There are all kinds of puzzles. That’s one of the best things about being a puzzle fan: the fact that there are so many varieties of puzzle out there waiting to challenge you. From word searches and crosswords to Sudoku and cryptograms, from brain teasers and sliding-tile puzzles to pattern puzzles and rebuses, the possibilities are endless.
One of the most engaging (and surprisingly challenging, I’ve found) fall under what I’d call picture puzzles.
Picture puzzles demand keen visualization skills, since they often involve manipulating shapes in your head. You might be asked to deduce what letter is on the hidden side of a six-sided die, or how to divide farmland with only three lines and separate every sheep from each other. It’s visual trickery and topnotch puzzle-solving wrapped up in one.
And one of my favorite Picture puzzle wizards is Sam Loyd.
I was introduced to Mr. Loyd’s puzzles in Mathematical Puzzles of Sam Loyd — a collection assembled by puzzle aficionado Martin Gardner — a book I stumbled upon in the library one day while strolling the shelves.
The collection offers math puzzles and brain teasers, deduction problems and tracing games, but the ones that most intrigued me were his Picture puzzles.
Now, adding pictures to puzzles is hardly a new idea. David L. Hoyt’s Jumble puzzle features one, and plenty of Matching / Spot the Difference puzzles — like the Match-Up and The Shadow puzzles offered by our pals at Penny/Dell Puzzles — rely heavily on art. But there’s a marvelous charm to Loyd’s drawings, creating a scene and telling a small story as he offers one brain teaser after another.
I’ll post a few of my favorites, so you can get a sense of not only his artistic stylings, but the extreme cleverness involved in creating these puzzles.
Each of these puzzles requires a keen ability to visualize shapes in your head, as well as some serious craftiness to conquer the challenge Loyd sets before you. Have you figured them out?
I’ll post the solution to the first one and leave the others for you to puzzle out.
[I didn’t line it up perfectly, but you get the idea.]
Loyd is part of a marvelous tradition of inventiveness and creativity that has helped contribute to the rich and vibrant puzzle world we enjoy today.
[To check out more of Sam Loyd’s puzzles, you can visit this website dedicated to his puzzly legacy (including several puzzles for sale!), a treasure trove of Picture puzzle fun.]
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