Puzzle the Fourth

We started building a new jigsaw puzzle on SuperMonday, so we’ve been working on it for several superdays. 

This one is used (always a worry, because what if pieces are missing?), purchased from the town Goodwill for $1.49. Depicting a village green with a growers’ market and shoppers in front of a row of shops, it offers a variety of color.

A big ‘un for us, fifteen hundred pieces, over three feet long by almost two feet, the puzzle sprawls across the dining room table. Some many pieces must be appraised and sorted that we’ve added containers. Detainees for specific sections — “Oh, wait, that’s part of the flower cart” — “This belongs to the watermelon guy” — are set aside until we can get to a point where they can be added.

We’ve worked out several categories of pieces during our process.

  1. Edge Pieces. The edges are important for us. We like working from the outside in. None of those edgeless puzzles for us, thanks.
  2. “Eureka!” Pieces. Also known as “Found” pieces (“Hey, I found it!”). these are pieces for which a hard search has been going on. Usually we search, then search again, and again. We typically grouse, “We’re missing a piece. I’ve been through all of these pieces and I can’t find it.” Hence, it must be missing.
  3. “I know this…” Pieces. The color is sufficiently unique that you recognize where it’ll belong, but you can’t put it there yet.
  4. “WTH”, or “WTF” Pieces. Bizarre colors that mystify you as you stare at them (“Do I have my glasses on?”) (“Yes, it’s better with my glasses off,”) these pieces drive you to pick up the picture and stare with furrowed brow until your eyes sweat and your butt falls asleep.

As this is an ‘interlocking ;uzzle’, no weird shapes exist. That’s good. We’d developed a vocabulary for pieces during past efforts (“I’m looking for an angel with black blob feet.”), but my partner prefers straightforward shapes. Unusual shapes annoy her.

Jigfloofs have been diligently employing a paws on approach, often walking among the pieces and on the puzzle in progress to give us their help. While their help is welcomed, of course, we generally remove them from the actual work space with gentle words (“Damn it, get off, I can’t see, stupid cat!”) to the chairs, where they curl up and sleep until a need for them arises again.

The puzzle is coming along. I estimate it to be sixteen point three percent completed (accurate, ain’t I?). We should finish it in time for next year. Meanwhile, optimists to the bone, we’ve been searching local stores and the net for our next project.

Someday, we’ll get a life.



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