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I am incredibly jealous of Will Shortz. Since the age of 12 he’s been doing EXACTLY what he loves doing.

[And in the video attached, he gives me puzzle after puzzle from his NPR show. See if you can solve them.]

He solves puzzles. He makes puzzles. He plays games.

He made up his own major: enigmatology (the study of puzzles). He passed.

Then he was editor of Games Magazine. Now he’s the editor of the NYT Crossword Puzzle, the most prestigious position in the world for a puzzle maker.

And he’s on NPR once a week for 3.5 million listeners. Doing what? Asking his listeners to solve a puzzle?

And, to top it off: “I’ve played table tennis for 2,307 days in a row.”

“I’m a bit obsessive.”

“You’re the worst guest!” I yelled at him on my podcast.

“You’ve just been happy your whole life doing exactly what you love.”

He laughed. “It’s true.”

But we had fun. And we unlocked a little bit the mystery of puzzles and why they are important to know.

The key is misdirection: making someone think one thing (with a clue) when the actual answer is totally different.

This is the key to almost everything one does in life. Puzzles happen to be an easy way to practice it before you practice it in real life.

Misdirection is important not just for puzzles but business, writing, negotiation, and even comedy.

And…how does one do what one loves? What do you have to give up in life?

And most importantly, as seen in the video, what’s an anagram for a “gay rodeo”?

Solve the puzzles with me in this video:

And here’s my podcast episode with Will Shortz:

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