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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Puzzles as a pastime through the ages   Puzzles as a pastime through the ages EmptyWed 04 Dec 2019, 15:49

I wasn't sure whether to start a thread on this so I'll start with the back and forth of comments between myself and MM.

I've done a search on puzzles (as pastimes) on the site (well I searched on google "puzzles reshistorica" and came up only with a quiz on acronyms. I don't want to start a thread if one is already in existence.  Ones I can think of off the top of my head are crosswords, crosswords without clues, word searches, soduko, those disentangly (have I invented a word there?) things and various problem solving scenarios.  There are riddles of course.  I shouldn't forget jigsaw puzzles of course and there was the problem of the seven bridges of Koenigsberg (now Kalingrad in the Russian Oblast).  I'm putting some links to some sites I found while surfing the internet (I'm putting the links because I don't want to risk breaching copyright by taking someone else's work.
  
A couple of sites about the history of puzzles generally:- www.puzzlemuseum.com  [url=Chronological History of Puzzles: A Timeline - SiamMandalay]Chronological History of Puzzles: A Timeline - SiamMandalay[/url] and there is a page on the BBC site www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p057mmtl

A site about the history of crosswords (originally called a word cross)  [url=crosswordtracker.com/puzzle-history]crosswordtracker.com/puzzle-history[/url]

a webpage about the history of jigsaw puzzles www.puzzlewarehouse.com/history-of-puzzles

the history of word searches (if this site is correct they originated as late as 1968 [url=doryrichards.com/the-history-of-word-search-puzzles]doryrichards.com/the-history-of-word-search-puzzles[/url]

and soduko (it seems something akin to soduko was thought up by Leonhard Euler who also solved the Koenigsberg bridges problem)  www.sporcle.com/blog/2019/05/history-of-sudoku

Would this topic merit its own thread or has it been touched on before, maybe as part of another thread?  I want to avoid redundant posts if possible.  I'm sure jigsaws have been mentioned on another thread.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Puzzles as a pastime through the ages   Puzzles as a pastime through the ages EmptyWed 04 Dec 2019, 15:50

MM replied:-

Yes why not start as another thread LiR, I don't think we've ever discussed these before.

Crosswords only go back to the beginning of the twentieth century. Before that one of the most popular forms of word play in English-speaking countries from about 1860 to as late as the 1920s, were acrostics. In 1915 eight London newspapers ran a daily acrostic: today they are virtually unknown.

An acrostic, at least in it's original form, is a short poem in which the first letters of each line, read collectively, form a name, word, or sentence. In a double acrostic both the first and last letters of each line spell out the solution. The usual plan is first to suggest the foundation words, and then describe the separate words, whose initials and finals furnish the answer to the question. Thus (from my battered Victorian copy of  'Enquire Within Upon Everything' 1889 edition);

A Party to charm the young and erratic,
But likely to frighten the old and rheumatic.
The carriage in which the fair visitants came:
A very old tribe with a very old name:
A brave Prince of Wales free from scandal or shame.

The answer is Picnic:
Pheaton
Iceni
Caradoc

Or for a more riddling one, again from 'Enquire Within Upon Everything';

The father of the Grecian Jove
A little boy who's blind;
The foremost land in all the world;
The mother of mankind:
A poet whose love-sonnets are
Still very much admired - 
The initial letters will declare
A blessing to the tired.

Answers are: Saturn; Love; England; Eve; Plutarch ... together the intials spell sleep.

Acrostics were also formerly very much in vogue for valentines and love verses.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Puzzles as a pastime through the ages   Puzzles as a pastime through the ages EmptyThu 05 Dec 2019, 10:56

Talking about crosswords ... they are very popular in France, but, they are nearly always with straight or quick clues, ie they are simple definitions of the answers. Even the more advanced ones are readily solvable if you have a big enough dictionary. 

By contrast so-called cryptic crosswords -  ie ones where the solution is alluded to by the clue, but requires some lateral thinking, and might involve anagrams, puns, rebuses and other word play - are the staple of the principal daily crossword in all the main British newspapers. By cryptic clues I mean such devious things as :

Warning that the water is not to be walked on (6). NOTICE
Church reformed in best prayer (12). PRESBYTERIAN
Gegs (9,4) . SCRAMBLED EGGS.
Cat's tongue (7). PERSIAN
Crazy paving (10). PSYCHOPATH
1 over 0 (10). IONOSPHERE
A few, we hear, add up (3). SUM

I have never seen a French cryptic crossword. I wonder if this is because French so rarely has puns, double meanings, and because of the complications of verb forms. French puns (calembours) do exist but they are often rather starchily referred to as just homophones, and are probably seen, at least by the Académie française, as a potential risk to the purity of the French language, rather than something to be played with and enjoyed. I once tried a quip about a saucier (one who makes sauces), a sourcière (a sorcerer) and a sourcier (one who locates a source or spring, ie a water diviner), only to be told flatly that these are not puns/calembours as the words are all pronounced slightly differently: which rather misses the pleasure they could give. Word play such as that is a joyful part of English cryptic crosswords.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Puzzles as a pastime through the ages   Puzzles as a pastime through the ages EmptyThu 05 Dec 2019, 19:23

MM I can't remember it exactly but there was a "calembour' I was told in French years ago but it was awful but it was something like

"Pourquoi est la chambre à coucher comme un grand oiseau sud-américain?"

"Car c'est l'à qu'on dort"  though I think condor translates into French as 'le condor" - unless I'm remembering badly and reference was made to a female large bird.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Puzzles as a pastime through the ages   Puzzles as a pastime through the ages EmptyThu 05 Dec 2019, 20:26

Well although the French, - like Humpty Dumpty, or rather perhaps, 'Un petit d'un petit' - claim that in French a word only means what it is intended to mean, neither more nor less ... puns do nevertheless exist. How about;

"Je connaissais un petit mec, il est peut-être (hêtre=beech) plein de charme (charme=hornbeam) et fort comme une chaine (chêne=oak), mais quand il a fini son boulot (bouleau=birch) il était un peu plier (peuplier=poplar)."

"I know a little chap, he might be full of charm and strong like a chain, but when he has finished his job, he gets a little limp".

f'nurr, f'nurr, snigger ... as Viz's Finbar Saunders would chortle to himself.

But my best French pun is sadly the comedy creation of Miles Kington, the author of 'Let's parler Franglais' who suggested it for a French Navy recruitment poster, featuring a strapping muscular young matelot, beckoning the way to the fleet with a saucy wink and the cry: "A l'eau, c'est l'heure!" ("To the sea, now's the time!") ..... or as is sounds: "Allo sailor!"

Puzzles as a pastime through the ages Sous-marin

Sorry LiR, I'm rather lowering the tone of your thread.


Last edited by Meles meles on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 22:32; edited 3 times in total
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Puzzles as a pastime through the ages   Puzzles as a pastime through the ages EmptyThu 05 Dec 2019, 21:05

I've heard the "Un petit d'un petit" at around around the same time I heard the alleged pun about the condor, MM, though I can't remember it's provenance.  I hope it's alright to have a laugh sometimes.

Not exactly the same as a crossword but I was talking with a lady I know a few days ago and mentioned that xanxan gum (or is it xan-xan?) had been recommended as an agent to bind bread/cakes etc if I make gluten free bread from scratch.  She said it was a new word to her - she is a scrabble fan and met her boyfriend at a scrabble tournament.  But she said there is only one 'x' in the scrabble game.  I suppose scrabble is a game rather than a puzzle but it's not entirely different to crosswords.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Puzzles as a pastime through the ages   Puzzles as a pastime through the ages EmptyThu 05 Dec 2019, 22:42

@LadyinRetirement wrote:

Ones I can think of off the top of my head are crosswords, crosswords without clues, word searches, soduko, those disentangly (have I invented a word there?) things and various problem solving scenarios.  There are riddles of course.  I shouldn't forget jigsaw puzzles of course and there was the problem of the seven bridges of Koenigsberg (now Kalingrad in the Russian Oblast). 

LiR,

it is interesting (and I think we already mentioned it on the language board) that in another language the same words give another picture to someone embedded in that other language.

For instance for me, in Dutch, and that connotation can be changed during time, as I speak now from some 60 years ago, the word "puzzle" or "puzzel" let appear in my brain first and for all, the "jigsaw puzzle" that you mentioned. And for the crossword puzzle, we say rather "kruiswoordraadsel" (crossword enigma) and I suppose your "riddle" is our "raadsel" (enigma) that we use for that special type of puzzle.

Kind regards, Paul.
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Vizzer
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PostSubject: Re: Puzzles as a pastime through the ages   Puzzles as a pastime through the ages EmptyTue 24 Dec 2019, 23:52

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
the history of jigsaw puzzles

John Spilsbury's 1766 educational aid entitled Europe Divided Into Its Kingdoms:

Puzzles as a pastime through the ages Il_794xN.1291202972_9rkd

(believed to be the oldest jigsaw puzzle)


Jigsaw puzzle depicting a Twentieth Century imagining of a Victorian Christmas:

Puzzles as a pastime through the ages Vicrorian-christmas


An actual 19th Century jigsaw puzzle:

Puzzles as a pastime through the ages 1854_1

(dating from the 1850s)
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Puzzles as a pastime through the ages   Puzzles as a pastime through the ages EmptyWed 25 Dec 2019, 00:41

I spend my spare time (ie lots) doing puzzles when I should be reading. Our newspapers have a mix of crosswords both cryptic and straight. I really prefer the straight ones, but sometimes have a go at the cryptic ones. I was taught the tricks of them when I was at university (anagrams, words within the sentence, and the words which means those, eg 'mixed up', 'damaged', kakuro, and my new favourite which is called acrostic, but seemed to be a variant of what is discussed above. This has a list of straight crossword clues and when you have one of those done there is a places to put the letters to spell out a person or event or building etc. and the first letters of the clues spell out a person's name or an event of the sort described. 

I haven't opened the links but I think crosswords are quite a recent invention. Late 19th or early 20th. I suppose boardgames are a form of puzzle and they are having a resurgence now. My son plays them with friends and buys them like crazy. And my other son has invented one just for me and one for his mother-in-law. Mine is called Allotment and is based on the seasons of a garden allotment. I think hers is based on gardening too.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Puzzles as a pastime through the ages   Puzzles as a pastime through the ages EmptyWed 25 Dec 2019, 03:09

I was almost finished writing that when my husband called me to tell me he was getting the Scrabble board out. It is a very old travel scrabble and says Manufactured by JW Spears and sons, Enfield, Middlesex, England. Scrabble with my husband takes a while so we still haven't finished the game several hours later! PS Now we have finished and he won by a considerable margin, helped by realistic using all 7 letters.
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Dirk Marinus
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PostSubject: Re: Puzzles as a pastime through the ages   Puzzles as a pastime through the ages EmptyWed 25 Dec 2019, 07:42

I like the straight cross word puzzles but just cannot get the hang of the cryptic ones.

However I also like doing jigsaw puzzles using the computer.


I take my pick from:

https://thejigsawpuzzles.com/


and because I have a 21" monitor can go for the classic category 500 pieces one.

As a matter of fact listening to the radio " Classic FM" in the evening and doing a jigsaw puzzle  can be quite relaxing.




Dirk
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Puzzles as a pastime through the ages   Puzzles as a pastime through the ages EmptyWed 25 Dec 2019, 21:37

Quote :
However I also like doing jigsaw puzzles using the computer.
I take my pick from:
https://thejigsawpuzzles.com/
and because I have a 21" monitor can go for the classic category 500 pieces one.
As a matter of fact listening to the radio " Classic FM" in the evening and doing a jigsaw puzzle  can be quite relaxing

Dirk, wahw, what a site. Just checqued it.
When I was young (Fifties) I was also a fan of jigsaw puzzles. As we were in our childhood, my sister and I, with our grandmother and an unmarried uncle, from time to time we bought a puzzle and then with him or with my father when he was there, we did, if I recall it well, even 1000 pieces puzzles.

If I will have ever some spare time to spend, I have now a solution...but I doubt if this computer thingie will ever replace the feeling of the "cardboard puzzle pieces" and the special effect of clicking them on their place, especially when the puzzle is new. But perhaps the advantage is that one can not lose a piece, as we sometimes did.
Put perhaps if only the virtual version is available (and as one has not to pay for it! Wink )..."nood breekt wet" (they translate by: necessity knows no law)

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Puzzles as a pastime through the ages   Puzzles as a pastime through the ages EmptyWed 25 Dec 2019, 21:55

@Vizzer wrote:

John Spilsbury's 1766 educational aid entitled Europe Divided Into Its Kingdoms

Vizzer, thank you very much for your history of the jigsaw puzzle. As I said to Dirk I was a big fan of jigsaw puzzles in my childhood. Together with my uncle we had developped a method to lay the puzzle more quickly. I still remember that we did the "tower of London"

Puzzles as a pastime through the ages 8710126111192

First we sought for the pieces with blue air in it and made a class of it, then a class with windows in it, then a class with green from the tree in it...

Kind regards, Paul.
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Dirk Marinus
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PostSubject: Re: Puzzles as a pastime through the ages   Puzzles as a pastime through the ages EmptyThu 26 Dec 2019, 19:22

Paul,

 Your:
"If I will have ever some spare time to spend, I have now a solution...but I doubt if this computer thingie will ever replace the feeling of the "cardboard puzzle pieces" and the special effect of clicking them on their place, especially when the puzzle is new. But perhaps the advantage is that one can not lose a piece, as we sometimes did.
Put perhaps if only the virtual version is available (and as one has not to pay for it! Puzzles as a pastime through the ages Icon_wink )..."nood breekt wet" (they translate by: necessity knows no law)"


Actually you will hear the click ( via your computer speakers) when the piece you inserted is the right piece.
You can also sometimes loose a piece especially when you move  it just a bit to far to  the monitor's edges. However you will notice it eventually.

Try one of the puzzles out and let us know what you think.

Dirk
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PostSubject: Re: Puzzles as a pastime through the ages   Puzzles as a pastime through the ages EmptyThu 26 Dec 2019, 19:57

Dirk, thanks for the immediate reply. 

Yes, I had a look and it shows promising. And as you say it is not that different from the real stuff. And I guess you can also make the "classes" that I mentioned to Vizzer. And also the click you hear is perhaps not that different from the sound you hear when you press the real cardboard piece between the other ones.

But time Dirk...time...I have a partner, who needs a lot of care and running still a hire business of appartements...and each day we "need Wink " to go out to the "café" "om ons zinnen te verzetten" (they translate as: to clear our heads)...
today football around Bruges and we didn't knew it (as I am not that interested. Lucky..if that came also in amount of the day load... Wink ) and with the car in the traffic jam caused by all those fans...and when arriving at one of our "cafés" it wasn't accessible, because of the fans and while the beer tap was set outside as they always do at such events...damned football...then to another of "our" cafés...again in the traffic jam...and there the café was closed because of Christmas holidays...then a third café, which succeeded...
Next time I will check it all on computer before going ahead...

But I will give it perhaps a go on the I pad, when on holidays in Tenerife in March...

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Puzzles as a pastime through the ages   Puzzles as a pastime through the ages EmptyFri 27 Dec 2019, 09:43

Although I am perhaps not as great a lover of jigsaw puzzles as some of my fellow Res Historians I think I learn best by the "I do and I understand" method (which saying although attributed to Confucius apparently never came from that learned gentleman's mouth). * (Also from reading through the link it may be a mistranslation).  A jigsaw puzzle of a map for instance would be a way of possibly learning through activity.  I can remember freehand copying maps when I was a kid though I'm sure they were way off scale.  There was always good old-fashioned tracing of course.

I once read that fitting the pieces of a sewing pattern together is something like a jigsaw puzzle.  I still haven't traced off/cut out the pieces for the corset I want to make for back support when weeding etc.  I've been told that some corset patterns because they have "ease" incorporated into their drafting are somewhat loose.  That wouldn't matter so much for me because I'm looking for something to wear over my everyday clothes if I garden or iron or scrub the floor etc (anything where I have to "put my back into it").  As ever for the really dedicated there is a "how to" online explaining a method for drafting a corset to one's own body proportions.  I probably won't go that route myself.

https://foundationsrevealed.com/free-articles/74-draft-your-own-corset

https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/226886/origin-of-i-hear-and-i-forget-i-see-and-i-remember-i-do-and-i-understand

Apparently I wasn't too far off the mark (although I was unsophisticated) when I spoke about "disentangly things" upthread.  Wikipedia (not always 100% reliable I know) called them "disentanglement puzzles".  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disentanglement_puzzle
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