How We Got Here

  • Clark 

Jenny and I didn’t decide to blog about puzzling until after we’d done a few in quick succession. So how did we get here? These are the puzzles we completed before the blog.

NY Times Front Page

Started: 11/13/2020
Completed: 11/13/2020
Pieces: 500

We started our run with a New York Times Front Page puzzle from Uncommon Goods, a gift to me from Jenny for my birthday. The date she went with was my date of birth, of course. There wasn’t much notable global news that day so the front page itself isn’t that interesting.

Our completed New York Times Front Page puzzle

We’d figured we’d put together the borders and work in but soon realized that every edge piece was solid white. Not wanting to brute force it, Jenny started with the masthead while I started picking headlines to put together. Eventually we became familiar with the stories on the page and could identify key words on individual pieces, getting an idea of which one would go where from that. The borders ended up being the last part done.

This one was fun but not very hard. I imagine if it had been 1000 pieces, it would be significantly tougher, as we wouldn’t have been able to read as much text on each individual piece.

Video Games Collection

Started: 12/12/2020
Completed: 12/13/2020
Pieces: 1000

The Video Game Collection from New York Puzzle Company was intended to be another gift from Jenny to me but we were looking for something to do on a stay-at-home date night so she broke it out early.

This was another one where starting from the border was going to be tough because it was mostly solid yellow. But only mostly. We were able to get much of the bottom border pieced together, then moved up to the Intellivision games, which were easier to find due to the large blocks of bright color. From there, I moved to the NES and its cartridges, then the Atari cartridges, while Jenny worked on piecing the various controllers together. That gave us enough big chunks put together that we could start filling in the gaps and just keep going from there.

This one wasn’t particularly hard but was annoying. There were a lot of repeated patterns (such as edges of various cartridges) so you’d never be able to look at a piece and say “Oh, this one goes here” without having more context. It was fun to do a puzzle based on the video game systems I grew up with, though.

Geode

Started: 12/17/2020
Completed: 12/17/2020
Pieces: 171

As Jenny posted to Facebook after we finished this one…

171 pieces of WHAT. I intended only on getting the three pieces out we knew went together, but then it just… happened. I think Clark said “OK, I’m going to make myself stop in a minute” at least three times before we finished it! 🤣😂🤣

Jenny had gotten me the Uncommon Goods Geode Puzzle for Valentine’s Day in 2020 but we never sat down to do it, then lost track of where we had put it. We’d hesitated because it seemed like such a weird puzzle, made of wood and with very interesting shapes. We thought it would be particularly difficult.

It turned out to be relatively simple, once we got going. I started from the middle and just kept working out from there, following the rings of the geode pattern. A couple spots in the puzzle featured pieces in completely different types of shapes, which Jenny focused on, incorporating them into the main puzzle when I reached the spot they belonged.

Jenny’s lone bit of disappointment was that, when she purchased this, she thought it would be pieces of actual geode. Not so much.

Country Manor

Started: 12/?/2020
Completed: 12/27/2020
Pieces: 1000

Again, Jenny, via Facebook:

Me, at the beginning of this puzzle: “All the details will make this easy!”

Me, in the middle of the puzzle: “Fckin’ flowers!”

Me, towards the end of the puzzle: alternates between swears and humming Christmas carols.

This was, apparently, one of the Sure-Lox Country Manors series by Dominic Davison. We couldn’t have told you that beforehand, though, ’cause we had (and still have) no idea where this one came from. It’d been sitting on a shelf in our guest room for years and we were out of puzzles we actually cared about so we cracked it open and went to work on it. We don’t even know exactly when we started it.

The completed Country Manor puzzle.

It was a bit of a beast, though. We went in thinking that, as Jenny noted, there would be enough detail to make it easy to group pieces together. But at that level, the difference between the orange leaves on a tree and the red leaves on a bush is minimal. We were able to get the edges together, then Jenny worked from the bottom while I worked from the top. Eventually I switched to working on the windows of the house. We got some of the porch done and connected it to the windows and the roofline to get a solid connection from top to bottom, then just worked on filling in the rest. The upper-right was the last space to come together.

We didn’t particularly have fun with this one but I think that’s mostly because we didn’t care about it. This wasn’t a puzzle that was a gift or meant anything to us, it was just one we did to kill time. For that, it worked. We’re glad to have it done, though, and to have moved on.

Planets in Space

Started: 12/29/2020
Completed: TBD
Pieces: 1000

I purchased the Planets in Space puzzle (by CHAFIN) when we finished the Country Manor puzzle and realized none of the other ones we’d ordered were going to arrive anytime soon. Basically, I pulled up Amazon, searched for puzzles that had Prime delivery, and found this one. Nothing particularly meaningful about it, aside from it looking cool.

The Planets in Space puzzle in-progress.

This one is still in progress, so we’ll revisit it when we complete it.

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