Ques­tion time

As the Mir­ror launches its £500 cash-prize quiz chal­lenge, here’s ev­ery­thing you ever wanted to know and more about puzzles

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - NEWS -

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

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