Puzzle Balls

I don’t really like puzzle balls, but I am, of course, prepared to make an exception if it says Borussia Dortmund somewhere on it 🙂 This puzzle ball also works as a night light if you take out 4 pieces at the bottom and place it on the light provided (as I have done). You activate it by clapping your hands.

Borussia Dortmund puzzle ball, Ravensburger, 72 pieces. Completed on December 29th, 2018.
I started with the logos, but then I looked at the numbers at the back of the pieces and saw that some of the pieces were wrongly placed…
…which is hardly surprising with virtually identical pieces.
I then started doing it by the numbers, without looking at the picture. Boring, but the only way to get it right.

My first puzzle ball was considerably larger, 540 pieces.

The Earth, Ravensburger, 540 pieces. Completed on February 20th, 2009.
I did the land first, using the image…
… but then I did the rest by the numbers. I remember the pieces fitted so tightly that my thumbs were sore when I was done. Getting the last piece in was also a bit difficult.

James Bond 007, 2018-12-29

Great fun, old James Bond movie posters with Sean Connery and Roger Moore.

James Bond 007, Ravensburger, 500 pieces. Completed on December 29th, 2018.
“Everything he touches turns to excitement” 😀


I actually did this one once earlier, in May 2017 (no pics from then, though). I did it again partly because I was hoping for a mashup with the previous puzzle, Colourful Ribbons. That didn’t work, unfortunately. While each piece has the same basic shape (same number of pegs pointing in the same direction) as the corresponding piece in the other puzzle, the cut is still different, so that the pieces won’t fit in the other puzzle.

Part of the top rows of both puzzles.

The Observatory, 2018-12-26

UPDATE: There are now further details and spoilers about the series on the dedicated page. There is also an individual spoiler page for this puzzle.

Ravensburger has a new series (currently 3 puzzles) that combines a puzzle and an escape room game. I won’t show the finished puzzle since it’s not quite the same as the image on the box.

The Observatory, Ravensburger, 759 pieces. Completed on December 26th, 2018. Despite the lower piece count, the puzzle is almost 70×50 cm, normal size for a 1000 piece puzzle.

The box contains the puzzle, the solution in a sealed envelope and a booklet with instructions.


These are the instructions. A bit of backstory, then it’s time to assemble the puzzle. One strange thing is the line “The rectangular pieces in the bag are not part of the puzzle and can be discarded.”
These are the instructions. A bit of backstory, then it’s time to assemble the puzzle. One strange thing is the line “The rectangular pieces in the bag are not part of the puzzle and can be discarded.”
Working on it…

Then you have a really nice puzzle to complete, and afterwards, you can start looking for tasks to solve in the image… As stated in the instructions, there are 6 mysteries in the picture. The answer is always a number. Finally, you have to put it all together …

There is help online (the QR code in the instructions), and of course the solution in the envelope, and I needed a lot of help. In fact, I wish the help had been more detailed, I wasn’t always certain how I was supposed to get to the correct answer, even when I had the hints and the answer…

Anyway, I really enjoyed this enormously, it would have been lovely as just a normal puzzle, but then I got to save the world as well! With a liiiittle help, of course 🙂 I already ordered another puzzle from the series, and will probably get the third one as well.

UPDATE: Here’s my best shot of the bottom right corner, requested by Cindy:



Hope this helps!

Cottage, 2018-12-25

The only good thing about this puzzle was that I paid nothing for it 😀 I bought another puzzle at a flea market, and the seller wanted to get rid of this as well. I don’t blame her.


This unnamed puzzle by Wild Horse (Holland) was of quite poor quality, with thin pieces often fitting where they don’t belong. I almost gave up on the sky, I thought I was hopelessly deadlocked, but the problem was that there were missing pieces. If this had been a 1000 piece puzzle I don’t think I would have finished it. Six missing pieces.

Romantic Town By Day, 2018-12-24

Romantic Town By Day by Ryba, Heye, 1000 pieces. Completed on December 24th, 2018.

I did the first of Heye’s new puzzles! This one is part of the new Romantic Town-series, where the image is continued over several puzzles, like Degano’s Zoo-series, but the images also work as separate puzzles.

The date on the bag says November 2nd, 2018. Fresh puzzle!

This was one of those puzzles where you do the sky first because it’s the easiest part 🙂 I’ve noticed this with other busy cartoon puzzles as well.

After the sky it got tricky. I was well over halfway there when I found the last edge piece – I was already convinced it was missing. Should know better by now 🙂
I didn’t quite understand why all of the characters have wings and haloes. Also, there isn’t much romance in the image.
Perhaps these two just got married? It’s not clear from the picture.

This was OK, but I still like Degano’s Zoo-series more.

Puzzling at Work

I work at the Helsinki University Library. A couple of years ago my boss at the time, who also enjoys puzzles (many, many librarians do) said I should bring a puzzle to work. So I did. More than one, in fact. There’s a round table in one of our break rooms, and most of the time, there’s a puzzle on it.

A colleague working on a Heye cartoon puzzle (Wildlife by Mordillo).

Many colleagues started bringing in their own puzzles as well.

Currently, we are working on a 1000 piece Educa puzzle showing part of Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights.

Before last Christmas, I decided to put a puzzle out for the customers as well. Just for the holidays. Well, it turned out to be so popular we couldn’t possibly stop 🙂 And the customers started bringing in their own puzzles as well.


When a puzzle is finished, the customers can break it up and bring the box to the service desk, where they get a new puzzle in exchange. A 1000-piece puzzle seldom takes more than a day, and there is almost always someone working on the puzzle.

Puzzle shelf behind the service desk.

The library has had a lot of positive feedback about the puzzles, with one customer saying that the puzzle makes the library seem like a friendly and welcoming place.

Ahoy!, 2007-12-23

On this day 11 years ago…

Ahoy! by RJ Crisp, Heye, 1500 pieces. Completed on December 23rd, 2007.

This puzzle will have been produced in 2007 or shortly before (say, 2005-2007), but there was an earlier version of the same image, released in 1991, with 1000 pieces:

Image from the Jigsaw Wiki

The earlier version was called Nelson’s Crew, also published by Heye. I don’t know why it says Papillon on the box, but Fun Puzzle was definitely a Heye series. I found a few others with the Papillon-logo (here and here, for example), and they were all pre 1993. Since 1993 there is the Heye logo instead.

I think I got my first Heye cartoon puzzle in the late 90s, but they’ve been around for longer than that. I don’t think I ever had one from the Fun Puzzle series.

Zeche Zollverein, Essen, 2018-08-30

On Friday, December 21st 2018, the last piece of coal was brought up from a mine in Germany. It is now officially over. Ever since the middle ages coal has been brought up from the ground in the Ruhr area, where Dortmund is located. In later times much of that coal was used in producing iron and steel, but since the late 70s heavy industry, as well as coal mining, has been winding down, causing a painful structural change in the area, with very high unemployment. In Dortmund, coal mining ended in 1987, and now the last mine in Bottrop is also closed.

The area has adapted and turned to other ways of making a living (in Dortmund, there are, for example, a lot of insurance companies, and many work in technology), but coal mining and heavy industry is still part of the cultural heritage. Some of the large headframes that still dominate the landscape have been turned into museums, as is the case with Zeche Zollverein in Essen, seen on this puzzle. Unfortunately, I don’t have a puzzle with a headframe from Dortmund. Or Bottrop 🙂

Zeche Zollverein, Essen, Calvendo. Completed on August 30th, 2018.

I didn’t know the manufacturer, Calvendo, from before, but it turned out to be a good quality puzzle. As it indeed should be, at 30€ for 1000 pieces! I bought this from one of my usual online stores (https://www.puzzle-offensive.de/) and was happy to find a puzzle with a Ruhr-area theme, nothing from Dortmund though.

Recently I checked out the website of the manufacturer, and found that they have lots and lots of puzzles available, and several with Dortmund themes! It seems that you can sell posters, calendars and puzzles of your pictures on the site, and Calvendo prints them, cuts them and sends them out. The catalogue is enormous! I will definitely be ordering some of those Dortmund puzzles, but I’ll wait until summer when I’ll be in Germany for many weeks, because who knows how long these take to ship.

Also, if you want to publish with Calvendo, you should probably read this experience of a photographer who used Calvendo.