Friday, August 30, 2002 Mary Pat Campbell's puzzle solution

A couple years ago, in a little competition with a friend of mine, I searched on my full name at (we were trying to see which of us had more mentions on the web). And I found that there was a letter to Games World of Puzzles, praising an extra-large Paint-by-Numbers puzzle (it was of a butterfly) and asking for more! more!

I noticed that this was on a little site called conceptistech, and I noted that it gave me "attitude" because I didn't use Internet explorer, so I sent a pissy email to the people running the site... and the rest is history.

Oh, not my involvement with conceptistech, but PBN. This is somewhat interesting (but not really ;p ). I had first seen them in Games Magazine, but they were small (at =most= 40 by 40), and there was only a few of them. I had read, in a small article in the magazine, that these logic puzzles were popular in Japan, and often they had =huge= puzzles.

In 1994, I got to spend the summer in Hakodate, Hokkaido, with a Japanese family. I rapidly ran out of English literature (as my Japanese reading skills were =extremely= limited. Hey, I could read the bus stops!) So I went to the local convenience store/generic store, which I though might have a few English-language mags ... and what do I see? A digitized pic of Bogart and Bergman staring out from the cover of a large book chock-full of full page puzzles. And I bought a second one before I left.

My appetite has been insatiable ever since. I've enjoyed color paint-by-numbers, but mainly because the pictures look more interesting (on the whole, they're easier because the further restrictions with color make it easier to figure out areas - it makes the solutions more "chunkified" - the same reason Link-a-pix are easier too). When I've solved all the puzzles on hand, I've turned them into cross-stitch patterns for samplers*. Lots of fun.

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* In American history, a sampler was a way for girls to practice and show off their embroidery skills - it involved borders, small graphics, and sample alphabets. Later, it could also be used as a reference guide should they wish to do a bit of embroidery -- they could copy the letters for monogram purposes, etc. Cross-stitch is a particular embroidery stitches that's just a bunch of little X's.

Modern samplers are for fun, but usually involve simple graphics and a sample alphabet (I did a Braille alphabet on mine). I use small one- or two-color graphics from paint-by-numbers, because quite a few of them are really nice pictures. Let's see, so far I've got Kermit-the-frog, a sea turtle, Kangaroo, seahorse, sun, palmprint, and a shrimp. I've got about half the space left on my fabric.

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