Rules to Puzzle Solving

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 “A world without problems is an illusion, so is a world without solutions” - G. Sarcone Sarcone & Waeber’s rules to puzzle solving • Nothing is as difficult as it looks. • Nothing is as easy as it looks. • Read the instructions carefully in order to avoid giving the right answer to the wrong puzzle. • Human languages were not 'designed' for logical clarity. Remember that each topic within math (or within any field) has its own tricky phrases. • Recognize clearly what you have to search for, what data is useful and what are the relationships between the searched result and the data. • Misdirection is very common in puzzles. Expert puzzle authors always try to lead people's minds along false trails. • Elements that appear to have no relevance may be fundamental and vice versa. • Omissions (what is not written or said) are sometimes as important as the instructions given. • Beware of subconscious restrictions and mental blocks, try to depart from the norms and stereotypes and look beyond the boundaries of a problem. • Break a complex puzzle into smaller, manageable parts. • Ensure that the puzzle has been considered from all points of view. • In logic, correlation does not always imply causation, that is:    - Correlated elements or events are not necessarily related. Some could be just coincidence.    - Likewise, correlated events may have a common cause. In fact, some correlations may not be relations between cause and effect but represent two effects of some other cause.    - Either of two correlated events may cause the other. • Sometimes, to understand a problem, you'll need to use collective intelligence. Do not hesitate to ask someone else to help you. • Use your intuition and deliberately try to find other ways to solve a puzzle. • Sometimes, the solution is what causes the problem. Avoid finding solutions to nonexistent problems, and never fix what is not broken. • Enjoy making mistakes. Regard them as important and fruitful stages on the road to success. • Be persistent, the joy of achievement is greater when it is preceded by a tough creative effort! • Puzzles always have one, several or no solutions. • Fortunately, there are sometimes acceptable alternative solutions to problems/puzzles with no solutions. In this case, non-standard or indirect but creative approaches can be very useful (see multiple thinking patterns). Have fun and good luck! Source: Puzzillusions, © Sarcone & Waeber, Archimedes-lab.org, and Carlton Publishing. Back | Home