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A tiny victory

I've been working through the Berkley Puzzle Column archives trying to develop some solving skills beyond word play and brute research. I've also been memorizing the Periodic Table using Tinycards because it comes up a lot and iambic pentameter never does. Today I recognized that a puzzle was composed from the Periodic Table and I solved it in 5 minutes.

That is all.


  • Congrats on your solve blackcat! Developing that recognition/intuition is, in my opinion, one of the more crucial skills a puzzle solver can have. Especially when it comes to some of the more common encoding schemes and themes, like the Periodic Table or Morse code or semaphore. I'm not saying you have to memorize each and every one (plenty of sites have them written down), but recognizing the cues can be key to breaking a puzzle open.

    I'm wondering if we should put together a toolkit of good things to know, based on how often they come up in puzzles. I can also point you to some other resources for instructionless puzzles for practice if need be.
  • Thanks skog, it's a victory that not too many friends IRL appreciate.

    I agree with you about intuition/recognition. For far longer than I care to admit I waited for someone else to figure out how to do a puzzle. I didn't think my brain worked that way. Then one day I was patiently explaining to someone that the only way to improve at playing pool was to play pool and maybe do a little research, and um, hey, whaddyaknow?

    I think the toolkit is a good idea. I know somewhere along the line we had a list of links that included semaphore flags and the anagram solver among others. But it certainly wouldn't hurt to refresh it. And add the names of apps. I'm relying on apps more and more all the time.

    I am working on learning the Nikoli puzzles right now. And yes, I would appreciate other sources.
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