Heads and Tails
Theme This puzzle features the 50 United States plus the District of Columbia. The flag, nickname, population and capital of each state is provided in the Clue Window for each piece. The remaining clues are all embedded in the design of the state's quarter-dollar coin as released by the U.S. Mint during its 50 State Quarters program. This unique and popular numismatic project released 5 new coins each year from 1999 through 2008. (The District of Coumbia quarter was released in 2009 as a part of a subsequent program honoring U.S. Territories.)
Each state, by its own process of selection and approval, provided a commemorative design for use on the reverse side of their quarter. Although often criticized as "art by committee," the designs provide a fascinating glimpse into local character and pride in spite of any aesthetic shortcomings. They are also great puzzle clues. A representation of the state's shape appears on 15 of the coins, clearly showing how to rotate the piece. A well-known place is featured in 17 of the designs, 24 of them display significant plants or animals, 14 make historical references and 11 honor famous people.
The coins were released in the order in which each state ratified the U.S. Constitution or were admitted to the union. That's also a clue given the east to west expansion of the country. In total, almost 34 billion State Quarters were minted during the 10-year program. Special collector sets were also produced, but the real charm of these familiar coins is that they will be in circulation for many years to come. Everyone has their favorites, they are easy to collect and each one offers a little nugget of information about this large and diverse country.
Puzzle Notes The custom clue window created for this puzzle features animated flags and image links. Clicking or tapping on the flag will open the state's WikiPedia page in a new brower tab. Clicking or tapping on the coin image will open a page from the U.S. Mint that describes the coin in detail. Hovering over those images with the cursor displays their link destination as a tooltip. You will also see the state's quarter "flip" to its obverse side.