|Believe it or not this is my first jigsaw!|
Now there was absolutely no way that I was ever going to attempt one of those monsters! Firstly I don't have the space, secondly I have cats and thirdly "she" would never participate. I also have been scarred for life when, as a child, our family did second hand 10,000 piece jigsaw. It took weeks and weeks, we had to eat on our laps because the dining table was out of commission and at the end of it all there were 3 pieces missing! In fact I have never seriously considered jigsaws much at all despite my current "try just about any puzzle" fetish. My good friend Nigel (the organiser of the Midlands puzzle parties) does do them - in fact he has been working on the 32,000 piece monster for at least 2 years! So I have been thinking that maybe I could give it a try. Then recently Mrs S made me stop cold in my tracks when she asked about doing them and I agreed wholeheartedly and even bought a jigsaw board to store and solve on. But nothing was done about it.
I have to be honest with you all from the beginning - I was recently contacted by a representative of Wentworth wooden puzzles who offered me a free puzzle for review. I had previously thought about doing jigsaws, even gotten approval from the current wife and gone as far as buying a board/tray for them but not actually gotten around to purchasing anything. I had done some idle internet surfing and nothing more because I really wasn't sure where to go.
In my discussions with the company representative I was honest that I was not sure how it would go down with you, the readers and also I said that I could only give an honest review - good or bad! This was accepted without hesitation and I duly surfed their site and picked what I thought would be a good challenge. My initial thoughts were that these had better be good because they were a serious price! Before you accuse me of selling out and going all commercial on you, let me also say that 2 weeks ago I was contacted by a member of the Nintendo PR department who offered me a puzzling game and a DS console. I turned this down because it is not what I do and not what you come here to read about. There are other games bloggers out there let them go to them. I am not going to be bought by a free toy!
|Maybe I should have gone for less pieces?|
|Odd shapes - all made of wood|
So how have we gotten on with it? It has only been 10 days and we have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We are actually puzzling together (although actually I have had more time than her to play) and it is a new thing for us - it is very different from the hard core puzzling that I usually do but no less fun and would be really good for a family. I suspect that we may have bitten off more than we should have in getting the 1000 piece puzzle as it is seriously hard to do.
Is there the same frustration involved as all my other puzzles? I have to say yes but for an odd reason! You will have noticed that there is no photo of the partially completed puzzle and there is a good reason for it! The big board we have been using will sit nicely across our laps with smaller boards for sorted pieces. That way we could play in the living room in the evenings and watch some TV etc. Unfortunately someone else decided to join in and let's just say I am going to have to start again! Aaaargh! I couldn't take a photo of him and the destroyed mess because he ran off with a piece and I had to quickly put everything away and chase him down!
|Looks innocent? He's guilty I say!!!!|
Now seeing as I am at the end of a week off, I thought I might give a 2 part blog post today. I have unfortunately had quite a lot of chores, DIY and paperwork to do during my week off and even had to spend a day working at the private hospital - so no real rest for the wicked! But how else can I pay for this rather expensive habit? I have managed to spend a reasonable time on some new puzzles. As well as the jigsaw, I have been working alone (Mrs S is only interested in joining me with the jigsaw) on a beautiful pair of puzzles I recently bought from Brian Menold of Wood Wonders.
They look like a pair of Rubik cubes and knowing my recent fetish for twisty puzzles you might not be surprised if I had actually bought a wooden twisty! But these are actually part way between interlocking solids and burr puzzles. Brian announced some months ago that they were coming out and he accepted deposits for pre-order (of course I couldn't turn it down!) and initially they were going to be made in English Sycamore and Macassar Ebony (i.e. white cubes with black strips) but later he sent some photos and asked whether anyone would be interested a different version. The cubes I have are English Sycamore strips and Bocote cubes - I am a complete sucker for a wood with an interesting grain and jumped on it. I was not disappointed when they arrived about 2 months later - Brian has arranged the pieces so that the grain almost looks like it was taken as a cube straight out of the tree - they are stunning! In fact they are so gorgeous that Mrs S has said they can stay on display in the living room!! Cube number 2 has a stand as part of the puzzle.
Idle play one evening revealed to me how burr like these are as a key piece slides out (it took me a few minutes to find it) and then no other pieces can be removed. What you then have to do is slide them back and forth progressively to make room for other moves and finally a piece will come out. Initially they end up looking like this:
|One piece out and several moved|
|Tabula Cube #1 Pieces|
Tabula cube 2 is level 1.6.2 (although if you include the removal of the stand it is 126.96.36.199). This time I was ready for it and it did not come apart with a sudden collapse because I was being careful. I carefully arranged the pieces in order and....... still couldn't reassemble it myself! There is something very disorienting about having the cubes separated by the strips of wood. It means that things really need to be held just so or the pieces will not slide into place but it also means that you can't solve it like a burr puzzle. Burrtools to the rescue again - what would we do without Andreas' marvellous program? I love these puzzles! Mrs S is letting them stay on show and - I think I will try number 2 again to see whether I can manage it. At least in the living room I can just reach out and pick it up at a whim!
|Tabula Cube #2 is a bit easier but not much!|
Right!!! Let's get back to that damn jigsaw again!!!
Putting the cats in a cat basket for a couple of weeks!!! Actually they love my puzzles:
|Solved them in his sleep!!!|