Home Today Is Americans Buy About 1.8-Billion Jigsaw Puzzles Each Year

Americans Buy About 1.8-Billion Jigsaw Puzzles Each Year

Each year on January 29th, National Puzzle Day recognizes how exercising our brains with puzzles is just one of its many benefits.

  • In the USA more people enjoy jigsaw puzzles each year than any other table game.
  • Jigsaw puzzles are popular among Americans. Approximately half of America’s population bought at least three to six puzzles a year. That’s about 1.8 billion jigsaw puzzles sold each year.
  • Puzzles stimulate the brain, keeping it active, and practicing its skills.
  • The inventor of the Rubik’s Cube didn’t realize he’d built a puzzle until he scrambled it the first time and tried to restore it. – Source
  • Will Shortz, the New York Times crossword puzzle editor, is the only person in the world to have a degree in enigmatology, the study of puzzles. – Source
  • There is a cryptic organization called Cicada 3301 that posts challenging puzzles online, possibly to recruit codebreakers and linguists. – Source
  • Jigsaw puzzles soared in popularity during the great depression, as they provided a cheap, long-lasting, recyclable form of entertainment. – Source
  •  The fastest way to do a jigsaw is to sort all the different colors into groups before you begin. The real ‘Experts’ stand up all the time because sitting cramps their style!
  • In 1944, by a huge coincidence, a crossword puzzle was printed with answers all containing D-Day operation code names, which sent MI-5 into a panic thinking their invasion plans had been discovered. – Source
  •  In 1980, Ronald Graham offered a prize of $100 for anyone who could solve his “Boolean Pythagorean Triples Problem.”  In 2016, three computer scientists solved the puzzle, using a supercomputer over the course of 2 days, and came out with proof that takes up 200TB of storage space. – Source
  • The word ladder puzzle was invented by Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. – Source
  • Most crossword puzzles are vertically symmetrical, meaning they look the same if you flip them upside down. – Source
  • The mathematical puzzle solved by Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting is a straightforward graph theory problem. – Source
  • In 2007, a puzzle was released and $2 million prizes were offered for the first complete solution. The competition ended at noon on 31 December 2010, with no solution being found. – Source
  • The phrase “thinking outside the box” was popularised from the solution to a topographical puzzle involving 9 dots in a box shape. – Source
  • The original King’s Quest, in one of the most infamously difficult puzzles in video game history, required the player to guess Rumpelstiltskin’s name backward but using an inverted alphabet (A=Z, B=Y, etc). The correct answer is ”Ifnkovhgroghprm”. – Source
  • Blank spaces in the crossword puzzles are called “Light” as they help in giving clues for other answers as well. – Source
  • Greek mathematician Archimedes puzzled around 250 B.C. to solve geometry problems. He cut a square into 14 pieces, and then examined how many different configurations could be made from those 14 pieces. This puzzle was recently solved by Bill Cutler, a mathematician from Cornell University, who showed the puzzle has 536 truly distinct solutions.
  • Engraver and mapmaker John Spilsbury is credited with inventing the first jigsaw puzzle in 1767. He drew a map on top of a piece of wood, then used a jigsaw to cut it into small pieces. The name clearly stuck! Kids today still learn geography by using jigsaw puzzles of maps. In fact, the “Geographical Puzzle” was the first wooden puzzle produced in 1891 by Ravensburger, the world’s leading puzzle maker.
  • It was right around the same time the jigsaw puzzle came into being that Sudoku was also being developed. Although the name is distinctly Japanese, the puzzle itself actually has its roots in Switzerland where a numbers game was invented, originally called Latin Squares. Sudoku as currently known, however, didn’t really come about until 1979 when one was printed in a word games magazine in Indiana. At the time it was called Number Place but, five years later, when it was published in Japan, they called it Sudoku.
  • There are roughly 27 Million websites on Google with the phrase Jigsaw Puzzle in it. Surprisingly, only about 8.5 Million sites have the phrase Crossword Puzzle.
  • In 1989 Stave released a jigsaw puzzle with no solution – much to the rage of the many puzzlers who unknowingly strove to complete it!
  • In 1909, Parker Brothers devoted their entire factory to manufacturing puzzles.
  • A 1,000 piece Ravensburger puzzle has 1,008 pieces.  To keep the puzzle rectangular, this piece count needed eight additional pieces to keep its shape. The vertical side of a 1,000 piece puzzle has 28 pieces, whereas the horizontal side of the puzzle has 36
  • Crossword puzzles came into use in the year 1913. In fact, the story goes that it came about only because Arthur Wynne, an editor of New York World, needed a way to take up some space in the ‘fun’ section of his newspaper right around Christmastime. This “Word Cross Puzzle” became almost an overnight sensation and has been in high demand from that time on.


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