PUZZLES BY TRIP PAYNE
This list is really only a taste of what's out there for the devoted puzzler, so I've had to cull it down to a handful of links in each of several categories. (Links will open in a separate window.) Please email me if you find any broken links.
Sites that focus primarily upon standard crossword puzzles -- either providing them or giving information about them.
Will Johnston's Puzzle Pointers. This page provides a way to freely download many recent newspaper crosswords in AcrossLite format -- the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, Merl Reagle's Sunday puzzle, and so on. A very handy one-stop place to go for quality crosswords.
Crosswords by Ray Hamel. Ray provides links to hundreds of puzzle-related sites, including puzzles, resources, blogs, and much else. He also releases a monthly calendar showing what puzzle books are about to be published. An invaluable resource.
The New York Times Premium Crosswords. The NYT crosswords are available online via subscription only. The site also includes a forum for comments on the puzzle, a Java applet for those who like to time themselves on the online version, and much else.
The Wall Street Journal Puzzles. All of their puzzles, both the crosswords and the new extra puzzles (cryptics, double-crostics, and variety grid puzzles).
Fireball Crosswords. Peter Gordon's weekly crossword, usually a tough themeless, via subscription. Highly recommended.
Diary of a Crossword Fiend. Ace puzzle solver Amy Reynaldo's daily blog, where she comments on all of the major newspaper crosswords published each day.
Can I Have a Word With You? Brendan Emmett Quigley's site where he posts several new crosswords each week, in both PDF and AcrossLite format; he also posts intriguing opinion pieces about various puzzle-related topics.
Matt Gaffney's Weekly Crossword Contest. Constructor Matt Gaffney has a weekly contest where solvers must solve a crossword and then figure out some sort of hidden answer; a randomly selected correct answer wins a puzzle book.
Stan Newman's Crossword Land. The Newsday puzzle editor maintains a site with information about his books and cruises; it also includes a word-related contest and a free copy of the "all-time toughest puzzle", Son of the Beast.
In this category are websites that focus more on puzzles than games, but not primarily crossword puzzles.
Puzzability. Created by puzzlemasters Mike Shenk, Robert Leighton, and Amy Goldstein, Puzzability features daily puzzles (Common Knowledge is a favorite), weekly teasers, and other entertainment. The Puzzabilitians create an occasional op-ed puzzle page in The New York Times as well as many other creative projects.
P&A Magazine. Created by puzzle wizard Foggy Brume, P&A is a bimonthly e-magazine, purchasable as individual issues or by annual subscription. Each issue contains around a dozen puzzles of various types that somehow combine into one "metapuzzle" to be solved. For a taste of what the puzzles in this magazine are like, see "The Puzzle Boat" in the Games section below.
A-Frame Games. The puzzle website of Patrick Berry, it includes original cryptics and variety grid puzzles as well as links to his books.
Some Puzzles by Mark Halpin. Primarily a repository for Mark's clever and visually appealing annual Labor Day puzzle extravaganzas. Also includes original cryptics and other puzzles.
Puzzlement. Shawn Kennedy's site consisting of daily and weekly teasers and information about his various puzzle projects.
Puzzlewright Press. Publishers of all sorts of puzzle books (including my own), their website includes a free downloadable "Puzzle of the Day".
Puzzles 4 Kids. Helene Hovanec's website includes many original puzzles aimed at young children, as well as links to all of her children's books.
These are sites that include many different games, rather than focusing on one single game.
Rinkworks. Where to begin? Rinkworks has a large selection of original, challenging text-adventure games; two original computer RPGs; many individual addictive games, such as Enchanted Forest ... there's just a wealth of fun to be found here. There's even a searchable hints forum for when you get stuck. Rinkworks also has some of the best humor pages to be found anywhere, such as the collection of Computer Stupidities and the Dialectizer. One of my very favorite websites.
Jay Is Games. This site has a huge archive of detailed reviews for free online games of all types. Definitely recommended.
Eyezmaze. The homepage is admittedly daunting-looking. Start with version 1 of Grow; it's a very original, creative game where you're continually figuring out what you have to do. From there you can branch out and explore the many other wonderful weirdnesses of the site.
Pinhead Games. Several free puzzle adventure games (I particularly liked "Brain Hotel"), all very clever and funny.
Pogo. Lots of games in many varieties -- word, puzzle, sports, and so on.
Orisinal: Morning Sunshine. Around 60 different games, all of which could be described as "gentle" (catch the falling apples in your basket; help the chicks avoid the rocks and bees), but many of which are still quite challenging and entertaining.
The Philosophers' Magazine Games. Around a dozen games that test the soundness of your reasoning abilities and the solidness of your personal beliefs. After each game, the site points out places where your reasoning may be fallacious, without making any moral judgments. The most thought-provoking games you'll find on the Internet.
These are single games worth checking out.
The Puzzle Boat. Created by Foggy Brume of P&A Magazine (see the Puzzles section above), the Puzzle Boat is a multipuzzle extravaganza where solving puzzles gives you access to even more puzzles. By the time solvers reach the end, they will have gone through scores of creative, challenging puzzles of every type imaginable. This is one of the most impressive puzzle creations in a very long time, and I recommend it to all serious puzzle fans. It is assuredly not easy, though; most successful solvers did it in groups.
Planetarium. A truly original "puzzle story". Solvers need to be able to check the site at least once a week for 12 consecutive weeks (beginning whenever they wish) to finish it. Each installment of the story includes three "minor puzzles"; these eventually build up into a "major puzzle" to be solved. I haven't seen anything else quite like Planetarium; it's a little treasure.
Sporcle. Although there are many different quizzes on the site, they're all of the same variety: given a category (say, "the U.S. Presidents") and a time limit, name as many as you can. Educational, pop-culture-y, familiar, obscure -- it's all included, and there are several new games added every day.
20Q. The "classic" version of this game is remarkable. It's the same game that you can buy in stores, where you think of an object and it asks you yes-no questions, and within 20 questions it almost always figures out what you were thinking of.
Funny Farm. You start with one word ("farm") and slowly build up a vast array of related words, branching off into the distance. It says that no single mortal can complete it alone; I can't argue, since I haven't finished it myself, though I'm having fun trying.
Word Sandwich. Oh, can this one be addictive. The game comes up with a five-letter word; you type in a five-letter word and it tells you whether your word is alphabetically "low" or "high" compared to the target word. The goal is to get each word in as few guesses as possible.
You Don't Know Jack. The classic game in a daily online format. Most days are just a quick "Dis or Dat" round, but occasionally there will be a full seven-round game. Typically irreverent, challenging, and fun.
PUZZLE EVENT WEBSITES
Information about annual events for puzzle fans.
The American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. The event featured in the movie Wordplay, formerly held in Stamford, Connecticut, and now in Brooklyn, New York. Results, news articles, sample puzzles, and much more.
The National Puzzlers' League. Founded in 1883, the NPL is the world's oldest continually active puzzle organization. Members receive a monthly magazine, The Enigma, which features puzzles in verse, cryptic crosswords, cryptograms, and other puzzle types. The NPL hosts an annual convention each July; in 2011, it will be held in Providence, Rhode Island.
The MIT Mystery Hunt. Held over Martin Luther King Day weekend on the MIT campus, this event features large teams (generally 25+ people) solving incredibly hard puzzles of all varieties over the course of a weekend, all in an attempt to find a hidden coin; the prize for the winning team is the responsibility of creating the following year's hunt. (I was part of the winning team in 2007.) This site includes archives of most of the recent hunts, so you can get a feel for the sorts of trickery you could expect if you attended.
The Tropic/Herald Hunt Archives. One afternoon each autumn, humorist Dave Barry runs an event that involves wandering around a small part of Miami trying to solve five puzzles; a final clue leads teams to a phone number they have to call to win. This unofficial site describes past puzzles, has lots of photos, and is pretty representative of what goes on there.
Word- and language-related sites that puzzlers might find handy.
Onelook. A collection of just about every online dictionary and glossary that exists, providing links to the original pages' definitions. It has a super pattern-search engine that is great for crossword constructors and solvers. It also includes a "reverse dictionary" and other useful features.
Cruciverb. The "crossword constructors community center" provides much of use to puzzlemakers, including (as part of a yearly subscription) a searchable puzzle database of every entry that has appeared in any major newspaper crossword in the past decade or so.
Internet Anagram Server. A very good anagram finder; type in the word/phrase you're looking for, provide it with restrictions such as "no more than three words" if you like, and watch it go.
Babel Fish Translation. Alta Vista's translation engine is a great quick way to translate to and from a wide variety of languages.
Acronym Finder. Never again be stumped by chatroom-speak or any other initialism. Acronym Finder has never failed me when I need to have a quick explanation of some odd clump of letters.
Triple Play Puzzles Facebook Page. Comments and information about this website -- feel free to join!
In Black and White. My personal LiveJournal blog.
Literate Software Systems. Where to download the AcrossLite program, which will allow you to solve many crosswords (including the ones from this website) on your computer.
All website contents © 2012 Trip Payne, except where otherwise noted. All rights reserved.