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Some updates for the GMPuzzles family

It was a little over six months ago that I posted my “taking a sabbatical” letter here as part of a time I stepped away from full time science work. I’m still going through this sabbatical year, initially focusing on my physical health/wellness and more recently reengaging in different ways including with puzzles.

It has not been a straight path to find answers, but I’m doing fine, emerging from some depression in recent weeks, and signs like our GMPuzzles subscription starting with very cool puzzles coming through are some accomplishments I’d claim after 6 months. I am still assembling one mission from my different life goals (including, but not only, around mental health) which is now where the next 6 months may take me. I ultimately hope to assemble a renewed mission where puzzles and science and philosophy and a lot of things come together as a way Dr. Sudoku and my network solves for hard problems again.

I recently released two YouTube updates as a longer form of “how is Thomas doing” than the message above. The warm-up/easier video is about a trip to the National Puzzlers’ League Convention in Montreal and it came with this bonus puzzle packet of Tile Crosswords and TomTom. Some more fun easter eggs/check-in discussion begins about 18 minutes in. I hope it can put a smile on some faces if you at least used to laugh at my old livejournal Thomas self.

The more detailed and difficult video, including a perspective on my past science career and what could follow as well as more on my search to understand my bipolar brain, is here.

I don’t expect to put too much more on the GMPuzzles front page about these topics, but I have other channels I will share my thoughts in, including a lot of diverse content for YouTube. It’s been a challenging but enlightening year, and I want to thank you all again for your thoughts and messages as part of my extended family of puzzles. I’m excited for what is to come for the rest of 2023, including the World Sudoku and Puzzle Championship, and then new science/life/bigger things in 2024+.

More Subscription Teasers and a Humble Bundle Offer

We’re now almost through the third full week of our puzzle subscriptions and the response continues to be great. We’ve opened up three more puzzles that were “favorites” on the easier track of puzzles from our subscriber votes, including a paired set of TomTom from Grant Fikes and a warm-up Thermo-Sudoku by Serkan Yürekli. If you haven’t come back to regular GMPuzzles solving yet, please consider purchasing a Season 1 subscription and experiencing the rest of the puzzles with many other puzzle lovers.

As additional news, two of our book projects (the Puzzlecraft series that Thomas Snyder co-authored with Mike Selinker, and Intro to GMPuzzles by Serkan Yürekli) are in a special 2023 Game Design Puzzlecraft Humble Bundle benefitting Active Minds, a mental health charity. There are many tremendous books available as part of this Humble Bundle so please check it out.

Welcome to GMPuzzles!

On this site we showcase “The Art of Puzzles”, with hand-crafted logic puzzles by the best puzzle designers for all who love puzzles. We organize into the categories of Sudoku, Number Placement, Object Placement, Shading, Region Division, and Loop/Path puzzles with tags on each post to find the easiest/hardest within particular styles.

Starting in July 2023 we moved to a subscription system with three-month puzzle blocks. If subscribed and logged in, you should see two puzzles every Monday-Saturday as well as one Sunday special. Please use this page to login as a subscriber.

Subscriptions for Season 1 – A Fresh Start are now open

We’re excited to announce the start of our first subscription season of GMPuzzles. Please go to our store to purchase the 3-month, 175+ puzzle subscription for July-September. You will immediately receive one week of puzzles by download as well as instructions to register an account on the blog (after which you should be able to see the same week of puzzles in your view right away too). The next week of daily puzzles will start posting on Monday, July 10th.

The rest of this post will talk a little about our journey to figure out “how” to implement subscriptions where we’ve already covered the “what” in an earlier post.


Summer Update #2 – The basics on our new subscriptions

Since the end of last year, Serkan and I have been trying to chart a path towards a self-sustaining GMPuzzles, where our products are able to fully cover our payments to authors, editors, and testers to continue producing great content even when I’m unable to contribute as much. As part of this, we’ve gotten feedback from all of our grandmasters, many of our authors, and some of our solvers about what they like most about the site and want us to keep doing, and where they want us to improve. Thanks to those who shared their thoughts as we have built a path forward for 2023+.

A key focus has been to make a main product line that delights our current audience while growing the audience too, which partially means more accessible puzzles. We started by considering how to make our books better, which have our highest quality puzzles but lack the discussion/community aspects of our blog. Adding digital solving options and solution animations (and/or hints) are some of the steps we wanted to do to improve the books, which we implemented for our Starter Pack series in 2022 but nowhere else. But another missing thing was having the sense of connection to the authors and to the community when going through the puzzles in a book. While we tried adding discussion page links into our e-books in 2022, they did not get used much. This made us decide to combine the best of our books and blog, and turn them into one subscription product with daily puzzle release, as a possible new path for GMPuzzles.

Since that decision, we’ve been thinking about “what” should be in a subscription and “how” we should deliver the puzzles. Here we will introduce the “what”, with a future post to talk about the current “how” and the future for a puzzle platform.

Our subscription starts by expanding our daily puzzle releases to two puzzles each day from Monday to Saturday. One simple way to think of this is to consider our “regular” GMPuzzles blog weeks and add on a second track of 1 or 1.5 star difficulty puzzles in the same genres. This new track of puzzles is perfect for beginner solvers and also a “warm-up” for people with more experience before they do the harder puzzle on the same day because we all can forget the rules to some of these styles sometimes. The main part of a subscription will be these 12 puzzles from Monday to Saturday, the first releasing around 9 AM PT and the second releasing around 9:05 AM PT similar to our blog historically. All posts will include digital solving options and solution animations to step through the answer path.

Sundays will be a special day where we are now also adding in a rotation of different kinds of special puzzles. In alternating weeks we are planning to release:

  • Giant puzzles or Sunday stumpers
  • Puzzlemasters’ Workshop / new puzzle type set: typically a set of 3 puzzles in a style we have not featured before with one easy, one medium, and one hard in the set.
  • Puzzle Hunt style puzzles: See some of our prior examples here:
  • Paired/combination/other hybrid puzzles tied into given weeks, like four-way loop grids or a set with crypto constraints across grids or other unusual puzzle constructions that don’t fit in a normal weekday.

The Sunday puzzles should be something really special for our current audience, while the “warm-up” puzzle track should be something that helps grow our audience and adds some enjoyment for the current audience too. We may make a few of the Monday-Saturday puzzles (no more than 2 or 3) free to the public after a vote from our subscribers each week, with a bias towards making the easier puzzles the ones that get freely released. We may similarly give out some “gift subscriptions” for the easier track puzzles if we learn how to hit this mark — maybe each subscriber has a free gift sub to share with someone who has never bought a book from GMP.

A basic subscription will be for a three month “season” of puzzles, over 175 total puzzles, for $10 (US) total. Season 1: A Fresh Start, will run from July to the end of September, and we’ll be revisiting the details of what is in a “season” including contests, votes on new puzzles, themes, and so forth as we go. But it starts by looking like a collection of 13 web weeks with some extra on top, as described here.

Those are some of the basics, and we’re now through test solving for the first two weeks of puzzles. We’re resolving the final details for the “how” of subscriptions, and will open up the purchasing options sometime over this next weekend if we don’t run into any technical challenges. We’re excited to get publishing again, and hope you are excited for the start of subscriptions!

Summer Update #1

Thanks to those who’ve written recently to ask how things are going (both personally for me on this “sabbatical year” and with launching a GMPuzzles subscription service). We’re making progress in different ways, even if we’re taking different paths that we thought we would when we first set out goals for 2023 and progress comes in fits and starts.

On the subscription service, we’ve found from testing feedback that a Discord platform may not be the right technical solution to get started (although it is a good addition for puzzle-based communication and ideation). So we have tried to adapt an approach where we can use subscriptions into this WordPress blog to provide subscriber-only content, while expanding the number of puzzles we release in each week to try to offer something for our existing audience and for newer solvers. We are intending to launch this subscription as soon as the start of July if we can pass final integration tests, and will have some more details to share by the end of next week on this front. (Yes, we will go from no puzzles a week to 13+ puzzles a week very fast, but whenever you are able to subscribe you should be able to catch-up on the GMPuzzles you love.)

Today, for Summer Update #1, I wanted to bring attention to another large Grandmaster Puzzles project for this year which is the World Sudoku and Puzzle Championships that we are organizing in Toronto, Canada on October 15-22. We have gathered a great group of authors — most but not all from North America — and are hard at work creating unique individual and team round puzzles for this event, while also setting up different evening activities to make this a lot of fun for anyone who can attend. Our event website just went live earlier this week and we are now starting the registration process.

2023 World Sudoku and Puzzle Championships

Alongside this WSPC, I do expect to restart some of my YouTube videos on different aspects of puzzles, including more stories/perspective from my time in puzzles like “What is a (sudoku/puzzle) competition?”, “How to train?”, “How to construct?” instead of just putting out individual solving videos. I will also have some non-puzzle videos on that channel, since part of this year has been watching out for myself and finding what big problems I want to be solving — where I don’t have any answers yet and still sometimes am closer to depression than I want to be, but am getting physically healthier to eventually be mentally healthier to then embark on my next big thing(s).

So with those teasers for upcoming events for me and for GMPuzzles, I want to wish you all a happy start to the summer!

Contest Update

Our Ten-Year Anniversary Contest is now over and we talk through the solution in this “final?” Smashing the Sudoku series video here:

Congrats to the four winners: Stephen W., Mindren L., Giovanni P., and Barbitos.

We’re continuing to work on setting up a two puzzles a day subscription release model for GMPuzzles. We have a first set of testers now identified but if you would be interested in helping out as we get closer to a beta test, please let us know at In the mean time, we’re pausing our “reposts” from the past for now while we get our 2023 plans set up, at least for April.

Sunday Update

Our tenth Smashing the Sudoku video, finishing our original 60+1 puzzle reposting series is now live:

We’re still working on setting up an initial version for a GMPuzzles subscription/release model leveraging Discord. If you are interested in being a tester and committing to adding comments/sharing feedback, please let me us know at We will likely have an email option to share the content to subscribers as well, but right now we are looking for testers to tell us if a Discord integration (as an early version of a more fully fledged platform) is worth committing more time to.

We’ll be posting Sudoku from our 2022 Sudoku Grand Prix Round over the next couple weeks.

Sunday Update

Our ninth Smashing the Sudoku video including Slitherlink and Deficit/Surplus Sudoku walkthroughs and an update on the Ten-Year Anniversary Contest is now posted:

This coming week will be the last in our look back series on our first 60+1 puzzles and we will then share more details on what is coming up in 2023 for GMPuzzles.

Sunday Update

Our eighth Smashing the Sudoku video for “Fleet Week” is now live:

We have two more weeks in this look back series and then we will be putting our attention to a new subscription model for daily puzzles starting in April. While we have a long-term goal of having a full digital platform to deliver puzzles, we will get started by using Discord to support a Penpa + PDF delivery of two puzzles per day. Discord should also allow for a more dynamic conversation ability between our constructors and our audience while we gather feedback on features for the future.

Look to this Sunday update space for more details on our Discord invites and on how to get an early subscription before our April launch.