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Summer Puzzle Special

A special section devoted to Big Red-themed crosswords, logic problems, and more


With many puzzle fans among Cornell’s alumni, CAM decided to create a special section devoted to Big Red-themed puzzles. We reached out to the National Puzzlers’ League to help us recruit constructors, and the next thing we knew, none other than Will Shortz—puzzle editor of the New York Times, “puzzle master” for NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday, and a veritable giant among cruciverbalists—had sent out a mass e-mail to League members on our behalf. To our surprise and delight, many of those who responded were alums, including people who have constructed for such venues as the New York Times, the L.A. Times, and Games magazine. The following pages are filled with Cornell-inspired puzzles, each created by an alum or a CAM staffer. They comprise varying levels of difficulty and an assortment of genres—crossword to acrostic, rebus to word search. There’s a Founders maze, math problems featuring the Hot Truck and Touchdown, a “spot the difference” challenge set in the A.D. White Reading Room, and much more.

Magazine page image for crossword

C(U)SI: Cold Case File

A fun, themed crossword to get you started

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Cornell Cryptic

A British-style puzzle featuring clever wordplay

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Big Red “Themeless’ Crossword

A challenging puzzle akin to a New York Times Saturday

Magazine page image for Logic puzzle


Two puzzles—one easier, one devilishly difficult

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Spot the Difference

Find the changes in the A.D. White Reading Room

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Crypto Quotes

Decipher the encrypted quotes

Magazine page image for Founder's Maze

Founders Maze

Help A.D. White find his way to Ezra Cornell

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Word Search

Find forty hidden Cornell-related terms

Word Scramble, Split Decisions and Symbolic Math

Challenging puzzles in three genres

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Cornellian ‘Crostic

Solve to discover a Cornellian book quotation


Translate images into Big Red-related phrases

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Hints to help you solve the puzzles

Hints and answers

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Puzzle Answers

Are you ready for the answers?


17 thoughts on “Summer Puzzle Special

  1. 1988

    I would love to order just this issue since I love to do crossword puzzles. Is that possible? I live in Canada. Thanks for your help. Pam Anderson”88

  2. 1959

    Great idea. I only got to start the first puzzle before going off to Europe. I have oner an age group trophy at The Crossword Puzzle Tournament which I have competed in for 18 years. These puzzles look tougher. Harry Petchesky ’59

  3. Arts '77

    Loved the variety and cleverness!! This issue accompanied me to the beach and it was a lot of fun! Hope you do an encore next summer!

  4. 1957

    I enjoyed doing the puzzles as much as I could by myself and was happy to have an answer page available to help me continue when I got stumped.

  5. Arts 1993

    Loved the puzzle section! Would be great to have a puzzle as a regular feature!

  6. ALS '69

    Puzzles, I grant you, are a clever idea, but not what I want to see in the alumni magazine.

    On a related note, of course Cornell can provide a wealth of information on people and activities. However, don’t try to make the magazine an endless collection of graphic-supported “sound-bytes” of what people are doing. Make some thoughtful editorial decisions focusing on a few historical and and current stories…depth rather than breadth.

  7. I’m a puzzle person so I really enjoyed this new addition. The variety was great and I’ll admit that a couple of the puzzles were above my capability, but don’t let that stop you from including more in the next issue.
    Gil Riley, BME ’58

  8. 2011

    Thank you for this special edition! It has been a joy work through the puzzles. I hope you do it again and consider adding a crossword to future editions. This was a real treat!

  9. 1961

    I was delighted to receive the issue just as we were packing for vacation. Unfortunately, I couldn’t resist and finished them all before we left.Jill Nagy

  10. 1964/2009

    Really enjoyed the puzzles, though I was dismayed at how many Cornell names I’d forgotten (i.e. McGraw Tower) and amazed at those I remembered (Lynah Rink). Nicely done, and pretty professional-level too. Too bad you didn’t mention how many of us Cornellians attend Will Shortz’s annual crossword tournament!
    Lynn Feigenbaum, Class of 1964 and 2009 (I returned after 45 years to finish my BA so no excuse for forgetting Big Red landmarks).

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