This question is part of the best-puzzle award series.

What are your nominations for the best puzzles, here on Puzzling.SE, of the first quarter (Jan / Feb / Mar) 2015?

Suggested guidelines for nomination:

  • Nominate each individual puzzle in a separate answer, so they can be upvoted/downvoted separately.

  • Not more than 3 nominations per person.

  • Don't nominate your own puzzles.

  • Before you nominate a puzzle, check to see if someone else has already nominated it. If they have then add to that nomination as a comment (or edit it), instead of nominating the same puzzle again.

  • In your nomination, explain what it is that (in your opinion) makes the nominated puzzle such a good one.

Meta-meta issues:

  • Is this kind of thing allowed on SE?

  • What's the point?

    • To highlight and encourage good practice in a way which goes beyond upvotes.

    • To work towards building a 'hall of fame' of some of the best puzzles on the site (perhaps to reside on a future puzzling.SE blog) - think of it as our 'greatest hits album'. :)

    • To prompt members to put forward their own reflections on what makes a high-quality puzzle.

  • $\begingroup$ I tried. I saw something along the lines of "moved to comment instead of trivial answer" Guessing it had something to do with most of the characters being part of a link $\endgroup$ Apr 14, 2015 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ I would guess that this would mean that they were posted in the first quarter, but do they have to be answered? $\endgroup$
    – awesomepi
    Apr 15, 2015 at 2:58
  • $\begingroup$ I've been enjoying the Slumdog Millionaire series, but I don't know if I can pick a favourite that deserves particular commendation. $\endgroup$ Apr 15, 2015 at 14:31
  • $\begingroup$ What else could you possibly enjoy, Ian? $\endgroup$
    – Kalis
    Apr 15, 2015 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ @IanMacDonald, don't feel forced to pick a specific one. It's absolutely fine to nominate the whole series. :) $\endgroup$
    – A E
    Apr 16, 2015 at 8:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @awesomepi, nope, they don't have to be answered. $\endgroup$
    – A E
    Apr 16, 2015 at 8:32
  • $\begingroup$ "Don't nominate your own puzzles" ... argh, I was hoping to be able to mention Andrew Void! :-) $\endgroup$ Apr 26, 2015 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ Is it OK to nominate more than one puzzle from the same OP? $\endgroup$ Apr 26, 2015 at 12:03
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor, it's all right with me. $\endgroup$
    – A E
    Apr 27, 2015 at 20:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Here's the search results for all puzzles created from Jan-March this year, with accepted answers (ordered by votes) (though I freely recognise that high vote count doesn't necessarily correlate directly to quality, it's likely a good starting place for people with memories like mine). $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Apr 28, 2015 at 6:15
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you @Alconja, that's really useful. $\endgroup$
    – A E
    Apr 28, 2015 at 7:19

4 Answers 4


Resistance is futile

It's hard to nominate just one among the excellent array of puzzles from Tryth, but this one ticks all the boxes:

  • the hints "Resistance is futile" and "Ohm my god!" are extremely clever because neither looks like a hint to resistance at first glance (one looks like just a Star Trek reference and the other looks like a typo) but they're obviously hints in retrospect

  • the method of solution is quite long and complicated, but once the answer comes out, it's clearly correct and nothing else could match.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 for Star Trek references! I've completely missed this beautiful puzzle, thanks for featuring! $\endgroup$
    – leoll2
    Apr 26, 2015 at 12:01

The mystery of NOC +10

In my personal opinion, the NOC +10 puzzle is one of the highest quality threads of the quarter.
There are some reasons which lead me to nominate this puzzle:

  1. High quality description of the problem, which includes several pictures and useful links.
  2. The aura of mystery pervading the whole identity of NOC +10.
  3. The collaboration of many users in order to make progress.
  4. The variety of sub-puzzles contained in it: cryptograms, soundtracks analysis, ciphers, enigmatic links to historical events, ...
  • $\begingroup$ While good, can what is effectively a discussion of a puzzle hosted elsewhere "count" as being in the best of Puzzling.SE? (not up- or down-voting, just starting the discussion... I guess the implied question is: does a puzzle need to be original content or can it be a reposting of an existing puzzle?) $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Apr 28, 2015 at 6:12
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Alconja Most of the best puzzles here in Puzzling are actually old problems, created by mathematicians or enigmists years ago, then posted in Puzzling with the hope that few already knew the solution. All the liars, knight and knaves problems are an example of this. The only difference between a standard Puzzling puzzle and NOC +10 puzzle is actually the number of people who put effort in the problem, nothing else changes! $\endgroup$
    – leoll2
    Apr 28, 2015 at 11:46
  • $\begingroup$ Fair point. In that case, +1. :) $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Apr 28, 2015 at 11:49

A Mysterious Email from Andrew Void

I love it when I find a fun cryptogram puzzle, because most of them, to me, are annoying, partly because they are not well-clued. I did not solve this one, but it was fun reading the answer after I had failed to find anything meaningful.

It was a cool idea on how to hide a message within another message, and taught me to consider the possibility that everything in a cryptogram puzzle could be a clue, and not to overlook seemingly small details. It also taught me that cryptogram puzzles can be great, if done right.

Lastly, it drove the point home for me that if I make a cryptogram puzzle, I need to make sure it has plenty of good clues!

  • $\begingroup$ Yay! Thanks again, and +1 :-D $\endgroup$ Aug 10, 2015 at 15:44

Maybe this puzzle would work better. It does not have a green checkmark yet and has 8 different answers, 7 of which are upvoted.

  • $\begingroup$ Most likely. Well, I tried :) $\endgroup$ Apr 21, 2015 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think a proliferation of answers is a very good indicator of the quality of a question. $\endgroup$ Aug 10, 2015 at 15:54

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