Like so many others around the world, the National Puzzlers’ League is saddened and angered by the events of recent weeks. Not just for deaths of the names we know, like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Atatiana Jefferson, but for the names we don’t, and for the injustices in our nation that allowed their deaths. Black lives matter.

The NPL Board is creating a working group to investigate what concrete steps we can take to 1) make our space more welcome to a more diverse audience and 2) grow and create a more diverse membership. Read the complete statement here.

About the League

The National Puzzlers' League (the NPL), founded in 1883, is the world's oldest puzzlers organization. The native puzzle type of the NPL is the flat, a versified puzzle involving wordplay, but League members enjoy many other types of puzzles.

If you enjoy wordplay such as palindromes, cryptograms, crossword puzzles, cryptic crosswords, anagrams, or discovering the word SCHOOLED has the letters in the words SHOE and COLD perfectly interlaced ... you'll probably find it in our monthly publication, The ENIGMA.


For an introduction to both flats and the other kinds of puzzles that are published in The ENIGMA, take a look at our online minisample.

Regular PDF

Booklet Format PDF

The minisample is also an excellent way to introduce the NPL to your puzzling friends.

We also have a showcase of representative flats, or verse puzzles, and a list of some of the best anagrams that have been published in The ENIGMA.

Solving Puzzles

English-language flats are unique to the NPL (though there are some similar puzzles in other languages), and we have a complete online Guide to The ENIGMA, the “bible” of the NPL, to help you solve them. In it, you'll find detailed descriptions of almost all the puzzle types found in The ENIGMA, helpful articles about solving and composing, and a brief history of the NPL.

We also offer introductions to solving cryptic crosswords and cryptograms.

Solving Tools and Word Lists

The NPL maintains several online tools, some of which are available to the public, including a Word Finder.

Our collection of word lists are available to everyone. You will also find helpful information on to use regular expressions with word lists to find bases for puzzles.


The National Puzzlers' League hosts an annual convention in July of each year. The convention is in a different city each year, with cities selected two years in advance. Visit the convention site for the latest information. If you're new to the NPL, a convention can be a great “crash course” to the League.

Online Meeting Places

Mailing lists: The NPL's online meeting place is the npl-folk mailing list. You can read more about our mailing lists at the FAQ.

Online chats: Click here for information on our twice-weekly Slack chats.

Social media: We also have an active Facebook group.


The NPL has about 700 members throughout the US, with a few international members. Membership includes many of the top names in the puzzling world.

Most members of the NPL use a nom (short for nom de plume) instead of their name. Noms have a long tradition in puzzle clubs, predating even the League itself. Symbolically, noms allow all puzzlers to meet as equals, free of the titles and social distinctions that the outside world may demand, and are the only introduction needed to NPL members all over the world.

Existing members: Click here to renew your membership or get information on how to mail in a check.

New members: If you are interested in joining the NPL, here's how to join.


We maintain a list of related organizations that may be of interest to puzzlers.

Our Books

The NPL has produced a number of puzzle books:

National Puzzlers' League Cryptic Crosswords, edited by Joshua Kosman (Trazom) and Henri Picciotto (Hot), and originally published by Random House Puzzles & Games, 2005, ISBN 0812936604. This book is out of print but available for download (PDF format).
Hard-to-Solve Cryptograms by National Puzzlers League, by the League, Sterling, 2001, ISBN 080695809X. This book is currently unavailable.
Sit & Solve Cryptograms #2, from the National Puzzlers' League includes cryptograms written by NPL members taken from the pages of The Enigma. These cryptograms are on the hard side. Sterling Publishing, 2004 ISBN 1402713096

About the Site Banner

The current web site banner is by T McAy, adapted by Qoz. Email the webmaster if you are interested in providing banner art for use in the future, either for a specific time, or on a rotating basis.

Contact Information

To contact the league, use the standard email addresses webmaster@, postmaster@, or treasurer@ followed by our domain name.

Code of Conduct

The NPL is committed to preserving a welcoming and respectful environment for anyone who wishes to participate. We do not tolerate harassment of League members or convention-goers in any form. If you feel that any individual is speaking or acting inappropriately, either toward you or to someone else, please contact the Code of Conduct Committee to mediate or intercede, as necessary.

Read the full Code of Conduct here

Read how to report an incident here