In a Roman Osteria, 2022-11-02

This painting by Danish artist Carl Bloch from 1866 was rather entertaining as a puzzle. The characters are looking at someone, and the man looks suspicious. The women look interested, but like they’re trying not to let it show. My first thought was that this is the kind of looks you would get if you start taking photos of strangers πŸ™‚ The artist has also painted himself into the picture, he is sitting with his back turned at the smaller table in the background, and one of the other men is his friend who commissioned this painting.

In a Roman Osteria by Carl Bloch, D-Toys, 1000 pieces. Completed on November 2, 2022.

Olde Buck’s County, 2022-10-26

I think this is my first Charles Wysocki image. I borrowed the puzzle from a friend, who bought it in the US. This image worked really well as a puzzle, there were enough details to keep it interesting to the end, but I didn’t have to refer to the box all the time. Loved it!

Olde Buck’s County by Charles Wysocki, Buffalo, 1000 pieces. Completed on October 26, 2022

Today is my four year blog anniversary, according to WordPress πŸ™‚

Mail By Rail, 2022-09-26 & 2022-09-28

A set of two 500 piece puzzles. Falcon is still not my favourite brand, but this was actually OK. The cut often seems a bit off with Falcon, and there can be false fits, but I saw nothing of that this time. I like the images, for some reason I usually enjoy doing all means of transport – trains, ships, cars – especially if they are vintage. Surprisingly, the image on the top where the train is being loaded at the station was much more difficult than the bottom one. Still not sure why πŸ™‚

Mail By Rail by Marcello Corti, Falcon, 2×500 pieces. Completed on September 26 & 28, 2022.

Ancient Egypt, 2022-09-08

The title given on the box (Ancient Egypt) isn’t much help, but on the puzzle (right bottom corner) it says “Nebamun hunting in the marshes (around 1350 BC) – Thebes, Egypt”, which is much more informative. Nebamun was a middle-ranking official scribe and grain counter at the temple complex in Thebes, and he is known because of the stunning paintings found in his grave (they are now in the British Museum). More on Wikipedia, and for some reason German Wikipedia has even more photos.

Some Egyptian art looks a bit formulaic, but this is anything but. Especially the birds, and the fish under the boat are stunning. Nebamun is standing in the boat, and between his legs there’s a child. He’s holding a bird with one hand, and seems to have a snake in the other. Maybe it’s just a strangely shaped arrow, because his wife looks to be holding a quiver. I can’t see a bow, though.

Ancient Egypt, D-Toys, 1000 pieces. Completed on September 8, 2022.

D-Toys is a Romanian brand, and as I have found before, the pieces are sturdy, there is a very good mix of piece shapes, and the pieces fit together well. Unfortunately, it’s fairly easy to place pieces wrong if they are all of the same colour. At the end, I had about 150 black pieces (in addition to the black edge pieces), and I had several cases where I had to pull apart a section that I had already finished, because a false fit somewhere blocked progress. Very annoying, but the actual image was a joy to do, only the black “border” was troublesome.

Plan 9 From Outer Space, 2022-08-12

This was my first Zee puzzle, and I was not optimistic about the quality, but it turned out out to be all right. There’s a good mix of piece shapes and I had no problems with false fits. The pieces are a bit on the thin side, but OK. Overall, it reminds me of Trefl. The box was big enough to hold 2000 pieces.

Plan 9 From Outer Space, Zee, 500 pieces. Completed on August 12, 2022.

This was easier than I expected. I did the text first, then everything that wasn’t blue, and finally the sky, progressing from light to darker blue. Great fun!

I must say, the quality of the poster seems to match the quality of the movie. Especially poor Vampira looks off:

Incidentally, Vampira was portrayed by Maila Nurmi, whose family had emigrated to the US from Finland.

United States Presidents, 2022-07-30

I borrowed this puzzle from work. We used to have a puzzle out for the customers in our library, but that was discontinued because of the pandemic, and it’s not started up again, but the puzzles are still there. Many of them were brought in by me, but this is from someone else.

While I usually love text in a puzzle, this was almost too much. There were definitely more pieces with text than without, which made the text less helpful. For a while, I consulted the box quite a lot, but this was still a fun puzzle, perhaps a bit more challenging than I expected.

United States Presidents, White Mountain Puzzles, 1000 pieces. Completed on July 30, 2022.

Many of the presidents are, unsurprisingly, unknown to me. I knew all the more recent ones, starting with FD Roosevelt, but only a few of the earlier ones. The last president on this puzzle is the younger Bush.

The World of Jane Austen, 2022-07-15

I’ve seen puzzles in this series before (there is one about Shakespeare), but I was suspicious of the quality and they’re also expensive, so never bought one. This was lent to me by a friend, and so I finally got to try it. There’s a poster included, and on the other side of the poster there are explanations about the buildings and characters in the puzzle.

The World of Jane Austen, Laurence King Publishing, 1000 pieces. Completed on July 15, 2022.

As expected, the quality was not all that great. I’m pretty sure that if there had been large areas of one colour, it would have been a problem, but with an image like this, it was fine. The pieces were sturdy enough, but all of the same basic shape with two tabs opposite. Did I say all? Well, not quite. Bizarrely, there were two pieces that were different: one with three tabs and one with one:

I have to say, I’ve never seen anything like this before. Doesn’t exactly add up to a good mix of piece shapes πŸ™‚

Despite the boring piece shapes, this puzzle was a blast. It came together very fast, and was a lot of fun.

Helsinki City Plan 1876, 2022-07-08

Well, this turned out to be harder than I was expecting. Story of my life πŸ™‚ The districts that are marked with colours were the easiest part, but even that wasn’t all that easy. Then there’s a lot of text, but it was so small that I had to use a magnifying glass all the time. On the right, there’s a list of notable buildings, and even a section on buildings that were being built in 1876. On the left, there’s a list of the blocks for each district (the blocks in the oldest parts of Helsinki have names in addition to numbers, and often they’re named after animals).

Helsinki City Plan 1876, Lautapelit.fi, 1000 pieces. Completed on July 8, 2022.

This is a puzzle by the in-house brand of board game store Lautapelit.fi, but it’s not their best work, unfortunately. The fit was a bit off, but not too bad, and there was a good mix of piece shapes.

The place where I live is to the north of this map, I guess that was just wilderness in 1876 πŸ™‚

Cute Owls, 2022-06-02

According to my googling, Pintoo is a Taiwanese brand, but their puzzles are available in Europe, and I’ve been wanting to try one for a while now. The pieces are plastic and the fit is very tight, in some cases too tight, and I had to use quite a lot of force to get pieces into place. Obviously, the pieces hold together really well, in fact, I had to take them apart one by one. Not really my kind of thing, but if you’ve always wanted to do a puzzle in the rain, or while bathing, this would definitely be a good choice.

The edge pieces came pre-assembled in a separate bag. I couldn’t be botherd to attach them. The piece count (300) was without the edges, since the part I completed was exactly 300 pieces.

Cute Owls, Pintoo, 300 pieces. Completed on June 2, 2022.