Thursday, April 30, 2009

37 Wired puzzlers

I'm #37. I could leave it at that and let you figure out the rest but this isn't supposed to be a puzzle. I was attracted to the obfuscated metapuzzle in the recent Wired magazine puzzle issue guest authored by J. J. Abrams and then couldn't leave it alone. After bits and pieces of time spent finding and solving 12 of the 15 puzzle parts, I arrived at the final resting place of the congratulatory message after 36 other people.

It was a satisfaction that was pleasing, especially after reading in the magazine that JJ had lost the pleasure of beating a Mario game by cheating. Wired editors helped me not follow in the footsteps of JJ by making sure there were no solved puzzles on the web.

The puzzle people that scattered ingenious clues and complementary puzzles throughout the issue's pages were insanely good. And it produced one heck of a great magazine by combining the visually stunning layout, photography and fascinating articles.

I grew up on the mathematical recreations of Scientific American's Martin Gardner (a puzzle contributor) and relishing the wonderful problems of Sam Loyd but generally was bored with school. So I took on cryptanalysis for a few years and found something both enjoyable and useful. But it hasn't been until this magazine that I found a little of that pleasure restored.

Thanks to the Wired editor team and J. J. Abrams for an alternate universe of fun. But now I have to get back to my real life.