Got two puzzle-related books that I plan to finish this break, and now seems like as good a time as any to mention them. First up: David Astle's "Puzzled," a sort of memoir/puzzle book/introduction to cryptics from the Australian setter known as DA. Just throwing out there, "setter" is to Australia, as "constructor" is to the US, as "cruciverbalist" is to elitist assholes. Anyway, what I've read so far, it's pretty damned funny. Like, I'm glad to see I wasn't the only who forced his family to solve his puzzles as David freely admits he did the same when he was little. So, the book is set up as a walk-through of one (I'm guessing) medium level cryptic. Each chapter is built around a specific clue in the puzzle, how to solve it, and then framed by anecdotes loosely tied to the clue. He's done a massive amount of research on the topic of puzzles. Deep histories of puzzles on three continents. A cursory flip through the book confirms he got just about everybody who's anybody in the US puzzle biz. Muy impressive. I know what you're saying, "Quigley, get to the point: are you in it?" As far as I can tell, only once, a brief passing notice that I was supposedly involved with Games Magazine back in the day. Believe me, that was news to me, too. Anyway, interested parties should get a copy here.
While my unconditional love for Thomas Snyder's sudoku puzzles has been well-documented on this site, I wasn't expecting to go cuckoo bananas over his KenKen puzzles. Well, I did. "TomTom" is Thomas's tongue firmly implanted in cheek/post-modernist deconstruction of KenKen. No, deconstruction is too kind a word. He eviscerates them. I realize that such a tiny portion of you are interested in sudoku, and even a smaller percentage are interested in KenKen, TomTom, or whatever men's name you wish to double and call it a puzzle. So I'll keep this unbelievably brief and say that Thomas took the half-baked KenKen form and extended it in that hybrid gonzo style that is his own and in the process made these puzzles feel like you're doing something other than just arithmetic homework. If you're intrigued, I'd suggest going here first to see Thomas's convincing arguments that KenKens are unrealized. Then, hop over here to get the "TomTom" book. Amazing stuff.
Share the puzzle. Happy Thanksgiving everybody. New ones (yes, ones plural) on Monday.