Puzzle Solving

A puzzle is a problem or enigma that tests the ingenuity of the solver. In a basic puzzle one is intended to piece together objects (puzzle pieces) in a logical way in order to come up with the desired shape, picture or solution. Puzzles are often contrived as a form of entertainment, but they can also stem from serious mathematical or logistical problems — in such cases, their successful resolution can be a significant contribution to mathematical research.

Normal Science is a concept originated by Thomas Samuel Kuhn and elaborated in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The term refers to the routine work of scientists experimenting within a paradigm, slowly accumulating detail in accord with established broad theory, not actually challenging or attempting to test the underlying assumptions of that theory. Kuhn identified this mode of science as being a form of "puzzle-solving."

According to Kuhn, Normal science possesses a built-in mechanism that ensures the relaxation of the restrictions that bound research whenever the paradigm from which they derive ceases to function effectively. Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz developed the concept of post-normal science.

Solutions to puzzles may require recognizing patterns and creating a particular order. People with a high inductive reasoning aptitude may be better at solving these puzzles than others. Puzzles based on the process of inquiry and discovery to complete may be solved faster by those with good deduction skills.

The large number of puzzles that have been created can be divided into categories, for example a maze is a type of tour puzzle. Other categories include construction puzzles, stick puzzles, tiling puzzles, transport puzzles, disentanglement puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, lock puzzles, folding puzzles, combination puzzles and mechanical puzzles.


A meta-puzzle is a puzzle which unites or incorporates elements of other puzzles. It is often found in puzzlehunts.

* Logic puzzles using a chess board, such as Knight's Tour and Eight queens.
* Mathematical problems such as the missing square puzzle. Many of these are "impossible puzzles", such as the Seven Bridges of Königsberg, Water, gas, and electricity and Three cups problem. See List of impossible puzzles.
* Picture puzzles, such as sliding puzzles like the fifteen puzzle; jigsaws and variants such as Puzz-3D.
* Word puzzles, including anagrams, crosswords and ciphers.
* Connect the dots
* Nonograms (Gridders, Paint by numbers, Hanjie, etc.)
* Peg solitaire
* Rubik's Cube
* Sangaku
* Sokoban
* Soma cube
* Spot the difference
* Tangram
* Tower of Hanoi
* Logic puzzles published by Nikoli: Sudoku, Slitherlink, Kakuro, Fillomino, Hashiwokakero, Heyawake, Hitori, Light Up, Masyu, Number Link, Nurikabe, Ripple Effect, Shikaku and Kuromasu; see List of Nikoli puzzle types

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