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Are You A Puzzle Person?

Some people love puzzles, others hate them. Which category you fit into usually depends on how you approach puzzles. The optimist views it as a pleasant pastime, and wonders how long it will take to solve. The pessimist regards it as a personal challenge, and wonders if he or she will be able to solve it. Although puzzles aren't for everyone, we all feel the same sense of pride and accomplishment when successfully solving a puzzle.

Over the years, we have found that a person's background (age, sex, occupation, level and area of education), may help or hinder them in their puzzle solving ability. In particular, we have noted that when solving a puzzle, most adults draw from their experience. This may be experience obtained from solving other puzzles, or from the skills and problem-solving techniques learned in school. Both types of experience can be helpful, but in some instances they may divert your attention away from the area where you would be better off focusing. In such a case, experience actually hinders you more than it helps you.

We have also found that children and teenagers tend to be more natural puzzle solvers. We speculate that with limited experience, they approach each puzzle with no preconceived ideas, and therefore tend to be less distracted.

So how long should it take to solve a puzzle? Obviously, if it takes so long that the would-be puzzle-solver gives up, the puzzle was too difficult. On the other hand, if the person solves it too quickly, it seems apparent that the puzzle was too easy. In both cases, the puzzler will likely feel less than satisfied since the puzzle did not match his or her ability.

Through experience, we have opted to describe an adult as anyone fourteen years of age or older. In the absence of any extenuating circumstances/reasons, when buying for an adult, we suggest that it should take the solver approximately ten hours to solve. We point out that does not mean ten consecutive hours, but ten hours spread out over several days or weeks. In fact we have found that those who take the latter approach, tend to have greater success. It would seem that taking a break from the puzzle is as important as the time spent concentrating on the problem.


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