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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Impossible Teaser, Mr. Gogo Puzzles

305 pieces.  This was as difficult as any Stave, and a lot of fun.  My only complaint is that the pieces don't fit back in the box now and I have no idea how to pack them away sufficiently compactly!  5/5
Starting out

Almost there: these layers stack on each other, attached by two double-layered pieces

Final result, whew

Monday, June 27, 2016

Artifact, La Grande Jatte

428 pieces.  Pleasant enough--the duck head connectors were cute, and the circular patterns centered on the main figures added a sense of movement. 3/5

Duck head piece

Full picture

One of the whimsies, imitating a portion of the picture

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Stave, Steamin' Hot

690 pieces.  Staves don't disappoint; this one features some amazing interacting sillhouettes and tricky drop-out cutting along one side. 10/10
The beginning

Interacting bird silhouettes

Ticket taker, luggage, etc.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Circle Limit with Butterflies, Scrollsaw Charlie

172 pieces.  Nice repeating pattern that posed a reasonable challenge for its size. As with the previous Scrollsaw Charlie piece I bought (review eventually) there were a few scuffs on the picture, perhaps due to something that happened during storage or cutting.  3/5
Starting out


M.C. Escher Mosaic II Jigsaw puzzle, Scrollsaw Charlie

40 pieces.  The cuts were, as you'd expect, intriguing--figuring out how the pieces fit together was fun, despite the very small number of pieces. Because of the way the figures are drawn, the extreme edges were very narrow and already chipping, which isn't at all surprising.  3/5


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Penelope, another Swiss scene

300 pieces, with 3 missing (which shows that you shouldn't buy without confirming that the puzzle is complete!).  As with the others, the curves made for a pleasant assembly experience, but I'm sad about the missing pieces.  2/5
Starting out

As finished as it got, sigh

Closeup on the squiggly pieces

Timber, Tundra--Black Brant--by Maynard Reece

500 pieces.  Strip cut with a mix of push-fit and interlocking; really made me think about how push-fit must be so much easier to cut.  Good hand feel; pretty standard landscape.  3/5
Starting out


Monday, June 20, 2016

Turtle Teasers, Mandala

1201 pieces.  Quite a challenge--at one point I was reduced to putting the edges together!  Small pieces, very nicely cut.  5/5
Starting out

Final puzzle

Closeup of turtle whimsy in corner

Friday, June 17, 2016

Mandala, TurtleTeasers

TurtleTeasers are very nice introductory wooden puzzles--smaller ones are quite reasonably priced, and the intricate cut makes them worthwhile at slightly smaller piece counts than I usually bother with.  But I did a couple of big ones recently, starting with this 601-piece mandala:

The pieces are smaller than a dime, and the repeating patterns in the mandala made for a real challenge. 5/5

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Stave, Garden Angel

647 pieces.  This is the hardest Stave traditional I've done in a while, due to the internal lines that made it very hard to figure out what went where, not to mention lots of similar colors.  10/10.  (I judge Stave on a different scale because it's so far beyond a 5/5 experience.)
Beginning the puzzle

Monday, June 6, 2016

Mr Gogo Puzzles, 24 Hours

210 pieces. Very clear color separation makes this puzzle relatively easy, but it's got the solid hand feel of a real hand-cut puzzle, so that moves it up in my estimation. 3/5
Before assembly

Full puzzle

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Armcher, Spring Glory

This is a wooden puzzle with classic interlocking pieces, no whimsies; the difficulty comes only from the picture and the fact that many of the pieces are hard to distinguish. In earlier years, I probably would have liked this more because it's hard, but these days I'm looking for more than just hard. That said, if you want something that is a challenge to put together, this is a cheap wooden puzzle. 2/5.

Primavera, Liberty

512 pieces.  Some very nice floral whimsies, and then each figure had a floral wheel in it, which was cute. 4/5.
Floral whimsies

The full spread


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Wolf by Sue Coccia, LIberty

420 pieces.  Sue Coccia's designs are fun because of the complicated colors and embedded animal images.  This one has a nice interacting whimsy with a crow and a skull:

Upside down for some reason; sorry
Crow/cow skull interacting whimsies, plus a nice fish whimsy from the center of a fish image.  4/5

CreateJigsawPuzzles.com, Van Gogh

In wooden jigsaw puzzles more than in many other areas, you get what you pay for.  I ordered this puzzle (you can pick your own image as long as it has sufficient resolution; thanks, Wikipedia!) because of the temptation of 931 pieces for a comparatively low price.  This is thin wood, though the pieces are big enough that there's no particular reason to be concerned about parts breaking off unless you try.  It just doesn't provide the haptic pleasure of a thicker puzzle.  The laser cutting is loose--think Artifact, not Liberty--and a few pieces arrived not fully cut but separated easily.

The biggest challenge, interacting with the image I chose, was that the cut pattern repeats, making for some very difficult judgment calls and redos, though in the end I believe I got it done.  If you're the type of puzzler I am, this is the best reason to order.  That, and the ability to get a really big puzzle with the picture of your choice.  3/5

Full puzzle