Foggy Brume of P&A Magazine has launched a Kickstarter to fund creation of the fourth installment in his Puzzle Boat puzzle extravaganza series. Puzzle Boat ganzas generally involve around 100 hunt-style puzzles with associated metas and meta-metas and well suited for teams of five or six puzzlers. The project has met its goal and is estimated to roll out in October. There are many pledge levels, including ones that offer smaller extravaganza sets suitable for smaller solving teams. Check out the site here.
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The P&A site is also hosting a donation-based distribution of Eric Berlin’s pencil-and-paper escape room suite Escape from the Haunted Library. The puzzles are appropriate for younger, novice puzzle solvers. Link to the donation screen on the P&A main page.
Puzzle Your Kids has been providing innovative, kid-friendly puzzles for a little over a year using a subscription service. PYK creator Eric Berlin has revamped the puzzle site to provide weekly puzzles for free, along with premiums for site supporters. Please enrich the lives of your young friends and loved ones by stimulating their interest in puzzles! Visit the Puzzle Your Kids website
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Tortoiseshell Studio puzzlemaster Nathan Curtis is expanding his online puzzle footprint with a periodical called Hatched. The project is designed to provide an editorial forum for new constructors and create a venue for pencil-and-paper puzzle types not regularly featured in mainstream media. This is a great opportunity for puzzlemakers who are looking for a supportive community in which to create and showcase their wares. Check out Hatched web page for more details on the project and a submission specifications.
Francis Heaney has put together a collection of word and variety puzzles titled Puzzles for Progress. The collection includes works made by many heavy-hitters in the industry the website credits: Erik Agard, Patrick Berry, Patrick Blindauer, Emily Cox & Henry Rathvon, Peter Gordon, Andy Kravis, Robert Leighton, Andrea Carla Michaels & Jonathan Gersch, Mark Halpin, Tony Orbach, Joon Pahk, Erin Rhode, Mike Selinker, and Ben Tausig.
The collection is intended to support organizations that work for advocacy and civil rights. To receive the collection, make a donation to one of the organizations listed on the project website and send the receipt to Francis. He will send the puzzle collection in PDF format, and additional materials for charitable donations of higher amounts.
For more information on the project and a list of organizations visit the Puzzles for Progress website.
Patrick Blindauer has launched a Kickstarter for a weekly series of easy crossword puzzles. Piece of Cake Crosswords will be delivered electronically and contain no obscure vocabulary, including crutch entries like APSE that make the cut in many early-week crosswords because of handy letter patterns. Subscription tiers include copies of Patrick’s Puzzlefest crossword suites and master classes with Patrick on crossword construction.
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Patrick Berry has released a sequel to his The Crypt cryptic crossword collection. Son of the Crypt is a set of 13 never-before-published cryptic crosswords including five block-style diagrams and eight are variety cryptics. The collection is available exclusively on Patrick’s A-Frame Games website.
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Registration has already closed but I want to make a late announcement for the DC Puzzle Hunt Race, or DCPHR (pronounced “decipher”), being held on October 15 in the DC area. Todd Etter of The Famine Games fame organized the event and I expect that puzzle hunt will have some excellent production values.
Lone Shark Games announced this week that it is releasing a collection of digital and print edition puzzle books with a special pay-what-you-want offer, and part of the payment can be allocated to charities such as It Gets Better and Worldbuilders. The Humble Puzzle Bundle includes titles from Patrick Blindauer, Pavel Curtis, Francis Heaney, Matt Jones, Brendan Emmett Quigley, Patrick Berry, Thomas Snyder, and more. As a stretch goal, Lone Shark is producing The Theseus Guide to the Final Maze, a companion to the Mike Selinker / Pete Venters puzzle tome The Maze of Games. Additional hints will be added to Theseus Guide based on the amount collected for the Humble Puzzle Bundles. The offer is available through August 3.
One of the puzzle works available in the Humble Puzzle Bundle is Patrick Berry’ The Crypt. A sequel to this collection of original cryptic crossword puzzles, titled Son of the Crypt, is due to be released soon. Check out Patrick’s website for updates.
Nathan Curtis of Tortoiseshell Studio fame has launched a Kickstarter campaign for an upcoming puzzle hunt. After being funded, the hunt titled What’s That Spell will debut as an installment in the BAPHL walkaround puzzle hunt series in the September-October and then distributed to at-home solvers in November. The Kickstarter features pledge tiers for the BAPHL version (for solvers who will be in the Boston area to participate) and for the at-home version (which includes postal delivery of physical props that are involved in the completion of puzzle metas). If you’re a fan of finely crafted puzzle hunts please visit the website to pledge and make this campaign a success.
A couple of items related to crossword puzzle databases were posted in social media recently.
Jim Horne’s XWord Info reference site now has a downloadable word list compiled and scored by Jeff Chen. The list contains 163,374 entries from published New York Times crossword puzzles, variety puzzles, and acrostics as well as many entries from Jeff’s private list. The entries are scored on a range from 5-60. Angel-level supporters of XWord Info can download the list for personal crossword use.
Peter Broda mentioned his website Cross Examination, a work-in-progress repository of entries and clues collected from independent crossword venues. The site features a wildcard-enabled search field that returns entries and clues with annotations of the constructors and sources. Entries are also ranked according to Peter’s scoring system. The site does not accommodate list downloads but visitors can contact Peter if they are interested in acquiring the data files.