As a Stephen Sondheim fan, I have a huge appreciation for the man's genius with music and lyrics. From "Company" to "Sunday in the Park with George" to "Sweeney Todd," the 81-year-old has consistently reinvented the Broadway musical and given this author plenty of memorable moments on stage. 


But while I know this side of Sondheim, I knew absolutely nothing about his love of puzzle-making, in particular cryptic crosswords and word games. Apparently, according to Time magazine, his love of the mental sport is "legendary in theater circles" — so it's no surprise that he's the brains behind a charity treasure hunt at the American Museum of Natural History to be held Oct. 3. 


The event will benefit Friends In Deed, a nonprofit celebrating 20 years of providing emotional and spiritual support for anyone diagnosed with life-threatening physical illnesses. Hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, hundreds of guests will be separated into teams who will then wander the museum's two dinosaur halls — following clues left behind by Sondheim. 


"I expect the clues to be — maybe not always, but sometimes — very cryptic," actor Anthony Rapp told the AP. "But he probably has to scale the difficulty to some degree because it can't take all night."


According to the official site, Sondheim's riddles can be as tasty as they are tricky. 


"In the late 1960s Sondheim started having Game Nights with his friends. They gradually grew in size and complexity. In one of his famed Halloween Hunts, created with Anthony Perkins, the participants arrived at an old brownstone, rang the bell and were invited in by an unknown white-haired lady who is was sworn to answer no questions. Tensely, they waited for their next message as she served coffee and cake in silence. Film star Lee Remick was hungry and ate her portion. "Stop!" shouts the group-leader — too late. Rearranged, the icing on the cake would have revealed the map reference of their next rendezvous."

Tickets, which cost $1,500 each, are still available. For more information, jump here

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Sondheim and dinosaurs, together at last
Legendary songwriter/puzzle maker creates first charity treasure hunt at the American Museum of Natural History.