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Puzzlecraft: The Ultimate Guide on How to Construct Every Kind of Puzzle Spiral-bound – April 2, 2013


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Puzzlecraft: The Ultimate Guide on How to Construct Every Kind of Puzzle + Will Shortz's Puzzle Master Workout
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Product Details

  • Spiral-bound: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Puzzlewright (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402779240
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402779244
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 8.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mike Selinker is a puzzle and game designer from Seattle. His puzzles appear in Wired, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Games, and on a 10-foot-tall crossword wall in Seattle's Eltana restaurant. His games include Unspeakable Words, Risk Godstorm, AlphaBlitz, Pirates of the Spanish Main, and Lords of Vegas. He owns the company Lone Shark Games, which makes puzzles, games, and events for people all over the world. His “Puzzlecraft” series, of late co-designed with Thomas Snyder, has run in Games since 2004.

Thomas Snyder is a scientist developing new medical diagnostics for organ transplant management. In the world of puzzles, Thomas has won the US Puzzle Championship as well as the US and World Sudoku Championships. As a puzzle constructor, he specializes in handcrafting artistic logic puzzles, particularly sudoku. Snyder lives in Palo Alto, CA.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 5, 2013
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
If you're a puzzle person, it's hard to go wrong with this book.

If you like puzzles, but never aspire to write one, this book is "merely" a collection of interesting, diverse puzzles, one-per-type, crafted by two expert creators. Selinker and Snyder are both playful creators, and all the puzzles are clever, with little elegant touches that make me smile when I'm solving them. I'd recommend it as a puzzle book, but that's not where it shines.

The meat of the book is the text, which is squarely targeted at people who want to make more puzzles. Every puzzle in the book comes with an essay on how to craft puzzles of its type. Many dissect of some part of the example puzzle, talking about how it works, explaining choices made along the way, or showing the way the parts came together over the course of constructing it. The opening nails down a puzzlecrafting ethos - what it means to make a puzzle that's not merely hard, but fun.

If you're serious about puzzles, this book is a must-have. I find myself flipping through it while working on my own puzzles, thinking about how to hybridize the forms inside, and how to squeeze a little more fun out of my mysteries. And if you're not a puzzlemaker yet, this book might just convince you to give it a try. Even if it doesn't, you've still got a collection of great puzzles.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 8, 2013
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
For ten years, there has been a 2-page spread in Games magazine for how to make pencil and paper puzzles of all types. If the first few hadn't been good / popular, the series would have been killed off a long time ago.

It's good and popular. The insights and explanations are excellent, and the illustrative puzzles are excellent. Also, every puzzle has been subjected to the Games magazine audience, members of which get rewarded whenever they find an error or quibble. The poor authors have been subjected to 10 years worth of commentary, suggestions, and complaints.

So, ten years of work -- and it's a great book! It's an extremely dense book, with step by step instructions for every well-known puzzle type, and quite a few more obscure types.

A book of a similar sort, by Will Shortz and Wei-Hwa Huang, is Puzzlemaster Workout, with 22 puzzle types. There is also the excellent Mutant Sudoku by Huang and Snyder. That means Mike Selniker has a Shortz number of 3. He also discusses Kevin Bacon puzzles on page 17.

The main chapters are
1. Perception puzzles -- knowledge (trivia), observation (mysteries, lateral thinking), manipulation (matches, dissections)
2. Word puzzles -- wordplay (flats, laddergrams, scrambles), message (anaquotes, cryptograms), word grids (word search, criss cross), crosswords, variety crosswords
3. Logic puzzles -- number logic (sudoku, cross sums, skyscrapers), abstract logic (battleships, minesweeper, LITS), path logic (mazes, chess problems, fences), logic problems (grid logic, sequence logic)
4.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By PuzzleMAT on May 14, 2013
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
Five stars, there is so much effort put into this book that it deserves nothing less. GAMES readers should be familiar with the Puzzlecraft section where one puzzle type is introduced per issue. Not only handsome samples of that puzzle are given, but step-by-step guide in how you would construct them is also discussed.

Mike Selinker is word puzzle maker most his life, Thomas Snyder is a logic puzzle expert of world champion calibre and when the two combine their specialties - virtually all puzzle types are covered. I also subscribe to GAMES and I must say that most of the content is not simply repeats from their previous life in GAMES - new sample puzzles are given and the annotations are slightly changed to fit chronologically in this book.

The book is separated into 4 chapters (perception, word, logic and metapuzzles). The heavily represented areas are obviously word and logic. You will probably encounter so many unfamiliar types that flicking through each page is an adventure in itself. I'm a constructor myself and when I'm reading the how-to-construct part of puzzles that I've made before, I discover the occasional new insights in puzzle construction.

A typical layout starts with a short introduction of the puzzle type. Then a numbered step-by-step in what you should do, in that order, to make that puzzle. Under each step is an italicized paragraph which refers to how the author applied that step to the sample puzzle he made (which is usually given on the same page).

This is a 192-page book containing over 80 puzzle types. It will keep you occupied for a long time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ken McGlothlen on July 12, 2013
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
Full disclosure: I personally know one of the authors (Mike Selinker).

That said, this is brilliant work, lovingly crafted by people who have a genuine passion for the art of puzzlemaking. Often irreverent, frequently challenging, it's a delightful read, particularly if you have a hankering to design your own puzzles and have never really known how to go about it.
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