A Maze Puzzle for the Day

Here’s a little maze puzzle I originally built a couple of years ago, that seems apropos to reprise now:

Can you make it from the A in the top left of this grid to the Z in the bottom right, always going either up one letter (for instance, A to B or G to H) or down one letter (for instance, N to M)? The alphabet wraps around, so you can go from Z up to A or A down to Z too. Try as hard as you can (and remember that you can always work backward if you get stuck forwards), and see where you get!

Remark: Solving the maze is not the same thing as solving the puzzle. Read those instructions carefully!

Source: Puzzling StackExchange

Notice this puzzle is published on April 1st. Actually, it doesn’t have a standard solution. If you connect every two consecutive letters which appear next to each other in the grid, you will get two disconnected components, one of which contains the START and the other contains the END. The first component has 5 dead-ends – at letters A, P, R, I, L, and the second component has 5 dead-ends – at letters F, O, O, L, S. These two spell out “April Fools”, which is the real solution of the maze.

Steven Stadnicki is a software engineer and a long-time dabbler in mathematics; finished 11th in the Putnams long long time ago.

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