Looking for some books by some crossword folks to give this holiday? The Ole' Biz Quig's got you covered.
For my money, no home should be without the Book Of the Year "Puzzlecraft" by Mike Selinker and Thomas Snyder. If you've ever considered starting a career in puzzles or were even remotely wondering "how do people make these things?", well, here's your book. Literally every popular puzzle out there and a whole slew of puzzles you probably didn't know existed get the "how to" treatment. Word puzzles? Check. Logic puzzles? Ayup. Metas? Ding. Puzzlehunts? Of course. Every puzzle is painstackingly detailed with humor, histories, anecdotes and strategies of how puzzles get made. For an especially drugtacular read, thumb through how Thomas makes sudoku puzzles by hand. Crazy. Oh, and did I mention that each puzzle comes with a stellar example that you can solve yourself? What'd you expect from two capital A Artists like Selinker and Snyder? A triumph.
Ben Tausig's latest "The Curious History of the Crossword" dropped just in time to commemorate the 100th birthday of the crossword. In it, Ben tackles disparate topics ranging from the breakfast table rule, the indie puzzle scene, and puzzle economics to name a few. And get this, he managed to secure rights to republish puzzles from pretty much every major American player in the business (some long lost classics from Games Magazine, New York Magazine and Crossworders Own Newsletter, to boot). Also it really wouldn't be gonzo journalism if Ben didn't do something outrageous like comparing puzzle people to bands and musicians who frequent crossword puzzles. A very well-rounded collection.
Speaking of a well-rounded collection, the queen of the easy puzzle wrote a laugh out loud essay in "No Kidding," a collection of women's writers who bypassed parenthood. Okay, so it's only-vaguely crossword related, but c'mon, it's Andrea. She's a saint. And besides, she loves my girls. My wife Liz plowed through this one practically in a sitting. She said: "What I liked most about it was no story was the same. I didn't know what to expect before reading, but the thing that I found most compelling was the diversity in women's experiences. It was very human."
How about some stocking stuffers? Here's two: Jeff Chen's "Bridge Crosswords" for the person on your list who does both. And Ian Livengood's "Sit and Solve Sports Crosswords" for your armchair quarterback. Tight stuff.
Maybe you're like me and you like to pick up stuff for yourself while shopping for others. Lord knows I hardly ever shop, so if I'm out buying stuff for others, I might as well kill a few birds with one stone and get the stuff I'd been meaning to buy forever. So if that describes you, and you like doing puzzles on Apple products, maybe you should nab a couple ebooks from the folks at Puzzazz? Looks like they're doing a buy one get one special through the end of today (Monday).
And of course, you can always spread some holiday cheer to your favorite constructor by hitting up the tip jar. And of course, I'll hit you back with two bonus Sunday sized puzzles for that.
Share the puzzle. New one on Thursday.