112 votes
Accepted

Cryptic Clue Guide

(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 ...
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  • 136k
62 votes
Accepted

I have forgotten what the puzzle was

I am ashamed this came to me so quickly.
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  • 2,248
55 votes
Accepted

Is this chromatic puzzle always solvable?

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 ...
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  • 7,323
48 votes
Accepted

How to make someone open an origami?

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 ...
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  • 21.7k
40 votes
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Guide to Codes and Ciphers

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 ...
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36 votes

How to make someone open an origami?

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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  • 67.4k
35 votes

Creating a Kakuro puzzle with a unique solution

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 ...
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  • 4,549
35 votes
Accepted

Why does generating a Sudoku work in lines, but not in a random pattern?

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 ...
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32 votes
Accepted

Riddles/puzzles having answer hidden in the question?

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 ...
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32 votes

What are some examples of "cheat-proof" trivia questions?

Here are some things you could try: Rebus A rebus is a puzzle device that combines the use of illustrated pictures with individual letters to depict words and/or phrases. You can draw the pictures on ...
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  • 123k
31 votes

What should you look for when rating the difficulty of a puzzle?

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 ...
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  • 23.6k
29 votes

Help me to find a small but hard and clever maze

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 ...
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29 votes
Accepted

Submitting a puzzle to the NYT

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 ...
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  • 1,513
28 votes
Accepted

How do I write a "solid" Riddle?

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) ...
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25 votes
Accepted

What are the features of a well-written puzzle?

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 ...
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  • 15.8k
24 votes
Accepted

How do you come up with a good classic rhyme riddle?

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 ...
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  • 1,366
24 votes
Accepted

What are the tricks used in making a 'Rebus' puzzle?

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 ...
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24 votes
Accepted

Is there a puzzle that is only solvable by assuming there is a unique solution?

At least not if the solution space is a countable infinite set, or smaller. In that case, we can compute the finite time person 2) will need to find the solution found by person 1) by enumeration, ...
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23 votes
Accepted

Ideas on puzzles for a scientific event

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 ...
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  • 31.3k
23 votes

How does one go about creating a new grid-deduction puzzle?

When constructing a puzzle like this, the important thing to remember is that you should solve the puzzle as you construct it. The general process of construction goes like this: Place clues to make ...
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  • 136k
22 votes

Riddles whose answer is "the moon"

Always old, sometimes new. Never sad, sometimes blue. Never empty, sometimes full. Never pushes, always pulls.
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  • 321
22 votes

Is this a good question for an IQ test?

I don't think this is a good question for an IQ test. The problem is that there are some strategies to solve this kind of meta-question and who know one of these strategies can answer in seconds. Also,...
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  • 4,713
21 votes

What are some examples of "cheat-proof" trivia questions?

My friends and I did quizzes for about four months, and these are my favourite rounds we did that fit your criteria: Bad film reviews There are aggregated lists of film reviews that are baffling and ...
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  • 548
20 votes
Accepted

How can the "Boy or Girl" paradox be worded unambiguously?

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 ...
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20 votes

Riddles whose answer is "the moon"

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 ...
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  • 36.1k
19 votes
Accepted

Tips for solving poem riddles

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 ...
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  • 12.7k
18 votes
Accepted

Exponential time in a Blue Eyes variant

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 ...
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  • 33.2k
18 votes

Is this a good question for an IQ test?

Bad question. I would imagine a person who is familiar with the idea of paradoxes and self-referentiality would immediately go "aha, I get what this is" and answer D. Another person may have ...
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  • 289
17 votes
Accepted

Are there "rules" (or consistent conventions) that limit when the NY Times Crossword can deviate from rotational symmetry?

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 ...
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  • 390
17 votes
Accepted

How can I avoid the "Riddle-maker's Dilemma?"

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 ...
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