News and Updates for December

logoChristmastime is here, by golly!

Whether you call it Christmas, Hanukkah, Hogswatch, Krampusnacht, Pancha Ganapati, Winterval, Yule or Yalda, the end of the Gregorian Calendar year is, for many, a season of glad tidings and enforced time with the extended family.

Puzzles and games are a great way to soothe political and religious differences, offering something entirely different for people to argue about.

As I write this, there’s still time to pick up some of these puzzle books if you’re stuck for gift ideas. Alternatively, there are a few online challenges to while away the northern hemispherically cold winter evenings.

Puzzle and armchair treasure hunt books, old and new, make worthwhile Christmas gifts. My recommendations of fun, not too taxing puzzle books are The Eleventh Hour, The Egyptian Jukebox and The Untitled Bee Book.

The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base is a fantastic picture puzzle book for children young and old.

The Egyptian Jukebox by Nick Bantock is a grimier, more adult affair, great for whiling away a few hours. If you get stuck, there’s always my solution to help you through!

The Untitled Bee Book is Kit Williams’ magical follow up to the classic Masquerade. The puzzle is far more accessible and perfect for working through over a few quiet evenings rather than struggling with for months without end.

If you or a loved one fancies something more challenging, the Government Communications Headquarters of Britain have this year published The GCHQ Puzzle Book. I haven’t checked it out myself, but it claims to be full of varied ciphers, tests of literacy, and musical challenges. Proceeds will be donated to Heads Together, a mental health charity.

gchqNot sure whether the GCHQ Puzzle Book is up your street? You can still try their Charity Christmas puzzle from last year. Stuck on part 1? Here are parts 2 to 5 and the answers.

Another book out for Christmas is Alex Bellos’ Can You Solve My Problems? The book is an anthology of 125 different logic and mathematical puzzles, combined with a brief history of puzzle-making.

If you’re looking for a free online puzzle to print off for yourself, or to keep the grown-up kids quiet, try the latest Adalogical Aenigma from Pavel’s Puzzles. Always a challenge, the final answer to this month’s puzzle is hidden somewhere in this blog post!

And finally, if you fancy a challenge that may last you into the Spring, Pablo’s Armchair Treasure Hunt has has just published the teaser poster for its 2016 hunt. The full puzzle will be revealed on 14 December. Pablo’s ATH have been burying small boxes around the south of England and challenging people to dig them up since 1985. There are tophies for the first to find the treasure, and for the best solution.

Merry New Year to all (except the Chinese, who have an extra month to wait)!

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