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


What are your nominations for the best puzzles, here on Puzzling.SE, of the second quarter ( April / May / June) 2020?


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):

Algorithmically selected "best of":

Best by votes/views:


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.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure why this one has so much less votes than the other two... $\endgroup$ – bobble Sep 17 '20 at 14:53
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Mathematics is Material by Jeremy Dover

This was a lovely little gem that (I felt) didn't get the amount of attention it really deserved at the time it was posted. Making use of a beautiful piece of visual mathematics (spoiler), with a few different steps to completing the full solution, and yet all presented as just a wordsearch grid of letters made this an impressive multi-stage puzzle, disguised as something more straightforward.

I can't begrudge @Deusovi solving this one before me when both question and answer were so neatly done! ;-)

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George Orwell Sudoku by happystar

Really, all of happystar's variety sudokus are great, but I feel that this one's gimmick was extra fun. Because of course 2+2=5.I didn't manage to solve it - you try, it's really hard! But the logical deductions (as explained in Jeremy Dover's excellent answer) were wonderfully placed, even if tricky to get.

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  • $\begingroup$ This was a great one, but I'll admit I preferred Monument Valley Sudoku. The twist with the different symbol set was extraordinarily well done. $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover Sep 15 '20 at 16:17
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Selective attention: an unusual game by Anon

To nominate a second puzzle that I've just remembered - this puzzle by a relatively new user totally blew me away, both for the amount of effort put into creating it and for the huge surprise concealed within the solution, and is well worthy of a nomination here!

Firstly, the OP painstakingly created a GIF simulating 2511 passes of a ball - no mean feat in itself. Then the solution seemingly relied on just some adding up and an ASCII conversion, resulting in a reference to a famous psychology study which went viral many years ago... but this was only the half of it, as there was a secret second step to the solution which made yet further reference to the video in the most clever and unexpected way. When the 'aha' moment finally came I genuinely laughed out loud and had to take a moment to stand back from my screen and take it in fully.

A magnificent puzzle: lovingly crafted, deceptively simple-looking, cleverly done, and with a huge pay-off when the final solution is reached. Just brilliant.

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Dr. Aphorism's advice by Stiv

Stiv authors a lot of high quality puzzles, but this one sticks out to me because of the top-notch graphic used to make the puzzle pop visually, and the cleverness of the solution, particularly the way Stiv crafted the lettering and ordering simultaneously.

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Alice and Bob invent a game by Stiv

At the risk of fanboy-ing on Stiv, I have to nominate this puzzle as well. The craft that went into the puzzle (just ensuring the cards weren't repeated must have been a significant effort!) was astonishing, particularly the story and the graphics. The solution required both verbal skills to understand the flow from the story, and analytic skills to figure out the encoding. This one was an absolute treat.

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