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Puzle art: how to turn your photos into beautiful jigsaw puzzles

Puzzle: A Fun and Educational Activity for Everyone

A puzzle is a game, problem, or toy that tests a person's ingenuity or knowledge. In a puzzle, the solver is expected to put pieces together or take them apart in a logical way, in order to arrive at the correct or fun solution of the puzzle. There are different genres of puzzles, such as crossword puzzles, word-search puzzles, number puzzles, relational puzzles, and logic puzzles. The academic study of puzzles is called enigmatology.


Puzzles are often created to be a form of entertainment but they can also arise from serious mathematical or logical problems. In such cases, their solution may be a significant contribution to mathematical research. Puzzles also have many benefits for the brain and the mind. They can improve memory, concentration, problem-solving skills, spatial reasoning, creativity, and mood. They can also reduce stress, boredom, and anxiety.

History of puzzles

The word puzzle first appeared in print in 1599 in the play The Two Angry Women of Abington by Henry Porter, who used it to describe a state or condition of bewilderment. In its meaning of "a difficult problem or question," puzzle first makes an appearance in An Antidote Against Atheism, a book by Henry More that was published in 1652. It was not until 1781 that the word puzzle took on the sense of "something devised for the purpose of testing one's ingenuity," which is how it was used in James Woodforde's The Diary of a Country Parson.

But puzzles in varying shapes and forms, while not always called puzzles, have shown up throughout history. Among the earliest documented references to puzzles is one in the Rhind papyrus, compiled by a scribe called Ahmes about 1650 BCE. The papyrus contains 84 mathematical problems, divided into arithmetic, geometry, and miscellaneous, and it was at its heart a mathematics textbook written in a manner encouraging readers to develop the necessary techniques themselves.

According to legend, the ancient city of Thebes in Greece was the home of a sphinx, a creature with the head of a woman and the body of a lion who killed people wishing to enter Thebes. But, to give her victims a chance, she would first pose them a riddle. If they failed to answer it, they were killed. Nobody solved the riddle until Oedipus came along and answered "What goes in the morning upon four feet, in the afternoon upon two feet, and in the evening on three feet?" with the correct response: humankind.

The origins of jigsaw puzzles go back to the 1760s when European mapmakers pasted maps onto wood and cut them into small pieces. John Spilsbury, an engraver and mapmaker, is credited with inventing the first jigsaw puzzle in 1767. The dissected map has been a successful educational toy ever since.

Some other famous puzzles and their creators are:

  • The Rubik's Cube, invented by Hungarian architect Ernő Rubik in 1974. It is a three-dimensional combination puzzle that consists of six faces covered by nine stickers each of one of six colors: white, red, blue, orange, green, and yellow. The goal is to twist and turn the cube until each face has only one color.

  • The Sudoku puzzle, popularized by Japanese publisher Nikoli in 1984. It is a number puzzle that consists of a grid of nine rows by nine columns that are further subdivided into nine smaller squares called regions. The goal is to fill each cell with a digit from one to nine so that each row, column, and region contains each digit exactly once.</li. - The crossword puzzle, invented by British journalist Arthur Wynne in 1913. It is a word puzzle that consists of a grid of white and black squares. The goal is to fill the white squares with letters, forming words or phrases, by solving clues that lead to the answers. The words are placed horizontally or vertically in the grid and are separated by the black squares.

  • The Tower of Hanoi, invented by French mathematician Édouard Lucas in 1883. It is a mathematical puzzle that consists of three rods and a number of disks of different sizes that can slide onto any rod. The goal is to move all the disks from one rod to another, following these rules: only one disk can be moved at a time, each move consists of taking the upper disk from one of the rods and sliding it onto another rod, and no disk may be placed on top of a smaller disk.

Tips for solving puzzles

Solving puzzles can be fun and rewarding, but also challenging and frustrating at times. Here are some general tips and hints for different kinds of puzzles that might help you overcome the difficulties and enjoy the process.

Crossword puzzles

  • Start with the clues that are easiest for you. They might be related to your personal interests, hobbies, or knowledge. They might also be shorter words or have fewer possible answers.

  • Use the crossing letters as hints. If you have some letters filled in, try to think of words that fit the pattern and match the clue. You can also use online tools or dictionaries to help you find words that match a certain pattern.

  • Look for common crossword words. Some words appear more frequently in crossword puzzles than in everyday language. They might be abbreviations, acronyms, foreign words, or words with unusual spellings or letter combinations. For example, some common crossword words are ALOE, OREO, ERIE, IRA, EPEE, and ETUI.

  • Don't be afraid to erase or change your answers. Sometimes you might realize that you made a mistake or that there is a better answer for a clue. It's okay to erase or change your answers as long as you are confident about your new ones.

Sudoku puzzles

  • Use pencil and paper. Sudoku puzzles are easier to solve if you can write down the possible candidates for each cell and eliminate them as you go along. You can also use different symbols or colors to mark the candidates or the cells.

  • Use logic and deduction. Sudoku puzzles are based on logic and deduction, not guesswork or trial and error. You can use various techniques to eliminate candidates and find the correct ones. For example, you can use the single position technique, which means that if a candidate appears only once in a row, column, or region, it must be the correct one for that cell.

  • Look for patterns and symmetries. Sudoku puzzles often have patterns and symmetries that can help you solve them faster and easier. For example, you can look for pairs, triples, quads, x-wings, swordfishes, hidden subsets, naked subsets, and other patterns that can reduce the number of candidates or reveal the correct ones.

  • Don't give up. Sudoku puzzles can be solved by anyone who knows the rules and has patience and perseverance. If you get stuck, don't give up. Try to look at the puzzle from a different angle or use a different technique. You can also take a break and come back later with a fresh mind.

Rubik's Cube

  • Learn the basic notation and moves. Rubik's Cube is a three-dimensional puzzle that can be manipulated by rotating its faces. Each face has a letter that represents its color: F for front, B for back, U for up, D for down, L for left, and R for right. A move is a quarter turn of a face in the clockwise direction, denoted by the letter of the face. A prime move is a quarter turn in the counter-clockwise direction, denoted by an apostrophe after the letter. For example, F means turn the front face clockwise, and R' means turn the right face counter-clockwise.

  • Solve the cube layer by layer. The most common method for solving Rubik's Cube is to solve it layer by layer, starting from the bottom layer and moving up to the top layer. There are three steps for each layer: solving the cross, solving the corners, and solving the edges. Each step requires a specific algorithm or sequence of moves that can be memorized or learned from online tutorials.

  • Practice and improve your speed. Solving Rubik's Cube can be a fun and satisfying hobby, but it can also be a competitive sport. There are many speedcubers who can solve the cube in seconds or even fractions of a second. To improve your speed, you need to practice regularly, learn more advanced methods and algorithms, use finger tricks and efficient rotations, and use a good quality cube that is lubricated and tensioned.

  • Explore other variations and challenges. Rubik's Cube is not the only puzzle of its kind. There are many other variations and challenges that can test your skills and creativity. For example, you can try different sizes of cubes, such as 2x2x2, 4x4x4, or 5x5x5. You can also try different shapes of puzzles, such as pyramids, spheres, or dodecahedrons. You can also try to solve the cube blindfolded, with one hand, or with a time limit.


Puzzles are more than just games or toys. They are sources of entertainment, education, and challenge. They can stimulate your brain, enhance your skills, and enrich your life. Whether you prefer crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, Rubik's Cube, or any other kind of puzzle, you can always find one that suits your taste and level of difficulty. Puzzles are fun and rewarding activities that anyone can enjoy.

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