I’m proposing to create a puzzle extravaganza, similar to the ones presented at the NPL (National Puzzlers League) conventions and my annual Treasure Hunt (or BAPHL or the MIT Mystery Hunt, which is an extravaganza on steroids). At the base level, it will consist of eight interconnected puzzles plus a metapuzzle which combines the answers to the eight main puzzles into a final answer. The first ten people to submit correct solutions will have their names posed on the project’s web site.
The puzzles will all be new, including both familiar and novel varieties. For some puzzles, it will be clear what needs to be done; for others, half the challenge is to figure out how to begin. There will be some word puzzles of various types and others where you just need to use your wits to figure out the answer. A couple of puzzles may require research, but none will primarily be based on facts or trivia. You may find some puzzles easy and others quite difficult; I can promise that all of them will have been cracked by the test solvers.
I’ve been a member of the National Puzzlers’ League for about 40 years and, with Eric Albert, created the first NPL extravaganza (Panulo Island Puzzles) shortly after joining. At about the same time, I started presenting an annual Treasure Hunt and have created over 150 puzzles for that series. I’ve also had a couple of crosswords accepted by commercial publications.
I’ve already started coming up with puzzle ideas and expect to publish the extravaganza sometime between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. Once ten people have submitted correct solutions to the metapuzzle, I will publish a set of hints and complete solutions and explanations.
But wait, there’s more
If the base goal of $2,000 is exceeded, for the first two $200 increments, the package will include a professional-quality (not from me!) short story and/or drawing which will be incorporated into the puzzles. For each of the next four $200 increments, I will add another puzzle to the extravaganza. Beyond that, I have no plans, but will consider suggestions.
Risks and challenges
Sometimes puzzles don't want to come together--perhaps there isn't a word that fits in a space or there's a conflict between construction requirements in some other puzzle type. Most of my puzzle ideas are pretty flexible, but if it happens that I have to undo some work or even throw out an idea and start over, it won't be the first time.
Production is also dependent on test solvers finding the time to complete the extravaganza. Because of connections among the puzzles, I won't be able to just divide things up and give each puzzle to a different person. I am a member of several puzzle and game communities and am confident that I will be able to find and work with test solvers on the planned schedule.
- (49 days)