The Puzzlecraft Project

Quick Links: Recipes | Blog Posts

Table of Contents

  • Quick Start Guide
  • Background
  • The Plan
  • How to Participate

Quick Start Guide

List of puzzles

Watch the blog and the Facebook group for updates.


My Geodyssey puzzlehunt was the result of the convergence of several different project ideas. I wanted to build a sequel to my Puzzle Solving 101 series of geocaches. I wanted to include elements of benchmark hunting. I also wanted to challenge myself to build puzzles using the methods described in the book Puzzlecraft.

While finishing up Geodyssey, it occurred to me that Puzzlecraft was basically a recipe book and that someone should blog about cooking through all of the recipes within it. Imagine The Julie/Julia Project but with pencil puzzles instead of Filets de Poisson Bercy aux Champignons. And with that, The Puzzlecraft Project was born.

(If you’re curious foodie, there are some amazing cook-through blogs out there, including The Bitten Word, Alinea at Home, Tuesdays with Dorie, The Gourmet Project, and more.)

The Plan

There are 81 puzzle recipes in Puzzlecraft, and I’m going to follow them all, in order.

My ultimate goal is to produce a collection of individual puzzles that can stand alone or can be published as a larger collection, either online or in print.

I’ve found that I don’t work well against deadlines, so I’m not setting one. But I do feel it’s important to demonstrate progress and to have a measurable goal to work against.

I estimate that it will take me roughly two weeks to design, construct, and edit a puzzle so that it’s ready to drop into the hands of the puzzle testers while leading an otherwise-normal life. At that rate, it’ll take 162 weeks to get through the entire thing, which is a little more than three years.

If I take 81 puzzles divided by 3 years, I get a planned progress rate of 27 puzzles per year, which breaks down to 2-3 puzzles per month, which seems aggressive but doable for this hobbyist.

How to Participate

I want you to join me on this journey. I know that my puzzles have been made far better by incorporating feedback from others, and I think sharing in this experience can be the rising tide that lifts all of our boats.

There are no qualifications to ride this bus. As with any cook-through project, all you need is a willingness to learn, to experiment, and to collaborate.

Since I won’t be publishing the puzzle recipes here, you’ll need your own copy of the book Puzzlecraft: The Ultimate Guide on How to Construct Every Kind of Puzzle. It’s available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and probably your online bookstore of choice.

You can post your own puzzles in blog comments or in the Facebook group.

Publishing Tools

If you want to publish your puzzles, you’ll need some kind of desktop publishing tool. I use Microsoft Publisher because it’s what I have and because it’s pretty simple, not because I have any great love for it. Other apps in the Microsoft Office suite such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint would work as well for many types of puzzles, less so for some others.

If you’re on a budget, the free tool of choice seems to be Scribus. The Open Office suite of tools seems like a handy replacement for most of Microsoft Office – you’ll have to use Writer, Draw, or Impress to do the editing for publication. GIMP is reasonably powerful for image editing if you’re willing to learn it.

If you’re not on a budget, the tool of choice seems to be PagePlus X9. Adobe InDesign is pretty popular among the pros, too. Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop can be helpful, too. I haven’t used Lightroom, but I’ve heard good stuff about it, too.