Monday, May 25, 2009

Puzzle News

When I'm not reading or writing kid lit, you'll often find me solving puzzles. Crosswords and logic puzzles are my favorites, but I love any type of puzzle that presents a good challenge. So the last couple of weeks have been especially fun for me, for three reasons:

First, my husband and I entered the 2009 Washington Post Hunt. We didn't do so hot -- we only got three out of five of the basic puzzles, which meant we didn't even have a shot at the Super Ridiculous Impossible End Game Puzzle -- but we had lots of fun trying. And considering that we went it alone, I felt OK about it. They recommend teams of at least four, and now I know why. The more brainpower, the better. The hosts (humor columnist extraordinaires Dave Barry and Gene Weingarten as well as Washington Post Magazine Editor Tom Shroder) estimated only a small percentage of teams solved all five of the basic puzzles, so I don't feel too bad.

Here's me at Post Hunt Ground Zero, posing in front of Dave Barry posing with someone else!

You may be too late for this year's hunt, but you can experience some of the fun (and frustration!) and start preparing for next year by checking out these practice video puzzles. Enjoy!

Second, I visited the Tyson's Corner Barnes & Noble and picked up a copy of The Potato Chip Puzzles by Eric Berlin. Berlin is not only a kid lit author but is also a New York Times crossword constructor, which in my world makes him All Kinds of Awesome. A follow-up to Berlin's debut mystery, The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, his new book proved an even better read, in my opinion. Lots of great puzzles, a great underlying mystery and the same very likeable cast of characters.

Third, I was checking out Berlin's blog this weekend and came across a very cool project he has undertaken. If you love crosswords or would like to get signed copies of his both his books, check it out here. For just $5 you can support his project and receive a suite of nine -- count them, nine! -- crossword puzzles and enter his puzzle contest. (You need to contribute at least $40 to get the books. Well worth the price if you like kid lit mysteries.) Berlin's goal for the project was $1500 and he has already exceeded that. Which is pretty darned cool.


Sam said...

Isn't Dave Barry a kidlit author now, too? I hope you asked him how he feels about Waves vs. Hunger Games!

That Eric Berlin has got the MO these days. I'm glad you linked to his blog, because I've been meaning to subscribe...

LindaBudz said...

Sam, right you are! I'd forgotten about that. So this post has more kid-lit relevance than I'd thought!

Dave's Peter Pan series is supposed to be pretty good, though I have yet to check it out. Which is weird, cuz I've been a huge fan of his since I was 15. He lived in my county and wrote a humor column for my small-town paper before he became famous.

As the picture might suggest, I got kinda starstruck around him and didn't even get up the nerve to say "hi" much less ask his opinion on anything. Sigh.

Re: Eric, you'll be interested to know that Booklist compared his new book to THE WESTING GAME. Wow! I wouldn't be able to live with myself!

Cathymac said...

Linda, I am going to send your link to my crossword puzzle/mystery novel fan friend, she will like your book recommendations.

One day I will make a "serious" attempt at crosswords, my attempts so far have been pretty sorry!

LindaBudz said...

Thanks, Cathy!

If your friend is not already familiar with Parnell Hall's Puzzle Lady Mysteries, tell her to look him up on Amazon. Mysteries with crosswords in them ... lots of fun and great humor, too.