Yes, you are deliberately seeing double here… well, very nearly. Two pictures tell a couple of thousand words, but here’s the textual version that tells the rest of the story.
Puzzled Pint is a monthly, casual puzzling event as previously discussed on this site. The simplest way to think of it is to imagine a pub quiz that you solve with a team of your friends, but replace the quiz questions with puzzles: all sorts of puzzles – word puzzles, picture puzzles, maybe codes, perhaps maths or logic puzzles – and usually very good ones. The atmosphere is deliberately accessible and hints are freely available, so everyone can have the fun of surprising themselves by solving puzzles that they thought they would never be able to solve.
The event started almost five years ago in Portland in the north-west of the United States and made the relatively short hop to spawn in Seattle in mid-2012. People started saying “if it’s possible to host a Puzzled Pint in two cities, is it possible to host one elsewhere?” and London caught the bug in late 2013. From there, people started saying “if London can, then surely we can too”; Chicago started a year ago and was a big hit, and the last year has seen rapid growth. This month’s event can be expected to have gatherings in three countries, something like fourteen cities (or areas – depends what you count, really) and eighteen locations within those cities. It’s big enough now that it’s getting hard to keep count.
The difference between the fourteen cities and the eighteen locations arises because there are several cities where Puzzled Pint has become so popular that a single pint glass is no longer sufficient to contain all the goodness – and, rather than overflow, it has become a Quizzical Quart. Seattle has split into City and Eastside, the Bay Area has split into San Francisco and the Peninsula (i.e. greater Silicon Valley) and the original Portland site will be splitting from this month onwards as well. As the graphic suggests, so will London. Late last year, London Puzzled Pint was attracting crowds of 50 or 60; this year, January drew well over 70, and February well over 90.
However, the London situation won’t be quite the same as the others; instead of being two separate locations, it will become two halves of one large location, simply because London has very few (if any?) sufficiently large venues available that press all the Puzzled Pint buttons. Instead of splitting into, say, East and West, the London halves have gone for something rather more local: Bubble and Squeak. (Holmes and Watson was another pair of names under consideration, but implied one half was junior to the other… and one half might always be near Baker Street. So was Dots and Dashes, but that could be confusing.) Perhaps the Bubble location will be more convenient for your team one month, perhaps the Squeak location will work better for you the next month; chop and change according to your mood.
The latest location puzzle is up, and it’s a fun one – just be sure to solve it from the screen, not a printout! Once you’ve put the answer together, you’ll find the two locations and pick which one suits you better.
The north-west has so many exciting exit games going on, and such a well-ingrained puzzle crowd, that it seems likely that – over time – Puzzled Pint might thrive there as well. (Don’t necessarily expect an overnight success; see how small many other cities’ events were at their start, and two of the first three London events had no more than five teams each.) It just takes someone to be willing to commit to running it. On the other hand, MCR folk, you do get your own cool-looking games sessions, like this one on Wednesday afternoon…