Saturday, January 28, 2017

What Day Is It?

Get your pencil!
Grab your puzzle book!
Fill in a crossword puzzle!
Do a word search puzzle!
Try to solve a brain teaser!
Work a suduko puzzle!
Work a jigsaw puzzle!

Do it TODAY!

It's National Puzzle day!

What to puzzles do for us?
  • word searches and crossword puzzles increase our vocabulary and language skills
  • sudoku tests memory and logical thinking
  • jigsaw puzzles use both sides of the brain and improve memory, cognitive function and problem-solving skills
  • jigsaw puzzles are one of many activities that keep the brain active and may contribute to reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (I'm all for that!)

Puzzles stimulate the brain and keep it active. Now, if you're like me this is something I really, really need! I see my mind slipping away faster than I want it to!

One of my winter pastimes is working puzzles. I keep a table in the living room where I can work puzzles as Mr. H watches television. I'm currently on my sixth one since the first of the year. Some were easy and quick, but other's like the one I'm working now has been hard and slow. It's an interlocking puzzle that has all the pieces a similar shape, with rounded tabs out on opposite ends and corresponding blanks cut into the other sides. This uniform-shaped puzzle is called "Japanese Style." They are difficult because the difference between pieces can be very subtle. You have to really watch the color. Trust me I know this for a fact. I have placed several pieces only to discover later that they don't work there!

You know me, I got curious about jigsaw puzzles and headed to the internet to find out when and where they originated. The first puzzle is believed to have been produced by John Spilsbury an engraver and cartographer of London around 1760. The map of England and Wales was hand-painted on wood. Then each country was cut out as a separate piece. It was used as a teaching tool for children.

my one and only wood puzzle

The name "jigsaw" came to be associated with puzzles around 1880 when fretsaws became the tool for cutting. The name really doesn't make since. A fretsaw is not a jigsaw. Shouldn't they have been named fretsaw puzzles?

Cardboard puzzles, as we know them, were slow to become popular. Manufacturers believed that cardboard puzzles would be perceived as low quality and of course they received more profit from wooden puzzles. It wasn't until after World War II that cardboard puzzles became well accepted.

A little jigsaw puzzle trivia:
  • In 1880, Milton Bradley made the first jigsaw puzzle for children, The Smashed Up Locomotive. They printed a lithograph of a steam engine locomotive, glued it to a board, and cut it into pieces. The "smashed up" effect was achieved when the box was opened and the locomotive was all in pieces. The object was to make the locomotive whole once again. Notice there are no interlocking pieces.
photo credit
  • In the early years Parker Brothers had the leading commercial line of puzzles in the U.S. called Pastime Puzzles. In the years from 1908 to 1958, somewhere between 800,000 and a million puzzles were cut. Interesting to note that they were cut only by women. Women had experience cutting fine things and the first ones were cut using a treadle saw. They also could be hired cheaper then men!
  • In 1932 the weekly jigsaw puzzle was created. The "Jig of the Week" retailed for 25 cents and appeared at news stands.
  • Most adult puzzles come in sizes between 300 pieces and 40,000. One-thousand pieces are enough for me!
  • Family puzzles come with three different sized pieces in the same puzzle from large to small for different skill levels and hand sizes.
  • The most expensive puzzle to date was sold for $27,000 in 2005 at a charitable auction.
  • The world's largest commercially available jigsaw puzzle is Memorable Disney Moments created by German puzzle makers Ravensburger in 2016. It shows ten scenes from Disney, has 40,320 pieces, and measures 22 foot 3.72 inches by 6 foot 3.59 inches when assembled. (Guinness World Record)

Now, you probably know too much about puzzles and your puzzled why this interests me. I'm puzzled too, but I know I like to work puzzles whether they're jigsaw puzzles or soduka puzzles or word search puzzles, but not crossword puzzles, I've never liked those! They make my brain hurt!

I hope you enjoy National Puzzle Day and work some type of puzzle as a celebration!

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P.S.  One other little tidbit of information. If you like word search puzzles, I'd like to recommend books by David Ouellet. The book opened in the very first picture above is one of his. They are fun! Almost every letter in the puzzle is used. The remaining letters spell something related to the puzzle. I've seen his books at Amazon, but I've gotten mine at the Dollar Store. He also has a web site where you can work puzzles online or download and print them. But beware, the ones online are not the squares that can be colored in. Still good though, I just like to color!


  1. fun to learn about puzzles (from you).
    I do enjoy doing them with family or friends.
    Happy puzzle day to you.

  2. My daughter loves doing jigsaw puzzles and usually has one going all the time in the winter. We use to do one each summer when we rented a cottage for a week of vacation.

  3. Sounds like you had a lot of fun with this blog. I had not really thought much about puzzles. Now I can say I have learned a lot. Maybe I will work one. I can do that and still watch and listen to the TV.

  4. hello again, I went to the website you suggested and played the game of the day. that was a bit of fun. Thank you.

  5. Lovely images of all the games you like, especially puzzles! I'm not into games so much as I love crafting so much more, but I do like puzzles especially those old wooden ones of my childhood! Now I'm going to follow the link you gave!
    Have a lovely Sunday, Cathy!

  6. We always have a jigsaw puzzle in progress in our weekend home, but it takes months for us to complete one. I figure we'll have our Christmas puzzle done bye June... I do like puzzles, though - suduko and word games, too. It was fun to learn a little more about them!

  7. You are passing time with lots of fun!! I like jigsaw puzzles and have never done any of the word puzzles. I am sometimes tempted but then I would rather knit or work on my scrapbooks!!


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