Daily Archives: January 29, 2011

Making Merry on National Puzzle Day

Clue: What is a six-letter word for a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma?

"Candy Galore," a 1000 piece puzzle by Springbok.

They are often baffling, frequently infuriating, and mostly fun.

They are:
Perplexing
Unnerving
Zany
Zen-like (sometimes)
Acrostic (like this clue).

They come in forms as varied as crosswords, jigsaws, search-a-words, Tangrams, anagrams, cryptograms, Sudoku, spot the difference, and connect the dots.  They can be logical, lateral, mathematical, or mechanical.  They come in books, boxes, cubes, newspapers, on boards, online, or on paper.

Did you guess it yet?

In the spirit of “the holiday,” I’ll give the answer.  It’s a PUZZLE!  And the holiday is today, National Puzzle Day, a day to celebrate all things solvable.

Puzzles are popular around the world.  I don’t know what the attraction is for everyone else, but I love the challenge of figuring out a solution that’s not immediately obvious.  Sometimes it feels like my brain is being ratcheted up; the cogs and wheels that haven’t moved in a while creak and groan into action again.

Working out a puzzle brings me into a meditative mindset similar to the creative zen I experience when I’m engrossed in writing or painting.  It’s not always quite that peaceful, though.  I have thrown crossword puzzle books across the room, (Drama queen? Me? No!) but my obsessive nature rarely allows me to walk away from an unfinished puzzle.  There’s a benefit to that persistence, though.  The joy of finishing a tough puzzle, crossword, jigsaw, Sudoku, even the Hidden Pictures puzzles from Highlights magazine (which I just found out is now available free online!!) is wonderfully satisfying.

In honor of National Puzzle Day, here are two offerings in my favorite puzzle formats:

  1. A huge archive of Literary crossword puzzles from FunTrivia.com.
  2. A link to Springbok Puzzles, my favorite puzzle maker, which is offering a 15% coupon to celebrate the holiday.  There is also a Springbok puzzle giveaway at A Frugal Friend.

Now it’s time for me to make merry.  I’m heading over to Highlights.com.  Oh, Hidden Pictures, how you taunt me!

Resources: The American Jigsaw Puzzle Society, The Official UK Puzzle Club, Springbok, A Frugal Friend, The Daily Post.