Jacob Cohen is a New York Times-published puzzle constructor

by Linda Hubbard on February 7, 2023

Sixteen weeks of Upon Reflection logic puzzles by Menlo Park resident Jacob Cohen — who invented them — are appearing in the A Little Variety section of the New York Times Sunday magazine, and online at http://nytimes.com/games for subscribers.

Writes Jacob: “The A Little Variety puzzle page in The New York Times Magazine was my #1 inspiration for starting Puzzles for Progress, and possibly for puzzling in general. I am now published in it! This is an absolute dream come true, and I still can’t believe I get to call myself New York Times-published.

“The magazine will feature an Upon Reflection logic puzzle of mine every Sunday for the next 16 weeks, from February 5 to May 21, increasing in difficulty. I invented the concept of Upon Reflection. (Some of you may recognize it — I’ve posted some here under its old name Mirrored Gallery! It was renamed by [NYT puzzle editor] Will Shortz himself.

“Note that all of the NYT Upon Reflections have left-right symmetry, while some of my previous ones feature more complicated symmetries. If you’ve ever done Star Battle, it’s similar, with the twist that stars must reflect across the center to other stars, or themselves. If not, the puzzles are designed to be accessible to all.

“It hurts part of my soul to decide who to thank by name and who not to, so I really would like to stress how much I appreciate all my testers, and in fact all of you. Nevertheless, my shoutouts: David “djmathman” Altizio (whose detail-oriented feedback probably improved the puzzles the most); Prasanna Seshadri (who helped show me the ropes of this puzzle slot); Zachary Sifuentes (who also provided invaluable Adobe Illustrator help); my parents (who test my puzzles way more reliably than they need to); and the one and only Will Shortz for his great expertise, supportiveness, and enthusiasm. I’m pretty sure he did some test-solving during his free time.

Photo of Jacob by Robb Most (c) 2021

One Comment

Chris February 27, 2023 at 11:20 am

I hope you will publish in the NYT far beyond May. Love your Upon Reflection idea. Without the mirror effect, they would be much too hard. Perfect as is. Wish you would publish a booklet of them like the 2 little volumes of Two No Touch (also brilliant).

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