Do you accept the Cryptiq challenge?

Normally, this would be a Follow-Up Friday post. But since Follow-Up Friday is all about continuing or expanding upon previous topics we’ve covered, and I suspect today’s post will be something we’ll return to in the future, it gets the nod this week.

I’ve written about puzzle contests plenty of times in the past, whether they’re single crosswords to solve or elaborate multi-step puzzle suites to unravel. Constructors are constantly innovating, and we’ve reached a point where you can tackle amazing puzzly challenges without even leaving your favorite chair.

So if you’re looking for a diabolical new puzzle series you can sink your teeth into from the comfort of your own home, Cryptiq fits the bill nicely.

Cryptiq is a collection of puzzles — available both on their website and in book form — designed to test your puzzly mettle. There are dozens of logic, deduction, and visual puzzles involved, and the designers have clearly set a very high bar for solvers.

From the Cryptiq website:

To win the game you must solve all the puzzles on the given pages on http://www.cryptiq.com or in the book Cryptiq. Once you solve the puzzles you will be left with a code that has 6 values. Be the first to enter these 6 values, in the correct order, on the code input page and you will be moved forward to the verification step. The game can only be won through skill.

After you have entered the correct code, you will be prompted to supply a written solution showing that your solve of the puzzles was not by chance. Once your solve is verified as skill, you will be declared the winner and receive the prize.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a puzzle contest that requires written explanation of the solve in order to prove your skills, but when you consider that the winning purse is \$5,000 — and there’s a chance that prize could increase — the team at Cryptiq wants to be sure that someone EARNS that prize, rather than getting lucky.

[Kind of Cunning, one of Cryptiq’s many mind-bending obstacles.]

Best of all? There is no purchase necessary to enter or to win the game. Everything you need to play is right there online. (The book version costs \$20, but has all the same information as the website.)

So, fellow friends and PuzzleNationers, will you accept the Cryptiq challenge? Let me know if you do! I’d love to hear about it!

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A crossword contest!

Regular readers of the blog probably know the name George Barany. He’s a top-flight puzzle constructor and one of the masterminds behind the Barany and Friends puzzle group.

Last year, George launched the Enigma Variations puzzle contest, and this year, he’s got another terrific crossword contest for ambitious solvers! And he reached out to PuzzleNation Blog to help spread the word!

It’s called Eliminating the Competition, and it’s the brainchild of George, Ralph Bunker, John Child, Michael Hanko, and Roy Leban.

There are two levels of difficulty, the open division and the master division. The open division is classified as a mid-week New York Times difficulty level, while the master division is late-week difficulty.

And both puzzles have a meta puzzle hidden within that you’ll have to unravel to win the contest:

Contest (Open Division): Explain this puzzle’s theme, including its title. Specifically, explain the answers to the four indicated clues.

Contest (Master Division): Explain this puzzle’s theme, including its title, and any nuances you see. Bonus for Grandmaster level solvers: How was the “reveal” chosen?

Prizes include crossword books and subscriptions, as well as some prizes to be posted after the contest is over!

You’re welcome to try your luck against either puzzle! The contest ends Monday, February 8, at midnight, so the deadline is looming, but hey, that just adds a little drama to the proceedings, doesn’t it?

You can find the full details of the contest here. And good luck!

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