Colin McEnroe Show: The Profound Pursuit Of Puzzles

What is the psychology of a puzzle maker, a puzzle solver, a puzzle lover?

Chion Wolf
Colin McEnroe Show: The Profound Pursuit Of Puzzles
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Colin McEnroe Show: The Profound Pursuit Of Puzzles

It may be hard for some of you to remember, but there was a time when the correct answers to the clues to the New York Times crossword puzzle were for all intents and purposes out of reach. I mean, you could take the Sunday magazine with you to the library and look stuff up. Or you could wait a week for the answers. But there was no Google. The crossword doer today lives in a constant state of temptation.

Mark Messier's team for 12 years? You could look it up. That Rimsy Korsakov opera title? It's there to be found.

That's cheating. Although I'm pretty sure it's not cheating to ask anybody in proximity. Right? You're allowed to ask the other person in bed with you, or your son in the next seat on the plane.

So what is the psychology behind puzzle solving? And are crossworders and different species from suddokuistas? We've got some of the big stars of the puzzling world on with us today.

Leave your comments below, e-mail or Tweet us @wnprcolin.



Good insight about the social side to solving

Fabulous segment. Very interesting to me to see how crosswords become social - for example - the stories that a clue or answer trigger, whether directly relevant or only tangentially, become part of the fun of sharing the experience.
I too believe that the future of puzzling is online...
Until very recently, I was a diehard pencil-and-paper solver, relishing in the tactile joy, the doodling and drawing in the margins while solving.
But the ability to analyze my solve, and compare notes with my puzzle friends, has won me over to solving with an app. (And my app let's me sort of doodle in the margins...)


Why no love for mathdoku?


I spoke with Merle Reagle at the ACPT a few years ago, and he said that the puzzle constructor wasn't trying to trick the solver, but rather communicating with the solver so that the solver may find success.