Scientific studies have shown that exercising your mind will keep you mentally young. The Best of Cryptograms is conveniently large-print for those of us getting older, which is all of us if you think about it. The large-print is also double spaced giving you plenty of room to write two choices for a letter if mistakes occur (and you are foolish enough to attempt these puzzles with a pen as I do).
Cryptograms are puzzles that substitute each of the 26 letters of the alphabet with another letter. They have been used for war, espionage and for fun as long ago as Julius Caesar. In this book, all of the puzzles are quotes—some from people and some from movies, books and plays. In fact, there are seven chapters: US History; Lines from Movies; Artists, Musicians and Actors; Authors, Writers and Reporters; Science and Technology; Books and Plays; and World History.
With 450 cryptogram puzzles, the Best of Cryptograms will give days of quality entertainment. The only downside to this book is that the puzzles are not graded as Easy, Medium, or Hard as in most puzzle books. I would recommend looking for puzzles that are on the long side and have many one, two and three letter words if you want a less difficult puzzle. You can also look for the author’s name to make the solution easier. For example, I found Martin Luther King Jr by seeing the two letter last word in the US History section. Once I had his full name, I had a thirteen letter head start by filling in those substitutions in the actual quote from him.
There is also a one-letter clue on a separate page from the entire answer that could be useful if you are stuck at the beginning of a puzzle. There is also an answer key in the back of the book. What is nice is the clue and the answer key are in regular print. You will know that you are “cheating” because you have to put on your reading glasses—aptly called cheaters.
The quotes are interesting. Many were new to me. Some were thought-provoking.
Okay, I admit it. I was somewhat addicted to cryptoquotes and logic puzzles from middle school through college. It has been a long time since I last did one. However, as I was doing these puzzles, I remembered why I enjoyed them. Now, thanks to scientific studies suggesting that doing puzzles will slow or prevent age-related thought issues, I can feel good doing what is enjoyable. I think you will enjoy the challenge and have fun too! 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: Oct 15 2019, puzzles
You are trying to find the elusive Orwellians through a series of puzzles in Escape Book 2.
All of your journalism hasn’t stopped the dreaded Castian, the villain that poisoned you in Escape Book 1. Maybe the anti-governmental terrorist group, the Orwellians, can. After receiving an invitation to join them, you are still unwell from the poison so you send your young assistant, Janina, in your stead. With only Janina’s cellphone connecting your knowledge of puzzles with her, can she escape and convince the Orwellians to bring down Castian?
Most of the puzzles in Escape Book 2 use a map to solve. I have to say that I am “map-challenged” or really “geography-challenged”. However, I still believe that the majority of the puzzles are of an intermediate or advanced difficulty. If you read the first book in the series, these puzzles are definitely harder to solve.
Is this the same as a real escape room experience? No, of course not. First of all, you are going it alone. Second, you don’t really have a time limit. Third, there is no searching since the author provides you the clues. Also, a great benefit is that the author mandates the solving order of the puzzles. However, I think working the puzzles will improve your ability to solve live escape room puzzles faster. And it is definitely cheaper to buy the book than to attend even one escape room game. Overall, Escape Book 2 is a fun way to spend an evening. 4 stars!
Thanks to White Lion Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: escape room, Oct 1 2019, puzzles
Secret Agent Brainteasers contains over 100 puzzles in a variety of types from logic and wordplay to algebra and geometry. The chapter introductions link the puzzles to skills needed by secret agents as illustrated with true stories from the British intelligence community from Victorian times through today.
I enjoyed the chapter introductions and could see the relevance of the puzzles to actual secret agent skills. The puzzles were great fun or deeply frustrating depending on their difficulty.
There are a couple of warnings. Since many puzzle answers involve words, the use of British spelling (i.e., armour vs. armor) may confuse non-Britons. Some of the puzzles involve a map or board and so are difficult to play on a kindle or tablet. An actual physical book (remember those?) will allow for working out the answers with a pencil (and probably an eraser) more easily.
Overall, Secret Agent Brainteasers will provide many hours of fun where you can avoid social media and the intrusive light of mobile devices. 4 stars!
Thanks to Quercus and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: May 7 2019, puzzles, spies