The AZ Puzzle Book - and how we made it
Whether you’re a navigational whiz or directionally challenged, the AZ Puzzle book has something for you! But how does a puzzle book like this get made? Read on to find out our process behind making some of Britain’s best-selling puzzle books.
The official AZ Puzzle Book has given us a chance to celebrate and be entertained by the iconic maps that are familiar to drivers and explorers in the UK. The book contains puzzles for 50 maps, some of which require only the map supplied to solve them, while others ask solvers to think outside the box and apply their general knowledge. The book is split up into sections grouped by theme, featuring famous sporting grounds, nature reserves or landmarks, for example. Each map also has an introductory page to provide the solver with additional background information based on the streets they’re about to explore.
So how is a puzzle book like this written?
Before writing any questions, we took plenty of time to look at each map and note down anything that immediately stood out – uncommon names of streets or buildings was often a good place to start, as well as well-known landmarks.
Fact-finding was the second order of the day, and unusual place names would often have an interesting historical explanation behind them. Many of the street names in the City of London, for example, reflect local trade which was undertaken in the area – Sugar Quay is a good example, where goods were brought in from overseas via the Thames.
Once our locations were researched, we began crafting the questions: these included the creative ‘Cryptic Challenges’, which ask solvers to puzzle out what the question is asking of them, before they can find the solution on the map. Finally, and crucially, checking could begin. That’s when we pass our work over to a colleague who hasn’t seen it to see if they can answer the questions – and make sure we haven’t missed anything! As always in puzzle creation, it’s important that not only is the solution correct, but there is only one correct solution. It’s essential to have a fresh pair of eyes look over the puzzles, in case we hadn’t spotted an extra car park, or bridge, or roundabout…
We thoroughly enjoyed crafting each of the puzzle pages in the AZ Book, and we hope solvers, explorers and navigators alike will enjoy working them out as much as we loved making them.