So Many Puzzle Brands, So Little Timex!

After a few months off to rest up and recharge our punny brains, on Monday we were happy to announce the return of our monthly Puzzle Hashtag Game!

And today, I’m posting the results of our #PennyDellPuzzlyBrands hashtag game!

You may be familiar with the board game Schmovie, hashtag games on Twitter, or @midnight’s Hashtag Wars segment on Comedy Central.

For over a year now, we’ve been collaborating on puzzle-themed hashtag games with our pals at Penny Dell Puzzles, and this month’s hook was #PennyDellPuzzlyBrands, mashing up Penny Dell puzzles and products, companies, and slogans!

Examples include Pep-say that again, Dorito the Nines, and Campbell’s Alphabet Soup!

So, without further ado, check out what the puzzlers at PuzzleNation and Penny Dell Puzzles came up with!


Puzzly Food Brands!

Countdown Chocula

Lucky Star Charms

Observation Post Raisin Bran

Alpha-Bits and Reese’s Pieces

Cadburied Treasure

Zigzag nut candy bar

KenKen mints

HubbaBubbacaps

Crypto-Teddy-Grahams

Teddy-Graham-less Crostic

Keebler Anagram Crackers

Slide-O-Gram Crackers

PhasaGram Crackers

Nabisco Ana-graham Crackers

Nabiscrosswords

Missing Domino Sugar

Swiss Miss-ing Trios / Swiss Missing Vowels

Coca-Bowl-a Game

Discocacola

Tropicancellations

Letter Powerade

Capri Sunrays

Red Bulls-Eye Spiral

CryptoSeagrams

Orville Redenblockbuilders

Pop Secret Words

Common Combos

Wise Potato Chips

Ritz Crackers

Fancy Five Guys

Chick-fil-A to Z Maze

Trade-Off Joe’s

Missing Dominoes Pizza

Domino Theory Pizza

Extra Cheesy Domino Theory Breadsticks

Goo Goo Crozzle

Kibbles ‘n Bits ‘n Pieces

Fancy Fives Feast

Flower Power Bars

King Arthur Flour Power

Treasure Hunt’s Tomato Sauce

Double Up Oreos

Funyunscramblers

Triscuit Figures

Starkist Words

Blue Diamond Ring Almonds

Hormel Word Spiral Ham

Spammers

PollyO Pulling Strings Cheese

Maze-ola corn oil

Mrs. Dash-It

Vlasic Variety Pickles Plus Crosswords

Eggland’s Best Logic Problems


Puzzly Brands!

Build-A-Pyramid Workshop

Nikeywords

FedHexagams

Missing Chevroletters / Chevrolet Word Trailsblazer

Dixon Pencil Pusher / Ticonderoga Pencil Pusher

Pop-O-Matic Double Trouble

Dell Crazy Glue Clues

Stay-free Maxi-Points (with wings!)

Ty-D-Bol Game

New York Stock Exchange Boards

Kiss My Face to Face

VOSS Arithmetic

Pur-In A Word

Silly-Putty-bility

Anderson Window Boxes

InstaQuotagrams

Hot Wheels

SpellBounty

Right of Way-Gard

Double Uptree

Around the Blockbuster

Bob the Blockbuilders

Bubbles Wrap

FrisBe-fore and After

Photoshop Finish

All Four One-sies

Matchbox-Up / Mathbox cars

Zip-lock It

Tylenol for One

Missing Listerine

Ginsudoku

Anagram Magic Bullet

Calvin Klein ‘Em Up

Tidy Categories

Rolex the Dice

Armor All Fours

Lorealpha Quotes

Aquaphor-Fit

Whirlpool Words

Thom McAnagrams

Pinecone-sol

Quick & Febreze-y Crosswords

Take-a-Breakstone’s Word Seeks


Puzzly Brands and Slogans!

HeinekenKen – You can finish the beer or the puzzle, but not both.

Just SuDoKu It. – Pennikey (after the merger, obviously)

A Diamond Rings is Forever…or until you finish the puzzle – DeBeers

Imagination at Framework – General Electric

Because you’re Wordsworth it. – L’oreal

All the News That’s Four-Fit to Print – NY Times

Good to the Last Letterdrop – Maxwell House

Connecting Poetic People – Nokia

A DeBeer’s Diamond Mine…Where A Penny Puzzle is Forever.

Bounty paper towels jingle: “When puzzle spills are at their worst, Bounty is at it’s best – Bounty the quicker Picker-Upper!”

Target’s Bull Terrier puzzle mascot “Bull’s-Eye Spiral”


Have you come up with any Penny Dell Puzzly Brands entries of your own? Let us know! We’d love to see them!

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Pi Day and Puzzly Foods!

It’s Pi Day — March 14th, a.k.a. 3.14 — and as one of the nerdiest days of the year, we happily celebrate it here at PuzzleNation.

A friend of the blog asked if we’d be celebrating Pi Day with some apple pi pie, and sent me this video from YouTuber Rosanna Pansino:

That gave me an idea. Why not dedicate an entire blog post to puzzly foods?

Naturally, I have to start with some Rubik’s-inspired foods. It’s blocky style lends itself to foodly imitations, and in previous blog posts, we’ve shown off both Rubik’s fruit salads (like the one above) and Rubik’s cakes.

And while we’re talking about cakes, that brings me to another puzzly product that is easily replicated in food form: Tetris.

These cupcakes adorned with Tetris pieces are a perfect puzzly dessert, and a simple way to marry puzzling and food.

But if you’re looking for something a bit more challenging and involved, check out this Tetris bento box, crafting Tetrominoes into blocky veggies on a bed of rice for lunchtime enjoyment!

And puzzly foods only get more creative and complicated from here. Let’s talk about bagels.

Yes, there is a way to cut a bagel to leave two interconnected pieces. In fact, there are several ways to cut a bagel allowing for a more mathematical eating experience! It’s the mobius bagel!

But if you’re looking for the puzzliest food I can find, look no further than the Churroduo: two interlocked churro pyramids.

I think this excerpt from a write-up on Geekologie sums up the appeal of the Churroduo nicely:

Still, the best thing about the Churroduo is that you don’t have to feel bad about eating the whole thing, because you only ordered ONE of something, you can’t help that it’s actually like twelve churros stuck together.

Do you have any examples of puzzly foods that I missed? Are you celebrating Pi Day in a puzzly way? Let us know in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you!

Happy Pi Day, fellow puzzlers and PuzzleNationers!


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“World’s Greatest Billiards Shot” is actually a feat of puzzly engineering!

I stumbled upon this video recently, and the bombastic headline caught my eye: “World’s greatest billiard shot spanned two floors and nine tables.”

As someone who enjoys pool and trick shots, I clicked on it. But, as it turns out, this isn’t the world’s greatest billiard shot.

It is, however, one heck of a Rube Goldberg machine made out of billiards gear.

A Rube Goldberg machine, for the uninitiated, is a device designed to accomplish a simple task in as many unnecessary, ludicrous steps as possible. The name comes, appropriately enough, from Rube Goldberg, a cartoonist and inventor most famous for his cartoons featuring singularly silly and elaborate machines like the one pictured below.

We’ve posted videos of Rube Goldberg machines in the past, because they’re a perfect example of a mechanical puzzle in action. Only when things happen in a precise order does the machine complete its task.

And they’ve been around long enough that we’re starting to see fun variations on the concept. Beyond simply accomplishing a task, many Rube Goldberg devices tell stories or center around a given theme. (We even featured one that was designed to take weeks to complete!)

This video fits nicely into that grand tradition of overly complicated mechanical devices that accomplish something simple.

So, without further ado, I give you the Allstars Sports Bar Rube Goldberg device:


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Joel McHale Hides Puzzles Where You’d Least Expect!

Last year, I was surprised to stumble across a puzzle in the autobiography of comedian, actor, and magician Neil Patrick Harris, Choose Your Own Autobiography. It was a clever Neil-centric cryptic word-cross puzzle that rewarded attentive readers, since all of the answers were about events Neil discussed in the book.

So I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised to again discover a puzzle in a celebrity autobiography. But this time around, comedian, host, and actor Joel McHale has upped the ante by offering three puzzles in his book Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be.

Amidst hilarious anecdotes, bad advice for starting a career in Hollywood, and actual biographical facts, Joel includes a word-cross, a word search, and a matching game, all of which are about him!

The matching game is arguably the toughest of the three, since you have to match the image of him to the name of the character he portrayed.

The word-cross, though, is not far behind when it comes to difficulty, since the limited crossings offer fewer helpful letters to assist in solving. Not to mention that more straightforward clues like 1 Down — Second word in title of ninth chapter — are few and far between. More often, you encounter something like 14 Across — Anagram for synonym of puzzle.

Plus, there’s no clue at all for 33 Down, making the grid even tougher.

Although I was able to solve most of the grid, some of the entries eluded me.

Still, I have to give style points to 29 Across: “Police Academy” star, if his name had one less “T” and he invented movable type for printing presses.

The word search, which is branded a “Wrod Jembul” (since Joel is dyslexic), is both the most creative and the most solvable of the three puzzles.

In this puzzle, you’re given thirteen clues for various products Joel has done advertisements for, and you need to find them in the grid. Except every entry is jumbled up, complicating things greatly.

Although the puzzle is not perfect — FITBIT can be found in two ways, as can IHOP, and KLONDIKE BAR is the only entry spelled out for some reason — it’s great fun and a very fair solve.

Thanks for the Money is a very fun read, outrageous and engaging in equal measure. But finding a few puzzles inside? That’s the cherry on top.


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Night at the Museum (with giant crosswords!)

[All images courtesy of Robert Mordzon.]

The National Museum in Warsaw is taking an intriguing approach to introducing children to the value of museum-driven learning.

They’ve launched the “Anything Goes” museum, an educational experiment wherein children select, develop, and curate the museum’s main exhibit for a period of time.

According to the announcement on the National Museum’s website:

A group of 69 children aged 6–14 was divided into six curatorial teams. Over six months, the participants got to know the Museum and worked on the exhibition during weekly 4-hour meetings. The teams of junior-curators prepared the scripts and selected almost 300 works to be displayed….

The exhibition, which is divided into six individual segments, features works from all museum collections: ancient and Oriental artefacts, craft objects, old and contemporary sculptures, photographs, drawings and prints, coins and medals, clothes and paintings created in various periods. Many of these works have never been presented to the public. The children say that they “found and liberated them from the museum’s storeroom”.

And part of the “Anything Goes” museum is a dazzling audiovisual creation of technology pro Robert Mordzon: a giant interactive crossword puzzle.

Clues are placed in front of light-up blocks in the grid which indicate the number of letters in each answer.

When a letter is placed correctly, the space will turn green. If a letter is placed incorrectly, the space turns red. And when a word is completed, an animation related to the word is projected onto the wall.

If all 130 boxes are filled in and the grid is completed, sounds and a celebratory “disco light show” are played.

Not only is this an awesome way to bring puzzling to a newer audience, but it’s an impressive meld of science, technology, and wordplay. The fact that industrious children were behind bringing it to life is just the icing on the cake.

This is accessible puzzling at its most vivid and inspiring. Clearly when “Anything Goes,” anything is possible.

[A big thank you goes out to Kathy Matheson, aka Crossword Kathy, who brought this story to my attention.]


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Puzzle Romance!

Hello there, fellow puzzlers and PuzzleNationers!

It’s Valentine’s Day, and in lieu of our usual post touting different ideas for celebrating love in a puzzly way — since it’s a bit short-notice for those ideas — we thought we’d share some of our favorite tales of puzzle romance.

(Of course, if you ARE looking for ideas, you’re welcome to click here. Just saying.)

In the past, I’ve had the privilege of reporting on two puzzly proposals that were quite brilliantly facilitated by our friends at Penny Dell Puzzles. Each time, the gentleman in question — both times named Bryan, oddly enough — asked that the proposal be hidden in a favorite puzzle, slipped into one of their puzzle books. The first time, it was Escalators, the second, Simon Says.

Both times, the plans were executed to perfection, and both times, the lovely fiancees-to-be said yes.

(We’ve also previously shared the stories of proposals couched in a game of Monopoly and a Rubik’s Cube.)

But my favorite story of puzzle romance involves two friends of mine who are both devotees of cryptic crosswords. (For the sake of anonymity, I’ll call them Carol and George.)

Carol and George are one of those brilliantly matched couples that makes you smile just thinking of them. Marvelously compatible interests and senses of humor and general weirdness that makes relationships worthwhile.

George had several gifts picked out for Carol, but he wanted to surprise her with a little something extra, a bit of diabolical sweetness only a true puzzle devotee would love.

So, before Carol received each small token of affection, she was given a cryptic crossword (also known as a British-style crossword) clue to solve. Cryptic crossword clues involve both cunning wordplay and a definition. The number after the clue provides the number of letters in the answer word.

[A cryptic crossword by constructors Cox and Rathvon,
courtesy of National Post Cryptic Crossword Forum.]

Here are the clues George created. Hopefully you can figure out the answers just as Carol did!

Really glitchy web address loaded between Tuesday and first of year (5)

Found, amidst mishap, pyramid’s content (5)

Begin tortured existence (5)

Thine enemy, in the end, belonging to us both (5)

Plus, there’s an added bonus: the four five-letter answers, when placed in order, form a phrase.

Hopefully, there will be some wonderful new stories of puzzle romance to come. Maybe even tonight! If you have a story to share, comment below! We’d love to hear it!


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