Jigsaw puzzlers found their happy place, and their people, during the pandemic. Puzzling was already a thing, but soon more groups formed on social media, while popular puzzles disappeared quickly from online and actual shelves.
Sales for one big puzzle maker, Ravensburger, soared 370% year over year in the first couple of weeks of lockdown in 2020.
Inventories have mostly recovered, although there are still “sold out” tags on some sites. And even though many people have returned to pre-lockdown life, the love of jigsaw puzzles stuck around. We’re still sorting and assembling, and getting that little kick when we successfully place a piece.
Puzzle pros say assembling the border is the best way to start. Then sort by color, pattern and, in really big puzzles, section. (At this year's World Jigsaw Puzzle Championship in Spain, Alejandro Clemente completed a 500-piece puzzle in just over 34 minutes. Most people take between two and seven hours on that size puzzle.)
This holiday season, in a world that seems anxious on many fronts, maybe a good gift would be a jigsaw puzzle. A few hours can be spent putting something together, with a beautiful picture the result. Call it piecing together some personal peace; puzzle therapy.
One-thousand piece puzzles are perfect for confident puzzlers like Janet Rosen, a lawyer in Evanston, Illinois, who loved puzzling as a child and got back into it during the pandemic. A gardener and reader, she was happy to receive a couple of hand-me-down puzzles from a friend: one of vintage gardening books, by Ravensburger, another of classic British book covers.
“I like the challenge, and the concrete method of overcoming the challenge,” she says.
At SeriousPuzzles.com, you’ll find Cavallini & Co’s gorgeous vintage...