Ellen (ennienyc) wrote,

Puzzle books

I haven't blogged in months. It would be nice to clear away the pile of puzzle books, and there isn't much to say about them, so I'll do those. Non-crossword puzzles first:


I proofread the following for Conceptis/Puzzlewright. Sometimes I was asked just to do a sample, but I went back and finished later because I love this type of puzzle: Kooky Kakuro Puzzles; Second-Degree White Belt, Green Belt, Brown Belt and Black Belt Kakuro. I liked those so much I bought all four regular (color) belt kakuro books and finished those, too.


Every so often I succumb to the lure of a sharpened pencil and do sudokus. I learn techniques, only to forget them again. Basically, I don't know what I'm doing, but these can be relaxing. There's always a nagging feeling I'm wasting my time and then I put sudokus aside for another long period. I solved:

The Original Sudoku Book 2 (Nikoli) - This was on my dining room table and eventually, I managed to do them all.

Xaq Pitkow, Sudoku 2: Medium to Hard - After the mediums were done, the hards were just too hard and I gave up and gave the book away.

Frank Longo, Third-Degree Brown Belt Sudoku - gotta support my friends. Also, these were the right level of difficulty.

Will Shortz, Sweet Dreams Sudoku: 150 Fast, Fun Puzzles; Devious Sudoku: 200 Very Hard Puzzles (don't think I listed these before) - I won these and got around to doing them.

Thomas Snyder, The Art of Sudoku - These are expertly hand-crafted. While some of the artistry went right by me, I did notice cool shapes and patterns.

Variety Puzzles

Les Foeldessy, Next-Generation Crosswords - Did all 100 puzzles in one sitting. LOVED these crossword variations, also known as gryptics. I do not know the author; this is unbiased puzzle love.

Patrick Merrell and Helene Hovanec, Coffee Time - cute little book with facts about coffee interspersed with puzzles. I hardly ever drink the stuff, so the rapture was lost on me.

Puzzability, Sit & Solve, Crazy Phrazies and Crazier Phrazies - My pals at Puzzability always keep the artistry and amusement level high. These picture puzzles aren't my strong suit, and I peeked at the answer sometimes to move things along.

Patrick Merrell, AHA!: 125 Original & Amusing Word Puzzles - Quick fill in the blank puzzles with clever clues.

Cryptic Crosswords

Most people I know from the National Puzzlers' League adore cryptics, but I'm not a huge fan. Too much work and thought. Yes, I'm shallow. I can appreciate good work, though, and while I won't slog through culturally alien British cryptics, I do American ones now and then.

Henry Hook is an absolute master of these puzzles. His Hooked on Puzzles series (Simon & Schuster) from about 20 years ago included cryptics, as well as regular crosswords (which I solved a long time ago, saving the best for first), acrostics, rebuses, trivia, logic, number puzzles, and a few that defy description. I finished volumes 1-4. I also did S&S Hooked on Cryptics, series 1.

S&S also put out the Book of Cryptic Crossword Puzzles, edited by Eugene T. Maleska. These are by assorted authors and while not Hook quality (except for the ones actually by Henry), are OK. I finished series 1, 4 and 5 (1980-7).

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