Puzzles and the aha!

I solve lots of puzzles. One type in particular that I enjoy is the take-apart puzzle, for example these. Something I find fascinating about these puzzles is the aha! aspect. Often I’ll buy a puzzle and be baffled for fifteen minute by it, then set it aside, then several days later be baffled again for another twenty minutes, then set it aside, then pick it up again a week later, take one look at it and say, “Hmm, that should work, right?” Ten seconds after picking it up for the third time, it’s solved.

It’s a very curious process. Is it that my subconscious is working on the puzzle all the time? Seems unlikely. Is it that I’m sometimes in the right frame of mind to see through the puzzle? Perhaps. Am I being caught seeing a pattern where there is none? Always a possibility, but it doesn’t seem like it.

In any case, it just happened again.

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