Weekend Solver

Some roads are longer than others and the journey from Monday morning to Friday night seems to always be the longest road of all. Yet, here we are again, coming to the end of that long and exhausting road. Our prize? Time to unwind with a pile of puzzles that’s been waiting for us all this time.

I’m in a good spot. This Sunday is Mother’s Day in the U.S. and spring activities are in full swing. My wife and traveling buddy Sarah is a puzzler. Jealous? Oh yeah you are.

Friday night Sarah and I will tackling the mini-puzzle hunt Escape From The Haunted Library from Eric Berlin, that just released from P&A Magazine. All I had to do was say “Berlin” and “mini-puzzle hunt” in the same sentence and our evening plans were set.

It comes with eight puzzles and a meta puzzle, each of them a totally different design than the other. Berlin always delivers a solid performance and I’m in no doubt that this will be another top notch job.

As a whole, I’m a big fan of these mini-puzzle hunts, I feel like it really shows off what puzzles can become in the future. For me, these puzzle hunts become like sitting down and reading a novel for others. It gives me something to really dig into, more than a single puzzle which I see as a short story.

It’s spring and for those that have children, Saturdays are seemingly filled with endless trips to sports fields. We’ve two girls in sports, one soccer and the other softball, both with games throughout the day. With all of this going on, our puzzling has to be mobile and we’ll be turning to Puzzazz to help out with our puzzle fix.

For those that may have missed it, Puzzazz’s latest update to its app brought with it a slew of upgrades and additional material, one of the biggest things was daily Sudoku and KenKen puzzles. Both are free and we’ll be binge solving as we watch girls move like bumblebees around the soccer pitch following the ball, and as we wait patiently for one of the girls to chase another ball thrown by the third basemen out into the outfield.

There’s no doubt that Sarah will be rubbing my face in the fact that she once again beat my solve time by at least two minutes. She’s quite the competitor and I’m one of those Zen folks that’s in love with the journey. Of course Sarah says that the whole “Zen thing” is what losers would say, but I never win so we’ll just have to wait to find out.

Sunday morning is like all readers know, that time when I get up before the sun rises to solve when it’s just me and everyone else is still asleep. I’m going to be biting the bullet and renew my subscription to the New York Times Crossword. I’d put it on hold for a few months, not listening to Sarah telling me any different, because of my binge solving schedule. I thought that grabbing a few collections through their app would save a few bucks in the long run.

I neglected to consider that feeling I would miss, coming to the app with fresh and current puzzles to solve, waiting for me every time it opened. In a certain way, the binge solving is like missing an old friend, not seeing them every day, but then catching up every few weeks over coffee. I just didn’t imagine that me seeing the consistent cadence of the new would play on mind as it had, but it turns out that it’s a strong pull for me.

Finishing up the evening, Sarah and I will probably take to the last of Escape From The Haunted Library. There’s eight puzzles plus a meta puzzle to solve, and I don’t think that we’ll complete everything on Friday night. It’ll be a great night I’m sure and it’s pretty sweet to get away with a Mother’s Day that has puzzles all mixed up with it. Perks of marrying a puzzler my friends.

My weekend is planned and set, what will you be grabbing to solve from your own puzzle pile this weekend? Head down to the discussion section and let us know.

Disclosure: CEO/CTO of Puzzazz, Roy Leban, is a financial backer of Puzzle Pile.

About Bran McMillin

Bran McMillin is the founder and senior editor for the puzzle news site Puzzle Pile. From 2007 - 2010, he served as editor for the magazine Panopticon: Puzzles & Games. He is the inventor of the Itachi and Hairetsu puzzle forms and has created hundreds of puzzles. Disclosure: Bran is a member of the National Puzzlers' League.

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