Friday, June 28, 2013
Double issue of The Nation last week, so no new puzzle this week. Also no new posts at Word Salad.
At Sunday brunch last weekend, I mentioned that Nathan Curtis’s latest deserved its own post. Called “A Curtain Call for Borbonicus and Bodley,” Nathan composed it as a warm-up for this year’s MIT Mystery Hunt. Hunts are gaining popularity, and have been put on in several different cities. Teams of solvers have to get through a variety of different puzzles (word puzzles and non-word puzzles, many absolutely unique) and travel around the campus or city to get clues and eventually find the finish line. From what some have said about the experience, you'd better be prepared for an all-nighter or two.
What I find about the “hunt” puzzles I’ve tried is that they need your undivided attention. Some of them have no rules, but knowing the theme and some of the previous answers will point you towards a solution. It’s not the kind of pastime I can put on the clipboard and devote a few minutes to before bedtime. Not all of us have the time or inclination for such intense events, but Nathan’s warm-up will give you an idea of whether this is a kind of recreation you’ll find enjoyable.
So go over and meet Borbonicus and Bodley. Even if you don’t go all-in and attempt to solve the whole thing, there are a few puzzles that work well on a stand-alone basis, including the cryptic “What Do You Do With a B.A. in English?” which Nathan posted a few months ago and a very clever variety crossword in the labyrinth style (Anyone know who originated it? Most of what I’ve seen are from Mike Shenk.) Blinky, that Inky, Pinky, and Clyde will help you with. There are also puns to groan at.