Crosswords as Pop Culture Shorthand?

In television and movies, there are a lot of different techniques for revealing character traits. While some shows spend time developing their characters and slowly revealing their traits to the audience, other shows rely on visual shorthand. You often see a letterman’s jacket for a jock, or glasses for a nerdy boy or a mousy girl.

The act of solving a crossword puzzle has also become visual shorthand in pop culture. Crosswords often serve as a universal sign of intelligence.

In an episode of Jimmy Neutron, Sheen is shown solving a crossword puzzle in ink. This is an instantaneous sign that his brainpower has increased. (And when Cindy points out that her dad does the same thing, Sheen one-ups her by saying the puzzle is from The Beijing Times.)

It could have been math or organization or memorization, but instead, they went with crosswords.

In The Wire, the show uses a scene with a crossword to reveal that there’s more to street-smart Omar Little than meets the eye. Before testifying at Bird’s trial, he helps the bailiff with a crossword clue, identifying the Greek god of war as Ares. The scene immediately punches holes in several stereotypes both characters and viewers might have about the character.

This also happens on Mad Men, where one of the founders of the company is solving a crossword, only to be corrected by one of the secretaries. For that brief moment, the playing field has been levelled.

And because crosswords are seen as this visual shorthand for intelligence, they’re also used as a intellectual measuring stick, for better or for worse.

Rachel on Friends struggled with a crossword for an entire episode to prove she didn’t need anyone’s help, but still has to obliquely obtain information from others to finish the puzzle.

In an episode of House, M.D., House goes speed-dating, and is initially intrigued by a woman who brought a crossword puzzle with her. But when he notices she’s filled in random words instead of actually solving it — in order to pass herself off as someone she’s not — he quickly bursts her bubble in typically acerbic fashion.

P.G. Wodehouse loved to reveal the intelligence — or lack thereof — of characters through the use of crossword clues as fodder for banter. And that’s because it works. The audience draws conclusions based on these interactions.

In a fifth-season episode of Angel, a doctor is shown asking his receptionist for random crossword clues, only to fail at answering several. This immediately colors the audience’s opinion of him.

Crosswords can also be used as a mirror to reflect differences between characters. On The West Wing, President Bartlet couldn’t get past his own presuppositions and assumptions to properly complete the puzzle, while the First Lady had no problem navigating the same puzzle because of her own diplomatic skills.

Similarly, the parents in an episode of Phineas and Ferb show off their dynamic while solving a crossword. The father implies that every answer is obvious, and then waits for his wife to actually provide the answer. It says volumes about him, her, and the two of them as a pair.

But all of this raises the question: is this fair? Is the one-to-one association of crosswords and intelligence in pop culture valid?

[Check out this stock image from Deposit Photo.]

Crosswords are, essentially, piles of trivia and information, crisscrossing vocabulary locked behind clever or vague cluing. But are intelligence and access to information the same thing?

I mean, we’ve discussed the issue of crossword accessibility in the past. Many female constructors, constructors of color, and LGBTQIA+ constructors are helping to change the language used in crosswords, but plenty of people still see them as the domain of older white men. Which implies it’s not actually intelligence, just what older white men deem to be reflective of intelligence.

For a long time, pop culture clues were considered unwelcome or verboten. Beneath the crossword, even. Different editors bring different definitions of what’s appropriate for the puzzle.

And if people associate crosswords with intelligence because of this visual shorthand, and they don’t see themselves reflected in the puzzle, then they suffer from that jagged flip side of the pop culture coin. They’re excluded because of the measuring stick.

I realize most of the examples I cite above are intended to be humorous. Bartlet’s wrong answers are meant to be funny, as is Rachel’s struggle or the dad’s inability to answer on Phineas and Ferb.

But it’s worth mentioning that anyone who feels like they’ve been rapped across the knuckles by the measuring stick carries that with them. I’ve seen it plenty of times when I tell somebody that I work in puzzles. If they “can’t do them,” they look down when they say it. They already carry that visual shorthand with them.

While it’s fascinating that crosswords are part of that immediately recognizable pop culture lexicon, I also kinda wish that they weren’t.


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Spies, Crosswords, and Secret Messages!

secret message

There are loads of ways to hide secret messages in puzzles. The field of cryptography is built around it. Many meta puzzles have a special secret lurking inside their clever constructions. Heck, our friends at Penny Press even have an entire word seek called Secret Message.

But have you ever noticed that there’s a strange fascination in pop culture with secret messages in crosswords?

No, I don’t mean constructors hiding quotations, poems, or word seeks in their crosswords, though those are impressive feats of cruciverbalism.

I’m talking about stories about actual secret messages concealed in crossword grids, meant to be hidden from even the most diligent solvers, only a special few possessing the keys to finding the hidden words.

Oh, believe me, it’s definitely a thing.

Look no further than the first Crossword Mysteries movie. The film opens with a murdered art gallery owner with a crossword in his pocket. And it turns out that a devilish criminal mastermind was submitting puzzles to Tess’s daily crossword that contained hidden instructions for robberies to be conducted that day. Diabolical!

You might laugh, but this is hardly the only time we’ve seen crime, secret messages, and crosswords combined. It was a plotline in the radio show The Adventures of Superman, and Lois Lane’s life once depended on Superman’s ability to solve a crossword puzzle.

There are any number of mystery novels, cozy and otherwise, that contain hidden messages in crosswords. Nero Blanc’s Anatomy of a Crossword and Corpus de Crossword come to mind, as do any number of murder mysteries where a strange message scribbled on a crossword grid turn out to be a pivotal clue to catch the killer.

And there’s an even more curious subset of this in pop culture: crosswords and spycraft.

I could give you a simple example, like Bernie Mac’s character in the Ocean’s 11 remake pretending to solve a crossword, but actually writing down key information about the casino for the upcoming heist.

But that’s not really a secret message IN a crossword. No, it’s more of a secret message ON a crossword, though it is a bit of decent spycraft.

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[From Spy vs. Guy.]

Let’s talk about spies and their crosswords, then.

In the TV show Burn Notice, former (and occasionally current) spy Michael Weston sometimes received hidden messages from his previous spy organization through the crossword, though we’re not given much info on how this is achieved.

In the James Bond prequel novel Double or Die, it’s actually the young Bond’s teacher who sneaks a secret message into a puzzle. He’s also a cryptic crossword editor, and he convinces his kidnappers to allow him to submit a crossword to the newspaper, because if he didn’t, it would let people know all was not well.

Naturally, the kidnappers didn’t spot the clues to his current location that the teacher had hidden in the puzzle. Bond, even in his youth, manages to do so with ease.

Rubicon-008

In the short-lived TV show Rubicon, crosswords are at the center of a fascinating unsolved mystery. An intelligence agent named Will finds out his mentor committed suicide after seeing a four-leaf clover.

He then finds a pattern across several crosswords that leads him to believe his mentor’s death is somehow connected to the pattern in the crosswords, and he tells his superior about it.

And soon after investigating it himself, Will’s superior is also found dead. Unfortunately, we never get a resolution for this story, but it certainly fits the bill.

So yes, the curious connection between secret messages and crosswords in pop culture is definitely a thing.

But did you know it also extends beyond fiction? Yup, I’ve got some real-world examples for you too.

Back in June of 1944, physics teacher and crossword constructor Leonard Dawe was questioned by authorities after several words coinciding with D-Day invasion plans appeared in London’s Daily Telegraph.

The words Omaha (codename for one of Normandy’s beaches), Utah (another Normandy beach codename), Overlord (the name for the plan to land at Normandy on June 6th), mulberry (nickname for a portable harbor built for D-Day), and Neptune (name for the naval portion of the invasion) all appeared in Daily Telegraph crosswords during the month preceding the D-Day landing.

So it was possible (though highly improbable) that Dawe was purposely trying to inform the enemy of Allied plans, and the powers that be acted accordingly. In the end, no definitive link could be found, and consensus is that Dawe either overheard these words himself or was told them by his students — possibly slipped by soldiers stationed nearby — and placed them into his grids unwittingly.

Yes, this was just a big misunderstanding. But sometimes, accusations like this have real-world consequences.

In Venezuela, a newspaper has been accused multiple times of hiding encrypted messages within their daily crossword puzzles in order to incite revolt against the government.

Another Venezuelan newspaper was accused of concealing messages ordering the assassination of a public official named Adan, the brother of President Hugo Chavez!

article-0-130C1EBE000005DC-570_468x591

Some of the answers considered suspicious in the grid included “Adan,” “asesinen” (meaning “kill”), and “rafaga” (which can mean either a burst of gunfire, or a gust of wind).

Apparently this confluence was considered enough to warrant a half-dozen members of the intelligence service visiting the newspaper’s editorial office.

Now, were these cases of genuine secret messages being passed through the crossword, or were these coincidental events that appeared credible because the crossword/secret message concept has been part of pop culture for decades?

I leave that question to you, fellow puzzlers.

Can you think of any examples of crosswords with secret messages in pop culture or intersections of crosswords and spycraft that weren’t mentioned here? Let us know in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.


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The Rapid Advancement of Wooden Puzzles!

The essential elements of puzzles are centuries old. The knot to be unraveled, the wordplay to be processed, the pieces to be reassembled, the message to be decoded, the inconsistency to be spotted.

And yet, puzzles continue to evolve, finding new ways to express and employ these ancient components into fresh, satisfying solving experiences.

We recently discussed the evolution of Rubik’s-style twisty puzzles thanks to 3-D printing and computer modeling, and the same is true for an even older puzzle style: wooden puzzles.

Wooden puzzles frequently adhere to one of several formats:

Many of these puzzles are still effective and satisfying challenges today. If you’ve ever tried to hold four pieces in place at once in order to assemble a wooden camel, or suss out the dozen or so steps to open a himitsu-bako (or Japanese puzzle box), you know what I’m talking about.

Of course, like their twisty counterparts, these puzzles have only grown more complex over time.

And a relatively recent addition to the arsenal of wooden puzzle designers and creators is at-home laser cutters allowing for efficient production of puzzles and pieces at an affordable rate.

cirkusupiecesall

Over the years, we’ve seen projects like Cirkusu and the Baffledazzle line of specialized jigsaw puzzles, as well as the hit Kickstarter project Codex Silenda (which even appeared in an episode of NCIS: New Orleans), thanks to crowdfunding campaigns and affordable laser cutters.

Check out some of the most recent wooden puzzles I’ve encountered, created through laser cutter design:

Martin Raynsford’s Antikythera Tablets

This collection of five puzzle tablets, each themed around different aspects of Greek mythology, create a beautiful and well-constructed narrative chain that feels brilliantly unique and immersive.

iDventure’s Cluebox Escape Rooms in a Box

These multi-stage puzzle boxes are completely self-contained. You need to explore every inch of its surface to find clues and tools to unlock each stage of the puzzle box and reveal further challenges!

The field has advanced so far in just last few years, so who knows where wooden puzzles will go in the future?

Have you seen any mind-blowing wooden brain teasers that you’d recommend, fellow puzzlers? Let us know in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!


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Younger Solvers and Constructors Building Online Crossword Communities!

It’s a dynamic, fluid time for crosswords. It feels like we’re on the cusp of a sea change.

Women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community are featured more often, although we still have a LONG way to go on all of those fronts where representation is concerned, both for constructors and editorial staff.

Younger voices are rising up the ranks, and helping to influence the direction of crossword language through projects like the Expanded Crossword Name Database. Online resources like more inclusive word lists, free or discounted editing software (often constructed by younger solvers!), and words of guidance from online crossword collaboration groups are more available than ever.

Recently, these topics were tackled in The New York Times itself in an article about younger crossword enthusiasts penned by freelance writer and reporter Mansee Khurana.

mansee

Her article is a terrific snapshot of the modern crossword world.

It discusses the divide between older solvers and younger, and how the content of crosswords doesn’t always serve both sides. It tackles the concept of “evergreen puzzles” — crosswords edited for timeless reprint value, eschewing up-to-date and provocative references that would appeal to younger solvers and underrepresented groups for the sake of republication later.

The article mentions the many virtual and online spaces that are now comfortable haunts for younger crossword fans. Facebook forums, Discord chats, Zoom solving parties, Crossword Twitter, r/crossword on Reddit, and even Tiktok accounts dedicated to crosswords got some time in the sun, and it’s really cool to see how these new spaces have emerged and grown more influential.

[A solve-along video from YouTube, Twitch, and Crossword Tiktok user
Coffee and Crosswords. Actual solving starts around 10 minutes in.]

Several names familiar to crossword solvers were cited as well. Constructors like Sid Sivakumar (mentioned just yesterday in our Lollapuzzoola wrap-up), Nate Cardin, and Malaika Handa were all quoted in the piece, reflecting many of the same concerns we’ve heard from new and upcoming solvers in some of our recent 5 Questions interviews.

I actually remember the author’s post reaching out to the contributors and readers of r/crossword a few months ago, and I was glad to see the subreddit getting some mainstream attention. Yes, like any internet forum, it can be combative and argumentative at times, but that’s a rarity.

Most of the time, it’s a supportive community for crossword fans and aspiring constructors, a place where they share questions, bravely offer up their first attempts for input and criticism, and discuss all things puzzly. It’s genuinely inspiring to see new solvers on a near-weekly basis reaching out and being embraced by fellow solvers and cruciverbalists-in-progress.

I highly recommend you take the time out to read Mansee’s piece. She captures a true sense of not just where crosswords are now, but where they’re headed. And if these young people have anything to say about it, it’s headed somewhere very bright indeed.


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Puzzles in Pop Culture: The Golden Girls

In our Puzzles in Pop Culture series, we’ve featured shows as diverse as Gilmore GirlsNCIS: New OrleansThe West Wing, and Hell’s Kitchen.

Strangely enough, we seem to find more puzzly content in sitcoms than any other TV genre. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, M*A*S*H, Parks and Recreation, and more have featured scavenger hunts, escape rooms, and other puzzly activities.

And that’s true of today’s subject as well. Join us as we visit with The Golden Girls and try to unravel a murder mystery weekend gone awry! Please enjoy as we explore the second episode of the seventh season, “The Case of the Libertine Belle.”


During breakfast, Blanche gets a call from the Maltese Falcon Club, confirming plans for this year’s annual outing for the museum staff: a murder mystery weekend at the Queen of the Keys Hotel.

Dorothy is immediately excited for the event, and Rose reveals that she was considered the Sherlock Holmes of St. Olaf.

(Unfortunately, thanks to increased commercial time over the years, syndicated episodes have lines cut from the show to fit into a standard half-hour time slot with commercials, so some of the dynamite jokes aren’t part of regular reruns.)

Dorothy: Blanche, are you kidding? I have read every word Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler ever wrote. Sam Spade and Phillip Marlowe have become a part of me… “She had more curves than the Monaco grand prix and was twice as dangerous… Her jewelry was mute testimony that Charlie Chaplin wasn’t the only tramp who hit it big in this town.”
Sophia: You do this on first dates don’t you Dorothy?

Blanche is nervous about the event, hoping that it will lead the museum’s director of acquisitions, Kendall Nesbitt, to choose her as his assistant. That promotion would include a trip to Europe to look for rare paintings and antiques.

In typically cutting fashion, Sophia compares Blanche herself to an antique. Blanche then asks Sophia, Rose, and Dorothy to accompany her to ensure the museum attendees get the hotel’s group rate.

Cut to the hotel, where everyone is dressed for dinner.

Dorothy advises Blanche and Rose to keep their eyes open, trying to identify which guests are real and which are actors pretending to be guests. Rose immediately suspects Dorothy, then another guest, then gets distracted because Blanche took her missing earrings, wearing them for the event.

Kendall shows up and Blanche flirts with him, only to be appalled when he sits down to chat with her rival for the assistant job, Posey McGlynn.

Their discussion is interrupted when the maitre d’ calls attention to a birthday at another table. Everyone turns to celebrate Giles Forsythe, specifically mentioning Giles’ adult daughter, adult son, and young new bride Candy.

The lights go out as the cake is wheeled in. We hear a gunshot, then a scream!

The lights come back up, and Candy’s throat has been cut. Giles is slumped face down over the table, having been shot.

The maitre d’ matter-of-factly declares “oh dear, they’ve been murdered,” then calmly steps aside. It’s great.

COMMERCIAL BREAK!

We return to the hotel, where private detective Spade Marlowe (UGH) shows up, supposedly having been hired by the late Mr. Forsythe to check up on his 22 year old wife.

Sophia immediately insults his hat. Sophia is in the right here.

Spade infodumps that Forsythe’s son Philip is a collector of pre-Colombian artifacts and Forsythe’s daughter Gloria is a spinster (a label she weirdly seems fine with). He then invites the attendees to help him solve the murder as he picks up the bloody dagger from the floor.

Rose suggests that the dagger might lead them to the murder weapon, and the detective immediately replies, “St. Olaf?”

Kendall identifies the weapon as a rare Mayan sacrificial dagger. Spade goes to check Gloria’s purse, and she claims he won’t find anything suspicious there. Naturally he finds a recently fired gun in the purse.

Rose accuses the maitre d’. One guest accuses Philip. Another accuses Gloria. Sophia accuses Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick.

Dorothy then stands up and wipes the floor with everyone.

She points out it would be too obvious for Gloria to hide the gun in her purse, or for Philip to choose a knife from his collection for the crime. Both weapons were picked and disposed of to frame the other. Furthermore, the dagger was found to the left of the victim, indicating she was sliced from right to left by a left-handed assailant. Gloria, like most left-handed people, wears her watch on her right wrist.

Dorothy concludes that Philip and Gloria committed the crimes and tried to frame each other. As for motive, they both feared their father would change his will for his young bride, and they each sought to be the only inheritor.

Having solved the crime, Dorothy gets a round of applause from the attendees.

[Image courtesy of JoshuaDunbarArt on Etsy.]

Blanche runs over, having received an invite from Kendall for a private meeting. She just gave him her room key and demands the spare from Rose, leaving Rose to bunk with Dorothy and Sophia for the night.

Later, in her room, Blanche leaves the bathroom and answers the door. She accepts champagne from a waiter. He steps into the room, and discovers Kendall’s body laying on the bed with a knife in his chest. (Blanche probably didn’t notice through the magic of it being just out of frame.)

COMMERCIAL BREAK!

As the waiter runs from the room, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia arrive. Blanche is spooked, but Dorothy believes it’s all part of the murder mystery weekend. They check Kendall’s breath with a mirror, but there’s nothing. He’s dead.

The waiter arrives with Vaczy, hotel security, who immediately notices the method of death AND that Rose is from St. Olaf. He locks down the room and demands that no one leave the hotel, especially Blanche, who is his lead suspect.


Before we cut to the next scene, there’s a brilliant visual gag after Blanche is declared the lead suspect. As one of the main characters looks over at the next one and the camera follows, the music rises, as if asking a question.

The detective leaves, and Blanche looks at Dorothy, Dorothy looks at Sophia, Sophia looks at Rose, and Rose turns to look, but there’s no one left. It’s a really simple bit, but very funny and well-executed.


Blanche is distraught, but Dorothy promises that Blanche will be fine because she’s innocent. Rose is more skeptical, because the room was locked and only Kendall and Blanche had keys. Dorothy, unfortunately, has no solution to the locked room problem. Yet.

Later, all the guests are gathered in the dining room by Lt. Alvarez, who lays out the case. He mentions the two keys and the steak knife. (Blanche had steak for dinner, giving her opportunity to steal one of the knives.)

He asks if anyone can refute his case, and Dorothy speaks up, demanding a motive for Blanche’s crime.

[Sorry, this video has been mirrored.]

Posey McGlynn stands, accusing Blanche of trying to seduce Kendall into giving her the assistant job. Posey describes Blanche throwing her dress over the bed and changing into a negligee to await Kendall’s arrival. But she claims that Kendall asked to meet Blanche alone — and sent the champagne — to let her down easy, as he was giving the job to Posey. (Also, he couldn’t invite Blanche to his room, because Posey was already sharing a room with him. They were secretly lovers.)

She then accuses Blanche of murdering Kendall.

COMMERCIAL BREAK!

Lt. Alvarez prepares to arrest Blanche, but Dorothy defends her. First she asks why Blanche would bring a steak knife to what she thought was a romantic encounter. Alvarez ignores it. Dorothy suggests that a simple knock at the door could have caused Kendall to open it, expecting the champagne. (This would eliminate the locked room scenario.) Alvarez dismisses it as speculation.

Then Dorothy hits the jackpot. She remembers the hotel security cordoning off the murder scene, which limited access to the room. So the only people who could have observed the murder scene were the waiter, the hotel security, Alvarez and his officers, and the quartet of Rose, Blanche, Dorothy, and Sophia.

Posey’s description of events was too detailed. There’s only one way she could have known about Blanche’s dress on the bed: if she’s seen it before the room was locked down. This means she was the murderer.

Dorothy then describes the chain of events.

Dorothy: I think I see now how it happened: Last evening at dinner, when Miss McGlynn saw Blanche give Kendall Nesbitt her key, she was furious. She dropped a steak knife into her purse…
Sophia: Big deal. I took a whole place setting.
Dorothy: Not NOW, Ma!

She continues to explain the murder, and Posey pulls a gun on her, but Alvarez intervenes and the shot is directed toward the ceiling instead.

He’s about to arrest Posey when Kendall walks down the stairs, smiling and gleefully explaining that he has recovered from his death. He thanks the Maltese Falcon Club and Blanche for a marvelous weekend, and everyone claps.

Blanche pretends she was in on the ruse the whole time, then immediately confesses that she had no idea, and is mad about being the butt of the joke. Dorothy asks why Kendall’s breath didn’t show up in the mirror, and Rose reveals that she sprayed it with defogger at the request of the Club as revenge for Blanche stealing her earrings.

Sophia then happily declares that no crimes were committed at all, and it was all in fun. She then cannot lift her purse (thanks to all the stolen silverware inside) and asks Dorothy to carry it to the car.

The End!


[This scene isn’t from this episode, but with a knife-wielding Sophia, I couldn’t resist.]

All in all, this is a terrifically puzzly episode. At the halfway point of the episode, we’ve already had a solid murder mystery solution AND a new mystery involving one of the main characters. A locked room mystery, to boot!

Dorothy’s glee in unraveling the mysteries is great fun, and seeing her thrive in the spotlight is a nice change of pace, given that (despite her withering one-liners) she’s often treated as the least attractive, desirable, or likable member of the quartet.

The “murder” of Kendall does play out more like a performance than an interactive murder mystery for the players to solve, so most of the museum attendees didn’t really get to enjoy the event as planned, but I suppose if they like some curiously intimate theater, the weekend might seem like a success.

As a viewer, I quite enjoyed the stylistic choices. The music was playful, and some of the camera work was surprisingly inventive, making the camera itself something of a character in the story.

Plus the casting was excellent. The waiter, fake detective, and house security are all played by strong character actors who would go on to great things in their careers (Leland Orser, Todd Susman, and Zach Grenier, respectively), and they all added nice touches to the episode.

Kendall does come off as a bit of a jerk for leaving Blanche in the dark about the whole thing, but hopefully she can use that as leverage to get the assistant’s gig she desires.

As someone who both enjoys and designs murder mystery dinner events, I think the team at the Queen of the Keys Hotel did a fairly impressive job, as did the writers of the episode.


Did you enjoy this nostalgic trip to the televised puzzly past, fellow solvers? Let us know in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.

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What’s Your Favorite Puzzly Place?

We talk about puzzly things all time. We discuss puzzly moments from history, puzzly events happening now, and the many ways puzzles are represented in modern life, both obviously and less so.

But it recently occurred to me that we rarely talk about puzzly places.

There are escape rooms and board game cafes, puzzle hunts that span cities and college campuses, corn mazes lovingly cultivated every year, and geocaches with puzzly elements awaiting intrepid hikers and nature lovers.

If you picture “puzzly place” in your mind, what do you see? The Labyrinth from Greek mythology? The Winchester Mystery House? The Hampton Court Maze?

Oddly enough, the first place that comes to mind for me is a woodland area in England, famed for its strange rock formations, caves, and trees.

It’s known as Puzzlewood.

This 14-acre space, located in the forest of Dean, in Gloucestershire, is one of the most gorgeous and peculiar places in the world. It is full of meandering pathways, old mining areas dating back to the Roman era, and cave systems that breached the surface untold years ago. There are bridges and rock formations, many covered in the moss that has conquered any sign of human intervention there.

It reportedly inspired not just the Forbidden Forest from the Harry Potter series, but several locations in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as well. It has been a filming site for shows like Doctor Who and Merlin as well as franchises like the Star Wars saga.

And it seems like a beautifully peaceful place for some puzzling.

It may not possess the order or intrigue of some of the world’s most famous hedge mazes, but in my estimation, what it lacks in design, it more than makes up for with atmosphere.

Puzzlewood truly lives up to the name.

What are your favorite puzzly places, fellow solvers? Do you have a favorite escape room, maze, or natural spot in which to get lost? Or is your puzzly place right at home with a puzzle book and some cocoa? Let us know in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.


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