Tyler Hinman: That Puzzle Guy

Tyler Hinman is that puzzle guy. Seriously. His Twitter account is thatpuzzleguy. And he really is. Among his accomplishments:

There is no possible way for a self-respecting puzzlehead to know too much about Tyler. Check out his interview with Ryan and Brian or his own personal web site.

Puzz Grids – Only Connect, Revisited

I’ve written here before about a really fun BBC quiz show called Only Connect.  Well, there’s a new online version called Puzz Grid.

The rules are the same as the BBC ones – given 16 different words or phrases, sort them into four groups, then define what relates each group. Do so before the clock runs out and you win!

If you finish (or tire of) all of the groups, you can create your own and share with the rest of the internet.


Sporcle – Mentally Stimulating Diversions

Q: Think of a word that means “To reconcile or help settle”. Add a “T” somewhere to that word to get another word that means “To reflect, ponder, or contemplate”.

[spoiler /Show Answer/ /Hide Answer/]A: MEDIATE -> MEDITATE[/spoiler]

That was the only answer I couldn’t find in today’s Sporcle quiz. I coulda been a contenda!

What is Sporcle? Don’t bother clicking – if you do, you’ll be sucked into one of the most compelling time-sinks the internet has ever cooked up.

Simply put, Sporcle is an online trivia quiz site – new quizzes are posted every day. There is seemingly no topic that Sporcle doesn’t touch: at random, I found these:

The cool part of all of this is that not only are there fun quizzes and leaderboards and the usual social networking features, but you can also create your own quizzes. Just in case there isn’t already a quiz on your particular area of expertise.

New Word Puzzle: The Gryptic

There’s a new type of puzzle in town: the gryptic crossword!

Imagine a (usually) 6×6 grid with no black cells – sometimes cells are filled in, other times not so much. There are no clues, but you’re given either the beginnings or ends of the various across and down words. Your job is to fill in the grid to form complete words.

For more information about gryptics and where to find them, check out Amy Reynaldo’s post on her blog.


Wordplay, the New York Times Crossword Blog, doesn’t just post info about crossword puzzles. They also run a regular feature on mathematics and logic problems called Numberplay, which is quite fun.

Here’s a puzzle that appeared recently on Numberplay … I didn’t get it, but my 14-year-old son did in just a few minutes:

You are in a room with three switches each of which controls one of three table lamps in a separate room that’s some distance away. The switches are all in the “off” position and have been so overnight, but you know that all three table lamps work. Once you leave the switch room, you can go into the room with the lamps only once. How do you figure out which light switch goes with which table lamp? No tools, helpers or cellphones allowed.

Here’s the solution:

[spoiler /Show Answer/ /Hide Answer/]Turn off switch 1, wait 5 minutes, turn off switch 2, then go into the lamp room. The lamp that is on is controlled by switch 3. Now feel the two bulbs of the off lamps – the hotter of the two off lamps is controlled by switch 2, and the cooler of the two off lamps is controlled by switch 1.[/spoiler]

Lollapuzzoola 3: The Great Pickle Giveaway

Lollapuzzoola 3: The Great Pickle Giveaway is happening this weekend. It’s a crossword puzzle tournament held each year in Queens, New York. Its only $20 – a bahgain! – so if you’re in the area, there’s no excuse not to be there. It’s hosted by the world’s leading crossword podcasters Ryan Hecht and Brian Cimmet, so you know you’re in for a good time.

Are You Smarter Than a Supercomputer?

“Toured the Burj in this U.A.E. city. They say it’s the tallest tower in the world; looked over the ledge and lost my lunch.”

This is the quintessential sort of clue you hear on the TV game show “Jeopardy!” It’s witty (the clue’s category is “Postcards From the Edge”), demands a large store of trivia and requires contestants to make confident, split-second decisions. This particular clue appeared in a mock version of the game in December, held in Hawthorne, N.Y. at one of I.B.M.’s research labs. Two contestants — Dorothy Gilmartin, a health teacher with her hair tied back in a ponytail, and Alison Kolani, a copy editor — furrowed their brows in concentration. Who would be the first to answer?

Neither, as it turned out. Both were beaten to the buzzer by the third combatant: Watson, a supercomputer … read the rest of the story by clicking on this link.

Are you smarter than a supercomputer? Find out by taking IBM’s Watson Trivia Challenge!