Mystery Flowers, 2020-01-21

I couldn’t resist this mystery puzzle I found at a flea market. On the box, it says “Not houses! … but flowers” (it also says “500 pieces”). As I started on the puzzle, I knew straight away that it was a Ravensburger.


After I had completed the bench and most of the basket I was confident I would know the image if I saw it, and so I googled Ravensburger and flowers and had no problem identifying the puzzle. It’s called Beautiful flowers, and it turned out to be complete. It was fun doing a puzzle without knowing the image in advance!

Beautiful flower, Ravensburger, 500 pieces. Completed on January 21st, 2020.

Home Made Puzzle

A friend of mine was kind enough to share a family heirloom with me. This wooden puzzle was handmade by the brother of her grandfather, probably in the 20s or 30s. There is one other puzzle he made, and I hope to do that, too, one day (the puzzles live in Sweden, so my friend will have to bring it over).

[Christmas Preparations], hand made, 190 pieces. Completed on January 19th, 2020.
The pieces are really big, I took a photo with my car keys to show the scale. I was also going to measure the completed puzzle, but I forgot.


The puzzle is stored in an old shoebox, and it says ca. 190 pieces on the box. It also says Jenny Nyström on the box. I asked my friend who that is, and it turns out she is a very famous 19th Century Swedish artist who specialized in traditional Christmas images. (You’ll see what I mean if you do an image search of Jenny Nyström). This signature on the puzzle is not Jenny, but Curt Nyström. Turns out, her son continued the family tradition!


Anyway, I was very impressed with the quality of the puzzle, it is every bit as good as I would expect a commercial puzzle to be. I was especially impressed by how the image is perfectly glued to the plywood. It would be great to be able to make my own puzzles, but I’m afraid that’s not gonna happen, I’m far too clumsy 🙂


Rocket Launch, 2020-01-13

This was a really fun image with a banana rocket about to launch and lots of interesting details.

Rocket Launch by Uli Oesterle, Heye, 1000 pieces. Completed on January 13th, 2020.

Kirk is canoodling with an alien as Uhura looks on in disgust. Scotty has forgotten to plug in the transporter.


Yarn ninjas armed with knitting needles.


Darth Vader is on babysitting duty.


Yikes, looks like Lisa Simpson took some steroids and got into pro wrestling!


And now for the bad news. The pieces were far too thin, so thin that the puzzle didn’t lie entirely flat. I tried to get a photo where you can see it, but this is the best I could do.


The lesser quality was especially noticeable because I did the Funky Zoo puzzle right before, and that was fine. Below on the left a piece from the Funky Zoo puzzle and on the right a piece from this one. The difference is clear.


It’s not yet bad enough to go on my do-not-buy-list, but it’s really annoying. The thing is, it doesn’t seem to affect all Heye puzzles. Rocket Launch is from 2016 and Australian Habitat (the Funky Zoo puzzle) is from 2018. Rocket Launch came in a triangular box and the Funky Zoo series comes in regular boxes. Not sure if that’s relevant here, but I will keep an eye on this situation.

Australian Habitat, 2020-01-10

I felt like doing a puzzle from the Funky Zoo series and pulled one out at random. It turned out to be Australian habitat, topical in a sad way right now. I hope for much rain for Australia, and that the awful fires are soon over.

Australian Habitat by Marino Degano, Heye, 1000 pieces. Completed on January 10th, 2020.

The puzzle is lovely, I really like this series. There are lots of fun details, as usual, although some of them start to look familiar. Not just the entrance and exit, and the fence in the background, but some people, too:

Hello, last time I saw you you were cleaning Santa’s hut on the North Pole!
These birds have enormous teeth!



The World, In Progress

The first puzzle that I started in 2020 is a 3000-piece world map from Heye. I haven’t done a world map in quite a while!


It’s not an old map, but a modern map made in the style of old maps. The artist is Rajko Zigic, who has also done the Heye pirate map. The puzzle is from 2008, and it’s made in Germany (Heye moved production to Eastern Europe about 10 years ago). When I opened the box and spread out the pieces, I noticed a rather pungent smell, apparently from the glue used. I can’t remember ever noticing something like that before with Heye. I bought this new in 2008, so the smell was definitely from production. Anyway, in a couple of days it dissipated, so no problem, really, but strange.

Another thing I can’t recall seeing in a Heye puzzle before: pieces with one side without tab or hole. Educa still has this type of piece, but I can’t think of another major manufacturer that has these, at least not with a standard grid cut.


With 3000-piece puzzles, I’ve usually spread out some of the pieces on pieces of cardboard to leave some room to work on the table, but this time, I decided to spread out all the pieces on the table. Pretty soon I got a piece of cardboard anyway, and I did the edges on that.


While I really like having all the pieces on the table in front of me, that didn’t work so well with this image. After I had completed the edges and border, I wanted all the pieces within the edges to be more or less in the area they belonged, that means no random pieces. I still only have one piece of cardboard, though.


I’ve done most of the non-map stuff, like compasses, ships and monsters, so when I get back to Dortmund I will get on with the more difficult part of the puzzle.



New Heye Puzzles

Heye has finally released their 2020 catalogue (the 2019 catalogue became available in November 2018), and there are some nice ones in there. I went to my local puzzle shop in Helsinki, and they already had some of the new puzzles. I got three:

Submarine Fun by Uli Oesterle. I just realized, I already have three puzzles by Oesterle, but I’ve never done an Oesterle puzzle. Have to get on that ASAP!
Monaco Classics by Loup. This one is a re-release.
Another puzzle in the Life-series from my facourite, Marino Degano, to go with Dog’s Life and Cat’s Life.

There are two more puzzles that I absolutely must have, a new puzzle in the Inner Mystic series, and an adorable selfie monster from the Zozoville series: (5)

Pantone: Juicy Limes, 2019-12-30

Pantone is, apparently, a colour management system widely used in many industries. The things you learn while puzzling 🙂

Pantone: Juicy Limes, Clementoni, 1000 pieces. Completed on December 30th, 2019.

As a puzzle, this was one of those where you know exactly what to do all the time. I’ve done many puzzles lately where I place pieces here and there with no clear plan, but this was very clear and quite easy.

I started with the colours at the bottom, then on to the lime-coloured stripe on the right. This turned out to be the most difficult part, and I even sorted the pieces according to shape, but the cut was so great that it wasn’t much of a problem. I’ve grown more and more fond of Clementoni, and it’s now up there with Ravensburger and Heye for me.


I went on to do the blue bowl, the plate, the table and finally, the limes and the green background.  There are three other puzzles in the Pantone-series, not must-haves, but I will get them if I see them at a good price. This was my last completed puzzle for 2019.


After School Fun, 2019-12-29

This was a great puzzle except for the boring cut (all pieces with two tabs opposite). Fun image,  strong colours, and the quality was great. I was appalled that the children are playing hockey in the street, but at least they’re not wearing skates 🙂  Before I started working on this, I assumed they were on a frozen lake, but lakes don’t come with stop signs. The kid with #9 is wearing a jersey that looks exactly like the ones my favourite hockey team, HIFK, wears.

After School Fun by Patricia Bourque, Eurographics, 1000 pieces. Completed on December 29th, 2019.

I had heard that new Eurographics have this boring cut, but this was my first experience with it. There are still 13 Eurographics puzzles in my to-do pile, no doubt some of them will have this cut as well, but not all. I bought this about a year ago, and my latest Eurographics purchase was about a month ago. I pulled out my newest Eurographics, and that still has the random cut that I’ve always associated with Eurographics:


There’s also this on the box:


From now on I’m going to assume that Eurographics has the boring cut unless I see this on the box. And if I find one of these cut with only two-tabs-opposite pieces, I’m going to complain about false advertising 🙂

Another thing a noticed: the one with the random cut is made in Germany:


I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Eurographics puzzle that was made in Europe before, it’s always been Canada or the USA.

The puzzle with the boring cut is American:




Zombis: The Blonde, 2019-12-24

A zombie Marilyn Monroe. Not really a fan of the image, but it was pretty entertaining to work on, except for pieces fitting where they don’t belong, as happens with Educa. (4).jpg
The Blonde by Javi Meiner, Educa, 500 pieces. Completed on December 24th, 2019.

Zombis is, apparently, a registered trademark, but I don’t know if it’s a cartoon, or an art project or something else entirely. I expect there are other puzzles in the series, but it’s unlikely I’ll be buying them.




Here’s an extra post with my stats for 2019. I completed 113 puzzles and placed 101 494 pieces (I’m counting one section of an 18 000-piece puzzle as one 4500-piece puzzle). This is up from last year when I completed 75 puzzles and placed 85 659 pieces. I don’t think I will surpass this year before I retire 🙂

Here’s a breakdown according to brand:

Brand Amount %
Ravensburger 27 24%
Heye 13 12%
Clementoni 10 9%
Tactic 5 4%
Peliko 4 4%
Grafika 4 4%
Schmidt 4 4%
Castorland 3 3%
Eurographics 3 3%
Educa 2 2%
D-Toys 2 2%
Unicef 2 2%
Trefl 2 2%
Extra Goods 2 2%
Unknown 2 2%
Gibsons Puzzle 2 2%
Jumbo 2 2%
Step Puzzle 1 1%
de-luxe 1 1%
Cloudberries 1 1%
Ingham Day 1 1%
Borussia Dortmund 1 1%
White Mountain Puzzles 1 1%
atregio 1 1%
Artifact 1 1%
Victory 1 1% 1 1%
Puzzle Michèle Wilson 1 1%
MasterPieces 1 1%
Calvendo 1 1%
MB 1 1%
Sunsout 1 1%
Micropuzzle 1 1%
Bluebird Puzzle 1 1%
Nathan 1 1%
Cobble Hill 1 1%
New York Puzzle Company 1 1%
Wardsback 1 1%
Dino 1 1%
Play Time 1 1%
Karmin International 1 1%
Grand Total 113 100%

Like last year, Ravensburger and Heye top the list, although this time Ravensburger is the clear number one, and Clementoni is up to third.

Here’s the breakdown according to piece count:

Pieces Amount %
1000 43 38%
500 31 27%
1500 7 6%
759 7 6%
2000 6 5%
300 3 3%
200 2 2%
150 2 2%
250 2 2%
100 1 1%
4000 1 1%
108 1 1%
3000 1 1%
30 1 1%
600 1 1%
80 1 1%
4500 1 1%
313 1 1%
350 1 1%
Grand Total 113 100%

The top 3 is unchanged here, but there are much more 500-piece puzzles than last year.

I thought I’d share one more statistic, not so much about my puzzling activity as about other people’s. I have mentioned before that, most days, over 90% of traffic to my blog is about the Exit/Escape-puzzle series that I have a spoiler page for. Well, apparently, these puzzles have been really popular as Christmas presents, because on Christmas week I had almost four times the traffic of any other week:


I also feel confident in saying that the best selling puzzle in the series by a large margin is Witches Kitchen, with the Observatory coming in second.

Happy New Year!