Apollo Fantasy Puzzle 
by Guest Writer Roberta Shore

We invite you to read Roberta Shore's review on the following jigsaw puzzle. Since she has discovered the advantages of jigsaw puzzling, she has reviewed/journaled several that will be available on this website. 

Apollo Puzzle - Roberta's Review


Apollo Fantasy


Extreme Random Cut

550 pieces

Finished dimensions: 27” x 15”

My (advancing) Newbie difficulty rating: moderate

Do you ever pick a puzzle because it evokes a happy memory or depicts somewhere you’ve been? I often do, but this time it was just the illustration. It was exciting! I wondered what that era was like. So, I looked up The Apollo . . .

“In 1933 Fiorello La Guardia, who would later become New York City’s Mayor, began a campaign against burlesque and Hurtig & Seamon’s was one of many theaters that would close down. Cohen reopened the building as the 125th Street Apollo Theatre in 1934 with his partner, Morris Sussman serving as manager. Cohen and Sussman changed the format of the shows from burlesque to variety revues and redirected their marketing attention to the growing African-American community in Harlem. . . . Today, the Apollo is a respected not-for-profit, presenting concerts, theatrical and dance performances, film screenings, education and community outreach programs.”

This puzzle had quality issues that could not be ignored. Uncut pieces, impossibly loose fit, and the finished puzzle, although exact to given measurements, was cut off, compared to the box picture, on all 4 sides. There was no additional poster, the box is huge and flimsy. Not an issue, but not to be ignored — there were no missing pieces.

All that said, I still had a lot of fun building this puzzle. It wasn’t easy per se, but it just flowed well. The areas and objects had distinct enough coloring to make sorting a fairly easy task. So, sort I did — in the order I learned from Puzzle Hobby. First off, by color and to find the edge pieces. After building the frame, I sub sorted out the sky area with the skyline, the buildings each had distinct windows so they went into each building sort, the Apollo signage, the marquis words and lights together, each car, each dancer, the sax player, the street, the group of people, and the lamp light. Call me super sorter. I used to try to do it all at once, and always missed edge pieces.

So, only 550 pieces and easy to sort, flowing construction — why moderate difficulty? This is a random cut puzzle. It means that many of the pieces are not traditional cuts, some are big, some are very small, some look like edge pieces but are not, sometimes corners are made up of 2 pieces, adding difficulty even when sorting out edge pieces. In this puzzle all that is taken to the extreme, very few pieces were traditional cuts, and so many pieces did not interlock, even in the frame. The loose fit made it impossible to move sections, they would totally fall apart - I suppose that’s moderate in terms of extra time piecing things back together.

I started puzzling 6 months ago. I’m a bit more practiced, and I’ve learned a lot, but still reluctant to take on truly difficult puzzles. If you are brand new to puzzling, here are some general reasons for saying moderate. Hint: a 500 piece puzzle is not necessarily easy, it will just be finished more quickly than one with a thousand pieces. If there are large areas of similar color or texture, piecing those together can be tedious. Random cut pieces offer extra challenge, they are harder to recognize by shape when you are looking for the piece that fits in your puzzle.

About SunsOut puzzles - The quality rating from independent sources is actually pretty good. I’ve done 30 puzzles now, enough to see that an individual puzzle from even the highly rated brands, might have issues. Loose piece fit seems prevalent across many of them. The one other SunsOut puzzle I completed (1000 piece Solar System) was also random cut to the extreme. Loose piece fit was again an issue, but the pieces were sturdy, none were still together uncut. It was more challenging than anticipated, I felt accomplished, and it was quite striking finished. But, it had a missing piece. Customer service was great, a replacement puzzle was issued the same day I inquired. SunsOut’s selection of designs is varied and interesting. For those last 2 reasons, I have added more to my stash. The 1000 piece shaped puzzle (Beachfront, on sale — hard to resist) will be waiting a while for me to tackle it. As a picture, I did think it could be sorted, but shaped puzzles are a whole other thing. I read the frame doesn’t always happen first. Yikes!

From the beginning, any puzzle I consider must answer this question “can I sort this?” It may not be the most enjoyable part of puzzling, but a thoughtful sort is essential and rewarding when you get to the really fun part - putting your puzzle together. Unlike unfortunate Humpty Dumpty, you will be smarter than all the king’s horses and all the king’s men!

My ratings: Quality B-, Fun Factor A+

ABOUT THE AUTHORWith her self-published book and  over 300 jigsaw puzzle reviews,  Linda has established herself as a prominent social media marketing influencer and jigsaw puzzle-preneur.  If you want to send Linda a quick message, visit her contact page here.

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