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Puzzles 2022: Picking up the pieces

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DECEMBER 08, 2022

Every year, we spend dead week studying for upcoming finals, bidding farewell to new and old friends and wrapping up all the loose ends of the semester. This year has been particularly tumultuous, as we close it out amid a statewide strike for UC academic workers. It isn’t uncommon to feel burnt out after the blur of the last 15 weeks — we all deserve these few days of freedom before finals to rejuvenate our minds and pick up the pieces before heading into this final stretch.

In this issue, we’re giving you the tools to do just that. We hope this collection of puzzles and activities provide you with plenty of distractions between study sessions. You’ll also find personal accounts about how our staff have navigated and solved their own puzzles, both in play and in life. So before you take your finals, take a breather, grab a paper and start solving!

What to do during dead week instead of studying


Photo of cookies and tea.

Dead week is looming over our shoulders, so of course it begs the question: How many different ways can we procrastinate studying for our finals? The answer is infinite, because if UC Berkeley students are good at anything it’s putting off their work until the very last minute.

— Veerle de Jong

Forestry Final by Oski the Bear


Infographic of Forestry Final by Oski the Bear, by Christian Yates

To begin, we must travel back in time to ancient grease, where people told stories about trees. Stories were called myths. Myths of the Greek nymphs, who were people who lived in trees but were also the trees themselves. Perchance.

— Christopher Ying

Problems of puzzle perfection


Rae Wymer mug.

As my dismay at leaving something incomplete subsided, I realized my floormates and I had become closer friends during this endeavor. The nights of music and camaraderie were worth more than a completed puzzle.

— Rae Wymer

Word Search 2022: Best places to sleep and study in Berkeley


Infographic of Word Search, by Harol Guerra and Aarthi Muthukumar

Find the hidden words to uncover some of the best places around Berkeley to either fall asleep or start studying!

— Aurora Zeng, Defne Karabatur, Christian Yates and Jenny Han

Trading scrolling for puzzling


Daisy Friedman mug.

After weeks of exceeding my desired limit for screen time and lamenting the waste of time, I deleted the social media apps that kept me glued to my phone. Still feeling the pull to my screen, however, I naturally sought something to fill the gap, and I found it in puzzles.

— Daisy Friedman

5 activities to pick up during dead week


Photo of Sleepy Cat Books cat walking on table with filled bookshelves.

No matter what your destressing habits typically look like, here are some things you can do to take a break during dead week!

— Izza Ahmed

How to finesse your way through life


Mug of Josephine Ng.

When I stopped perceiving competitors with fear but instead with admiration, my vision cleared and it became infinitely easier to focus on myself.

— Josephine Ng

Self-care is productive

Mug of Lucia Umeki-Martinez

I’ve decided I’m done sacrificing my mental health and personal sanity for a perfect grade or academic validation. I’m doing my best — and sometimes that means my best is doing the bare minimum.

— Lucía Umeki-Martínez

Owners of Berkeley game stores talk inclusivity, community


Photo of Games of Berkeley storefront.

All those looking for a spot to congregate with friends, or even strangers, to share their love of all things board games need not look further than Victory Point Cafe and Games of Berkeley.

— Maya Banuelos

5-letter wins: Playing the Wordle everyday


Defne Karabatur mug.

With Wordle, I have had the opportunity not only to advance my vocabulary but ponder daily about how a word relates to my own experiences and reality.

— Defne Karabatur

Mad Libs: A night of studying


Infographic of Mad Libs: A Night of Studying, by Joseph Casey

Fill out this Mad Libs puzzle to have your own dead week adventure!

— Vani Suresh and Izza Ahmed

What UC Berkeley Minecraft organization Blockeley is planning next


Photo of Berkeley Campanile in Minecraft.

Hold onto your diamond swords and pickaxes because there is still more to be expected from the innovative campus student organization that brought us Minecraft Berkeley in 2021.

— Carolyn Yu

Crossword 2022: Brain like Berkeley


Infographic of Crossword, by Flora Huynh

Put your knowledge of Berkeley and beyond to the test, and fill out this crossword!

— Ananya Thyagarajan, Noah Tran, Riya Chopra and Maria Young

The game show of life


I began categorizing my tasks and ideas as if they were a set competition; I grew accustomed to putting myself out there, no longer intimidated by others who were supposedly “better” than me.

— Stella Kotik

5 CBS Game Shows to mindlessly binge watch during dead week


Illustration of TV shows, by Tiffany Ho

Dead week can be overwhelmingly dull and stressful — there comes a time in the week when you want to just sit and do nothing. But instead of sitting at your desk, blankly staring at your laptop, I propose watching the CBS holy trinity of game shows to relax your brain.

— Harol Guerra

Pieces of my heart


Mug of Caitlin Wang

Whenever I play games with my friends and family, a wave of comfort and nostalgia washes over me, and I feel my worries fading away. It feels great to embrace my inner child and to know that at any age, I will always find joy in games and puzzles.

— Caitlin Wang

Contact Vani Suresh at 


DECEMBER 13, 2022