About my ratings

Perhaps because of my day job, I'm a tough rater. Everything 3/5 and above I consider worth the time and money.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tuck's Zag-Zaw, Yachts off the Coast

750 pieces.  Challenging because of the color fade; a lot of whimsies and some internal wavy cutting makes this puzzle seem like a compromise between interlocking and push-fit.  3.5/5.
Assembled puzzle

Penelope Puzzles, two Swiss views

Hand-cut, from the 60s or 70s, 200 and 150 pieces--nicely curvy pieces with a few tricks up their sleeves. 3/5
Assembled puzzles

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Liberty, Klimt, Tree of Life, Stoclet Frieze

502 pieces. Standard Liberty; pleasant enough. 4/5
before assembly

Peaceful Wooden Puzzles, Viso di giovane fanciulla

442 pieces. A nice challenge because of the color; a friend asked, upon seeing the pieces, whether it was a picture of the surface of Arrakis. 4/5
Before assembly

Friday, May 27, 2016

Liberty, Butterflies by Alex Beard

492 pieces. Another really great Liberty, where almost every piece is butterfly-part-shaped and the repeating colors add to the challenge. 5/5
before assembly

Assembled version

Nervous System, 2-in-1 puzzle

410 pieces. One of the most challenging and unusual puzzles I've done. An algorithm apparently designs these so that there are two puzzles: the large puzzle, using all the pieces, and the small puzzle, using only the colored pieces. For reasons that can be easily inferred, the biggest clue to assembly, since there is no picture, is that no colored piece can touch another colored piece in the big puzzle; after a while you can also figure out the grain so that you can tell which pieces are right side up relative to each other. The puzzles come in different colors and according to the maker, no puzzle is identical. 5/5

Before assembly

Large puzzle

Small puzzle within puzzle

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Madmar, The Squire

300 pieces.  This is a vintage puzzle; the wood became a bit spongy with time, and the storage did it no favors though the picture is intact and so are the pieces, with the exception of a tiny chip off of the bottom of one piece.  The cut is mostly the curvy kind, with some earlets and the occasional false cue where two pieces join together to make what looks like an earlet or other connection for one, so it was fun to construct. 3/5
Completed puzzle

Mr Gogo Puzzles, Flower

131 pieces.  This is a small puzzle that is nonetheless challenging for its size because of the color combinations. The cut is pretty classic and random; the pieces are thick and provide that lovely haptic experience that sold me on wooden puzzles in the first place.  Recommended!  (I'm going to try to review some small puzzlemakers early on because I'd like to support them.)  The puzzle also comes in a distinctive wooden box.  5/5

Pieces before assembly

Final puzzle

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Puzzle Michèle Wilson, Les Tourbillons de Naruto

650 pieces.  Classic push-fit style; small pieces.  I could really see why push-fit fell out of style, though it seems likely easier to cut.  Push-fit means that the pieces do not stay together no matter what you do!  This was a challenging puzzle, with color line cutting enhancing the difficulty, but I didn't like the puzzling experience enough to justify the expense.  3/5
Push-fit pieces
Link to see more about the puzzle (in French)
Final image

Liberty Nautilus, Alex Beard

552 pieces.  This, like the Beard Butterflies, is one of Liberty's most unusually cut puzzles, with all of the pieces fitting the spiral/nautilus theme (and, when completed, a nice additional spiral made of multiple pieces).  That plus the repeating colors makes this a true pleasure to do.  5/5

Complete puzzle, plus complete cat

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Artifact: Susan Loy, Bill of Rights

303 pieces; one of the first Artifact puzzles I did.  Not too much of a challenge, despite the limited colors, because of the print enabling connections to be made relatively easily.  3/5 (again with the reminder that I'm a tough grader)
Sample pieces

Cover of box

Vintage Victory Artistic Jungle puzzle

About 100 pieces, inherited from my husband's mother.  Intended for children; put together to ensure that it was complete.  Nice hand feel, with thick pieces.


Completed puzzle

Whimsies, standing up

Starting a wooden puzzle blog: Artifact, Matte Stephens, Manhattan

This is an experiment for me to share my adventures in wooden jigsaw puzzles.  Today's review is an Artifact puzzle, Matte Stephens, Manhattan (380 pieces).

This is an atypical Artifact--many pieces joined very tightly, rather than loosely, and some even had to be forced.  It made me wonder whether this was produced early on in Artifact's existence, because while the looser fit of other Artifact puzzles can be frustrating when one is trying to move chunks around, overall it's a more pleasant experience once you're used to it than this tighter fitting type was.  Many of the pieces were also relatively large.  Fine, but not fantastic.  3/5.  
NB: I'm a tough grader, and I cut my teeth on Staves, so 3/5 is still time well spent.