Fauquier County Public Library

Puzzles for the Mind . . .

Posted by vicky on

Who doesn’t like a good puzzle? I certainly do! Did you know that January is International Brain Teaser Month?

And what exactly are brainteasers, you might ask? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines them as “Something (as a puzzle) that demands mental effort and acuity for its solution.” The Macmillan dictionary definition is “A difficult question or problem that you try to solve for fun.” So, almost any kind of puzzle can be a brainteaser; some common ones are riddles, math puzzles, logic puzzles, cryptograms, rebus puzzles, sudoku puzzles, crossword puzzles, etc. Here are a few:

Q: What appears once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years?
A: The letter “M”.

Q: What is full of holes but can still hold water?
A: A sponge

The library’s collection includes a number of books of brain games and puzzles. I found Zack Guido’s “Of Course!” The Greatest Collection of Riddles & Brainteasers for Expanding Your Mind to be full of challenging puzzles. The Big Book of Brain Games: 1000 PlayThinks of Art, Mathematics & Science, and The Puzzle Universe: A History of Mathematics in 315 Puzzles, both by Ivan Moscovich, have a little of everything. Moscovich calls these puzzles playthinks, which can be riddles, illusions, visual challenges or other mathematical puzzles.

If you like math games in particular, also check out The Book of Sudoku, or The Official Book of Kakuro, a game similar to Sudoku, except that the grids can be various sizes.

Crossword puzzle lovers will appreciate The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Crossword Puzzles & Word Games. Crossworld: One Man’s Journey into America’s Crossword Obsession chronicles author Marc Romano’s participation in the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament and includes the history of crosswords and the people who make and solve them.

Do you like many types of games–trivia, crosswords, cryptograms, etc.? If so, Fauquier County Library card holders have access to Zinio, which has digital versions of your favorite magazines that can be read on or downloaded onto computers and mobile devices. One of the magazines you can download is “Games World of Puzzles,” published nine times a year, which contains all of these types of puzzles, and more.

And, if you love mysteries like I do, there are two mystery series for puzzle lovers. Parnell Hall is the author of the Puzzle Lady mystery series, featuring Cora Felton, a crossword puzzle creator. The first book in the series is A Clue for the Puzzle Lady. Ada Madison writes the Professor Sophie Knowles mystery series. Sophie, a college math professor, also creates math puzzles and brain teasers for publication. Start with The Square Root of Murder.

Happy puzzle solving!

∼ Vicky, Reference Librarian, Warrenton central library

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