The Potato Chip Puzzles: The Puzzling World of Winston Breen

The Potato Chip Puzzles: The Puzzling World of Winston Breen

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by Eric Berlin
     
 

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When puzzle addict Winston Breen and his best friends head to an all-day puzzle hunt with a $50,000 grand prize, they’re pumped. But the day is not all fun and games: not only do they have a highstrung and highly competitive teacher along for the ride, but the puzzles are hard even for Winston, the

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Overview

Read Eric Berlin's posts on the Penguin Blog.

When puzzle addict Winston Breen and his best friends head to an all-day puzzle hunt with a $50,000 grand prize, they’re pumped. But the day is not all fun and games: not only do they have a highstrung and highly competitive teacher along for the ride, but the puzzles are hard even for Winston, the other schools’ teams are no joke, and someone in the contest is playing dirty in order to win. Trying to stop this mystery cheater before it’s too late takes an already tough challenge to a whole other level. . . .

Packed with a variety of fun puzzles to solve, this fast-paced sequel will pull readers right into the action from start to finish.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
. . . another delight for hardcore puzzle gamers.
VOYA - Kevin Beach
The twelve-year-old treasure-hunter from The Puzzling World of Winston Breen (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2007/VOYA February 2008) returns for another race against the clock. This time Winston and his two friends represent their junior high school in a legitimate puzzle competition sponsored by the eccentric owner of a local snack food company. The boys' teacher, Mr. Garvey, is perhaps overly determined to win the $50,000 prize for their school. As the puzzle teams scurry around town, tracking clues and solving riddles, some are soon hampered by a secret saboteur that they suspect must be connected to one of the competing teams. The clever contest puzzles are included for the reader to work on along with a few Winston invents along the way. Answers are provided in the back of the book for those who are impatient or need help. The flat tires, moved signs, and stolen equipment quickly make everyone suspicious of everyone else and many likely suspects appear in the plot. By the conclusion, Winston is concerned about Mr. Garvey's sense of fair play, and the two eventually find they must choose between doing what is right or winning. The breakneck pace of the first book is renewed here but with a bit more danger. The plot and puzzles are still reasonable and suitable for the upper elementary/middle school reader. Winston is a likeable hero and his story is entertaining and presents a moral about good sportsmanship. Those who have read the first book will surely want to read this one as well. Reviewer: Kevin Beach
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Eric Berlin's sequel to The Puzzling World of Winston Breen finds our hero and his pals, Mal and Jake, on another puzzling quest. This time they must win an all day word-gaming scavenger hunt sponsored by Dmitri Simon, the local potato chip king. Given Winston's genius, the results ought to be in the bag, right? Unfortunately, the event is school sponsored, and the guys are saddled with math teacher Mr. Garvey (a man of little imagination and less wit) as chaperone, not to mention the antics of fanatics from competing schools—all anxious to win the $50,000 prize. The modest amount of skullduggery invested in the plot does help but unless the reader is truly a puzzle person, having the action stop every few pages for the insertion of yet another rebus or math game does crimp the story. Alternately, if one approaches the book as a set of puzzles with story attached, it becomes considerably more successful. Solutions and additional puzzles may be found in the back matter. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—The whiz kid from The Puzzling World of Winston Breen (Putnam, 2007) returns to reason through his second mystery. Winston and his two friends, Mal and Jake, are sent to represent Walter Fredericks Junior High in a daylong puzzle competition sponsored by the eccentric owner of Simon's Snack Foods. Their teacher, Mr. Garvey, is determined to win the $50,000 prize for their school and constantly chides the boys to take the day seriously. As Winston's group scrambles around town tracking clues and solving riddles, they are waylaid by a saboteur they suspect is connected to one of the competing schools. They also encounter ethical questions: Is it okay to bend the rules to win? In the end, Winston and Mr. Garvey face a moral dilemma and emerge with a better understanding of one another. Berlin refreshes traditional themes, including the importance of good sportsmanship, with oodles of mind-bogglers for readers' enjoyment. While some puzzles are integral to the plot, others can be solved at a later point (an answer key and additional puzzles are appended). The interlocking mystery contains all the information needed for its unraveling. The subplots are well integrated and the dialogue is snappy. Suggest this fine brainteaser to fans of Siobhan Dowd's The London Eye Mystery (Random, 2008) or Trenton Lee Stewart's The Mysterious Benedict Society (Little, Brown, 2007).—Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews
When a local snack-food manufacturer creates a puzzle contest to benefit a school, Winston Breen and his two best friends represent their middle school, solving his six elaborate puzzles and an unexpected seventh: exposing a cheater. Like its predecessor, this second adventure in The Puzzling World of Winston Breen has a number of extra puzzles included in the narrative and more at the end, along with the answers. And as before, there is a strong thematic emphasis on cooperation as the boys cope with adults who seem to value winning over good sportsmanship. The cheater's actions introduce surprising violence into an otherwise wholesome world. The puzzles mostly involve numbers or letters and vary in difficulty; some will be quite challenging to puzzle-loving readers, as they were to Winston and his friends. The pace is suspenseful but allows for pauses for problem-solving. The joy for both contestants and readers of this brain-teasing mystery will be in the process. (Mystery. 9-12)
From the Publisher
"When a local snack-food manufacturer creates a puzzle contest to benefit a school, Winston Breen and his two best friends represent their middle school, solving his six elaborate puzzles and an unexpected seventh: exposing a cheater. Like its predecessor, this second adventure in The Puzzling World of Winston Breen has a number of extra puzzles included in the narrative and more at the end, along with the answers. . . . Suspenseful." -Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142416372
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
05/13/2010
Series:
Puzzling World Winston Breen Series
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
345,117
Product dimensions:
7.94(w) x 5.14(h) x 0.71(d)
Lexile:
650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Acknowledgements

 

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

 

WANTMOREPUZZLES?

ANSWERS

Also available

The Puzzling World of Winston Breen

G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS

A division of Penguin Young Readers Group.

Published by The Penguin Group.

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014, U.S.A.

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.).

Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England.

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Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa.

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England.

 

Copyright © 2009 by Eric Berlin.

Drawings by Katrina Damkoehler.

All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014.

G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content. Published simultaneously in Canada.

 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Berlin, Eric.

The potato chip puzzles / Eric Berlin. p. cm.—(Puzzling world of Winston Breen)

Summary: Winston and his friends enter an all-day puzzle contest to win fifty thousand dollars for their school, but they must also figure out who is trying to keep them from winning. Puzzles for the reader to solve are included throughout the text. [1. Puzzles—Fiction. 2. Contests—Fiction. 3. Mystery and detective stories.] I. Title.

PZ7.B45335Po 2009 [Fic]—dc22 2008033698

 

eISBN : 978-1-101-02479-9

For Rita and Joel Berlin

Also, a world of thanks to Katherine Bryant, Ana Deboo, Francis Heaney, Dan Katz, Susan Kochan, Lance Nathan, Trip Payne, Scott Purdy, William Reiss, and Will Shortz.

ABOUT THE PUZZLES IN THIS BOOK

This book contains quite a few puzzles. You can solve them if you want, although you don’t have to solve them to enjoy the story. Most of the answers can be found in the back of the book. Some of the puzzles are so important to the story, however, that the answer will appear on the next few pages. You’ll see which ones those are when you get to them. Note that you can’t really skip those puzzles and come back to them later, because you’ll learn the answer almost immediately. Take a few minutes to try them, and then continue reading.

And if you don’t want to write in this book, just head over to www.winstonbreen.com. There you can download and print out all the puzzles. Happy solving!

CHAPTER ONE

 

WINSTON BREEN DIDN’T know why it was called “study hall.” They weren’t in a hall, and hardly anyone studied. Sometimes you’d find kids finishing homework due the next period. You could tell that’s what they were doing—they had a wide-eyed, racing-the-clock air to them, and they gripped their pens so hard that blood stopped flowing to their fingertips. But this was the last week of school, and there was no more homework. Kids sat in little clusters, talking semi-quietly, occasionally bursting into laughter, which would attract a glare from Mrs. Livetta, the study hall monitor. A couple of kids were reading, and one girl, with hypnotic concentration, was covering her desktop with elaborate graffiti.

Winston, of course, was solving a puzzle. He kept a couple of puzzle books in his schoolbag at all times. There had been a day earlier in the year when he found himself puzzleless in study hall, and Mrs. Livetta refused to let him go to his locker. With nothing to read and nothing to solve, he sat there for a while in utter boredom. In fact, that was the day he discovered that the letters of BOREDOM can be scrambled to make the word BEDROOM. That was a pleasing discovery, at least.

Now he was always prepared. He clicked a few times on his mechanical pencil and doodled in the margin while he thought.

In a word square, words read the same both across and down. In the following two puzzles, solve the clues to create the word square.

This last word square has five letters in each word . . . and the clues aren’t given in order, so you’ll have to figure out which word goes where.

(Answers, page 239.)

“Winston!” Mrs. Livetta all but screamed in his ear.

Winston jerked like a freshly caught fish, nearly falling out of his chair. The other kids in the study hall laughed. Mrs. Livetta was standing in front of him, hands on hips.

“Wh-what? Yes?” Winston tried to regain his wits. He knew what had happened. Sometimes he became so absorbed in a puzzle that the world around him simply faded away. Mrs. Livetta must have called him once or twice from the comfort of her chair and then, when Winston didn’t answer, said his name louder, and then louder still, and then she finally came over and yelled at him. The next step might have been to hit him with a textbook.

The kids laughed again, but Mrs. Livetta wasn’t laughing. “You are wanted down at the principal’s office. Didn’t you hear the announcement?” She pointed at the loudspeaker on the wall.

Winston reddened. It was worse than he thought. The loudspeaker, which was indeed loud, had barked his name, and he hadn’t heard it at all. Wow. That had to be some kind of record.

Wait a minute—the principal’s office wanted to see him?

“Why does the principal want to see me?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” Mrs. Livetta said. “It’s a loudspeaker—you can’t have a conversation with it. Ask when you get down there. Now go!”

 

Was he in trouble? He couldn’t see how. Was something wrong at home? His mind reached in every direction at once as he walked through the empty hallways down to the main office. As he rounded the corner to the school’s large central lobby, the intercom system crackled and chirped. The school secretary said once again, in the voice of an old lady robot: “Winston Breen, please report to the principal’s office. Winston Breen, to the principal’s office.” Boy, whatever the reason was, they sure wanted to see him. He bit his lower lip and tried to prepare himself.

When he reached the main office, Mrs. Lembo was still returning to her desk from the PA system. “Ah, there you are,” she said.

“Yes, sorry,” said Winston.

“Well, go right in. Mr. Unger’s expecting you.”

The principal’s office was down a short hallway, ending in a door you never wanted to open. Winston had never had a reason to knock on this door, and that was fine with him. He was still trying to figure out some way he might be in trouble. He took a deep breath and knocked softly. “Come in,” said a brusque voice. Winston creaked the door open.

Mr. Unger was not behind his desk. He was up and pacing. “Ah, Winston. Good. Thought maybe you were absent today. Or cutting class!”

Winston recognized that as a joke but had no idea how to respond. “Yes, no, um, I was—”

But Mr. Unger wasn’t looking for any explanations. “You’re still the puzzle person, right?”

“Sure. . . .” Winston had shuffled entirely into the room now. He watched the principal pace back and forth, glancing occasionally at a piece of paper in his hand. When Mr. Unger walked the halls in his gray suit and shiny shoes, he was a severe, frowning authority. Now he didn’t look stern at all. In fact, he looked rather like—Winston could hardly believe it—an excited little kid.

“All right. All right. Good,” he said. “I want you to look at this. Here.” Mr. Unger thrust the paper into Winston’s hands.

It was quite fancy—stiff and crackly, and the color of rich cream. On it were a bunch of letters and numbers, written in ink:

(Continue reading to see the answer to this puzzle.)

This was not at all what he had expected from a visit to the principal’s office. “What is this?” asked Winston.

“I was hoping you could tell me.”

“It looks like a code of some kind. Where did it come from?”

Unger shook his head. “Don’t know. It was in my mailbox this morning, but there was no return address.”

“Was there a postmark?”

Mr. Unger stopped pacing. “The postmark! I didn’t think of that. I knew you were the right person to call on this.” He sat down in his chair, leaned over, and dug through his garbage pail, looking for the right envelope. “Aha, here we go,” he said. The envelope was fancy, too. Mr. Unger brushed it off and looked at it, frowning.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"When a local snack-food manufacturer creates a puzzle contest to benefit a school, Winston Breen and his two best friends represent their middle school, solving his six elaborate puzzles and an unexpected seventh: exposing a cheater. Like its predecessor, this second adventure in The Puzzling World of Winston Breen has a number of extra puzzles included in the narrative and more at the end, along with the answers. . . . Suspenseful." -Kirkus Reviews

Meet the Author

Eric Berlin creates puzzles for all ages, from kids to adults (his crosswords appear often in The New York Times). He is a member of the National Puzzlers' League and enjoys creating puzzle events for schools and other groups. He lives in Milford, Connecticut, with his wife and two children.

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