Thursday, February 24, 2011

Martha Gives Good Swag

Here's the breakdown of the goodies handed to Martha Stewart's Puzzle Show audience. This does not include the KenKen books given to the three participants in that contest.

Will Shortz Presents The Double Flip Book of KenKen and Sudoku $14.99

The New York Times Little Luxe Book of Crosswords $14.95

KenKen Page-A-Day Calendar $12.99

New York Times Crossword Society 1-Year Subscription $49.99

Hasbro Ji-Ga-Zo 300 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle Kit $29.99

Brainpower Game Plan by Dr. Cynthia Green $25.99

Good Thinking Kit from Marbles $19.99

ELMS Puzzles Gift Certificate for 75 Piece Custom Jigsaw Puzzle $150.00

Mindware Extreme Dot-To-Dot – 4 books $35.80

“Made You Look” Picture Puzzle Book $16.95

TOTAL $371.64

I did not count the value of the KenKen pencil or the New York Times crossword tote bag.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Martha Stewart Puzzle Show

Puzzle Brother Bob Mackey with Zoe Wheeler on his left
 and Deb Amlen on his right.

Martha Stewart this morning devoted her Hallmark Channel program to a discussion of puzzles. Her entire audience was full of puzzle enthusiasts, including crossword freaks, KenKen lovers, Rubik's Cube manipulators, a puzzle team from Brown University, and even a Mah-Jongg club.

The program kicked off with Will Shortz describing KenKen, which is the Sudoku-like game involving logic and mathematics. Prior to the program, a sheet with three KenKen puzzles was distributed to the audience. The first two audience members were selected to play a round of KenKen, tournament style, against the national KenKen champion, teenage Molly Olonoff. One of the Brown coeds, Zoe Wheeler, and our own Bob Mackey were selected to participate. True to form Molly very easily breezed through the puzzle, and Bob and Zoe were the 2-3 finishers, but everyone got the same prizes - a comprehensive set of KenKen books.

Will next turned his attentions to crosswords, and gave some pointers on what to look for in the clues to help you become a better solver, using today's NYT puzzle by Ian Livengood (who was in the studio) as an example.

Other guests included Richard Gariott, who collects wooden mechanical puzzle boxes, Dr. Cynthia Green, a psychologist who talked about how doing puzzles can improve your memory skills, and Rose Guay, a jigsaw puzzle creator. Warm-up comedian Joey Kola (previously from "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire", where we saw him in 2001) also executed a dot-to-dot puzzle of Martha.

All audience members received a tote bag full of puzzle books and related items, including crossword, Sudoku, KenKen, connect-the-dots and picture puzzles, Dr. Green's book "Brainpower Game Plan", Hasbro's Ji-Ga-Zo jigsaw puzzle and software, which allows you to create an endless variety of jigsaw puzzles based on your own designs, and a gift certificate for a custom-made 75-piece jigsaw puzzle (value approx. $150) from ELMS Puzzles.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Martha Stewart Wants Puzzlers!

Martha Stewart is planning a special episode about puzzles which will tape in February for later broadcast. She is hoping to have an entire audience chock full of puzzle fans - be it crossword, sudoku, KenKen, mazes - for this taping. One of the guests will be Puzzlemaster to the World, Mr. Will Shortz. If you want free tickets to the taping, go to Martha's website and tell the audience coordinators about your puzzling activities.