The Puzzle Thread

This right here is the thread for all of your puzzle needs. Let us share our favorite puzzles of all varieties, from Sam Loyd cleverness and Martin Gardner recreations to the group-tastic Rubik’s Cube and logic puzzles.

I’ll start:

With the limited time that a baby and (formerly) school left me with, I found myself turning to puzzles for short bursts of entertainment. I’ve been a huge fan of Martin Gardner for as long as I can recall, but I have lately found myself spending more time with so-called “culture independent” puzzles like Sudoku (although I don’t really enjoy Sudoku) and Ken Ken. I really enjoy the puzzles offered by Nikoli and have found their premium content worth subscribing to, if only for the ability to save my progress and track overall results. If their magazine and books were available in the US, I would buy the shit out of them. Slitherlink is an especial favorite of mine, with Puzzle Series Vol. 5 being my most played DS game ever and the only one I have ever imported.

However, I am most proud to present a drop-dead gorgeous set of mazes that I recently discovered. Ed. Pegg Jr.‘s is a regular read of mine, and he recently wrote about Dave Phillips’ The Zen of Labyrinth: Mazes for the Connoisseur. Disregard the utterly stupid title with me for a moment and allow me to present a couple of samples that I lifted from here:

This is Color Path 3, the third maze in the Color Path set of rules.

Enter by the bottom red path and end on the center gray square.

You may retrace your path but may not make a U-turn on a pathway. You must follow the paths in the order red, blue, yellow and then red, blue, yellow again, as needed, changing color on the white squares.

This is Flow 9, from the Flow set of rules.

Enter the maze through any of the available entrances, pass through all yellow circles, and then exit the maze.

You may retrace your paths. Your course must follow the flow—no sharp turns (a sharp turn is anything that is 90° or more). Example: you must pass straight through an intersection of two paths that form a cross; a turn at such an intersection would be 90° and therefore illegal.

The book contains a total of 8 different sets of rules, with 20 mazes per set. They range from pretty straightforward like the above to mind-bendingly difficult with full solutions in the back. All of the mazes are novel and well-designed, but the aesthetics of the thing are what really push the book from “good” to “exemplary”. The mazes are presented one per page in full color, and as such achieve a visual appeal that few puzzle books offer.

So, that’s what I’ve got. What good puzzles do you have to share?

Theseus and the Minotaur

becomes brutal, but very deep…


No time to give this thread the appreciation it deserves, but I did take the time to play one of the puzzles.

Spoilers after the jump:

My attempt at puzzle 2 (Flow 9)