Jonah Ostroff

Office: Padelford C-328
Office hours: see individual course Canvas pages
Email: ostroff [ampersat] uw [full stop] edu

I'm pretty into puzzles, both writing and solving. Some things I've made:

Hunt puzzles

These are from puzzle events where you aren't given explicit instructions on how each puzzle works. Instead, you have to figure out what you're supposed to do. Each puzzle's answer is a single word or a short phrase, and you should know when you've solved it. For an introduction, see here.

Microsoft Puzzlehunt

The Microsoft Puzzlehunt is a weekend-long puzzle hunt for 12-person teams, usually consisting of about 75-100 puzzles.

For Puzzlehunt 23 (May 2023) I wrote 29 puzzles, but I'm particularly proud of:
Pyramid Schemes
How the Other Half Lives (with Justin Melvin)
Learning from Our Old Mistakes (with Justin Melvin)
The Fibonacci Sequence (with Mike Sylvia)
• The Mathematics Meta
Ozymandias (with Mike Sylvia)
• The Sociology Department (with Jason Deakins and Mike Sylvia)

Some selected puzzles from the Super Metroid and Smash Bros. rounds of Puzzlehunt 21 (May 2021):
Super Missile, a battleships logic puzzle
Space Jump, a collection of abstract mini puzzles
Speed Booster, a Warioware-like game
Tourney, the Smash Bros. round meta (not fully solvable without puzzle answers)

My puzzles from the Hedwig and the Angry Inch round of Puzzlehunt 20 (May 2019):
Exquisite Corpse, a mashup of six loop logic puzzles
The Origin of Love, a short word puzzle
Tear Me Down, a nurikabe/hashi combo
Wicked Little Town, a bunch of song parodies
Wig in a Box, a crossword variant
Angry Inch, the metapuzzle

My puzzles from the Iron Chef round of Puzzlehunt 19 (May 2018):
Battle: Donuts, a puzzle about drawing a map
Battle: Gnocchi, a Puzzlescript game about eating gnocchi
Battle: Man, an alien linguistics puzzle
Battle: Tapas, a grid-based logic puzzle
Battle: Tofu, a mysterious crossword-y thing

Puzzled Pint

Puzzled Pint is a casual puzzle event held at bars in 40-ish cities on the second Tuesday of every month.

• I wrote the May 2016 Puzzled Pint set, Parks and Recreation.
• I also wrote the January 2021 Puzzled Pint set, PuzzFeed Quiz.


DASH (Different Area, Same Hunt) is an annual walkaround puzzle hunt held simultaneously in a few dozen cities.

DASH 11: I wrote the metapuzzle.
• DASH 10: "Water Works". You'll also need one of ten coins handed out earlier in the hunt.
• DASH 9: "Explore the Chamber" and "What Did We Miss?". These are harder to reproduce at home, but you can find instructions and files here. Also, here are two YouTube videos walking through the puzzles.

The Secret Multivariable Puzzle Challenge

In spring 2016, I hid a series of five puzzles throughout my Math 126 course materials, which students solved for extra credit.

Puzzle 1: The Traces
Puzzle 2: The Vectors
Puzzle 3: The Sudoku
Puzzle 4: The Regions
Puzzle 5: The End


QoDE was an online puzzle hunt in September 2021. I wrote some of the metas, and the following individual puzzles:

Qatalog, a puzzle about the word tool Qat
Motel 6, a sudoku (sort of)
50-50, a probability puzzle (sort of)

Miscellaneous Hunt Puzzles

Alphablocks, but...: A 339-page puzzle. This was from a puzzle-writing jam in which every author provided feedback for a hypothetical puzzle, and then someone else wrote a puzzle corresponding to that feedback.

Ministry of Unsolved Crimes: An interactive puzzle from the same jam.

The Breakout Room: A Google Sheets escape room to be solved by three people over voice or video chat. Written for the MathILy/MathILy-Er 2021 Yearly Gather.

Logic puzzles

These puzzles come with explicit instructions, and there (usually) isn't a final answer at the end.

Ænigmatic Addendum #8 is a logic puzzle written for Pavel Curtis's Adalogical Ænigma series.
The Fanotastic Loop Collection, written for a secret santa event, is a set of seven interconnected logic puzzles. It's almost certainly the most challenging thing I've made.
The Puzzle Pack of Lies, written for the same secret santa event, this time for Jamie Hargrove. These puzzles do have answers, and there is a metapuzzle at the end.
• Meta-Loop, an unusual hybrid logic puzzle written for Logic Masters India. You can download the instructions here and, after you've read them carefully and tried the example, the competition puzzle here.

One tradition at MathILy-Er is that, on the train/plane ride to the program, I write an alliterative logic puzzle. It's usually themed around a problem from that year's entrance exam.
• From 2015: A Serpentine Stumper
• From 2016: Logical Loopy Lollops
• From 2017: Deductive Ducks
• From 2018: A Shroomy Stumper
• From 2019: A Carrot Conundrum
• From 2020: The Herding Headscratcher
• From 2021: The Stupefying Succulents

Puzzle games

I've made a bunch of Puzzlescript games over the years, some of which I'm willing to share here!

• Heroes of Sokoban is a three-part series of block-pushing games. It's probably my most well-known puzzle.
Weird Bug is a game about editing Puzzlescript.
Count Mover was written for a friend who was complaining about move counters.
Haldun Limaskan is a language-deciphering game, written for Deusovi for a Secret Santa event.