tradeoffs.

*Conceptis has unfortunately recently switched to a mostly paid format, but some of the easier puzzles for each weekly release are free, plus their static set of sample puzzles. If you buy your credits there in the most efficient way ($25 worth at a time), it comes out to $2.08/week for a weekly release of over 100 puzzles of 11 or 12 different types. Or farrrrr fewer if you buy a la carte. This definitely feels like a lot to me for a web subscription type payment, but OTOH it's a bargain price for that many puzzles with that much variety in difficulty and type. I've stuck around for the paid version of the site, but I'm nothing but a satisfied customer.
posted by clauclauclaudia at 6:49 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

It's in German, but Angela and Otto Janko's webpage is a goldmine of logic puzzles. I've also found myself sucked into the daily Kenken puzzles of late.
posted by Toubab at 11:37 AM on November 17, 2009

Oh man P&A is awesome. I was literally crouched over my printer chortling just now.
posted by cmoj at 4:03 PM on November 17, 2009

Dammit, every time I remember about P&A, I lose a ton of time to it.

I'm determined to solve each issue without any hints or help. Last night, I finally beat an issue that I was attacking off and on for the past three years. Huzzah!
posted by painquale at 5:17 PM on November 17, 2009

Raymond Smullyan, one of my favorite philosphers/logicians, has published a number of great hard-core logic puzzle books; mostly first-order logic but some focus on modal logic and others on retrograde analysis (i.e. his chess puzzle books). Here's a wikipedia list of his logic puzzle books. Unfortunately, quite a few are now out of print and fairly difficult to find but several are still available new from Amazon and I've found a few others in used book stores, on half.com, and on bookmooch.com.

A good jumping in point would be The Lady or the Tiger?, which starts with the classic "Is there a beautiful lady or a hungry tiger behind the door?" puzzle and adds progressively more doors and rules. There's also a series of "On an island where half the people always tell the truth and the other half always lie..." puzzles that progressively add complexity to the scenario.

Although not logic puzzles, his book First-Order Logic is one of the best and most accessible overviews on the topic.
posted by devnall at 7:08 AM on November 23, 2009

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