Heye 2023 Catalog

Thanks to Hurray for Puzzles!, who alerted me to the fact that the Heye catalog for 2023 is out! There are some nice puzzles to look forward to, I’m especially happy to see a new installment in the Funky Zoo series by Marino Degano. It’s called Cosmic Habitat, and I can see how it might become difficult to think of new installments in the series, but I hope Degano can keep it going a while yet.

There’s also a re-release of two Degano puzzles, the That’s Life series. I actually already have the one on the right, now called High Above, although my copy from 2008 is called The Way to Heaven. I also had the other puzzle, now called Deep Down (although it was Labyrinth of Life before), but I’ve given it away at some point. That was a mistake, and I will probably buy it again 🙂

Both of the new Zozoville puzzles look great:

Three of the new puzzles I already have, the Inner Mystic puzzle Sylvan Spectre, Room with President, and Space World. There are some other interesting puzzles in the catalog, like the In/Outside series, but none of the new cartoon puzzles look like must-haves to me. So, in addition to the three I already got, there are only four must-have puzzles (Zozoville x2, Cosmic Habitat and Deep Down). I call that getting off lightly 🙂

The Lovers of Vence, 2022-12-22

Not the easiest 500-piece puzzle that I’ve ever done, but the fantastic Ricordi quality made it a joy to assemble. The painting itself is not my favourite type of art, but it still made for a nice puzzle.

The Lovers of Vence by Marc Chagall, Ricordi Arte, 500 pieces. Completed on December 22, 2022.

Bullfighting, 2022-12-18

A friend brought me this old wooden puzzle, possibly from the 30s. The brand is NK (Nordiska Kompaniet, a large department store in Sweden), and i think it’s no later than the 30s, possibly even earlier. The box uses an old word for jigsaw puzzle (“läggspel”), whereas we now use the word “pussel”. (My friend said that the earliest use of the word “pussel” she could find was from 1919, but I don’t think this is quite that old.)

There was no image on the box (just the title in Swedish, written by hand). I have to say this must be one of the most difficult puzzles I’ve ever done. Some of it was fun, like working out how the pieces fit together when every piece is completely unique, but the less fun part was that since this is not interlocking, I had to be extremely careful, the slightest touch could push the pieces apart. Also, there were a lot of missing pieces, that also increased the difficulty level. I counted 19 holes, but at least one is so big that that there should probably be two pieces there.

Bullfighting, NK, 350 pieces. Completed on December 18, 2022.

There were many whimsies, here are some examples:

Part of the horse was cut so that it followed the outlines, making it quite tricky:

Anyway, it was fun to get to try a puzzle like this, even though it turned out to be more challenging than I expected.

Devolved Parliament, 2022-12-14

This was a Christmas present from last year that I finally got round to. It was hard, but nor quite as difficult as I was expecting. The quality was very good, and the random cut hepled as well in the dark parts. Unfortunately, one piece is missing (top right corner).

The image is, of course, the most famous painting by street artist Banksy, where the British members of parliament are shown as chimpanzees.

Devolved Parliament by Banksy, The Gifted Stationary Company, 1000 pieces. Completed on December 14, 2022.

Schönbrunn, 2022-12-10

A collage of images of the imperial palace Schönbrunn in Vienna, and of the castles most famous inhabitants, the Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife, Empress Elisabeth. Elisabeth was a very popular figure, but she found it hard to adapt to the formality of the Austro-Hungarian court. She was eventually murdered by an Italian anarchist in Switzerland in 1898, aged 60. Her life (especially her youth as a glamorous empress) has inspired many movies, the most famous of which are from the 50s and starred a young Romy Schneider. The films were a huge hit in German speaking areas, and they were popular in Finland as well (my grandmother loved them). Netflix now has a TV-series about her called The Empress, and I just heard that there will be a second season.

Schönbrunn, Piatnik, 1000 pieces. Completed on December 10, 2022.

The puzzle itself was nice. It’s an older Piatnik (I would say at least 20, maybe 30 years old), an Austrian brand. The quality is generally good, but you do get the odd false fit.

Mystery Puzzle, Part 1

Last week, I bought a few puzzle from a recycling center. With one of the puzzles, I knew as soon as I picked it up that something was wrong – it was way too heavy. I just had to get it to find out what was in the box 🙂

The first thing I did was weigh the pieces, and then I weighed the pieces of a complete 1000 piece Clementoni puzzle (it’s a 1000 piece Clementoni box), and from that I was able to work out that there should be almost 3000 pieces in the box.

I was able to easily sort all the pieces into four piles just based on the colour on the back of the pieces:

There were small piles of grey and blue pieces, a green pile with pieces from at least two puzzles, and a large pile of light blue pieces. The light blue pieces are Clementoni pieces, and at least some of them are from the image on the box.

I tried out the grey-backed pieces first, but it wasn’t much use. From the size of the pieces, it’s very unlikely that the piece count is less than 500 pieces, and there are less than 200 pieces present, so this went into the bin pretty fast. There is some vegetation, and an animal, possibly a bird. That’s all I could make out.

Next, I tried the dark blue pieces:

Well, this is obviously an alpine landscape in autumn, but there are still a lot of pieces missing. I don’t mind missing pieces, but I want to be able to connect all the pieces that are there, you know, and that clearly wasn’t happening with this one, so it also ended up in the bin.

Next, the green pile. As I said, there were at least two puzzles in there, and one of them was of really bad quality. Not only were the pieces thin and all exactly alike, but a lot of them were actually broken:

I didn’t even try this, but went over to the other green pieces.

There are about 450 pieces here, and I was hopeful, I would be able to put this together, but I now think these pieces are from a 1000 piece puzzle, not a 500 piece puzzle. I could only find one corner piece. I can make out that there is sea, and some sails.

At this point I decided to do some other puzzles before I go on with the final, largest pile of pieces. I did another weigh-in, and there are about 1700 pieces left. They are all Clementoni pieces, and there are pieces from at least two puzzles left.

Celebrating Our Glorious Queen, 2022-12-04

This puzzle was released to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in the summer of 2022. I had been meaning to get a puzzle to do after the queen has passed, and I put in an order on August 28. Two weeks later the queen had died, but since my order contained a lot puzzles that were not in stock, I decided to wait. Well, I finally got tired of waiting and cancelled the remaining two puzzles that still weren’t in stock. So here, finally, my tribute to Her Majesty Elizabeth II, who was also a puzzler.

Celebrating Our Glorious Queen, Gibsons, 1000 pieces. Completed on December 4, 2022.

The puzzle was easy and fun. There are images of the Queen, her parents, her sister, and her husband.

The Liljestrand House in Winter, 1860, 2022-12-06

It’s Independence Day in Finland today, so here’s a painting by Finnish 19th Century artist Magnus von Wright. This was a very pleasant assembly, and as with many older Tactic puzzles, the quality was excellent. The Christmas tree in the image looks like it’s on its way out, which would make this January 1860.

The Liljestrand House in Winter by Magnus von Wright, Tactic, 500 pieces. Completed on December 6, 2022.

Cobblestone Evening, 2022-12-01

There are lot of puzzles with paintings by Thomas Kinkade, but I think this is the first I’ve done. I got it cheap (3 EUR for a factory sealed copy), but I was expecting it to be really difficult. It wasn’t, really, and my dislike of green vegetation seems to be mostly about photographic images. The great quality helped too, of course. Like many Schmidt puzzles, it had a rather tight fit, which is pleasant while assembling, but a bit annoying when taking the puzzle apart. Anyway, I loved it!

Cobblestone Evening by Thomas Kinkade, Schmidt, 1000 pieces. Completed on December 1, 2022.