Earlier this year, I leisurely got interested in puzzles. So far I’ve completed 6 puzzles this year!
Puzzles I’ve completed but have yet to send out to friends. I will do this sometime soon!!
First, I would sort (one evening), work on part of it (another evening) and return back to it (another evening). I hadn’t completed one in one sitting. So it seemed like the best idea to do a puzzle derby….amateur move.
What is a puzzle derby? A timed-competition to complete a puzzle. The Duluth Puzzle Derby gave out a 500-piece puzzle with a time limit of 3 hrs. The puzzle derby encouraged a Team Spirit Award, i,e. team t-shirts, wear a designated color, wear crazy hats, or any other way to express your team spirit. My partner in crime, Deb, and I decided on an 80s theme, cus neon and fanny packs. Duh! We went with a Cindy Lauper-themed team name, Girls just wanna do puzzles.
I wasn’t creative enough to combine an 80s song title/song lyric with the word ‘puzzle’ or ‘pieces.’ Here are our sweet outfits.
Optimistic puzzlers – photo by Mike Scholtz
Our shirts to say,”This shirt glows when my swag is on.” Backstory, we bought these shirts awhile ago. This was inspired when we saw a 10-year old boy with his swag on in Canal Park. #inspirationanywhere Don’t judge me, I found them at JCPenneys for $8.99 plus free shipping. Fanny packs, or any 80s gear, can be found at Ragstock on Superior St.
There was this rule:
Contestants cannot use any puzzle tools, magnifying glasses, cutting devices, flashlights, use phones to take pictures of puzzle, etc. as helpers; hands only or you will be disqualified.
I made sure to take a photo to show our progress but not to use it as a helper. I’m not sure how to use it as a helper…I am apparent behind the times for this side of computational analysis.
So we had a giant clock to tell us when to start. There were 30 teams competing in the two-person competition!
Our bag of pieces.
Photo by Duluth WDIO.com
Surprisingly, my fanny pack and quick hands made the Duluth TV news at the start of the competition! I didn’t think I would be uncomfortable doing this, there was some serious pressure.
Our strategy was to first sort pieces by border and color. Then we could complete the border first and fill-in.
We felt pretty good once we got this done!
We had some great support at this, two friends got photos of us.
photo by Mike Scholtz
photo by Travis Davidsavor.
I’d say we hit our wall when we got to the sky and clouds. We did a tag team style to give fresh eyes. We sorted the pieces in groups to best put them in. We kept looking at the clock, the time flew by!
The first people finished in 1:09:22. The top ten teams finished in 2 hrs. The top 21 in less that 3hrs. There were 9 of us who didn’t finish in the 3hr mark.
Correction: Someone showed
was our frustrated by 3hrs
The awesome folks who organized this let us stay. They said we should finish our puzzle. I had a fruit leather and felt better. More snackies next time since our brains hit a wall. Even when everyone else was done…they encouraged us.
photo by Mike Scholtz
We got to about this part of the puzzle at the 3:30 mark.
We got some help to finish it! The organizers were stumped on some pieces because we had tried them too! They were psyched to help us out since we lost our steam.
This summed up our emotions at the end of the derby!
photo by Mike Scholtz
I think Deb and I should have probably practiced together before we did this. We live our life on the edge. I was busy these last three weeks traveling and with work.
I would recommend this to anyone! It was draining but totally worth it. It was the coolest thing to do the puzzle from start to finish. I decided to read up on some literature about brains and puzzles. I’m a scientist, this is a natural thing to do for me. The literature was interesting. For families of those who suffer from semantic dementia, this one paper “Positive Clinical Neuroscience Explorations in Positive Neurology” led to another study that describes one type of dementia suffers:
The dominance of the visual, and the perseverative or obsessive behaviors characteristic of semantic dementia, is reflected in the large proportion (~25%) of these patients for whom jigsaw puzzles become important, or even the primary activity of daily living (Green and Patterson 2009), suggesting they are able to achieve “flow” during working on these puzzles. In a controlled study, Green and Patterson (2009) found that semantic dementia patients have above average jigsaw skills, especially in “reality-disrupted” puzzles, in which expectations of the real world can interfere with puzzle completion, and in “grain” jigsaw puzzles, characterized by the fact that conceptual knowledge does not benefit performance.Encouragingly, from a clinical standpoint, semantic dementia patients, who often exhibit flat affect and demeanor in social situations, displayed pleasure and pride during the completion of jigsaw puzzles suggesting that this might be a good candidate for enabling flow in many patients with semantic dementia.
I’ll try to look more stuff up later when I have more time. Seems like a great way to have families interact with someone who suffers from that type. I would say a 500 piece is probably the easier size.
So, I went home and started another puzzle.