Assume a puzzle $A$ has an accepted answer. It gives you an idea for another puzzle $B$, in which you would, in fairness, include a sentence like "this was inspired from puzzle $A$". Then of course someone solving $B$ will have clues as to how $A$ might work, that were not intended by the OP. Is this ok if $A$ has already an accepted answer?

If not, is it ok after some time (how long)?

Would it be better to simply not make a reference to puzzle $A$ and disguise puzzle $B$ so that no one will make a connection?

The option of forgetting about puzzle $B$ seems frustrating.

[I found no relevant tags for this question such as "related-puzzles", "inspiration", "quoting-sources", feel free to add whatever relevant tags you can find.]


3 Answers 3


Deusovi has already given the general answer. I want to add one caveat.

“Inspired by” is quite different from adopting actual parts of the original puzzle’s solution path, and/or particulars of it, such that an answer to your question is inevitably a giveaway of significant parts of the other.

If you take inspiration from certain mechanical parts of a puzzle that are readily apparent—like the prefix/infix/suffix mechanic of the so-called “Riley riddle” or the whole thematic presentation of the “What is a ... Word™️“ series, or any of various logic grid or logical-deduction puzzle styles—where what you’re using is essentially “how this genre works” but not appropriating the specifics of a particular puzzle, then sure, that’s fine. Another solver will clearly see the resemblance and may even be able to apply methods or ideas they learned from the original puzzle to the new one, and that is perfectly fine—that’s learning and making use of experience, something I hope we all can do as often as possible :)

I do think, though, that a puzzle where you could cut and paste a meaningful part of the “inspired” question’s solution directly into an answer to the original, has crossed a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

It’s not clear what extent of “inspiration” you’re asking about. Reusing puzzle formats and rules is fine - that’s borrowing the idea, presentation, and/or visible mechanics of the original as inspiration for your own, and that is perfectly fine. Reusing an actual piece of someone else’s puzzle as an element of your own, with the same solution path through it and the same result, is not “inspiration” so much as actual copying, and I think that is not okay. And I don’t think the age of the original or whether it’s been solved in its entirety yet or not matters here.

Hope that helps!

  • $\begingroup$ That helps a lot, thank you very much. I had another idea thanks to you, which is asking the OP for permission - as detailed in my answer below. $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2019 at 11:22

There's nothing wrong with that. Puzzles give people ideas for how to solve different puzzles all the time, even without knowing that the two are related.

For example, I made a logic puzzle genre called Statue View and shared it here for the first time; jafe made a 3d puzzle where Statue View was a component, and linked back to my own puzzle. Solving jafe's puzzle first would familiarize you with some of the common deductions in the genre (and would therefore give you "some clues about how [my puzzle] would work"). But that's not a bad thing in any way.

Puzzles use similar concepts to other puzzles all the time. Knowing how to solve puzzles because you've seen something similar before is perfectly normal. So I don't think there's an issue with citing your inspirations at all. (Of course, if the solutions to the two puzzles are essentially the same, that's an issue, but not linking to the "inspiration" isn't going to fix the problem.)

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, that is really helpful. Your last comment in parentheses gets close to the issue I was having, and has been developed by @Rubio. It made me think of a new possibility, which is asking the OP for permission. $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2019 at 11:19

After clear answers by @Deusovi and @Rubio, it appears that the only problem would be copy-pasting significant parts of the riddle, so that the solution to $B$ is a real giveaway to $A$.

I believe that the line between inspiration and copy-pasting is not clearly defined, so my own suggestion would be to kindly ask the original author for permission, on the original thread of their question, after describing briefly the puzzle that we intend to make.

The author of the original puzzle could choose not to be cited at all if they acknowledge the interest of a new puzzle but still want to avoid giving away too much of their own.

  • $\begingroup$ That's not the only problem - if the solution process is essentially the same, that's still an issue, even if you've reworded everything. And of course, you do know of this other puzzle, so it wasn't an independent invention. I don't think any of us can say for sure whether it's just innocent inspiration or direct copying without seeing the actual puzzles involved. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi Mod
    Aug 6, 2019 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi Well, the problems that lead me to ask this question are this one and this one. But of course the scope of this meta question is not just about these two problems. $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2019 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ Hello, I'm here! I thought that the question was about those questions! The only part of both of them that is really the same is the solving mechanism, which has been used in many chess puzzles. I take "inspiration" here as "reusing the centeral mechanism/idea is a new way with a completely different solution." Similar to all of those "What are BLANK Words?" puzzles. $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2019 at 20:30
  • $\begingroup$ And I agree with both of Desovi"s and Rubio's answers! The reasons to make the reasoning of "inspiration" work from Puzzle A to Puzzle B all checks out to me in this particular scenario! $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2019 at 20:32
  • $\begingroup$ @RewanDemontay The solving mechanism is not completely similar, because the way you can make a 90° turn is different in the two problems. But there is a part that is common, and this part is obvious in my puzzle but it is hidden in yours. Of course this technique has been used before in many problems, but it's the fact of specifically linking to another puzzle that was bothering me. Anyway, thanks for your support and for your nice inspiring puzzles! $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2019 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ Of course it is used in a new way, which is all the better! You're very welcome for the support and the puzzles! Heck, I have done an "inspiration" puzzle like you have before! See my question "Who attempted to betray the Boston King?", which was inspired by "Murder!" said the Knight. $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2019 at 20:40

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