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Puzzle Box, Volume 1 Paperback – November 16, 2016
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I appreciate the great variety of puzzle types in this volume. With 300 puzzles to solve, there is a puzzle type that will appeal to everyone. This book boasts a good mix of logic puzzles, visual puzzles, word puzzles, geometric puzzles, etc. Even though my primary use of these puzzles is in my classroom, I have completely enjoyed solving the puzzles in this volume on my own. In fact, the act of solving these puzzles has encouraged me to start creating my own puzzles. This puzzle book is fun, inspiring, and mind boggling in the best possible way.
I recommend this book to all lovers of puzzles and especially teachers!
The other contributors to this volume are Andrea Gilbert, a software engineer and puzzle designer with a lifelong interest in route-finding puzzles and logic mazes; Donald Knuth, whose absolute domain is algorithms and their analysis, in keeping with his status as Professor Emeritus of The Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University; Erich Friedman, Associate Professor of Mathematics and ex-Chair of the Math and Computer Science Department at Stetson University, with a penchant for weightings and moving pieces, among others; Bram Cohen, whose skills as a computer programmer in no way contend with his active creative talent in devising puzzles in varying forms and genres and his participation in puzzle projects; Ed Pegg, Jr., who, in addition to working at Wolfram MathWorld and writing for the MAA online, is an expert on math puzzles and a recreational mathematician; Harry Nelson, who doesn’t allow his mathematical editing and computer programming skills to get in the way of his longtime interest in puzzles of all kinds, which has resulted in him becoming a devoted puzzle inventor; Richard Candy, whose lifelong interest in puzzle solving has recently inspired him to compose puzzles himself; and Shelly Hazard, whose skills as an accomplished hardware writer with a highly technical background have stood her in good stead in becoming an active creator of original logic and word puzzles, however disparate her interests might appear.
The puzzles contained in Puzzle Box, Volume 1 include 3D puzzles, chess puzzles, connections, dissections, folding, geometrical puzzles, logic problems, matchstick puzzles, mazes, moving pieces, number puzzles, put-togethers, strimko, sudoku, visual puzzles, weightings, and word puzzles. Each puzzle has its difficulty level indicated, with the range stretching from 2 to 5, though the most common puzzles are three-star. That many of these puzzles can constructively be used for time-out exercises in the average classroom is clear, so if you are a math educator, be well advised to get yourself a copy for when you wish to take a break from active teaching. Your students are just as likely as you are to appreciate the freshness of the diverse approaches to problem-solving that you encounter here!
I've bought puzzle books from Penny Press for years. They're like candy and go down easy. There is a repetition in their puzzles that offers a familiarity but also boredom at times.
This book is full of fairly unique, thought provoking and interesting puzzles with very little repetition of style. They are well done and beautifully illustrated.
Each puzzle is rated from 2 to 5 stars for difficulty. For the puzzles I've worked on, the rating is pretty accurate. There is a great blend, perfect for a newbie to feel challenged but not frustrated and for the advanced puzzler to feel a sense of accomplishment when getting through the more difficult.