It’s Follow-Up Friday: Sneaker Solving edition!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and bring the PuzzleNation audience up to speed on all things puzzly.

And today I’d like to return to the subject of 3-D puzzles.

[Image courtesy of Amazon.com.]

We’ve mentioned 3-D puzzles several times on the blog in the past — in discussions of 3-D printed puzzles, puzzles made of wood, and the Pict project at National Museums Scotland — and a new 3-D puzzle has been generating some buzz recently.

Friend of the blog, creator of Baffledazzle, and shoe aficionado Rachel Happen passed along this story about a promotional puzzle designed to mimic the qualities of the Air Flight Jordan 45 hightop basketball sneaker. Check it out:

Only 30 of these puzzles are being made, and they’re selling for 195 pounds in the UK, which is a staggering $245.85 in the US! Seems like quite a price to pay for a 19-piece puzzle. (Especially one, as this video shows, that can be solved fairly quickly.)

The creation of graphic artist Yoni Alter, this puzzle appears to be a new venture, diverting from his previous works in silkscreen and prints, including this similarly-styled lamborghini:

Too pricey for most puzzlers and not wearable enough for most sneaker enthusiasts, I’m not sure who this puzzle was designed for, but I’m curious to see how it sells.

As for me, I think I’ll save my 195 pounds for another day and another puzzle.


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It’s Follow-Up Friday: Crossword Art edition!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

By this time, you know the drill. Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and bring the PuzzleNation audience up to speed on all things puzzly.

And today, I’d like to return to the subject of crossword-inspired art!

A few weeks ago, I dedicated an entire post to crossword art, exploring paintings, mixed-media collages, and sketches that all had their roots in crossword grids and the wordplay contained therein.

What I neglected to mention is that there have also been crossword-fueled works of performance art.

In 2006, the Steven Wolf Fine Arts gallery in San Francisco — now sadly closed — hosted twin performance artists Kevin and Kent Young in an exhibition they called “Another Monozygotic Experiment in Telepathic Conveyance.”

[Images (this and the one below) courtesy of Art Business.com.]

And what, pray tell, is a monozygotic experiment in telepathic conveyance?

Simple, really. One of the twins randomly selects a crossword puzzle and attempts to psychically project each clue to the other twin, who then fills in the answers to those clues on an oversized grid.

This goes on for 40 minutes, at which point they end the attempt and compare notes to see how well their telepathy worked.

But they’re not done. Oh no.

They then proceed to dance, performing some sort of choreographed display reminiscent of country line dancing.

I don’t know what I was expecting when I first stumbled across “crossword performance art,” but I assure you, dancing never even crossed my mind.

Then again, how else would you celebrate tag-team solving a crossword psychically?

Clearly the Young Brothers have their own unique way of puzzling, but it was kind of them to share it with the world at large, contributing to the overall world of crossword art in an unexpected way.


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1 word, 3 letters, a world of possibilities

As I was writing Tuesday’s post and returning to the world of crossword-inspired art, it made me wonder what other puzzly works are out there, waiting to be discovered, appreciated, and perhaps mistakenly filled in.

So I did a little digging, a little Googling, and a little research, and I thought I’d introduce you, my fellow puzzlers and PuzzleNationers, to some of the crossword-infused works of art I discovered.

So, without further ado or hullabaloo, let’s get to it!


This work from 2005, entitled “I Can’t Read,” is a collage of crossword and newsprint, and although I discovered it on Crossword City, it was originally posted on the DeviantArt account of content creator PrairiePunk.

This Untitled piece by artist Juliet A is just one of several crossword-inspired pieces I found on the website Milliande.com. They featured themed weeks for posts, and “crossword puzzles” apparently provided plenty of inspiration for several impressive, engaging creations.

This wonderful bit of crossword-fueled street art, discovered in Ghent, Belgium, was posted on Pinterest.

Inspired by the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, as well as the Saskatoon art scene itself, this work by Megan Mormon was developed for partygoers to play with and solve (with post-its provided). The clues and entries are all geared toward local art.

My personal favorite was this piece by Tony Blue, entitled Crosswords 2, a work of mixed media on canvas.

Puzzles meet performance in this sketch by Emily Jo Cureton, based on key words from the May 16, 2008, New York Times crossword.

Crosswords have even found their way into the world of nail art, as typified by this design by Hannah Rox Nails, created for Girls’ Life. [Note: the link leads to a YouTube page.]

I’ll close out today’s gallery with this intriguing piece of interactive crossword puzzle art, created by Gary Hill. The ever-shifting view of the grid only allows you to examine small portions at once, leaving you curiously adrift as you solve along with the artist.


This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to crossword-inspired art. A quick Google search or targeted Pinterest hunt will reveal many more.

For a few more pieces of crossword art, complete with commentary from the artists themselves, check out this article from CrosswordUnclued.com.


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Making a Profit Through Puzzly Vandalism!

[Image courtesy of Thoibao.today.]

Hey there, fellow puzzlers and PuzzleNationers. Do you remember that post I did a month or two ago about the woman who defaced a piece of crossword-inspired art?

If you don’t recall, a 91-year-old woman was visiting the Neues Museum in Nuremberg with a senior citizens group when she found the piece, “Reading-work-piece” by artist Arthur Koepcke, and began filling in the empty grid, mistakenly thinking it was an interactive art work.

The museum was none too pleased with her efforts, and restored the piece to its original condition.

But as it turns out, that’s not the end of the story.

You see, the woman claims — in a seven-page rebuttal to the German police’s investigation of her vandalism — that she has not harmed the work, instead arguing that she has brought the work greater public attention thanks to her efforts, reinvigorating interest in the piece and increasing its value.

[Image courtesy of Bill Watterson.]

Amazingly, that is not all. According to Ars Technica UK:

Frau K.’s lawyer claimed that her additions meant that she now held the copyright of the combined artwork — and that, in theory, the private collector might sue the museum for destroying that new collaboration by restoring it to its original state.

Yes, they assert that the private collector who loaned the Koepcke work to the Neues Museum might not only approve of her defacement of the piece, but be angry with the museum for their efforts to ensure that the piece was returned to him in the same condition.

Well, that’s certainly doubling down on your hand. It takes a certain confidence and bombast to make a claim like that, but the woman believes she’s in the right artistically.

The argument is based around the spirit of Koepcke’s work, which was part of the Fluxus movement. They go on to explain that “Fluxus artists did not agree with the authority of museums to determine the value of art, nor did they believe that one must be educated to view and understand a piece of art.”

It will certainly be interesting to see where the case goes from here. Naturally, I can’t help but wonder. Heck, if Da Vinci had been a Fluxus devotee. I could’ve drawn a mustache on the Mona Lisa and made millions.


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Puzzle Vandalism!

[Image courtesy of Milliande.com.]

It’s hard to know sometimes what qualifies as art.

Artists and entrepreneurs are constantly pushing the boundaries of visual and intellectual expression. Everything from paint and stone to light and shadow are used to realize artistic visions. Christo wraps buildings and calls it art.

That can make it tough for those who are less familiar with the fluid definition of art.

There was a famous incident back in May when a seventeen-year-old left his glasses on the floor of an art gallery and many patrons mistook them for an art installation.

This has only grown more complicated with the advent of interactive art pieces. Some works of art can only be viewed from a specific vantage point, while others actively engage patrons.

Recently a woman unintentionally vandalized a piece of art when she mistook it for part of an interactive exhibit.

And wouldn’t you know, that piece of art was based on a crossword puzzle.

[Image courtesy of Thoibao.today.]

The 91-year-old woman was visiting the Neues Museum in Nuremberg with a senior citizens group when she found the piece, “Reading-work-piece” by artist Arthur Koepcke, and began filling in the empty grid.

These days, you can understand her confusion and sympathize with her mistake. I mean, the exhibit did say “insert words,” after all. Those sound like instructions to me.

Plus the grid has remained incomplete since its creation in 1965. It’s about time somebody finished the puzzle.


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The Puzzly Art of Anamorphosis

Anamorphic illusions are all about perspective. Making the illusion work requires you to either be in a specific place (positioned a certain distance away and facing a certain direction) or the use of a mirrored cylinder or cone.

Using mirrored objects is called catoptric anamorphosis and using specific perspectives is known as oblique anamorphosis. It’s oblique anamorphosis we’ll be focusing on today.

Most of us have probably seen an example of anamorphosis recently, as it’s become a popular form of urban outdoor art. The ground is painted or colored to provide a fake perspective, and by standing in the proper spot, the illusion is formed.

This creates ample opportunity for some terrific photographs:

[Did you know we’ve got an entire Pinterest page dedicated to this?]

Having a hard time visualizing anamorphosis? Well, the folks at Brasspup have a fantastic YouTube page devoted to science and illusions, and they have several videos featuring some mind-blowing anamorphic illusions.

You can even use light to assist your illusion, as they do here:

What’s even more amazing is that these perspective tricks can move beyond two-dimensional works like paintings and photographs. If you know how to manipulate the viewer, three-dimensional illusions are within your grasp.

Check out this Escher-inspiring creation, built from pens and Jenga blocks! It looks positively impossible!

It really is baffling when you consider how many ways there are to trick the eye. From Necker cubes and shape illusions to forced perspective and anamorphosis, optical illusions are alive and well as a puzzly art form worth exploring.

Heck, look at what we can do with nothing more than black lines!

Imagine trying to walk a straight line in that room. Wow.


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