Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lately when I have been meeting puzzlers, I have been asking them to tell me their strategy for doing a puzzle. Where do they start. How do they "work" the puzzle.

The answers have been facinating. Most talk of sorting the pieces and completing the edges first. Then working their way in. Some go into great detail and spend time sort pieces. They use the box lid, base, and even cake pans. They sort by color or shape. One old friend of mine admitted recently that as a child he enjoyed putting puzzles together upside down! Using the image was too easy!

I have to admit that when I do a puzzle, I like to do the easy parts. Give me a fence or a horizon to work on. Anything with lines or strangely shaped pieces is where I excel. The area I am working on might be anywhere on the puzzle. Or it may not attach to anything right away. I figure I can always attach it later to an edge or to other areas people are working on. My wife is much more methodical. She likes to get the edge finished first and then work her way to the middle. Our methods actually work well together. Although, I did pick up one bad habit from my father. As we are working the puzzle, I like to take one of the pieces and put it in my pocket. As the puzzle comes to an end, it becomes apparent that a piece is missing. The whole family is put on high alert to find the piece. Couch cushions are turned over, sofas are searched, accusations are made. And then I reveal the last piece was behind someones ear the whole time (or maybe I "cough it up" if I am feeling particularly clever). I love putting in the last piece.

Although, the last puzzle we did had two missing pieces at the end. I revealed my piece and started to lament the quality of puzzle production today (the puzzle was not an LPF puzzle) when my youngest son revealed the last piece he had hidden in his shoe. Like father, like son. I was so proud!

How about you? How do you like to work a puzzle? Do you have any jokers in your family that mess with the pieces? Or would that not be tolerated?


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