This post is in continuation with my last post on jigsaw puzzle. Currently we are trying our hands on some practice puzzles and we finished a 6000 pieces puzzle on this weekend. This is a great achievement as this puzzle was harder than the actual target 24000 pieces puzzle, LIFE. There is a lot of learning which we have learnt while solving this practice puzzle. I am putting some of our learning here and those who are interested can get benefit from that.

  • Solve Puzzle on a table; solving it on floor may need you to see a doctor for your back...
  • Make sure the light in the room is vertically top of the puzzle; reflections with tube light from an angle sometimes make you color blind.
  • Counting helps, for example for a 600 piece puzzle 20*30 can assure you that many pieces in a particular row/column.
  • Borders as usual are very easy and should be taken up first.
  • When stuck on a pattern, leave it and try another (that will also reduce no of pieces spread around so less options to choose from)
  • Don't forcefully try to fit in pieces. If it’s in the flow, the piece will fit in very easily; else it’s like CAUGHT- IN-THE-WRONG-JOB.
  • When tired of searching for pieces in a particular section, switch the views/sections. This will be quite refreshing.
  • Learn to sort & operate by shape, in our case we have changed our strategy many times and continuously switched fitting the pieces based on shape/color/design.
  • We learnt that prior experience or level of expertise doesn’t matter, whereas it is the observation power that is more important than anything else.
  • Sorting is the most important activity of this exercise and that too not only in the starting. Sorting is needed on every stage. The mantra is THE MORE SORTING THE EASIER. We sorted pieces on every stage of the puzzle. Also we have sorted them by every possible shape and color: FLAT HOLE, FLAT BULB, FAT PIECE, TILTED HOLE/BULB etc etc...
  • If you are working in a group, keep the atmosphere humorous and motivating. This is an absolute must.
  • Last but not the least, we used to play music throughout our exercise; else we might die in monotony?
In addition to this, we found a great breakthrough when we were working on the hardest part of the puzzle. We found that the puzzle is orthogonally similar in cut of pieces. So once you are done with the easier half of the puzzle, you can solve the harder half by solving that on the top of the easier half using shape oriented approach. This finding eased our work by a factor of at least 10 and made ourselves stuck with it when most of us were losing our patience.

This was all from my side. I will keep you updated about our efforts to solve the largest puzzle :-)