Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now
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(Throughout this post, I will be using cryptic annotations in code blocks. The answer word is made up of all of the capital letters; the punctuation, lowercase letters, and spacing is a guide to help understand how the answer was derived from the clue.) What is a cryptic clue? A cryptic crossword clue is a phrase that leads to a single answer word through ...


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I am ashamed this came to me so quickly.


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Yes, it's possible. Start with the various 2x2 squares. Ignoring symmetries of rotation and color swapping, there are 1 combination of 1 color, 3 combinations of 2 colors, and 2 combinations of 3 colors. It is simple to brute-force these 6 combinations to show that each can be changed to a 2x2 square of 1 color. For example: $$ {12 \choose 31} \to {2 2 \...


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Why not open with a short riddle to start with—perhaps a couplet? For example, on the ears, you could write in suitably mysterious type: Here you are at number one To start, undo what has been done


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This guide aims to explain various ciphers, help you understand how they work, and how to decode them with or without a key. This answer is currently being split into multiple posts to improve scrollability and readability after some advice from other users. This may take a while, and apologies for the stop-start fashion of it. Mission accomplished! This ...


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You will be forced to backtrack more quickly if you proceed line-by-line, because the sudoku constraints are enforced line by line (and column by column and in each sub-square). If you fill in cells in a random order, you will have to fill in many cells before you ever get a conflict in a line, or in a column, or in a 3-by-3 sub-square. Specifically, if ...


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You could have a small part of the QR code visible on the folded origami. Just small enough that it's not immediately obvious what it is at first.


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I'll confess that I've always had a fondness for the Jester's riddle from Zork Zero: "I once heard of a bookkeeper who, while working on the accounts of the Frobozz Magic Balloon Company, noted that the word 'balloon' has two double letters in a row! Stretching his limited imagination to the limit, this bookkeeper wondered if there were any words with ...


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Your puzzle is probably harder than you think it is. This is just a heuristic answer. Some puzzles turn out easier than the writer expects. But in my experience, it's much more common error to make a puzzle that's harder than you intend. When judging the difficulty of your own puzzle, it's easy to forget that you have the advantage of knowing the answer. ...


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Here's a maze of mine. Start at the top left square. End at the bottom right. RULES: You must stay on a color for exactly THREE squares. You may not do a U-turn (return to the square you just came from) at any time. Like most mazes, it's easier to solve working backwards. But it's definitely very difficult going forwards. EDIT: will continue to update ...


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It doesn't seem like this is the proper forum for this sort of question. On the other hand I do have some experience with trying to get things published so I will try to answer the question. Get your puzzles published in a lesser place (much lesser) than the NYT. Get established there. Get them to like your work. Get your puzzles published in a larger ...


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As you say in the question: there should be exactly one interpretation which fits each clue given. However hard the riddle a supermajority of fluent English (or whatever your target language may be) speakers must, when presented with the solution, consider it the only correct one. In practise, this is going to mean finding the unique qualities of whatever ...


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Kakuro is a type of puzzle that is better created using a bottom-up process, in which you specify one or two sums at a time and explore the logical implications of those moves. Take a look at this list of combinations for 3 cells: 6: 123 7: 124 8: 125 134 9: 126 135 234 10: 127 136 145 235 11: 128 137 146 236 245 12: 129 138 147 156 237 246 345 13: 139 ...


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Before you proceed, here's the riddle I came up with, through composing this answer. Obviously, the answer = spoiler follows close behind, so if you want to try to guess it, do it before proceeding below the line. Eight hours of death. Beneath your head -. a colored box that's full of dreams. It listens to your tales unsaid. Soft gifts of birds ...


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I, myself have read about/solved a few rebus puzzles myself recently; And from whatever I have read about them and learnt about them after solving, I can give the following tips:- POSITION WITHIN A REBUS PUZZLE One way of encrypting a Rebus is the positioning of the words and symbols, in terms of its place on the canvas area and to the other words and ...


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From my experience as corrector of text puzzles on a Russian puzzle site 3 features are required for a puzzle to be liked by solvers (in order of importance): motivate, be correct, do not be straightforward. It is Interesting. It must have something unusual. This is clearly the most important, if a reader does not expect to to get a new knowledge and ...


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Always old, sometimes new. Never sad, sometimes blue. Never empty, sometimes full. Never pushes, always pulls.


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I have no experience making escape rooms, so I can't help too much with the logistics or know if these ideas are practical. Here are some puzzle ideas: Use the science of color perception to hide a message in plain sight. Have a picture featuring lots of colored dots in a seemingly nonsense pattern. People to find a magenta gel, and when they put it over ...


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These are possibly too easy(?), but you probably don't want it to be too hard if a single person is supposed to get it fairly quickly... When new, he can't be seen at all But he grows with each night fall And as he looms over the wall Hark and hear the lone wolf's call Bright and dark. Black and white. I am the shepherd of the night. Fast ...


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I was at a dinner party the other night and I spoke to Mr Smith. He mentioned having two kids, both with unisex names: Sam and Alex. I remember that he told a story about "my son", but I don't recall which child he was talking about, and I don't know if he has a daughter or not. What are the odds that he has two sons? This avoids selection entirely, and ...


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There are several types of clues embedded in these puzzles. Cryptic clues where the words have no meaning. One is meant to break words apart into constituent letters and then reconstruct. The clues are literal, however they are veiled in metaphor and use of hyperbole and exploitation of synonyms. The clues are totally descriptive (easiest, most obvious and ...


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A well-written puzzle is hard to define. Even a decent puzzle is hard to define. Instead, I'll say some signs of a poor puzzle. Impossible to confirm If there are unintended solutions that look just as good as the intended one when explained, you're no longer solving a puzzle, you're trying to guess what's in the mind of the asker. The right solution ...


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Nearly all the Times crossword grids have rotational symmetry: they can be rotated 180 degrees and remain identical. Rarely, puzzles with only vertical or horizontal symmetry can be found; yet rarer are asymmetrical puzzles, usually when an unusual theme requires breaking the symmetry rule. This rule has been part of the puzzle since the beginning; ...


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This is more a puzzle than a riddle, but here's one: There is a common 10 letter English word that can be written with just the top row on a typewriter. What is it? Answer:


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This might not qualify as a blue-eyes puzzle because it does not use common knowledge, but it involves chains of deductions based on nothing happening for a particular amount of time: $n$ villagers wear either black or white hats. They sit in a line, so that each villager can see all the hats in front of them, but not the hats behind them. If a villager ...


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For the muddy children variant of this problem, there are several earlier sources. For instance, A.A. Bennett (Problem No. 3734, American Mathematical Monthly 42, 1935, page 256) formulated the following version back in 1935: A car with $n>2$ passengers of different speeds of mental reaction passes through a tunnel, and each passenger acquires ...


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I looked up the 10 highest-voted puzzles here that are tagged [riddle]. Warning: slight spoilers for those puzzles lie below. A short, brutal riddle has a one-of-a-kind trick. It also makes use of wordplay to nail things down: you need to find a word whose anagrams have particular properties. This is important. I need you to listen… isn't really a riddle. ...


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There is, indeed, a way! No way has yet been found (at least that I've found) to generate them infallibly, though. In a paper by Y. Murase, H. Matsubara, and Y. Higara, called "Automatic Making of Sokoban Puzzles", they explain exactly how one makes unique puzzles. While their algorithm isn't perfect (about half of the puzzles they generated aren't solvable)...


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One way is to use a hash function with a very small output space. E.g. if it's a number, give the sum of the digits modulo 5. That way it's not much use in filtering down a search space of thousands, but it does give a quick-reject for the majority of incorrect keys. If you want, you could even guess at possible errors that people will make and try to find a ...


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There are a few things I do when creating a puzzle, and a few of my own rules I have created through experience, which I shall list below... 1. Planning is important Puzzlemaking takes time and effort. Without your puzzle will have a massive drop in standard. Remember this equation:$Puzzle$ $Value$ $=$ $Effort$ $X$ $Time$ $X$ $Ability$ Ability is a small ...


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