March 07, 2006

I hate recycling

I'm all for helping the environment, but what I'm not crazy about is the transformation of trees into paper for puzzle books that are reprinted, rehashed, recycled, or repurposed. I loved that one Henry Hook book, but was kinda pissed off when I ended up buying it again (sight unseen, via Amazon) with a different title. Most of the NYT crossword books are just endless recyclings of old puzzles, and many of the older ones are creakier than anything Will Shortz would publish in the paper today. (An exception, I hope, is the brand-new, published-just-today Xtreme Xwords, which undoubtedly contains mostly Saturday NYT puzzles I've already done, but I think many of them will be worth a second go. Just in time for last-minute Stamford training, too.)

I have on my desk a Christmas gift I received, The Mind-Challenge Puzzle Book, and it's useless to me. It contains:

• Cox/Rathvon's First-Class Crosswords (US Airways magazine puzzles), which I own and but haven't finished yet.
• Hook's Hard-to-Solve Word Puzzles, which I've already bought twice (see above).
Perplexing Pixel Puzzles, a book of those paint-by-number logic puzzles I did a few years ago when I was hooked on that type of puzzle.
The Ultimate Lateral and Critical Thinking Puzzle Book, which I'm really not interested in.

So it's a fine book, with four fine books spiral-bound together in one volume, and printed on that nice paper stock Sterling Publishing always uses. But I don't need it, so I'm prepared to give it away as a Crossword Fiend contest prize. Problem is, I don't know what sort of contest to have. Perhaps something in the cluing department again?