Give Me Problems!
December 16, 2010 10:39 PM   Subscribe

Looking for puzzles to exercise my brain!

I'm trying to find both toy-style and book puzzles for adults.

In the book range, I'm leaning more towards "Masquerade" by Kit Williams , or "Maze" by Manson, or "The Eleventh Hour" by Graeme, and not those about math, logic, crosswords, sudoku, or mazes just by themselves. I really like artwork combined with cleverness, if possible.

For toy-style puzzles, I'd especially appreciate finding those of quality or just....something more. I don't just want those puzzles made out of pieces of metal that you have to untangle, but have so far liked these wooden puzzles. I like things that are or seem to be well made.

Thanks for any help!
posted by DisreputableDog to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Not the hugest mental workout, but an amazing book nonetheless:

600 Black Spots
posted by pablocake at 1:27 AM on December 17, 2010

Thinkfun generally makes some pretty cool puzzles. I particularly recommend "Rush Hour" and "Tipover".
posted by Johnny Assay at 4:10 AM on December 17, 2010

I've enjoyed reading children's books with puzzles integrated into the story. In particular, The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman, The Puzzling World of Winston Breen by Eric Berlin (and sequel, the Potato Chip Puzzles), and Spiderweb for Two by Elizabeth Enright (3rd or 4th book in a series, slightly better if you've read the previous books, but works as a stand-alone too). Also fun are the picture ones. While the kids at my school all love Where's Waldo, I prefer the richer pictures of I Spy by Walter Wick & Jean Marzollo (which includes quite a few books; my favorite is Haunted House) and the storyline of Sword Quest by Andy Dixon (three other similar books by him as well).
posted by Margalo Epps at 4:37 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


They combine cleverness and art. I believe somewhere on the site you can get printed/printable versions.
posted by TheClonusHorror at 5:14 AM on December 17, 2010

I suggest the books of Raymond Smullyan (particularly The Lady or the Tiger? and What is the Name of this Book?). The puzzles contained in these books are really great for exercising your logical thought processes.

In addition, The Lady or the Tiger has a sort of "novelization" of the proof of Goedel's incompleteness theorem. Along the way, Smullyan has you solving some puzzles that give you an idea of the proof. At the end, you understand the proof of the theorem. So, not only do you get to do puzzles, but you learn something extremely awesome in the meantime. Admittedly, I never understood the proof until I read Smullyan's take on it. (I think it's because every time I tried to go through the proof, I got bogged down in the layers of notation involved.)

Some of his puzzles are really dated (especially with some of the language he uses), but the ideas behind them are timeless.
posted by King Bee at 5:55 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

I know you said you don't like logic puzzles, but Smullyan tricks you into thinking you're not doing logic/mathematics even though you are. Just glance at one next time you're in the library.
posted by King Bee at 5:56 AM on December 17, 2010

I would be remiss if I did not point you to Rob's Puzzle Page, where you'll probably be most interested in the interlocking puzzles. He's a collector, not a seller, but he sometimes links to sites where they can be purchased, or at least give you enough information so you can Google them.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:45 AM on December 17, 2010

Nick Bantock wrote a lovely puzzle book called The Egyptian Jukebox. Easier than Maze, very beautiful.
posted by jeather at 7:16 AM on December 17, 2010

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