Cross & Glory
My Confident Puzzler Difficulty Rating: Challenging
Yes, this puzzle was challenging — I’m not going to argue with Cross & Glory’s own rating on this one. That said, every piece that was put in place brought a sense of achievement and a smile. This puzzle was downright fun!!
Quality: As a color wheel or colorful dart board, this puzzle hit the bullseye! It was perfect in every way. The small, sturdy, 8” square box had no shrink wrap, just 2 clear stickers. The full graphic is on both the box top and bottom. Inside was a sealed bag of pieces and a small poster. There was no puzzle dust. Color match pieces to images was on point. The solid pieces had an almost matte “satin” finish. There were no false fits. Piece fit was immaculate — the right piece literally fell into place. No pieces were damaged or together uncut, and none were missing. When complete, the piece fit was pick it up, turn it over tight!
Getting started: Find the edge pieces and sort by color. I sorted by color and had 24 trays when the first sort was done. Throughout, I sub sorted further for each shade of color, separating those with any division lines and those without.
Construction: I built the frame first, then filled in the small squares and corners at the top and bottom. And then the real fun began. I started with the purple at lower right and worked around counterclockwise, leaving the blue section for last. Time, concentration and patience were required throughout. Adding to the challenge was the fact there was only one piece shape — the 2 in / 2 out traditional shape. I don’t take points off for that, it is a common choice for many brands, but staring at variations in holes and knobs can get tedious. None the less, I carried on. Every finished section was reason for celebration! I totally enjoyed conquering this challenge!
Final thoughts: As a graphic artist, it was impossible not to purchase this puzzle at first sight. I never heard of this brand. The box boasts a “Best New Puzzles” award. Okay — worth a shot. Obviously I was impressed. This puzzle was destined for my wall. (Unfortunately, it got there before I realized I hadn’t taken a picture of just the puzzle, hence the one above.) And, I am destined to buy more. I can honestly say they have a unique selection, from unusual, to rather odd, to stunning, to just nice. I suggest checking it out.
My grades for Calibrate: Quality A++, Fun Factor A++
ABOUT THE AUTHOR - With 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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About: Mastering the Art of Choosing the Right Jigsaw Puzzle
Tips to Avoid Buying Overwhelmingly Difficult Images
Jigsaw puzzles offer a delightful challenge, but there are times when the level of difficulty can be overwhelming. Whether you're a seasoned puzzler or a novice looking for an enjoyable experience, it's important to choose the right puzzle image that matches your skill level and personal preferences. In this article, we'll explore the world of difficult jigsaw puzzles and provide you with a list of tips to help you avoid buying images that might leave you feeling frustrated.
1. Know Your Skill Level
Understanding your own puzzle-solving skills is key when selecting a jigsaw puzzle. Be honest with yourself about your experience and comfort level. If you're a beginner, it's best to start with puzzles that have a lower piece count and simpler imagery. As you gain confidence and experience, you can gradually challenge yourself with more complex puzzles.
2. Consider the Piece Count
The number of puzzle pieces directly affects the difficulty level. Larger piece counts, such as 1,000 pieces or more, can be more time-consuming and mentally demanding. If you prefer a less challenging experience, opt for puzzles with smaller piece counts, such as 500 pieces or even fewer.
3. Analyze the Imagery
Before purchasing a puzzle, carefully examine the image. Complex and intricate designs, such as landscapes with numerous details or abstract patterns, tend to be more challenging. If you're looking for a less daunting puzzle, choose images with clearly defined sections, distinct colors, or simpler motifs.
4. Read Product Descriptions and Reviews
Take the time to read product descriptions and reviews. Puzzle manufacturers often provide information about the level of difficulty, which can help you make an informed decision. Additionally, reading reviews from other puzzlers can give you insights into the puzzle's complexity and whether it aligns with your preferences.
5. Look for Beginner-Friendly Collections
Many puzzle companies offer collections specifically designed for beginners. These collections often feature puzzles with larger pieces, simpler imagery, or even hints and guidance to assist you along the way. Exploring these beginner-friendly options can be a great way to ease into the world of jigsaw puzzles.
6. Seek Variety in Piece Shapes
Some puzzles feature unique piece shapes that can add an extra layer of difficulty. If you're looking for a more accessible experience, consider puzzles with standard grid-shaped pieces. However, if you enjoy a challenge, look for puzzles with irregular or whimsical piece shapes, as they can make the assembly process more complex and engaging.
7. Check for Puzzle-Specific Features
Certain puzzle manufacturers offer features to indicate the level of difficulty. For example, some puzzles may have a "difficulty rating" on the packaging or specify whether they are suitable for beginners, intermediate puzzlers, or advanced enthusiasts. These indicators can be valuable in making an informed decision.
8. Consider Collaborations with Artists
Many jigsaw puzzle companies collaborate with renowned artists, resulting in a wide range of puzzle images with varying levels of difficulty. Some artists may have a distinctive style that makes their puzzles more challenging, while others may focus on creating accessible and enjoyable designs. Research the artist's work and style to ensure it aligns with your preferences and skill level.
9. Seek Recommendations from Fellow Puzzlers
Engaging with the puzzle community, whether through online forums, social media groups, or local puzzle clubs, can provide valuable insights and recommendations. Experienced puzzlers can share their thoughts on specific puzzle images and brands, helping you make informed choices.
10. Trust Your Instincts
Ultimately, trust your instincts and choose puzzles that genuinely spark joy and interest for you. While it's important to consider the difficulty level, it's equally crucial to select images that you find visually appealing and personally satisfying. Enjoying the process of assembling a puzzle is just as important as the challenge itself.
By following these tips, you'll be better equipped to choose jigsaw puzzles that match your skill level and provide an enjoyable experience. Remember, puzzles should be a source of relaxation and fun, so don't be afraid to explore different options and challenge yourself while staying within your comfort zone. Happy puzzling!
(ChatGPT, personal communication, June 20, 2023)