The Potato Chip Puzzles: The Puzzling World of Winston Breen

The Potato Chip Puzzles: The Puzzling World of Winston Breen

by Eric Berlin


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Monday, January 28

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142416372
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 05/13/2010
Series: The Puzzling World of Winston Breen Series , #2
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 269,774
Product dimensions: 7.94(w) x 5.14(h) x 0.71(d)
Lexile: 650L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About 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.

Read an Excerpt

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page




















Also available

The Puzzling World of Winston Breen


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.

Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.).

Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd).

Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India.

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd).

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.

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.


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 There you can download and print out all the puzzles. Happy solving!


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.


Excerpted from "The Potato Chip Puzzles"
by .
Copyright © 2010 Eric Berlin.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Potato Chip Puzzles 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
NOOK12 More than 1 year ago
This book was the best I finished it in 2 days and on the first night I didn't go to bed till 11:00pm. I ordered the 1st book I'am going to see how that is :)
shaylynn gruenberg More than 1 year ago
This book is filled with suspense creativity and of course........puzzles. Not kidding theres actual puzzles throughout the book and extra ones in the back. Theres also answers so you can solve them yourself them yourself but the important answers are answer a tad later. Ok on to the actual story. So winsteen breen finds himself in a big puzzle contest and picks his friends to be his teamates.However his not so fav teacher is picked to be the " chaperone" and every thing seems to go wrong.To add to all the craziness the a cheater in the competition and he is determined to win. This book will have you frazzeled dismaed and terrificly happy.I completly recommend this book to anyone and everyone aldults and kids.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is great especially since it is a nutmeg
Seaberg Family Account More than 1 year ago
I am in fourth grade and I love this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book totally deserves 5 stars, amazing with redherrings and puzzles that make u go out of your mind to solve them, i think that u, especally if u r a puzzle lover will enjoy this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The novel "the puzzling world of Winston Breen: the potato chip puzzles" by Eric Berlin is about a boy named Winston who loves doing Puzzles. The story takes place during Winston's summer vacation One-day Winston's school was invited to a puzzle contest. The school principal gave Winston a card. He needed solve a puzzle to figure out what the card said. On the day of the puzzle contest [which was the first day of summer vacation] Winston's puzzle team went to Simons snack food, [the host of the puzzle contest] for the rules and the location of the first puzzle. The information was on the computer that Simon gave them. When Winston's team was trying to leave the Simons snack food parking lot their car got a flat tire, which puts them behind. When they got to the first of six puzzles they partnered up with the greater oaks team to solve the puzzle but for the second puzzle they partnered up with the demilla academy team. When they came out of the corn maze, [the second puzzle] only Winston's team got the answer right and Demilla academy had to do the corn maze all over again. When Winston's team finished the third puzzle they figured out that there was a cheater and told every other team about it and 2 teams quit because of this cheater. Winston called ray [a retired policeman] with Mr. Garvey's cell phone to ask him to track a mysterious phone call earlier in the Week. The mysterious phone call asked if Winston was going to the puzzle contest. A few hours later ray called back saying it was Brendon root [a player on the west meadow team] that called him. Winston's team broke their computer by accident but when they got their answer they had to submit it on the greater oaks computer and promised to give them half of the money if they won but it was to late. The winner of the contest was the west meadow team but the cheater was the teacher of the west meadow team. The west meadow team did not get the money because their teacher cheated. Winston's team won the contest but got half since they promised to give the other half to the greater oaks team. Every team but the 2 teams that quit went to MR. Simon's barbeque The book had many positives and negatives. The first thing that I liked in the book is that it had a great theme to it. The next thing that I liked was that it had lots of interesting characters. The final thing I liked was how it gave puzzles for the reader to solve. I did have things in the book that I didn't like too. The first thing I didn't like was that there was a cheater that gave flat tires, and other bad things. Another reason is Mr. Garvey wanted to put 2 of his math experts in the puzzle contest instead of Winston's friends to complete the puzzles faster so they could win. The last thing I didn't like was that the author did not give more information about Winston jake and mal like age, grade, etc. those were some of the many positives and negatives in this book. I would recommend this book to any puzzle lover. One reason is because the 3 friends are very interesting. Another reason is you will not want to stop reading the novel because the ending will surprise you. The final reason is the theme of the story is very interesting because it is set at varies locations. Some of the many similar novels I would recommend are the golly whopper games by Jody Feldman, the puzzling world of Winston Breen by Eric Berlin, the green magician puzzle by Susan Pearson and Gioia Fiammenghi, and finally the westing games.
530nm330hz on LibraryThing 6 months ago
Another delightful romp with Winston Breen. The story is fun, capturing the excitement of participating in a contest that happens to be about puzzles. The puzzles themselves are a nice variety; you can solve them if you feel like it or you can just keep on reading and find out the answers as Winston and his friends do. What I like in particular about the puzzles is that they're straightforward enough that my eight-year-old son enjoys trying them (and can solve most of them, sometimes with a gentle hint but sometimes on his own) but they're sophisticated enough that I enjoy solving them, too.(Disclaimer: The author is a friend of mine. But that just means that if I hadn't liked the book I wouldn't post a review, not that I'd fake a positive one.)
Timestar1337 on LibraryThing 6 months ago
This book by Eric Berlin is very good and I'll will surely recommend this book for students and teachers that loves reading and sloving puzzles, in this book the rising action where Winston and his friends were in a contest to solve puzzles and win $50,000 that part just hooked me to keep reading and find what happens next. I really like how Eric Berlin writes the book sometimes in the book he writes in third-person and sometimes he writes in first-person. Two words "Awesome book" and thats why i give it 4 1/2
rsteinberg on LibraryThing 6 months ago
Winston Breen is the main character in this awesome book. I think this book is really great because the author actually lets you solve the puzzles. If you can't solve a puzzle then there is a page at the back of the book that tells you the answer. Winston goes on the puzzle quest with Jake and Mal his two best friends. The teacher that goes with them is Mr. Garvey the advanced math teacher.
4dSon on LibraryThing 6 months ago
Winston and his friend were in town working on the puzzle competition, but when they looked back at their teacher's car they saw that the car had a flat tire. This story was a page turner because I'm like I thought they're gonna win but got held back and I don't know what will happen. I think this is a very good story because as you read there are puzzles.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is so amazing!! Once I picked this book up, I couldn't put it down!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most people said that this book stinks. Why?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good book but kind of confusing. But i liked the puzzles in the back and the riddles where fun to figure out and ask people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book i have read it many times to my students off my nook they enjoyed it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is freakin awesome as heck
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago