Humble Puzzle Bundle

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Humble Puzzle Bundle offerings
The Humble Puzzle Bundle offers a great selection of puzzle books for any price you wish to pay. Screen shot by Derrick Schneider

Who doesn’t love a good puzzle? What about great puzzles by top designers? What about lots of great puzzles for a price of your choice?

The latest Humble Bundle is the Humble Puzzle Bundle, chock full of PDFs (and one physical book). Even though I’ve gotten many of these puzzles in the past, I still put out a good chunk of money to get the rest. In typical Humble Bundle fashion, you can allocate funds to the authors, a tip, or different charities such as Child’s Play and the It Gets Better campaign.

Go over to the site, donate, and get enough puzzle fodder to last you for eons.

Here are some highlights, based on the ones I’ve already solved or know of.

  • The Maze of Games – This is the big ticket item in the batch. I reviewed the book a while back and it’s worth the price of admission by itself. It’s a sprawling mix of stories and puzzles, with layers of puzzles fit on top of the individual ones, and one final puzzle that ties it all together. In addition to the PDF, significant donations will also get the hardback book, and stretch goals will help fund a tip guide.
  • Logical Leaps and Landings – My friend Pavel Curtis has been creating tricky logic puzzles on paper for a few years now (He’s been designing tricky mechanical puzzles for much longer). The puzzles are often variants of what are called “Nikoli Puzzles,” but they also layer in metapuzzles, hidden jokes, and more. While most of the puzzle books in the Humble Bundle are word puzzles, these are straight-up logic puzzles.
  • Vicious Circle – I’m a fan of Patrick Berry’s crosswords, but I really like his variety puzzles. Vicious Circle is a set of puzzles with a very satisfying metapuzzle that ties the individual puzzles together. I’m also a big fan of him as a cryptic crossword author, and The Crypt is an excellent showcase of his skills.
  • Idiosyncrossies – Francis Heaney is a clever crossword constructor whose puzzles often defy the genre in great ways. In one of his puzzles, for instance, you had to trace out a path of words through the whole grid, including the black squares. Metapuzzles and jokes abound. Idiosyncrossies is a collection of puzzles he did for The Onion’s AV Club. (Though the puzzle no longer happens at that publication, the former editor Ben Tausig started the American Values Crossword, which is one of my favorites of the indie crosswords. Heaney still publishes there, and if you like crosswords at all, you should subscribe.)
  • And lots of others! Brendan Emmett Quigley, a name well known to New York Times (and AV Crossword) subscribers, has two collections of variety crosswords. Patrick Blindauer, another NYT constructor, has a few collections of puzzles and metapuzzles in the mix. Mike Selinker has his Killer Cryptics in the batch, and if you like cryptic crosswords, these are challenging.

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