As the Mirror launches its £500 cash-prize quiz challenge, here’s everything you ever wanted to know and more about puzzles
Palindromes – a phrase that reads the same backwards as forwards – were first used by the Greeks in the first century AD. Although Scrabble was invented in 1938, the first wordsearch puzzle did not appear until 1968, created by Norman Gibat and published in Oklahoma’s Selenby Digest.
A puzzle book called Masquerade sparked a UK craze in 1979, as it contained clues in paintings and verse that would lead to a hidden, 18-carat golden hare. More than a million copies were sold and lawns were dug up around the country. But the hunt ended in scandal after the man who eventually found it was revealed to have had contact with the author.
In Canada and Australia, anyone playing the lottery must do a maths puzzle first – to class it as a “game of skill”, not gambling.
A nine-by-nine Sudoku grid has 6,670,903,752,021,072,936,960 possible combinations but only 5,472,730,538 of them really count for different solutions.
The word “quiz” is thought to have been coined by Irish theatre owner Richard Daly, who in 1791 bet that within 48 hours he could make a nonsense word spoken throughout Dublin. He then got his employees to write the “QUIZ” on doors, windows and walls, and it became the talk of the town.The first published crossword puzzle appeared in the Sunday New York World on December 21, 1913, and was devised by Liverpudlian Arthur Wynne. The puzzle was an immediate success and became a weekly feature, although it remained the only paper to run them until 1924. In 2011, people playing Foldit, an online puzzle game about protein folding, resolved the structure of an enzyme causing an Aids-like disease in monkeys. Researchers had been working on the problem for 13 years but the gamers solved it in three weeks. Scrabble has become a fave