A long time ago, in a corn maze far, far away…

Corn mazes are a wonderful puzzly tradition synonymous with the arrival of Fall and the end of Summer.

And one particular corn maze in Evansville, Indiana, has captured the attention of the masses with one lifelong Star Wars fan’s tribute to Carrie Fisher, the actress who portrayed Princess Leia Organa, who sadly passed away last year.

The maze was designed by Jeremy Goebel of Goebel Farms, who has been responsible for planning and executing corn maze designs as part of his duties on the farm — he’s been there 16 years! His previous maze designs include Darth Vader, the film The Force Awakens, and the starship USS Enterprise from the Star Trek series.

Each design is quite time-consuming to bring to life. Planting the Carrie Fisher design took 40 minutes — amazingly fast, courtesy of a tractor computer and GPS coordinates — and the initial plan dates back to February.

From an article in The Evansville Courier & Press:

The process used to be much more labor-intensive. The first year the Goebel family decided to make a corn maze they cut the rows by hand in mid-August, when the corn was tall and strong.

“It was not a great time to make a maze,” he said.

The second year they cut out the design earlier. The process involved a lot of guesswork. Goebel had to measure out the pathways in the field as he went.

“The third year we started using GPS,” Goebel said.

The maze is now open to the public for their enjoyment. As both a Star Wars fan and a maze enthusiast, this is the perfect puzzly way to combine those worlds in a satisfying fashion for all.

Do you know of any other dazzling corn mazes that will be challenging fellow puzzlers this Autumn, PuzzleNationers? Let us know in the comments below!

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Amazing Maize Mazes!

It’s October! October means falling leaves, Halloween delights, and a particular brand of puzzle that can only be enjoyed outdoors: the corn maze.

The corn maze is a seasonal hall of mirrors, a mental challenge that envelops you like few puzzles ever will.

Whether it’s a simple series of twists and turns designed for kids, or an elaborate design for adults whose true complexity can only be appreciated from above, corn mazes are a terrific puzzly experience for the whole family, and October is prime corn maze season.

Friend of the blog Cathy Quinn passed along an article from the Boston Globe featuring bits of trivia on numerous New England corn mazes, covering such curiosities as the machetes wielded by the Hanson’s Farm crew and the precautions taken by Marini Farm’s maze masters, including phone number to call and GPS assistance available for lost maze-goers.

But for someone looking for a puzzle with a bit more bite, worry not! Some truly devious corn maze designers cook up extra challenges for the brave of heart and sharp of wit.

[Do you see a dinosaur?]

The corn maze found at Pennsylvania’s Cherry Crest Farm, for instance, has three levels of difficulty, each demanding more puzzle skill and problem-solving acumen than the one before.

Their easy version is a basic run-through the maze (indicated with yellow trail markers), while their intermediate one features orange clues to unravel that guide you through a more complicated path. And their most difficult run? Well, that one requires you to collect every piece of a scattered map and every Kernel of Knowledge along way, tackling the mental obstacles that accompany every red clue.

Some clued corn mazes feature additional prizes or access to exclusive parts of the maze. (The Billingsgate Farm corn maze in Plympton, Massachusetts, features a pirate theme, and only the most intrepid solvers and explorers will find their way to the treasure chest at the center of the maze.)

It’s been a while since I’ve found myself tackling a corn maze, so I don’t have any anecdotes to add, but Cathy shared a terrific tidbit about the corn maze at Flint Farm she and her family frequent every year:

The article doesn’t mention it, but when you go in, they hand you a list of 10 trivia questions. As you wander the maze, you can come across up to 20 signs giving possible answers, so you have to figure out which answers are correct.

If you get them all right, you are entered into a raffle for free ice cream at their farm stand/ice cream stand. (We never get them all right, alas.)

Are there any great corn mazes near you, fellow puzzlers? Let me know! Share pictures! I’d love to see them!

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