Nathan's Puzzle Blog


This post was going to be about both BAPHL and DASH, covering some features of both hunts that had been on my mind recently. But then I started writing about BAPHL, and it turned into a fairly lengthy post on its own, so I will save my DASH musings for another day. You're welcome.


Last week I took part in the fifth annual installment of DASH. DASH, which stands for Different Area, Same Hunt, is a puzzle hunt that takes place in several cities across the country, and this year, around the world, as London became the first site outside the U.S. to host a DASH. Normally, all cities hold their DASH on the same day, but for reasons unbeknownst to me, London was a week behind, and now that DASH London has concluded I can write about my experience without being all spoilery.


For a long time, Boston had something of a puzzle drought. Yes, the MIT Mystery Hunt, one of the largest and most complicated puzzle hunts of its kind, had made its home in Cambridge since its inception in 1981, but for many years it was the only game in town. Compared to the Bay Area, which might have one or two overnight Games per year along with a handful of BANGs, Boston puzzlers had a single weekend to look forward to. This left a gaping void in the rest of the year, and it was inevitable that some enterprising puzzlers would find a way to fill the void.


Last week, I was amused by an unusual coincidence I came across while solving Mike Shenk's Marching Bands puzzle in the Wall Street Journal. Part of the puzzle bore an odd resemblance to one I had written about a year and a half ago. For comparison's sake, here are links to Mike Shenk's puzzle, as well as my own.

ToPuWriMo, week 1

It's been one week since you looked at me, cocked your head to the side and want to do what every day for a month? Well, not necessarily; I did make the announcement a few days ahead of time. But I've been doing a puzzle a day for a week now, and I feel that it's time to reflect on my progress.

Do I repeat myself?

I'm struggling somewhat with the issue of repeating entries in puzzles. Not in a single puzzle, mind you -- that would be right out, unless repetition was a theme of the puzzle. I mean repetitions across multiple puzzles. In some circumstances, this is clearly okay. In your typical crossword puzzle, you have somewhere between 60 and 75 entries, and nobody's going to bat an eyelash if OLEO shows up in both the Monday and Tuesday NYT puzzles. As the number of entries per puzzle goes down, the oddness of repeated entries goes up.

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