Logic puzzle articles

Puzzle of love

Sunday, September 22, 2002 Stefanie Brandt

Olli gave me the present at midnight on my birthday. We were still awake as we had a very exciting day on October 5th. Olli is very interested in computers and so he took a part in an important computer science contest for young people here in Germany called "Bundeswettbewerb Informatik". The contest was divided into three parts. For the final part, 28 of the best participators, out of about 800 at the beginning, were invited to Frankfurt for four days. They where tested on two days and on the last day six of them where appointed as winners. Olli was among them.

The presentation ceremony was on October 5th, just one day before my birthday. As I was really excited about how he had done in the contest, I drove there in order to see the ceremony. It was really exciting as many orations where held before the winners were named, but then finally Olli was one of them! I was so happy about that!

Open the small one first

Olli's puzzle

On that day I drove about 600 kilometers and we both were very tired when we finally came back home. Nevertheless we waited until midnight because he wanted to give me his present. As you can imagine, the time before the contest was very hard for Olli but nevertheless he worked on the present and managed it somehow that I didn't discover anything about it."

Then he gave me his presents. One was extremely small, one very flat and big. I had to open the small one first. There were three color-pens in it. Then I opened the flat one, and I was so happy about its content: A Color-Pic-a-Pix-Puzzle, made personally for me. I would have liked to start it immediately, but we needed sleep. The next day, I started doing it, not knowing what was in it. Then I discovered something: Hair, an ear, a chin... and finally my sweet boyfriend ;-). I was so happy for getting such a creative present from the one I love! After finishing the puzzle I framed it. Now it hangs on a wall in my room, as you can see from the picture.

Only one unique solution


"The idea to make a personal puzzle for Steffi came into my mind, when she mentioned that she would like to do this once" says Olli. "I didn't say a word about it, so she just forgot it, but I did give her mysterious hints about her birthday present, so she drove crazy about that.

While I was learning for my competition, I was looking for a good picture of myself, and I found one. I imported it into a graphics program, and reduced the colors - hard work, as you might as well know. Then I had a 50x60 grid, with three colors left and the work began ;-)

I displayed the picture on my little computer screen, and counted the pixels all by myself. How I wished I had a program for that... ;-) Hours went by, and then I had to test the puzzle, if there was only one unique solution, and I discovered: it wasn't. I changed some pixels at the nose, and fortunately that was enough.

I made an Excel-sheet, copied it onto a disk, and went to a friend in order to print it, because my printer's color was empty. Then I went into a copy-shop, to enlarge it. But after this odyssey, I had what I wanted. Finally, it was in my hands. Hard work, but I was happy!"


On October 6th Stefanie ("Steffi") Brandt a student for mathematics and physics from Bad Salzuflen, a small town in Nordrhein-Westfalen region in Germany, will be celebrating her 23rd birthday with her boyfriend Oliver ("Olli") Gronau (21).

"I already knew black and white Pic-a-Pix-Puzzles for a long time when my boyfriend, Olli, discovered the colored puzzles on Conceptis website" says Steffi. "I remember telling Olli that I'd like to do such a colored puzzle which I hadn't seen before" she recalls with a smile, "but I didn't think about it anymore. Then, a year ago when my 22nd birthday (October 6th) was coming nearer, Olli kept talking in a very mysterious way about his 'present for me' and that he 'has to do a lot of things to complete it'. I became really curious, of course, about what it could be".

Steffi studies at the University of Bielefeld, about 25 kilometers away from Bad Salzuflen, where she goes by car every day. She is about to start her 7th semester (4th year). Apart from her studies, she also earns some money teaching high school pupils Mathematics and Physics. Besides doing Conceptis puzzles she also likes playing Billiard, going to the cinema with Olli, reading, doing handicraft, playing videogames and cooking.

Olli is also a student for Mathematics in Bielefeld, starting his second year this month. "In Germany" says Olli, "there is an aphorism saying: "Gleich und gleich gesellt sich gern" which means - similar persons often get together. This is the best description for my lovely girlfriend and me. Our interests are nearly the same. Take a look at her interests, and you know much about me too, except for the handicraft ;-)."

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