Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Puzzle Me This

I love love puzzles.

I have puzzles all over: crossword puzzle books across the house (Kaplan brand; Dell and Penny Press are too easy). Sudoku and the most aggravating, Kakuro.

Then there's jigsaw puzzles.

I grew up doing jigsaw puzzles with my family. We'd cover the dining room table with thousands of pieces. A minimum of 1000 piece puzzles - no easy 500 piece would enter our home. Once finished, the last piece would be given to someone special (wasn't always me, can you believe that?) and it would be somewhat a ceremonial act to place that one last piece.

And then for some reason, my mom and dad would get the darn thing framed and hang it up somewhere.

I can cut that part off. Once I'm done with a jigsaw puzzle, I'm done. I can very well crumble it all back into the box and pass it on to someone else...because I don't do puzzles more than once.

For the past several years, the only jigsaw puzzles I care for are the mystery puzzles, only produced by BePuzzled. There are other brands but I don't want those. Only BePuzzled. Ebay is my friend as I can find numerous BePuzzled for less than $10, including shipping. One takes a chance as one year, I had two puzzles that had missing pieces...oh well.

Tim is not into any of these and just can't quite understand how I can sit and stare at pieces for long minutes at a time. I literally can spend a good couple of hours just concentrating on putting pieces together. I love it. In fact, it's time for me to pull out another puzzle and get started on it.

Currently, I'm addicted to a couple of games on Facebook "Who Has The Biggest Brain" and "Word Challenge".

"Who Has The Biggest Brain" tests one on four different parts. I can't remember what they are, but the ones that involve counting and math are the most difficult for me. You'd think, with a strong math background it would be but ah, the trick is that I am no good at counting. 'Back in the day', calculus, theorems, and differential equations were my challenge. But basic addition and subtraction? Actually, the subtraction is what kills me in the math games. I almost always take too much time trying to subtract big numbers with my fingers and toes and 8 out of 10 times, I end up with the wrong answer anyway. And these games are against the clock.

The Word challenge is similar to scrabble, where seven letters are provided and one is supposed to come up with so many three-plus letter words out of them, again, against the close. This one KILLS me. I work hard, can't figure out any, and come up with a score around 2500 (average). A friend of mine, the only other one who has THE GUTS to take the word challenge ends up with over 10,000 points. HOW THE HELL DID SHE DO THAT? Over the past week, I have not come close. My high score is now 37xx and rarely, do I even get close to that. To be fair, some of the words don't appear to be 'real' words...they are, but they are so obtuse that only my other challenger knows them. So at some point, when I run out of words, I just start plugging letters together and see if they end up making a word...

There is another great word-type puzzle on the net, that is charitable. I love this because it's a quiz - what does the word mean? For each correct answer, 20 grains of rice is donated to the United Nations World Food Program. How's that for even more fun? The more you get right, the harder it gets and well, I like that. I don't want to do puzzles that are too easy...I want a challenge, to learn and TO EARN my geniusness. BWAHAHAHAHA!

Give it a try:
Free Rice: http://www.freerice.com/index.php.

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