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Jason Savage - Puzzle Explanation

Greetings fellow puzzle lovers:

My name is Jason Savage, designer of the Manx, the 21st Century Puzzle Challenge.

The Manx is a visually deciphered, graphic art composition. The development of this puzzle is a direct descendent of my work with linear graphics, which I introduced as kinetic sculptures at the 1979 Spoleto Festival USA.

Over the decades, I experimented with many different configurations. With the advent of a faster Internet and better programs, I converted the Manx into a format that could be delivered electronically. The Manx is now the centerpiece for timed competitions.

Unlike sequential move puzzles, Rubik’s Cube for example, the Manx gives me unlimited design options. I can make them extremely easy or excruciatingly difficult. The puzzles I create for the competitions are designed to be solved. In fact, solved relatively quickly. Anyone, young or old, can solve a Manx. If I had to make a comparison to another puzzle type, I would say the Manx closely resembles a jigsaw without pieces. I’ve put together this little clip to demonstrate the fundamental structure of the puzzle. Enjoy.


I would like to demonstrate the fundamentals of all Manx puzzles. The common denominator is symbol identification.

First, you need to download and install the free Manx Training Samples. From the main page click on Information, then click Manx Training Samples and click the Download button. Save and install the samples. The set consists of html and PDF pages accessed through your browser.

After installing the files you will see a Manx Samples icon on your desktop. Double click the icon to open the Introduction page.

Go to Practice and select Sample One. This opens a PDF file where you will see an Instruction Sheet, Symbol Chart, Manx Graphic, and a Grid Sheet. This sheet can be filled in on screen.

The Manx is composed of an image and electronically embossed symbols. This simple Manx has six symbols. Your objective is to identify what each symbol represents based on the Symbol Chart. As you identify each embossed symbol type the letter or number in the corresponding Plaintext Grid. After you have filled in each square of the Plaintext Grid with a letter or number, you now must fill in the Answer Grid.

Look at the question below the Answer Grid. What is the word used to describe one of two or more rows arranged one above the other. The four letter answer is composed of letters or numbers found in the completed Plaintext Grid. Now fill in the four-letter answer in the Answer Grid. You will find the correct answer in the lower left corner of the page. Do not cheat by looking at the answer first.

This is the basis of all Manx puzzles – symbol identification. The competition Manx puzzle also uses ciphers. In other Manx samples you will be introduced to the polyalphabetic table. It’s not hard to understand or use, but it does present another dimension to the Manx.

Some may be better identifying symbols. Others better at deciphering codes. That helps balance the competition. Complete the samples and then enter an event. The events are for charity, so come on and enjoy the challenge. The more events you enter the quicker you will become. You may end up a Grand Prize winner.


After you complete each of the training samples, you will be ready for any Manx competition.

Incidentally, I’ve been a competitive runner for over thirty years. A race feature that helps attract competitors is the use of age groups awards. Major races like the Cooper River Bridge Run, a very large and prestigious event held in Charleston, South Carolina, use five-year age divisions. Awards can go up to twenty-five deep in each category.

I’ve incorporated five-year age group divisions into Manx competitions. The top three in each division receive special recognition. If the event has a large number of competitors, we will offer awards to the top 5% in each group. Overall winners are not eligible for age group awards. In addition, we have a designer certificate for all who correctly solve the Manx. Everyone can be a winner! Each Manx event will have it’s own listing of the prizes and awards.

Proceeds from selected Manx events will be donated to Freedom Memorials, a 501 c(3) non-profit organization working to construct the National Afghanistan and Iraq Freedom Reigns Memorial, honoring the military men and women who have paid the ultimate price for freedom in the wars on terrorism. For information about the memorial, visit Other charities may benefit from Manx events as well.

I truly hope you will participate in one Manx event, if not many. See how you measure up to other competitors. Collect our distinctive certificates. Each event will incorporate a different design.

Let me speak for one moment about the timing. After you solve a Manx, you submit an answer form via the Internet. Your answer goes into our database. Entries into that database are timed to the 10,000th of a second. After the close of the event, we will make that database available to you so you can compare your solve time with other competitors, both overall and in your age group. You can query the results as well; by state, country, age, time, or name. Challenge your friends or co-workers to enter. Compete against each other.

Thank you very much for giving me your valuable time. At some point, I hope to hold a Guinness World Record event. I’ll have to design special commemorative awards for that one. By the way, if you’re a runner or a race director, I invite you to review my running award site –

Continue to check our Web site – – for upcoming Manx events.

Good Day!


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