My name is Pavel Curtis, and I am a puzzle addict: both an avid solver and an active creator.
It is my honor to introduce my kind benefactor, the Lady Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, best known around the world simply as Ada Lovelace.
Daughter of the great Romantic poet Lord Byron, Ada is a mathematician, a visionary, and the person often credited with being, in 1843, the world's first computer programmer. I have been privileged to work as Ada's assistant since November of 2013, and it is my pleasure now to help her conduct her very first Kickstarter campaign, to produce a printed book gathering together many of her puzzles: a volume she has titled
Logical Leaps and Landings: an Adalogical Ænigmas Collection
Without further ado, I give you Lady Ada Lovelace:
An Introduction to the Adalogical Ænigmas
At the risk of appearing unpleasantly boastful, I should like to tell you how exceedingly proud I am to be presenting this project for your kind consideration.
For something surpassing three years now, I have produced a little series of monthly logical conundra that I term (perhaps immodestly) the Adalogical Ænigmas. It has delighted me to discover that they apparently succeed in providing entertainment and a degree of intellectual stimulation to an ever-growing cadre of aficionados.
Each offering in the series presents what I aim to be a pure challenge to the solver's mental faculties, a mystery designed to be unraveled entirely by way of logic, unmixed with guesswork or unreliable intuition, yielding in the end a single, unique, and unambiguous solution. The styles of these challenges vary quite broadly from instance to instance, engaging all manner of logical predispositions, from numerical manipulation to pictorial interpretation, from cartographic path-finding to exercises of pure abstract thought.
My ænigmas range from merely challenging to exceedingly difficult, thereby satisfying the requirements of all solvers, regardless of how well-developed their logical experience and powers of deduction. To aid in this wide accessibility, each page includes a fully worked-out example, illustrating in concrete form the application of that ænigma's rules and some of its most important deductive techniques.
However, I should not like you to be misled into perceiving the Adalogical Ænigmas as dry, mechanical affairs, bereft of humanity, for indeed this is not the case! To begin with, each offering is accompanied by a personal letter, penned by myself, in which I strive to illuminate the circumstances from whence that ænigma sprang. Also included in that missive is a detailed description of the rules by which the challenge is to be solved, along with instructions for how you may, after completing the ænigma, manipulate your solution to extract a clue to your final answer.
Yes, I say an answer, for your task in each instance is not simply to deduce a path through the logical tangle! To truly finish each challenge, you must discover the single word, phrase, or proper name that is that ænigma's unique final answer! My clues and answers are drawn from the wide range of human endeavours, including music, poetry, science, and philosophy; they are designed to amuse, to intrigue, and perhaps even to edify the solver.
Concerning Easter eggs
Some few months after I began my series, whilst completing the preparation of the next ænigma, I became aware that the opportunity existed for me to conceal in its grid an additional hidden message, beyond the one providing the normal final clue. This notion deeply intrigued and beguiled me and, after no little consideration, I eventually allowed myself to yield to temptation: I capitalised on this opportunity and placed the smallest of quips into this extra space in the ænigma!
Having once given in, of course, I confess that it became easier and easier thenceforth for me not only to perceive the openings for such hidden messages but to indulge myself in filling them with all manner of oddments: snatches of poetry, obscure references, quotations, whatever caught my fancy.
As was in retrospect clearly inevitable, at some stage my long-time associate Mr Curtis discovered my little secret gems and, to my relief and delight, he was just as pleased with them as I was! Indeed, he introduced me to a pre-existing term for such hidden additions, taken from some other intellectual domain where they were called "Easter eggs." I instantly adopted this charming name myself and began a practise (continuing to this day) of placing a tiny egg shape in a lower corner of each ænigma page containing an even tinier number: a hint to perceptive solvers that Easter eggs are present, and exactly how many there are to be found.
Naturally, it is in no wise required that a solver seek or discover the eggs in order to fully enjoy any ænigma or reach its final answer. Please consider the Easter eggs as what they are: my little extra tidbits, placed solely for the amusement of those who care to search for them, and safely to be ignored by everyone else.
Concerning the book here proposed
We have now reached an apt stage in our series at which to pause a moment, to reflect upon what we have thus far achieved, and to bring together the first two years of our labours into a single printed volume for the enjoyment and cerebral exercise of a wider population of solvers.
Mr Curtis and I have expended considerable effort compiling the first twenty-four ænigmas, augmenting each with a fresh commentary looking back upon what we dare to hope are interesting anecdotes concerning its creation. We have also assembled, for the very first time, the complete solutions for all of the ænigmas, as well as detailed explanations of every ænigma's Easter eggs.
Our book also includes a number of bits and bobs of additional material, much of it never before published, but I shan't belabour you with those details here.
The physical book itself is designed for your solving pleasure, of course, coming as it does from people who themselves love to solve! It will measure 8-1/2 inches by 11 inches, with quality paper and heavy, glossy covers, and it will be equipped with a metal-wire spiral binding so that it will lay perfectly flat for your effortless perusal.
Our book's content is already entirely complete, so you may rest quite assured of our ability to deliver it to you very shortly after this funding campaign has concluded. Indeed, for those of our backers whose postal addresses are supplied promptly, it is our sincere belief that their books will be received in time for holiday gift-giving!
Concerning our backer rewards
Naturally, the central focus of our fund-raising campaign is the book itself, so we have included one copy at nearly every level of your support. If you should by chance desire additional copies, perhaps with an eye toward holiday gift-giving, we are of course quite pleased to accommodate you. Please see Mr Curtis's convenient chart, below, for the relevant pricing information.
Mr Curtis has a remarkably consistent mode of dress, and that has inspired our next reward element. We have created a special, limited-edition design that will be imprinted onto the front of a most impressively colorful shirt. It includes what one might see as a miniature ænigma, for the solving pleasure of both wearer and acquaintance, commemorating your participation in our campaign. Please take note: as with the book, we expect to be able to deliver these garments very promptly after the conclusion of our campaign, typically in the same packaging and on the same schedule as the book itself.
Additional shirts are also available. Again, please do us the favor of consulting Mr Curtis's pricing chart, below.
I pray you will not yet consider the specific shirt design as final. In particular, although this is the type of ænigma we shall employ (like Ænigma #17), the instance displayed here is not the one that will appear on the shirt; that one we intend to hold secret, the better to surprise the recipient. The shirt colors, however, you may consider to be authoritatively representative.
For those who opt to participate at a somewhat higher level of funding, we have assembled several premium offers:
Online puzzle-construction workshop: Mr Curtis will conduct at least one two-hour session, exclusively for our backers, at which participants may peek behind the metaphorical curtain and gain an understanding of just how he and I create the ænigmas and other, similar conundra. The assembled backers will collectively solve one instance of a particular logical puzzle type and then use that experience to collaborate on the construction of a brand-new instance, beginning from a blank canvas, as it were. Thereafter, each of you will be encouraged to take a turn: Mr Curtis will provide a partially clued grid as a starting point, and then you will attempt to complete the construction individually. At the conclusion, there will be an opportunity to view some or all of these new puzzles, in the expectation that all will be surprised and impressed with the variety of approaches taken!
Private solving or constructing session: Mr Curtis will meet with you (either face-to-face or remotely via advanced communication) for some two or so hours of puzzle solving or constructing consultation. It is our hope that this will provide a valuable opportunity for personal assistance, if you are relatively inexperienced with creating or conquering logical challenges, or simply a convivial occasion for enjoying puzzles together!
Create an Easter egg message: At some time during the coming year, I shall include a name or short text of your choosing as an Easter egg in one of my new ænigmas. (It goes without saying, of course, that said text must meet certain standards of propriety.) We hope that this reward might make a well-appreciated gift, either for you or for some other ænigma solver in your life!
Custom logic puzzle: At your option, either Mr Curtis or I shall construct a brand-new logical challenge, on approximately the same scale as one of my ænigmas, customised to your specific needs and for your exclusive enjoyment! Such constructions can, in our experience, function quite admirably as presents on major personal occasions, including weddings, milestone birthdays and anniversaries, retirements, or the like.
Presenting our stretch goals
I am truly delighted to be able now to breathe somewhat more easily, our initial fund-raising goal having been accomplished, and the publication of our book now assured. I am also quite pleased finally to be at liberty to reveal our "stretch goals" for this campaign. Through their achievement, we hope to realize a long-anticipated dream of mine, to birth a new series of mental challenges, the Ænigmatic Addenda!
Nearly from the very beginning of my little series, kind solvers have expressed to me a very flattering sentiment: although they derived significant enjoyment from each month's offering, they wished for more!
In particular, as each ænigma is of a distinct nature, with its own unique appearance and rules, there is a sort of learning required of the solver, a process of discovering new deductive techniques. The expressed desire was for further opportunity to exercise those hard-won techniques: in brief, solvers were asking for additional instances of each type of ænigma!
This seemed so obvious a craving to me in retrospect that I was abashed not to have predicted it myself, and I dedicated no small consideration to the question of how best to satisfy it. My own mind is too mercurial, too craving of new adventures and mysteries, to allow me the attention required to revisit each ænigma on a monthly basis.
Our stretch goals therefore are simply stated: to commission fresh works from some of the very talented ænigmatologists with whom we have been privileged to correspond!
On each occasion that we exceed our initial fund-raising goal by an additional amount, shown below, Mr Curtis and I will engage yet another guest constructor to build a new ænigma for your solving pleasure. Each of these will be edited and introduced by myself and presented very similarly to my own monthly works. Further, each guest construction will return the solver to a different one of the ænigma types that was included in the first two years of the series!
All of our backers will receive the entire set of these commissioned works in a single bundle, delivered by the end of the month of February next year. The rest of the world will also see these new ænigmas, but on a different schedule: we shall release them as interstitial offerings, one becoming available halfway through each month next year, from March onwards, in-between my own regular ænigmas.
Allow me now to introduce the worthies who, we hope, shall comprise the first contributors to the Ænigmatic Addenda series:
ACHIEVED! At $6,000, our series will commence with Mr David Millar, the talented and prolific young proprietor of The Griddle, one of Mr Curtis's and my favorite places to visit for our own solving pleasure.
ACHIEVED! At $7,000, we shall continue with Mr Grant Fikes, another incredible young constructor whose work can be sampled both at his own cleverly-titled journal and as a regular contributor to the prestigious Grandmaster Puzzles.
ACHIEVED! At $8,000, our next guest constructor will be Ms Gaby Weidling, an astonishingly accomplished puzzle maker who has contributed to The Maze of Games and the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and is now a designer at Epic Team Adventures.
ACHIEVED! At $9,500, we shall be graced with a truly major talent: Mr Mike Selinker, designer of more games than might seem plausible; author of a plenitude of books, including The Maze of Games, the world's first and only interactive puzzle novel; and the founder and leader of Lone Shark Games, a major creative force in the fields of games and puzzles.
ACHIEVED! At $10,250, the series will continue with Mr Roy Leban, founder of the innovative puzzle enterprise Puzzazz.
At $11,000, our next offering will come from Mr Jonah Ostroff, professor of mathematics and ænigmatological wizard.
At $11,750, we shall commission the efforts of Mr Thomas Baxter, the curator of mental challenges for the department of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo.
If we should be so exceedingly fortunate as to surpass all of these marks and thus require further incentives, please rest assured that Mr Curtis and I have a long list of creators that we should welcome an excuse for approaching.
Allow me now simply to conclude with my fervent hope that you will do us the honour of closely perusing our solicitation, and that so doing might inspire you to join with us in our quest.
Yr obdnt svnt,
Closing notes from Pavel
First, it probably will come as no surprise to anyone, but I have discovered that Ada has hidden one of her beloved Easter eggs on this very Kickstarter page! If you find it, add its answer onto the end of this URL for a little prize:
Next, please note that the T-shirts will be available in all conventional sizes, from S to 4XL.
Finally, as Ada mentioned above, we are offering additional copies of the book and additional T-shirts as add-on items. See the chart below for pricing. During the campaign, simply increase your pledge by the indicated amount. We will be using the Kickstarter post-campaign survey and a pledge-management service to sort out final details once funding is complete. (Note that you may only add extra T-shirts if you are pledging at the Ælegant Ænigmatologist level or higher and are thus already getting your first one.)
We realize that the prices for shipping don't go up in a nice, linear progression, but that reflects the U.S. Postal Service's pricing, especially when there are transitions between weight-based and volume-based shipping methods. In all cases, we're trying hard to give you the best price possible at each level. We could make the pricing look simpler, but only by increasing the actual costs to you. Our apologies for the confusion.
Risks and challenges
The entire book is already completely done: created, laid out, even page-numbered! We are ready to ship it off to the printer just as soon as the Kickstarter campaign ends!
The printer has already been selected; it's a major commercial production company in New York City. They'll have no trouble at all handling our order.
The vendors for the T-shirt tie-dying and printing have already been arranged, and they are expecting our order. I will be keeping them up to date with how the campaign is going, but both of them have lots of experience with very large orders and the production capacity to handle them expeditiously.
Those backers who wish to receive their books and shirts in time for the 2016 holidays should be prepared to respond promptly to the campaign survey, which will be sent out just as soon as the funding period ends.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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