Footnotes from the Library – January 2015

Lois Anderson

If you look carefully on the shelves at the west end of the Library, you will notice stacks of jigsaw puzzles. Now these boxes can either contain hours of challenging, mind enriching entertainment for those who love them or minutes of frustration and confusion for those who don’t. We have puzzles for children and adults from a dozen to hundreds, even thousands of pieces. The pictures may be easy to put together or an exercise related to solving Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. The key for most puzzles is the picture on the front.

Many puzzlers work at the tables at the Clubhouse (there are two reserved for this purpose). Several people working on a puzzle can complete it in a short time. Some hope to return the next day to view the finished product; so it can be disheartening to come the next day and discover that all of one’s efforts have disappeared and a new puzzle is on the table.

Most puzzle solvers start with the edge pieces. The flat edges outline the rectangle and contain the rest of the other pieces but not all puzzles are rectangles! There are circles and other shapes to torment the novice puzzler. Animals, flowers and other shapes cause one to work on sections instead of the outline.

Once a technique has been established it is time to fill in the middle. Some will look for a large object in the puzzle, try to amass what one believes to be the correct color pieces and then starts puzzling. Others work by shape so they look for unusual pieces. Some finding that all the pieces have the same shape (usually a knob at each end and dents on the sides) will on occasion box up the whole thing and bring it back to the Library. Whatever your technique, with sufficient time and determination, you, with or without the help of others, will probably finish putting the puzzle together.

Now if the puzzle is one you purchased and are working it at home, you can frame it for a picture for your wall, give it to a friend to work or donate it to our Library. If it is one of the SunBird Library puzzles, work it as quickly as possible and return it so others might have the same feeling of accomplishment. There is nothing more frustrating than using all the pieces available and find some to be missing. One or two is okay and can add to the challenge but if there are more it can be discouraging. A suggestion to all: when finished with a puzzle, please, please check the floor and surrounding area on the table for loose pieces.

Got some free time? Exercise your brain! Try a puzzle!