Five Fantastic Ways to Celebrate National Puzzle Day

Five Fantastic Ways to Celebrate National Puzzle Day

Of course, there are more than five puzzles, but let’s start with ones that can be counted on the fingers of one hand:

  • Crossword puzzles
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Word Search
  • Sudoku
  • Rubik’s Cube

When I ride shotgun traveling to a horse show, I enjoy ticking off the miles by doing crossword puzzles. My mother loved crosswords and was a fan of the daily ones crafted by the New York Times. I always admired her vocabulary, but my on-the-road entertainment is far less challenging and are found in the Dollar General checkout racks. Years ago, when TV Guide was a small magazine found in most household living rooms, I enjoyed testing my TV celebrity smarts in its weekly crossword.
Pre-pandemic, I only recall jigsaw puzzles set up on tables in common areas of 65+ living communities. My maternal grandmother often had one “going,” as she referred to it, on a card table in her apartment. I don’t know whether I’m not a patient person or that I just cannot see how things come together, but once the border is snapped in place, the best way I could contribute was to pile pieces by color according to what the end result should look like per the box cover image. This bit of help often elicited a sigh from Gram, which signaled she would prefer I sit hands-in-lap chatting but not “helping.” According to the online retailer, Puzzle Warehouse, the pandemic with our need to stay home has been an unexpected boon for the industry. In the 2020 interview with NPR, its co-owner said, “There’s not a factory on the planet that is not months behind on production.”

Word searches are just fun. I can fly through a booklet of these. Like crossword puzzles, I do these with a pencil and eraser. What if I make a mistake?! Apparently, there’s some “science” as to whether you circle the word with rounded edges (me) or identify it making a rectangle. Who knew?! I wonder what science says about people who use highlighters?

Sudoku puzzles are a misnomer. Let’s just say it, these are math or arithmetic. And, I just cannot do these. I have tried. I think I did one puzzle successfully on a long airplane trip, and it was mentally exhausting. According to the National Day Calendar folks, and their National Puzzle Day summation, “Sudoku, a puzzle sequencing a set of numbers on a grid, exercises the brain as well. By testing memory and logical thinking, this puzzle stimulates the brain and can improve number skills.” #whatever
Lastly, the Rubik’s Cube, which has been around since 1974, is another puzzle that has bested me. I can get a few sides, but never the entire cube. Like Sudoku, this is based on another branch of mathematics, geometry.

Click the hashtag to read more about January 29 as #NationalPuzzleDay.

Let me know which puzzles you like to do to while away the hours. Thanks.