26 October 2020 – Steganography

It’s all about joining the dots. Dot to dot puzzles have been around a while. How long? I’m not sure, there’s not a lot out there I could find, and time was short. One person on a puzzle forum said they were popular in 18th century magazines and linked them back to hidden images via a Finnish encyclopaedia of puzzles and plays called Antero Vipunen after a giant in Finnish mythology. 

Hidden images, or steganography has a very long history, from Ancient Greece where troop movements were tattooed onto freshly shorn messenger skulls and then dispatched once the hair had grown back, to painters like Bruegel, da Vinci and Caravaggio leaving rogue details in their paintings, to modern day Easter eggs planted in film series like The Avengers and Star Wars.

Then of course, there’s the nine dot puzzle from which it’s said the expression to think outside the box comes from. 

And Steve Jobs who, in a commencement address to the class of 2005 at Stanford, spoke about the dots that connect our lives being like a destiny driving device. 

And Phil Hanson who holds the Guinness World Record for Most Dots in a Connect the Dots Puzzle. All 52,901 of them. 

But anyhow, back to me. My dot to dot puzzle only had 458 dots and was taken from the amazing Skull-A-Day series by artist, Noah Scalin (there are loads of freebie skull activities on his website, check out the link in Resources). Skull-A-Day… Everyday Lore… messenger skulls… five days to Halloween…. I have to admit, it’s not so much joining the dots, than an exercise in learning to spin. 

I haven’t done a dot to dot for ages. I’ve never been a huge fan. And today’s lacked any inherent mystery, after all the title was #296 Connect the Skull. Incidentally, had I been really clever, I would have done this on Wednesday, the 296th day of the project, but I’ll be elbow deep in wardens by then. 

But having said that, there was something rather fascinating in watching the image unfold. I got stuck at 125 and couldn’t see which way to go for ages. Plus my printer is so old, trying to tell the difference between 6s and 8s became a game in itself. But the best bit was all the bus numbers I drew through, my favourite being the 281 that runs between Hounslow and Tolworth, otherwise known as my old school bus. 

And it went a little something like this. 

But while I never quite reached the obsessive highs of my jigsaw/tapestry encounters, I can definitely see myself taking on some Extreme Dot to Dots in the future. Although, maybe not Phil Hanson’s… 


Resources

https://skulladay.blogspot.com

http://www.conceptispuzzles.com/forum/tm.aspx?m=2178

https://www.artofplay.com/blogs/articles/history-of-the-nine-dot-problem

https://www.philinthecircle.com/wheres-the-line

How do you make the world’s biggest connect-the-dots?

How to Hide Data Within an Image

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