July 15, 2005

Puzzles of the Year

As previously mentioned, I was recently in L.A. for the National Puzzler's League convention, which featured a multi-puzzle extravaganza written by Dan Katz (aka Spelvin), me (aka Lunch Boy), and Dave Tuller (aka QED), presented below in pdf form for anyone who'd like to take a crack at it. It's called "The 30th Annual Sphinxie Awards" and was presented at the con in the format of an awards show, with (unwitting) presenters called up from the audience to perform presentations for such awards as Crossword of the Year, Logic Puzzle of the Year, and so forth. However, unlike regular awards shows, instead of announcing the winner of each award, each pair of presenters introduced a puzzle; solving that puzzle would give you the name of the award-winning puzzle. Once a team showed us that they knew the name of the award-winning puzzle, we gave that puzzle to them; solving that puzzle would reveal the name of the puzzle's (fictional) author. Throughout the evening, Dan and I performed two songs each (ostensibly the nominees for "Best Song"), which were also puzzles. I'll have MP3s of my songs available eventually [update: now, in fact!] (and hopefully Dan will have a chance to record his as well) [update: yes, he did!], but even though they are more entertaining in the sung-out-loud format, they can be solved from just the lyrics.

To recap: You get a bunch of puzzles. You use those puzzles to figure out the titles of other puzzles. You solve those other puzzles to figure out the authors of those puzzles.

The eventual goal is for you to figure out the winner of the Puzzler of the Year award; this can be determined with the answers you get from solving all the other puzzles in a fashion which you'll learn about later.

To play along at home, print out the six "first round" puzzles:

Puzzle 1
Puzzle 2
Puzzle 3
Puzzle 4
Puzzle 5
Puzzle 6

When you solve one or more of those puzzles, you can do one of two things. If you're feeling confident that your answer is correct (remember that you're looking for something that could be a puzzle title), go ahead and open the appropriate file (make sure the puzzle type matches first) and print it out. If you'd like to confirm your answer, you can e-mail me (f and then an underscore and then heaney and then an at symbol and then yahoo and then a dot and then com) or IM me (my AIM handle is francisheaney) and I'll confirm your answer if (or when) I'm online. Here are the six second-round puzzles:

Crossword of the Year
Crostic of the Year
Cryptic of the Year
Logic Puzzle of the Year
Picture Puzzle of the Year (page 1, page 2, page 3)
Word Search of the Year

Once you've found all six puzzle authors, you can download a transcript of the song lyrics and the Sphinxie Award selection process (temporarily offline), which may be of assistance in determining the Puzzler of the Year:

Lyrics and selection process

If you think you know what to do to learn the Puzzler of the Year's identity, e-mail or IM me to confirm, and I'll tell you what happens next.

Posted by Francis at 03:45 PM


Just kidding. I look forward to seeing the puzzles I never saw during the actual game.

Posted by: Ellen at July 15, 2005 04:35 PM

This is very nice and all, and thanks, because I was on Big Honkin' Logic Puzzle duty and didn't get to see much else. But: WE WANT MP3S, DAMMIT!

Posted by: Trazom at July 15, 2005 07:26 PM

Ditto Ellen! Er, wait, make that Trazom. Oh hell, just thanks for it all and your book is delicious. I'm having some for dinner this evening.

Posted by: okapi at July 15, 2005 08:30 PM

What Trazom said! I was kicking myself for not using the video feature on my camera.

Posted by: Kath at July 15, 2005 10:07 PM

It was an honour almost to have gotten to speak about the people who were nominated.

*cries tear*

*thanks everyone I ever knew who didn't actually kick me in the shins until they drag me off stage*

Posted by: Dart at July 15, 2005 10:39 PM