Looking for some gift ideas for the puzzler in your life? Let's do this.
Let's start with 2016's Puzzle Book Of The Year. I know, I know, I'm going to sound full of myself with this selection, but I'm calling it. "Drunk Crosswords" is my pick. Yes, yes, my name is on the cover so it's completely preposterous, but if Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton can vote for themselves, I can vote myself too. But hey, I'm the second name on that cover, so I don't feel too, too bad. Golf clap for Mr. Francis Heaney, please. Anyway, we haven't had this much fun writing a buncha puzzles in forever. You can tell because we imbued them with personality not only in theme, but with cluing and liner notes. Yes, liner notes for ever puzzle so you know how the sausages were made. Buy one today.
But that's not all in the crossword department. David Steinberg shows off his immense talent as editor for the The Orange County Register puzzles in the lovely Juicy Crosswords anthology. Erudite puzzles that also come with insightful liner notes (I think we could stand to have more of those). And fans of my Themeless Monday puzzles should pick up Todd McClary's "Fresh Freestyle Crosswords." Those are some really slick modern puzzles filled with loads of "wished I'd debuted that" answers. And for those cryptic fans out there, "Out Of Left Field" compiles the puzzle writing duo Henry Picciotto and Joshua Kosman's stellar block cryptics for "The Nation." Funny, elegant, occasionally themed puzzles. A joy to solve.
As for other odds and sods..."The Joy of Quiz" by Alan Connor is a barn burner of a read. It begins with the history of Trivial Pursuit and goes from there covering quizzes in all shapes and sizes, with lovely questions peppered throughout. Recommended. And finally, two rather elegant cryptogram books caught my eye this year. Try @codeSparrow's pop culture-themed Twitterati Cryptograms if your looking for some light entertainment or Scott Weiss's more "traditional" Crypto-Lists for a stiffer challenge.
If you're like me, and you like to buy stuff for yourself too while shopping, why don'tcha sign up for puzzles from other indie puzzle makers. Boss crosswords from AV and Fireball. Rows Gardens by Andrew Ries and Joon Pahk. Metas by Matt Gaffney. Elegant work from the super-talented Liz Gorski. Easy puzzles by Patrick Blindauer. Did somebody say Patrick Berry cryptics? And lastly some truly avant garde stuff by Erik Agard.
And of course, if you want to give that special someone a custom crossword, hit me up. The sooner, the better.
Share the puzzle. New one on Thursday.