hell level.


today, on national puzzle day

i’m reminded of one of my most memorable puzzle-solving adventures

(sounds like an oxymoron, i know)

years ago, when in grad school

my sister sent me a very special puzzle

i’ve always been a huge fan of challenging jigsaw, crossword, and sudoku puzzles

after reading the description, i thought this would be right up my alley

the puzzle was all black, with a pale, delicate, and finely drawn vine winding through it

it had no straight edges, pieces were mostly all the same shape,

just slightly different sizes, and had no picture to use as a solution

i finally decided to tackle it one snowy day

that turned into three

as we were in the throng of what turned out to be a full-out blizzard

i cleared my large square coffee table, sat on a pillow on the floor,

put on some music, brought over a big cup of creamy coffee

and began

what turned out to be the most challenging puzzle of my lifetime

  determined to solve it

my back was hurting, my hands were hurting, my eyes were hurting

by the end of day one

 all the lights ablaze to detect any slight differentiation

only stopping for brief breaks or to sleep

at one point

i felt like jack nicholson in ‘the shining’

holed up, shut off from the world, snowed-in, and involved in an insane enterprise


solve it i did

with the gift of those three long days

when it was impossible to go anywhere

the local world pretty much shut down for the snow

 not going to let this puzzle beat me

after i put the last piece in place

 i tore it apart and put it back in the box

making a decision to never make this puzzle again

i passed it on to a friend at school, told her it was a gift not a loan, and wished her good luck.

about this item:

  • 🧩Black puzzles for adults – 1000 pcs. hell level difficulty jigsaw puzzles are made from premium quality materials, the size of each puzzle is different, each is precision made so that every piece fits perfectly, touch smooth, full of detail, Special surface film treatment. It’s a game to enlarge your brain capacity, a game to strengthen eye-hand coordination and your imagination. It’s not so easy to complete the black puzzle, but once finished, you will be proud of yourself.

puzzle history timeline:

2300 bc- early puzzles

before modern puzzles, labyrinth puzzles were popular in ancient egypt.

1767 – jigsaws

mapmaker, john spilsbury creates the first jigsaw puzzle

1908 – puzzle-mania

puzzles become a full-blown craze in the united states

1933 – peak popularity

during the great depression, puzzle sales soared to 10 million a week

“a puzzle with a solution is a game. a puzzle without a solution is a work of art.”
― marty rubin

94 responses »

  1. Bravo!
    Why is it that some things make us determined, hard-boiled, hard as nails etc? We all have it at some level.
    I do some puzzles on line. I choose the 45 pieces (or less). I don’t have that “buckle-down” feeling for anything more.

    But I can spend hours/days trying to get a rhyme to rhyme. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. You are indeed a jigsaw puzzle champion, Beth. I can only imagine having spectated as my dear wife Karen, terrific daughter Elisabeth and George Three have teamed to build big but colorful puzzles together during our vacation lazy times!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I also love all the types of puzzles you referred to (love my sudoku), but I’m not sure I could do any puzzle that is just one color. On the last night of one family reunion, we stayed up until 2:00 a.m., finishing a jigsaw puzzle. One of the routines I’ve acquired in the last few years is to do online puzzles while listening to music. At first, I didn’t think I’d like them, but there’s no mess or worry about missing pieces, and there’s this little satisfying reinforcement, snapping sound when two pieces fit.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Puzzles are for many a “lost art” but I have seen some younger friends take it up – perhaps inspired by their love of “Star Wars Lego” kits – sparking a return to these sorts of challenges…oh, and an “all black” puzzle is wild!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are a shero! I couldn’t EVER do that. I bought my daughter a white one and she thought I was insane. Didn’t even open the box. LOL I am amazed that you actually did it. I understand the pain, puzzles are hard on the body, and to do it for that long…wow. You are fabulous.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I hate these. My mom (of the “peak generation”) got a puzzle to do from Thanksgiving to New Year. My neighbor E’s husband does one after the other but he also takes apart and rebuilds actual cars (’50s era T-Birds). You and Bob must have incredible skills that elude me completely.

    Liked by 2 people

    • it’s odd, because linear thinking and logic are not my forte. instead, it’s a matter of seeing how things relate, how they connect, or finding patterns. why I love collage and other kinds of puzzles.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s