The New Puzzle Craze

No Sneezing
Gesundheit! How am I going to disinfect this puzzle now?

These are interesting times we’re living in, that’s for sure. Many of us are in our homes most of the time now; and when we’re not disinfecting doorknobs and drawer handles we have plenty of extra time for puzzling. It’s the “newest” thing, have you heard?

Those of us who aren’t new to this fabulous indoor activity and have large stashes of puzzles to do are very lucky indeed; the demand has increased mightily as housebound families look for activities to keep themselves occupied. On my last trip out to stock up on puzzles, the bookstore where I normally feed my puzzle addiction had really been picked over; there were still puzzles on the shelves, but not nearly as many as there usually were.

Our beloved jigsaw puzzles are becoming hard to come by, as many online retailers have stopped taking orders, some have hiked up prices, and many retail stores that carry puzzles are not considered “essential businesses” and are now closed in places with stricter quarantine rules. There are still some online retailers with reasonable prices taking orders, and a few places you can sneak a puzzle into your cart if you are shopping for groceries, but those are becoming fewer by the day as everyone is getting in on the latest puzzle craze.

So I hope you’re well stocked and ready for plenty of puzzle time; perhaps your family might be interested in helping you with your next puzzle. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing for you or not, as many people prefer to puzzle in solitude. I’m good either way, puzzling with my loved ones makes me happy, as does quiet alone time with my puzzle pieces – and luckily I have a stockpile that should last me roughly 3 to 4 years. Or more.

I think it’s wonderful that more people are coming to appreciate the hobby that we PADS sufferers and puzzle addicts know and love. It’s a wonderful way to pass the time, and helps keep our minds occupied with shapes and colors rather than the latest bad news.

They’re good for our overall health too, which is some good news that we dyed-in-the-wool dissectologists and puzzle newbies all need to remember. Each little success that working on a jigsaw puzzle brings – completing a section, or just finding that piece we’ve been searching for – encourages the production of dopamine in our brains. Dopamine regulates your mood, and studies have shown that a positive mood can enhance your immune system; I think all of our immune systems could use a boost these days, don’t you? So turn off the tv, put down your phones, and puzzle on my friends – it’s good for you! 🧩

Happy puzzling!


*The picture above is from the back of the box of the current puzzle I’m working on, a 1500 piece Jan van Haasteren shaped puzzle called “Hotel”. It isn’t part of the image; it’s just a cute little drawing by JVH on the back of the box, and it seemed oddly appropriate for today’s post. 🙂

The 20th Party Parade

20th Parade
The 20th Party Parade by James Alexander – Jumbo (Wasgij) – 1000 pieces

I love being able to show an entire Wasgij puzzle without having to worry about spoiling anything. Normally I have to make sure I’m photographing the correct person from the finished puzzle, and I have to crop it so I don’t show anything extra. This time I didn’t have any worries at all, this is the box image bonus puzzle and there are no spoilers here. It was a very busy image, but it made for a fun puzzle.

This was definitely not an easy assembly, the image is so detailed and all the boxes everywhere gave me quite a challenge. Most of the boxes in the foreground were pretty easy, but the ones in the background were much more difficult. There were so many in the store that all the smaller boxes looked alike. I saved them for last, but they were still a bit of a challenge. Overall though, I enjoyed it very much.

20th Parade 1

The intricacy of this illustration is amazing, it’s only about 15 pieces out of 1000 but it’s so incredibly detailed. I’ve actually assembled the Wasgij Mystery Puzzle #13, and this is exactly what the box looks like. I’m sure computers helped out quite a bit, but still, this entire image must have been a LOT of work!

I haven’t put together the actual Wasgij yet, this one is from the perspective of the priest, I wonder what everyone is looking at. I guess I’ll find out soon enough. 🙂

Celebrity Chief Chef!

Chief Chef
Celebrity Chief Chef! by James Alexander – Jumbo (Wasgij) – 1000 pieces

I haven’t done a Wasgij for a while, and I forgot how much fun they are. As usual I am not showing the full image, no spoilers allowed! I only show the person (or thing) shown on the box as a hint. I don’t think the hints are overly helpful though, at least they aren’t for me.

Jumbo puzzles are excellent quality, although I do realize that sometimes there can be a problem with pieces fitting where they don’t belong. It usually isn’t a problem with the Wasgij puzzles though, the images are usually full of bright colors and busyness. There are so many Wasgij puzzles here to do, but sometimes I forget about the giant stack of them in my closet.

For the most part the Wasgij images aren’t hard to figure out, you normally know what the people are wearing and can start with that. Also, as you’re sorting you can find blocks of color or something with which to begin. It’s just a matter of figuring out what the perspective is, or what you’re supposed to be deciphering. They’re always entertaining!


A Purrrfect Escape!

A Purrrfect Escape! Wasgij Mystery #13 by James Alexander – Jumbo – 1000 pieces

A Purrrfect Escape was lots of fun! I really enjoy the Wasgij  puzzles, assembling a puzzle you have no picture for is a great challenge. I never show the entire image for these puzzles that you have no picture for, I don’t want to spoil the fun for anyone. I only show the character on the front of the box that has a before and after image; that way I’m not giving anything away and I’m not showing anything new.

The sense of humor of these artists is on par with mine, and I always enjoy the situations they’ve imagined and how their characters end up. In this puzzle Special Agent Wasgij has been captured by the enemy, he has to think fast and look for a getaway. How can he escape his shackles, distract the guards, and make his way to freedom? The answer is what you have to puzzle, and it’s an interesting result!

The colors on this puzzle were bright and fun and I enjoyed figuring out the solution to Special Agent Wasgij’s tiny problem. There were several people to assemble including guards, scientists, the evil villain and his girlfriend, and even the little old lady who serves the “evil tea”.

I still have a stack of Wasgij puzzles in my closet to assemble, it has been reduced some but is still almost 5 feet high with puzzles yet to be done. I’m tackling them when I can, although I just ordered the four new ones (which add up to 6 new puzzles as 2 of the puzzles have a bonus puzzle included!) I’m slightly addicted to puzzles, and a bit off my rocker; but I’m adorable according to my husband, so it’s all good. 🤗

A 14th Century Castle!

Wasgij Back to #2 – A 14th Century Castle! by Bill Houston – Jumbo – 1000 pieces

When I was deciding what puzzle to do next I looked at my photos and realized I hadn’t done a Wasgij in over a month, it was definitely time! This was the first of the Back To.. series that I’ve done, the opposite of the Destiny puzzles – and it looks like I love them both! 🙂

As usual, I don’t show the entire finished puzzle. I don’t like to ruin the fun for anyone in figuring it out for themselves.

Jumbo quality is exceptional and right up there next to Ravensburger – for me anyway. I love the feel of the pieces and how they fit together, and the puzzles are gorgeous! If you can’t tell – I’m a fan. 😎

In this puzzle we see a 14th century castle as it is today, with tourists and souvenirs and tours being given. So what was it like in the 14th century when the Lord of the castle lived there? Today they’re selling hot dogs and ice cream, what was being sold back then? There’s an archaeological dig today, where did those bones come from? It’s a great image for puzzling and you’ll enjoy the finished puzzle – there’s so much to look at!

I really enjoy the added challenge of the Wasgij and What If puzzles, it’s nice to puzzle without an image to work from, it feels like more of an accomplishment when I’m done. Plus the added bonus is that each series is from a manufacturer with excellent quality.

As usual, I loved this puzzle – no big surprise! How boring,they’re always great – ho hum. 😉