Readers who are members of the National Puzzlers’ League know that our annual convention is a few weeks away. For those not in the League, MaineCon will be held at the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel in Portland, Maine from Thursday July 17th through Sunday July 20th. Convention host Jennifer Braun, or Wesley (her NPL nom), is posting registration information to the website. The site contains a FAQ that gives a general description of NPL conventions. The FAQ lauds the praises of con unequivocally, but I will add that NPL con is, hands down, the best bang-for-the-buck annual puzzle event in North America.
I’m on the program committee for MaineCon so I’m aware of the puzzles and games that will be presented during the official solving sessions. I work mostly with the presenters of the group games and the Saturday night extravaganza while my partners Will Shortz (Willz) and Fraser Simpson (Fraz) work with pencil-and-paper puzzles and cryptic crosswords respectively. I’m very excited about the offerings on the MaineCon official program but I’m equally excited about the “unofficial” program, perhaps more excited because I know very little about these games. The unofficial games are run at times when official program events are not scheduled — often late into the night and early morning. Presenters of unofficial games have the option of posting a preview on the convention website, and based on the current postings I can tell that I will be a challenge to get a seating for everything I want to play.
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The DASH 6 puzzles have been posted. Some puzzles require components that are either non-assembled or missing in the download files. The files appear to be structured for the local organizers and it is not always clear what is clueful and what is incidental. I’ve been working on the puzzles gradually over the week, solving what I can and glancing at the rest.