Puzzle Challenges

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Leaderboard

Rank Player
1 St. Raenger 3 puzzles solved
2 Слава Україні 1 puzzle solved
3 AAA 7 puzzles solved
4 Riggo 4 puzzles solved
5 some chickens 2 puzzles solved
6 supafresh 2 puzzles solved
7 fanboy698645 1 puzzle solved
8 __DEMENTOR_NINE__ 1 puzzle solved
9 lip 1 puzzle solved

What the… FAQ

This is a collection of interactive puzzles. IRL (In real life) I make puzzles and challenges for escape rooms, friends, & co-workers. Good ideas come to me but get rejected because they are too difficult or they break time limits or resources or conventions. Many of those rejects end up here, where there is no time limit, and the audience has the most resources at their finger tips than ever before in the history of the world. Therefore, I make no apologies for how difficult they are.

Play at your own risk. Play with deliberation. This is for entertainment purposes only.

At this time, only one of them is completely original to me. Once I have enough published, I hope to remove this paragraph from the FAQ.

How to play

Click on a puzzle link to the right =>.Click on a puzzle in the Puzzles section below. All the puzzles are free. To check your answers and get on the leaderboard, you will need to click links in an email. I don’t like sending emails, so it isn’t part of a subscription. I’m not even recording your email address.

How do the points work?

For now, they are unknown to the players. However, various factors determine the value of your correct answers. Being the first to answer a difficult question and having no incorrect guesses is worth the most points. Hints reduce your score.

Can I get a hint?

Some puzzles have hints available, they are viewable on the same page as the puzzle. If a puzzle is difficult and no one answers correctly after some time, I may update the puzzle with new information, or I may add hints. So check back on puzzles you got stuck on.

What are admonishments?

At the top of each puzzle, you are warned about its relative difficulty. Some puzzles will have other warnings, but they are concealed. There is no penalty for viewing the admonishments. If you like the pure challenge of being completely unprepared for what life throws at you, don’t look at them. If you do expose them, you’ll see warnings about the cultural currency needed for the puzzle, or specific areas of knowledge that you will need to have (or acquire). For example, if you don’t speak Spanish, and a puzzle is only possible if you know some Spanish slang (even though it is presented entirely in English), it would be a frustrating waste of time to stare at a puzzle for an hour. On the other hand, knowing that Spanish is somehow involved in a puzzle is a pretty big clue.

Use them how you will. My recommendation is to spend a few minutes absorbing a puzzle, and if you don’t get the feeling that you know where to go with it, check the admonishments. They may save you some pain.

What is an Uncued Leap?

A good puzzle is approachable and accessible. A player should be able to spend a short amount of time absorbing a puzzle and determining a path towards solving it. A bad puzzle is one that you stare at for too long and get nowhere because you have no idea where to start. This is how it is for code-breakers in times of war. If you intercepted an encoded message, how do you start to decode it? There is no one giving you clues or writing helpful preambles. There’s no letters that are already decifered for you to help get you started. You have to simply try a lot of different things, in a very hopeless way. It is not fun (until you solve it, which must have been very satisfying).

When creating puzzles, it is very easy to overlook what mental leaps the player will need to make. If no clues are given then how is the player supposed to know, for example, that this column of data is actually dates and this row is actually people’s first names? That is an uncued leap… or perhaps it should be called an un-clued leap.

So, if one of my puzzles warns you that there are uncued leaps: Do not expect to figure it out quickly. Some players will get lucky by asking themselves (out of the blue), “Well, what if these numbers actually represent letters in the cyrillic alphabet?” Some players will need to absorb the puzzle, and see if something comes to them later in the day.

What is Cultural Currency?

I’m using this term to denote how much a player (you) is expected to know about the common culture that we all share. I think I can expect that every one knows who Luke Skywalker’s sister is, but the name of the homeworld of the Wookies steps away from cultural currency towards trivia. In another vein, I think I can expect everyone to know that vitamins are helpful in preventing illness, but only a trained physician would be expected to know which vitamin aids in making the protein Prothrombin. We don’t think of that knowledge as trivia per se, but it is definitely obscure. At the same time, knowing what a celebrity is wearing today is not trivia either — because only obsessed fans would know or care. But how many people could name a celebrity that has ever hosted the Oscars? If a puzzle depends on some level of cultural currency in the player, it may warn you with a small label. You can use this as an excuse if you cannot solve the puzzle. “Well that puzzle obviously relies on obscure knowledge and has no cultural currency, so I don’t feel bad.”
One other reason to warn about cultural currency is that someone born in the last fifteen years might not understand a reference to Morpheus, while a person born outside the United States might not understand a hint buried in a cliché.

Well, this is dumb, can’t someone just google the answers?

In many cases, you are expected to do internet searches to figure these puzzles out.

Can the answers be found? Hopefully not. The more difficult puzzles here are original, written by me. Those will not be searchable unless someone puts information on the internet about my puzzles (which is fine, thanks). If someone does publish answers to my puzzles (please don’t), I can revise the puzzles. If you find answers to my puzzles, please send me links in the contact form. I can reward the helpful with leaderboard points and internet karma.

Well, pfft, can’t someone just view the HTML page source, or read the javascript?

The Wordle has been purchased by the New York Times, and I’m sure they’ve fixed this, but it was possible to easily cheat. I, however, have not made my puzzles so easily hacked. You might find helpful things in the source code, but definitely not any answers. If you do find a way to circumvent any of the security, you can keep all the points you steal. I would actually be glad because you will be making a puzzle for me! I will try to find out how you did it. If you do pull that off, please remember that I don’t have your email address, so you’ll need to contact me.

The Puzzles

This challenge is a test of resourcefulness and it will tell me what kind of players I am working with here.

Published a year ago.

This is the most difficult puzzle here. Can you solve it given these words?

Published a year ago.

A simple sudoku clone. This puzzle won’t be around forever! Get some bonus points today!

Published a year ago.

This one is inspired by Conway’s Game of Life. This puzzle won’t be around forever! Get some bonus points today!

Published a year ago.

Can you name this movie by its emoji hint?

Published a year ago.

A quick puzzle that isn’t too easy but you might already know it.

Published a year ago.