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Puzzling: awesome free/low cost hobby new to me

Posted: Fri May 15, 2020 1:17 am
by ertyu
I like solving back-of-the-paper sudokus, which is how i assume i got recommended "cracking the cryptic," a youtube channel where the UK sudoku champion and a UK puzzling competition team member solve complex, handcrafted (mostly) sudoku puzzles. I have learned of many new techniques, and have loved the chance to apply them to the puzzles themselves (link to an online version of the puzzle you can play is provided under the video description).

I have since learned that many of the best sudoku setters in the world often provide free content as a teaser for purchasing the full collections they have authored. Getting access to well-crafted puzzles has extended my appreciation for puzzle-solving from something one does to pass the time to something engaging and rewarding. I will leave googling the youtube channel itself to you guys, but here are some other sources of good puzzles I have found (please add to the list if you know of any I have missed)

Sudoku puzzle grand prix archives: https://gp.worldpuzzle.org/content/sudoku-archive
Another blog collection of hand-crafted puzzles: https://www.gmpuzzles.com/blog/category/sudoku/
Logic Masters Germany: https://logic-masters.de/
Cool puzzles by a philippine setter, pay what you want, collection here: https://payhip.com/b/1r6e

I understand that the abovementioned youtube channel runs a patreon that has free content as well, but have not been there.

Should be more than enough to get anyone started. Please add your favorite sudoku/puzzling resources to the list :)

Re: Puzzling: awesome free/low cost hobby new to me

Posted: Fri May 15, 2020 7:06 pm
by macg
Have you tried Ken Ken? I don't have any online resources offhand, but I have done a few of the workbooks, like "Green Belt Ken Ken created by Tetsuya Miyamoto"... For me it's even better than Sudoku, I like the added math problem solving...

Re: Puzzling: awesome free/low cost hobby new to me

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 2:10 pm
by ChrisAtTTL
Have you thought about doing physical puzzles, too? You can often pick them up dirt cheap used and they offer some similar mental stimulation with the advantage of a physical movement. Good for mind and body!

Re: Puzzling: awesome free/low cost hobby new to me

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 2:56 pm
by ertyu
People proposed geocaching, too. Know nothing about it yet, but putting idea here as a reminder to look into it.

As for physical puzzles, my uncle owned a couple I played with as a kid. One was a square cut into other geometric shapes. Task was to arrange the shapes to create a figure with a given outline using all the shapes. Another was a "snake" with bendable segments that you had to fold up on itself to make a 3d shape. Wasn't too good at that second one :lol:. But I still think of them fondly. The first puzzle might even be diy-able, I'm sure it's a famous one and the exact way to cut up the original square + a list of shape challenge tasks can be found somewhere online with enough determined search.

I have not tried Ken Ken, but will look it up :). Thank you!

Re: Puzzling: awesome free/low cost hobby new to me

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 5:44 pm
by Fish
@ertyu - I liked your generic descriptions of these games, here are the keywords in case you need something to search:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangram
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubik%27s_Snake

Chess endgame puzzles can also be a good mental time sink.

Re: Puzzling: awesome free/low cost hobby new to me

Posted: Fri May 22, 2020 6:20 am
by ertyu
Thank you @Fish, those are exactly the ones! Sounds like they're both classic puzzles so the generic description is indeed instantly recognizable :D. Excellent starting point to start a search.

Re: Puzzling: awesome free/low cost hobby new to me

Posted: Fri May 22, 2020 11:02 am
by jacob
Ugh! Geocaching. In my limited experience, it was like biking a few miles and then spending 30 minutes running around in the corner of parking lot trying to find a half-burried pill box with a lego figure within a 15x15m search area. I was clearly missing pertinent aspects of whatever triggers the joy of such an activity. If I was to loiter in strange places, I'd rather play Ingress which I suppose is a kind of social puzzle.

Re: Puzzling: awesome free/low cost hobby new to me

Posted: Fri May 22, 2020 11:07 am
by jacob
For data scientists, there's https://www.kaggle.com/competitions ... for either glory or substantial cash prizes. Some might object to this being a cheap-ass way for corporations and dark government agencies solving their problems w/o having to pay a salary. On the other hand, if you do it for fun ...

Re: Puzzling: awesome free/low cost hobby new to me

Posted: Sun May 24, 2020 7:41 am
by Miss Lonelyhearts
For probability minded card players: BridgeBase.com's Bridge Master program is free. There are 50+ bridge puzzles to play at levels from beginner to world class. Registration not required: http://www.bridgebase.com/v3/?bridgemaster=y

Re: Puzzling: awesome free/low cost hobby new to me

Posted: Sun May 24, 2020 11:04 am
by daylen
Not a huge puzzle fan but this one was interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73Meh3NPno4

Link to puzzle in video description. This is a great channel in general if you like puzzles.