Whether you're a fan of jigsaw puzzles, mazes, or brainteasers, there's no denying that puzzles are a fun way to pass the time. But did you know that puzzles can also be used for purposes beyond entertainment? That's right - puzzles have a long and varied history, and they've been used for everything from education to therapy.
So if you're a puzzle enthusiast, read on to learn 10 surprising facts about puzzles that you may not have known.
So, What Exactly Is a Puzzle?
A puzzle is a problem or enigma that challenges one's ingenuity or knowledge. Puzzles are often comprised of pieces that must be manipulated, arranged, or combined in order to solve the problem.
Examples of puzzles include jigsaw puzzles, word searches, crosswords, Rubik's cubes, and logic problems. Puzzles can also take the form of physical objects like mazes and labyrinths.
Many puzzles are designed to be solved through creative or logical thinking. They can also involve a degree of luck, skill, or chance. Puzzles may have one solution or multiple solutions.
10 Facts About Puzzles
- The first known use of puzzles was so-called riddles. A riddle is a sentence, question, or phrase with a hidden meaning, designed to be solved as a puzzle.
- The jigsaw puzzle was invented in 1767 by John Spilsbury, a London mapmaker and engraver. He mounted a map of the world on a piece of wood and cut it out around each country. He then glued the countries back together to form a jigsaw puzzle.
- The first crossword puzzle was published in 1913. It was created by Arthur Wynne and appeared in the New York World newspaper.
- Sam Loyd was probably the greatest inventor of puzzles of all time. His book, "Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia of 5,000 Puzzles Tricks & Conundrums with Answers", was published by his son in 1914 after his death, and it's still probably the most comprehensive catalog of all sorts of puzzles.
- The Rubik's Cube was invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor Ernő Rubik. It is now considered one of the best-selling toys of all time with over 400 million sold worldwide.
- In recent years, scientists have begun using mazes as a way to study Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
- Therapists sometimes use puzzles as part of their treatment plans for child patients with conditions like autism, ADHD, and OCD.
- You can use a 3D printer to print custom-made jigsaw puzzles.
- The world's biggest commercially made puzzle is the Dowdle "What A Wonderful World" with mind-blowing 60,000 pieces! It's an 8-foot tall and 29-foot wide illustration of the world.
- Arto Inkala, a Mathematician from Finland, has come up with what is claimed to be the world’s hardest Sudoku in 2012. Usually, Sudoku difficulty is calculated with 1 star being easy and 5 stars signifying a challenge. According to Britain’s The Telegraph newspaper article, Inkala’s Sudoku would be graded 11 on the difficulty scale!
As you can see, puzzles have come a long way since their humble beginnings, word riddles. Today, they can be used in a variety of ways and serve many different purposes.
So next time you're looking for something fun to do, why not try your hand at a puzzle? You never know what kind of knowledge or insight you may gain from solving it!
From their history to their uses in modern times, puzzles are truly an amazing tool that everyone should experience at least once. So grab some pieces and get puzzling!
Tap below to have a look at some awesome cube puzzles!