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A Picture to Puzzle Over

March 27, 2012 Gateway Gazette 

It’s been just over a year now since we started bringing you the latest puzzle craze; the Pic-a-pix, thanks to their creator Diane Baher of Okotoks.  The participation of our readers has increased over the year and now we are happy to let you all know that Diane has published a book of her Pic-a-pix puzzles.

Pic-a-pix is the latest fix for puzzlers and originated from the Japanese form of Oekaki-Logic. It combines logic and math with an artistic touch. You can use colours to complete the puzzles, follow the mathematical clues and voila, right before your eyes, a picture comes to life. Diane’s sense of humour shines through, as well, in the titles to the puzzles.

What started Diane on this puzzle path? “A boredom and lack of ownership with Sudoku and crossword puzzles,” says Diane, “I found that if I got stuck with one of those puzzles I could just put it down and forget about it. Not so with the pic-a-pix puzzles.” A lack of availability of these puzzle books was the catalyst to Diane publishing her own book. “I would have a really hard time finding Pic-a-pix books.”

So putting her head and her hand into mapping out these pictures, Diane then transfers them to her drafting program. “They are not just computer generated,” Diane said, “I draw each one out by hand first.”

The book is on a good quality paper with a coil binding that allows the book to open flat and sells for $16 at local stores, art galleries and on One dollar from the proceeds of every sale is donated to the Alzheimer Society of Calgary. Diane chose to do this because of the proven benefit of puzzles to brain health. “Use it or lose it!” she adds with a grin. Diane will also be selling her books at the Okotoks Market Square when it opens in May.

Congratulations Diane, the Gazette is very proud to be the first place your puzzles were published and we wish you all the best with the sale of your books.

Author’s Success Not So Puzzling

Diane Baher Shows with Pic-A-Pix book

Books: Local hopes puzzle book will start trend
Dec 14, 2011 06:00 am | By Tanya Kostiw

An Okotoks puzzle enthusiast has taken her hobby to the next level with her recently published Pic-a-Pix book.

After growing tired of Sudoku puzzles a couple of years ago Diane Baher discovered Pic-a-Pix. Pic-a-Pix puzzles are popular in Japan, but are just starting to catch on in North America. Finding more puzzle books soon became difficult for Baher, so she started to create her own puzzles.

“I was just searching for something new and I came across it and once I got onto it, I was really hooked,” she said. “Then before I know it, I had so many, I thought, ‘I should do something with these.’”

Baher’s “Pic-a-Pix” features 100 puzzles, which are fun for people of all ages, 12 years old and up, she explained.

Pic-a-Pix features a grid similar to a Sudoku game and each column and row indicates the number of squares that need to be coloured in groupings. The player must determine which squares are to be shaded. The shaded squares must match up per row and column and once complete, reveal an image.

“Instead of numbers or words, you end up with an image,” Baher explained.

Based on logic, players start with what they know to be certain and one correct move will lead to another, she said.

Baher said her background in computer drafting helps her to create Pic-a-Pix puzzles. She starts with a grid on the computer, sketches in an image and then matches the numbers to the rows and columns. She said it usually takes her a day or two to create a puzzle. Although she designed the images, Baher said she can play her own puzzles because she still has to go through the steps to solve them.

Pic-a-Pix puzzles serve as good brain exercises, as learning new things can help generate new brain cells, Baher explained. She will donate $1 from every book sold to the Alzheimer Society of Calgary.

In an email statement, society spokesperson Rebecca Geddes said the society was grateful for the donation, which will help people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias in Calgary and the surrounding areas.

“Puzzles, books and crosswords are examples of cognitive activities that people can do to improve their brain health,” she said. “The Alzheimer Society of Calgary believes that taking care of your brain health is as important as your physical health.

Read full article on Pic-A-Pix the Latest Puzzling Fix online at the Western Wheel.


Global Interest in Logic Puzzles

The major appeal of sudoku and other Japanese logic puzzles is attributed to their simple rules and the application of logic without special knowledge of words or math.  As a classic puzzle-type, logic puzzles can range from fairly easy to fiendishly difficult.  The merits of these brainteasers are cited as follows:  satisfaction from solving or completing something difficult; prevention of memory decline; development of logic skills; and pure mental entertainment.

Although Japanese have developed many types of logic puzzles for the last twenty years, the most common ones found in puzzle magazines are the following:  sudoku, kakuro, nonogram, slither link, and divide by squares.  (by Diana Lee, November 1, 2005, Uniorb: Asian Trend: Japan)

Keeping Your Brain Healthy and Smart

According to retired psychologist, Patsi Krakoff, Psy.D., who writes a blog for “Keeping Your Brain Healthy”, states that “In the past decade, researchers have found definitive evidence that the brain continues to generate new brain cells throughout life.  Studies indicate that challenging environments, which include a number of components, such as pumped-up learning opportunities, social interactions and physical activities, are key to boosting the growth of new brain cells.  What does this mean for humans?  We can keep our brain healthy by entering into new situations, new games, and new social group activities.  And if we keep learning new things, and engage in physical activity, we can continue growing new brain cells.”

Source: Keeping your Brain Healthy and Smart by Patsi Krakoff, Psy.D

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