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Home » Variety Central » Official Variety Favorites, one year in

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9/11/2015 9:39:08 PM

Josh
Josh
Posts: 170
Dell editors,

The timing of the variety-heavy magazines is particularly clustered this month, so I'm enjoying the embarrassment of riches this month with Official Variety Puzzles, Solvers Choice Crossword & Variety Puzzles and now Official Variety Favorites back to back to back. (I will say I'm a bit surprised you haven't evened out the three quarterlies yet so one comes out each month, but I'll buy them whenever they pop up and save them for later.)

I wanted to chime in specifically about Official Variety Favorites, though. I had struggled a bit with the title change this year, as its predecessor was heavier on some of my favorite puzzles (2 Collectibles, a Trigons each issue, Jigsaw Sudoku and Sum-doku, among others). I also wasn't incredibly happy that you reverted to the 9-a-page layout for sudoku, which you used a lot more commonly for Number Place but seemed to largely abandon after the switch to Sudoku. (For me, it's not so much the print size of the grids themselves rather than the space to write an answer when on an occasionally bumpy train ride.)

As the line-up has started to evolve, I like where we seem to be going. Jigsaw Sudoku and Sum-doku came back last issue and stayed around in the new December issue, and I see a Trigons in the latest issue! I also like the increased allocation of Cross Sums and Logic Problems over the previous title, and the generous 24 Figgerits in most of this year's editions were back in December (they're one of my favorite word-based puzzles in your titles).

I will admit that I was very enamored with your original mission of All-Time Favorite, focusing in on the popular puzzles, a line-up which I enjoyed and I'm sure many others did because they were, well, popular! But with the tweaks you've been making, the new title is becoming increasingly satisfying. I love a good many of the Dell puzzle types, and enjoy solving the large variety in each issue, but it's great that some of my favorites are making a stronger appearance in your Favorites.

A final plea: Please, please, consider keeping Trigons in regularly as it was before. The 1-2 bimonthly in Math & Logic and the occasional arrival in Official Variety Puzzles isn't enough; you spoiled me in previous years.

Thanks as always for all you do!

Josh

12/5/2015 5:28:27 PM

Josh
Josh
Posts: 170
Well, if I needed any further confirmation that the Dell editors read the forums, today certainly provided it, as I saw to my delight and surprise that you printed some of my comments in the latest issue! It's doubly flattering given it's on a Letter from the Editors page, which normally doesn't directly quote reader feedback. Thanks, Dell editors, for listening!

Obviously this means I have the latest issue in my hands, and I had a couple of thoughts to share, while I'm posting.
  • Thank you for including a Jumbo Cross Sums! I love that and the variations too when they're included in a magazine, so it's nice to see that here.
  • Those two first Tanglewords are like teasers! And given there's only four in each issue (any chance you can run a couple more, at least occasionally?), I'd love to see full-size ones printed here. Thankfully it's a puzzle found in enough magazines in the line-up that I can get my Tanglewords fix easily enough.
  • A small request on the six letter petal puzzle diagram - for the first letter, any chance that can be opened up a bit? It looks to my eye that the approach was to just leverage the five-letter grid and amend a sixth, but to make it look seamless it's led to really tight space for that first letter. It looks like there's enough room to make it happen, and it would make solving the puzzle a bit easier.
  • Under your Sudoku puzzles on page 68, you're still referring to Original Extreme Sudoku, but if memory serves you recently restored it to its original title of Dell Extreme Sudoku.
  • No Trigon, alas! Maybe next time.

One final thought: Back in the '90s, when Dell was following Penny Press' lead in having certain magazines highlight a featured puzzle that rotated each issue (I think in Official Pencil Puzzles and Word Games it was an "Extra Extra" puzzle?), it gave an opportunity for fans of certain puzzles to get an extra-large batch now and then. It seems to me like a magazine with the title of Official Variety Favorites could benefit from such an inclusion, and with 178 pages available in each issue, wouldn't impact the mix too much.

Keep up the amazing work, thank you for the countless hours of entertainment and happy holidays to everyone over at Dell!


Josh

1/7/2016 10:19:32 AM

Dell Editorial Staff
Dell Editorial Staff
Posts: 156
Thanks so much, Josh, for your input. We'll certainly take your suggestions into consideration, and right back at you with happy holiday wishes!

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