The post may not be appropriate for this site but I would like to post it anyway.

So I joined this website almost a week back and enjoying a lot. I'm enjoying this website so much that I have started to spend most of my waking hours on this website but the catch is that I'm not able to contribute to this site because I'm unable to solve most of the puzzles here. Most of the time I try to think about the solution to a puzzle really hard but I reach nowhere.

I just want to to know how do I get started and become really good at puzzling. Are there any videos, books or websites that can help me develop the required aptitude for solving puzzles.

It would be really very helpful if you can help me. Also the post will be helpful to many others like me.

Thank you.

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ Please post this in Puzzle Meta $\endgroup$
    – Arulkumar
    May 10, 2016 at 8:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Arulkumar I don't have enough reputation to post it on puzzling meta. $\endgroup$
    – Heisenberg
    May 10, 2016 at 9:26
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    $\begingroup$ In an attempt to contribute something (though not entirely an answer): I know the feeling. I often see puzzles here where I have no clue on how to 'attack' them. This is one of the cases where often something small might spark the right idea, and well - familiarity with puzzles is to a large extent a good source for that inspiration. Remember these are NOT like an algebra problem for 12 year olds which you're supposed to be able to work out easily. It (fortunately) goes about challenging eachother, and from time to time it happens to be wrapped in an exciting story. $\endgroup$ May 10, 2016 at 10:03
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    $\begingroup$ Not an answer, but a suggestion: find the types of puzzles you like, and come up with your own. A well thought out and presented question draws similar puzzles out of the woodwork for a period of time, which allows you to hone your skills on that type of puzzle. Also, realize that a lot of users on here specialize gravitate towards certain types of puzzles, and don't master all. $\endgroup$
    – APrough
    May 10, 2016 at 13:25
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    $\begingroup$ This question doesn't belong on Meta.Puzzling, since it's not a question about PSE. $\endgroup$ May 10, 2016 at 13:53

1 Answer 1


This looks like a good question for Puzzling.SE to me, as it is essentially about puzzling as an act, not about puzzling.SE itself. Is it too broad or opinion based? Perhaps. There are already some good answers in the comments though. Building upon those and sharing my own experience, here's my answer to:

How can I develop the required aptitude for solving puzzles?

It's a big question but I think it a good one that can have a fairly standard, broadly applicable but succinctly put answer.

Summarizing some comments from @TimCouwelier and @Aprough:

Familiarity with puzzle types is important. Honing in on the types of puzzles you are attracted to most, and practicing solving them as well as trying your hand at creating them, will develop familiarity and in-turn aptitude for (that kind of) puzzling.

See what you are drawn to based on your life experiences, prior knowledge, style of learning, personal interests and passions - what are your strengths, and what intrigues you? Let this guide you to practice solving & creating certain types of puzzles, which you can navigate via Puzzling.SE Tags.

Also recognize your weaknesses and what you're disinterested in. In the beginning you probably want to steer clear of these types of puzzles so you can gain momentum developing your overall puzzling aptitude. Eventually you may want to focus on these specifically to become a more well-rounded puzzler.

Lastly, I don't think this question can be answered without at least mention of...

some key features universal to puzzling:

  • Inductive reasoning (bottom-up reasoning, like pattern recognition)

The ability to take in observations of high quality and use them to derive overarching patterns in order to reach conclusions.

  • Deductive reasoning (top-down reasoning, like pattern/premise application)

The ability to use known patterns with facts at hand in order to reach conclusions.

Both of these have to do with reasoning, or making sense of things in one way or another (for better or worse...) I think both of these can be learned and improved. Below is a link and its concise explanation of these two processes:

Logic and Deductive and Inductive Reasoning

Deductive reasoning is the process of reasoning from known facts to conclusions. When you reason deductively, you can say “therefore” with certainty. If your facts were firm to begin with, then your conclusions will also be firm.
Known Fact: The cut-off date for swim camp registration is June 15. After that date, kids go on a wait list - no exceptions allowed.
Known Fact: You have missed the cut-off to date to register your child by two days.
Conclusion: Your child won’t be registered and her name will go on the wait list.

Inductive reasoning is the process of going from observations to conclusions. This type of conclusion is sometimes called an inference. Successful inductive reasoning depends on the quality of your observations, or evidence.
Observation: Tonya is seen walking from her car to her home with a set of golf clubs.
Observation: Tonya’s husband Jeff loves golf and tomorrow is his birthday.
Conclusion (inference): Tonya has bought the set of golf clubs for Jack.

Can you see the difference? Deductive reasoning drives you to a conclusion based on known facts. Inductive reasoning depends on human observation.Tonya, after all, may be borrowing the golf clubs. Or she may have taken up golf herself! You wouldn’t know unless you observed carefully, and even then, you would have to describe your conclusion as “probable” but not firm.

This risk of uncertainty in inductive reasoning is why crime scene investigators must ensure that they have gathered many observations (evidence) before drawing a conclusion.

However, here’s something interesting. Once CSI’s have biological evidence of a person at the scene, they can switch back to deductive reasoning. If it is a known fact that someone’s fingerprints or DNA identify him or her, then it can be deduced that fingerprint or DNA evidence at the scene proves the person was there.

So that’s it. Deductive and inductive. It takes both types of reasoning help us move around this world.

via http://www.googolpower.com/content/articles/logic-deductive-inductive-reasoning


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