As I’ve mentioned before, I occasionally invent new types of puzzles. There are a lot of high points to creative work, and puzzle invention is no exception. First, you get the joyful blaze of an idea, followed by the “a-ha moment” when your hard work reveals how the whole thing fits together, then the pride of a job well done, the hope that your creation will be well received, and if you’re lucky, the thrill of success. It’s a fun thing to do, and it’s made slightly more fun by the fact that it’s so unusual.
Earlier this week I put the finishing touches on a new puzzle and submitted it for approval. I have been down this road enough times to know that it doesn’t always go in the direction that I want it to, but my hopes for this particular puzzle are high. It has all the hallmarks of a hit. It’s large enough to fill a whole page, simple to solve, different enough to make an impression, open to trivia and pop-culture references, adaptable to any difficulty level, flexible enough to be mass-produced without becoming repetitious, and it even has a clever name. Its weaknesses (yes, every puzzle has them) are minor. If it turns out to be a failure, I will be devastated, because I invested so much time and energy in its development. I threw everything I know about puzzles into it.
Now comes the waiting part. The approval process is slow, but I might find out next week if the puzzle will be given the green light to go to the next level. After that, there is the strong possibility that it will sit in limbo. If it gets the reception that I hope for, though, then it will be expedited. At an expedited pace, it still wouldn’t see publication for months, but I’d be happy just to know that it was on its way. So I am looking forward to next week and the prospect of a green light.