Top 10 facts about puzzles

NOT only is tomorrow the centenary of the world’s first crossword, published in the New York Times on December 21, 1913, but Nintendo have just launched the final game in their Professor Layton puzzle series

1. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the origin of the word ‘puzzle’ is a bit of a puzzle. But the verb ‘to puzzle’ seems older than the noun ‘puzzle’.

2. The oldest known puzzle is a dissection of a square mentioned by Archimedes around 250BC.

3. Archimedes asked how many solutions there were. The answer of 536 was only found in 2003.

4. Jigsaw puzzles were invented by the English mapmaker and geographer John Spilsbury in 1760.

5. A 40,000-piece jigsaw was completed by Dave Evans in April 2013, but it collapsed the next day.

6. A 1,141,800-piece puzzle was put together by 15,000 people in Ravensburg, Germany in 2008.

7. The world record for solving a Rubik’s Cube puzzle is 5.5 seconds.

8. There are 6,670,903,752,021,072,936,960 possible solutions to sudoku puzzles.

9. Arthur Wynne, inventor of the crossword, was born in Liverpool, emigrated to the US and played violin in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

10. Over 15 million Professor Layton puzzles have been sold. The Prof’s first name is Hershel.

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