# Puzzles

Updated June 5, 2023

This page has many of the puzzles authored by Cathy and Tom Saxton. We hope you they entertain you with hours of fun!

We just added Banjo-Kazooie here; it is from Microsoft Puzzlehunt 21, which ran in 2021.

We've been solving various kinds of puzzles for years, and after meeting and chatting with puzzle authors, Cathy was inspired to try it herself. She had made numerous puzzles for Tom over the years, and was able to use that experience – and Tom's excellent feedback from play-testing – to create a set of puzzles for Puzzled Pint. She got great advice and feedback from friends, and her first set of puzzles debuted in July, 2014.

That evolved into authoring puzzles for DASH and another Puzzled Pint set. After enlisting Tom to help with testing and refining her puzzles, Cathy managed to convince him to co-author a set with her.

We continue to author puzzles when inspiration strikes us and enjoy sharing them here.

If you have any comments – or if you'd like a hint on a puzzle – you can email [puzzles] at this domain.

## Resources

Note that many of the puzzles below don't have specific instructions for solving – figuring out what to do is one of the challenges. If you aren't familiar with puzzles like this, you will find it useful to read the Puzzling Basics sheet on the Puzzled Pint site, and we'd recommend starting with our January 2015 set.

A useful resource for all solvers is the Puzzled Pint Code Sheet, which lists many of the common encodings used in puzzles like these. The Puzzled Pint Resources page has links to some handy smartphone apps.

For beginner-friendly puzzles with full instructions, try our Halloween puzzles or 2017 Pi Day puzzles.

## Puzzles

### Pi Day

The mathematical constant pi (π) has the value 3.14... That looks like March 14 when using the US date format of month/day, so March 14 is Pi Day.

#### 2016 and 2017 Pi Day

In 2016, we were on a cruise during Pi Day. The highlight of the cruise was seeing a total solar eclipse, so it was a very geeky crowd, and there were several people excited about having Pi Day activities. Cathy created a sheet with three beginner-friendly puzzles for part of the day's festivities.

In 2017, Puzzled Pint's second-Tuesday-of-the-month date fell on March 14. For the bonus puzzle at that event, Cathy revised her Pi Day puzzles from the cruise. For this version, there's one tweak in the word chain, and the answer phrase from the grids is a lot less geeky.

Both versions of this Pi Day puzzle set are below (on letter-size and A4 paper). Which should you choose? If you're a math geek, you'll probably appreciate the phrase revealed by the solution to the puzzle with the grids, so play the 2016 cruise version. Otherwise, play the 2017 Puzzled Pint set. (The word search is the same in both versions. The word chain in the original uses a less-well-known pie, but was still solved successfully by many people.)

 Letter-size paper: A4-size paper:

#### 2020 and 2022 Pi Day

In 2020, Cathy was inspired to make a Pi Day puzzle for Tom. Just prior to that, we'd had fun playing Area 51 puzzles, so Cathy decided to try creating one for Tom. The Area 51 puzzle variety is the invention of David Millar, and it combines the rules for several Nikoli-style puzzles. Thanks to David for creating a fun puzzle type, and for graciously letting Cathy use the alien and cactus graphics he created for his Area 51 puzzles.

In 2022, Cathy decided to make use of that circular grid again and make another Pi Day puzzle for Tom.

Note: the 2020 and 2022 Pi Day Area 51 puzzles are fairly challenging, much harder than the above Pi Day puzzles.

### Halloween

This sheet has two puzzles with a halloween theme. These are beginner-friendly (including full instructions), but the second puzzle may be a little challenging.

### 2/22/22

All those twos in the date for February 22, 2022, seemed to warrant a couple of puzzles! This page contains two Nikoli-style logic puzzles (Yajilin and Area 51).

### April Fools' Day

For April Fools' Day, 2022, Cathy created two Nikoli-style logic puzzles with liars (Yajisan-Kazusan and Liar Slitherlink). These puzzles are more challenging than many of the other puzzles here.

### Earth Day

We created four Nikoli-style logic puzzles inspired by Earth Day, April 22, 2022. Driving an EV everywhere except gas stations is the theme for a Yajilin puzzle, going camping for a Tents puzzle, placing wind turbines for a Star Battle puzzle, and planting a vegetable garden for a Scarecrows puzzle – a variant of Nurikabe that Tom invented for our Gilligan's Island set.

### Microsoft Intern Puzzleday

Every summer, Microsoft hosts a day of puzzle solving for interns. This event is geared for novice puzzle solvers in teams of 6-12 people. For the 2016 event, the theme was about traveling around the world, so all of the puzzles have a title indicating a location. Location names provided inspiration for puzzles, but knowledge of a place isn't necessary in order to solve its puzzle.

The banners at the top of each puzzle mimic the signs you'd see on a road trip telling you the distance to nearby locations. The numbers aren't used in the solutions to these puzzles.

Cathy created the five puzzles below. (We've been to four of the five locations.) Print the second page of Arctic Circle in color if possible. All other puzzles can be printed in black and white.

### Puzzled Pint

Puzzled Pint takes place in dozens of cities around the world on the second Tuesday of every month. Teams solve a puzzle to learn where the event will be, then show up at the designated bar to work a set of 4-6 puzzles while they have dinner and drinks.

These puzzles sets were designed to be solved by a team, so grab a few friends to work with you. We hope you enjoy them! (And remember to consult the Code Sheet and Puzzling Basics references mentioned above.)

The links below will take you to a page with more information on each set, including the puzzles, hints, and solutions. Solve times are estimates for the timed portion of the set, based on how long teams typically took at the event. (Individual solvers should expect to take longer!)

### DASH

DASH (Different Area, Same Hunt) is a day-long event where teams in cities around the world solve the same puzzles. Each year has a different theme, but the general concept is the same: teams solve a series of puzzles as a story unfolds, walking to a new location for each puzzle. After participating on a team in several DASH events, Cathy wrote her first puzzle for DASH 7, which ran in 2015.

The links below for DASH 7 and 8 will take you to pages with more information on each puzzle, including the context in the story, puzzles, hints, and solutions. (Other links are directly to puzzle PDFs.)

• DASH 7: Interview with Rita Skeeter – The theme was Harry Potter, and Cathy's puzzle represented the team's interview with the infamous journalist Rita Skeeter.
• DASH 8: GHOST in the Machine – Teams were part of a spy organization that had been hacked. We (Cathy and Tom) wrote the "mixer" puzzle that kicked off the event by having groups of three teams collaborate to discover the hacker's identity.
• DASH 10: What's the Holdup? Tom wrote the first puzzle, which introduced the story, an old-west themed robbery and pursuit of bandits.
Here's the puzzle: What's the Holdup?  ·  solution
• DASH 11: Eyes – Teams solved puzzles to fix issues afflicting the body of someone who'd been puzzling all day and contracted various aliments as a result. Cathy wrote a bonus puzzle that teams can find after discovering an Easter Egg in the DASH 11 puzzle hunt.
Or you can find it here!  Eyes  ·  solution

### Microsoft Puzzlehunt

For Microsoft Puzzlehunt 21, Cathy was invited to contribute a puzzle to a module where each puzzle was themed based on one of the Smash Brothers games. Her puzzle was inspired by the golden honeycombs collected by players in the video game Banjo-Kazooie. (You don't need to know anything about the game in order to solve this puzzle.)

As with most Puzzlehunt puzzles, this puzzle requires the solver to figure out what to do instead of having explicit instructions. It's also one of the more challenging puzzles we've shared here. Visit the hints page for guidance if you're feeling stuck!

Puzzlehunt puzzles have a final word or phrase that are submitted for the answer. Be sure to look for the answer after you've filled in the grid!