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

What are your nominations for the best puzzles, here on Puzzling.SE, of the fourth quarter (Oct / Nov / Dec) 2016?

Suggested guidelines for nomination:

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

  • No 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.

Some lists to help jog your memory (your nomination doesn't have to be from these lists):

Meta-meta issues:

  • Is this kind of thing allowed on SE?

  • What's the point?

    • To highlight and encourage good practice in a way that 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.

A puzzle nominated here may also be nominated for https://puzzling.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5715/2016-puzzle-of-the-year?noredirect=1&lq=1

  • $\begingroup$ Choosing the best among itself puzzling...!!! $\endgroup$
    – smali
    Feb 1, 2017 at 11:16

6 Answers 6



by Dan Russell

Every part of this puzzle was wonderful. The humor in the story, the high-quality presentation, the clues themselves, the trick behind putting the clues together, and the final solution phrase all come together to make a great puzzle.


I'm breaking the rules a little because this is technically not a "puzzle", but I'm choosing to interpret the spirit of the quarterlies as best "post"...

Cryptic Clue Guide

by Deusovi

{Unbelievable jerk, after fail confused Santa (9)}

{Anger, in concerning modern times, gives help (8)}

An asset for cryptic solvers and creators alike. This post effectively opened up a whole genre of puzzle to me, and I'm sure many others.

No doubt there are many other cryptic guides out there, but Deusovi's clear and concise format, use of examples, additional tips, and external links make his an exemplary piece of puzzle related content, as worthy of acclaim as any actual puzzle on this site.


A pilot's messages

by Levieux

From a fairly recent user, the difficulty of this puzzle was very well dosed. Moreover, the multiple layers made it entertaining, as rand al'thor pointed out.

  • $\begingroup$ YES! +1. I was also planning to nominate this very enjoyable puzzle. $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2017 at 10:40

A crossword so simple, it practically solves itself

by Alconja

An inventive puzzle so self-referential, it practically nominates itself

(A copy of my worksheet, erased of notes but hopefully not information, so you can solve on a printout or in an editor.)

The only reason this puzzle came out in Q4 instead of Q3 is because it was thoroughly test-solved and refined for weeks before posing.

One of the reasons this puzzle came out so exquisitely well clued is because it was thoroughly test-solved and refined for weeks before posing.

  Don’t even peek at its solution,   just enjoy !


Red Herring Bonkers In The Red Herring Bunkers

by Avigrail

After the brilliance of his previous 3D puzzle, nobody expected Avigrail to be able to outdo himself so magnificently. This new puzzle went far beyond a simple cube in its scope and ambition - Avigrail created a detailed virtual model of an entire 3-storey building just for a puzzle. How many puzzlers here can match that level of dedication to their craft?

It was also noteworthy for (as suggested by the title) the number of red herrings scattered around the place. Hunting around the rooms turned up a great many words and short sentences which were nothing to do with the final solution and intended only to amuse or frustrate solvers. That office was just packed with fun stuff, to the extent that two long answers listing multiple discoveries were posted before anyone got close to the real solution.


Stargate escape

by BmyGuest

This puzzle had quite a few layers and subtle tricks for it to last about a month before it could be completely solved. Overall an excellent well developed puzzle.


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