Puzzles Are More Than One Thinks
by Michelle Patelle

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Brain teasers, jigsaws, crosswords, anagrams, sudokus, riddles and math puzzles are all forms of entertainment that most people enjoy at one time or another. The history of puzzles goes back hundreds of years, and there is evidence of puzzles and riddles in just about any civilization archeologists have studied. There are riddles and puzzles in The Bible, ancient Greek myths and fables of virtually every society. Not all puzzles are as plain to recognize as a Rubik's cube or a maze, though. People will incorporate some aspect of puzzle solving into their lives every day, even if it is merely calculating the quickest route to work based on the current traffic perplexities.


Are you the kind of person that cannot walk past a picture that is hanging slightly crooked on the wall? You find you must even it up or it will nag at you every time you see it. Even if it is sorting your email into folders or stacking your compact discs, there is a degree of contentment that comes with taking something a bit disorderly and making it organized. While some areas of your life cannot help but be out of your control, there are some parts that when kept under your thumb will provide you with a measure of security and ease of mind.

Most people take advantage of their aptitude for creating orderliness in their employment. Many occupations take something from a situation that is raw or not fully utilized to something that is useful, profitable and desired by their customers or those they serve. Nearly every kind of job you could name takes something that is chaotic or less desired and makes it into something that is orderly or welcomed. A dentist fills a tooth, a contractor builds a house, and a salesman places his products in the hands of those who need and want them.

With people's innate desire to fix and improve things, perhaps it is not such a great wonder that after working all day, people will engage in some physical or mental game. Even reading a good Agatha Christie mystery and trying to figure out which character did the murder is a form of puzzle solving. Many video games incorporate puzzles of a traditional nature, and all involve some type of original puzzle solving, too. Even when we think we are relaxing we are still working in our minds to bring order to chaos.

Another thing your mind is doing when you are puzzle-solving is seeking and creating patterns. Whether you are solving a jigsaw puzzle or making up your grocery shopping list, you are seeking out an insubstantial or hidden pattern and using that knowledge to resolve the situation. Usually we think of puzzles as things like crosswords, jigsaws, connect-the-dots, anagrams, word searches, etc. All these are notable examples of recreational puzzles that have a lasting attraction. 

Michelle Patelle, writer, mother and homemaker, invites you to visit onlinecrosswordpuzzle.org and onlinepuzzle.org for some handy indexes for finding puzzles on the net.
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