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‘Joy of Jigsaw’ contest comes together at Hudson Park Library

BY BILLY PIDGEON | The Hudson Puzzle Club held the first “Joy of Jigsaw” Puzzle Rally on Sat. Dec. 14, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Hudson Park Public Library, at 66 Leroy St.

The Puzzle Rally is a timed competition for individuals and two-person teams to complete 500-piece puzzles. The event was hosted by the Hudson Puzzle Club and sponsored by boutique toy manufacturer eeBoo and the Jigsaw Puzzle Guild.

Nine teams of mostly two players (including a one-person team) put together identical 500-piece jigsaw puzzles.

Bibi, of team Bibi Gray, said they improvised right out of the gate.

“Our first challenge was to find a quick way into the sealed bag of puzzle pieces without a tool,” she said. “My teammate bit it open.” 

Bibi’s account of her team’s performance reflected the friendly, competitive spirit of the Puzzle Rally. 

“I must confess that my partner and I needed three-and-a-half hours,” she said of their puzzle work. “We did finish, proudly — but we were last!”

Hold on! (R&B joke) Coming in first place were Sam and Dave, at one hour and 31 minutes. 

They were followed by Jaco and Norma, Positraction Puzzlers, Galaxy Panthers, Highway Desperados, Missing Pieces, The B-Rods, The Supernova and Bibi Gray.

The jigsaw puzzles were donated by Piece & Love, a division of New York City-based specialty toy maker eeBoo. Players were given the puzzle they completed, plus another jigsaw puzzle and themed gifts, including jigsaw-piece shaped soaps and cookies, provided by the Jigsaw Puzzle Guild.

The box cover of the puzzle done by all of the teams at the “Joy of Jigsaw” Puzzle Rally. (Courtesy of eeBoo)

Geoffrey Scott was a special guest observer at the Puzzle Rally. He is the winner of the 2019 British Jigsaw Championship (non-elite division) held this year in Newcastle, U.K.  Champion Scott had useful advice for team competitors to finish jigsaw puzzles more quickly. “Don’t sort pieces by pattern or color when beginning a puzzle,” he shared. “Pattern and color placement will be more accurate as you complete the puzzle.” 

Also, Scott suggested, “After working awhile on sections or areas of the puzzle, switch with your partner to give fresh eyes to each other’s work.”

Puzzling it out: Team Bibi Gray, one of the “Joy of Jigsaw” crews, got started. (Courtesy Hudson Puzzle Club; Top photo by Tobias Klenze)

In addition to the competition, Joy of Jigsaw attendees enjoyed refreshments and could assemble a variety of jigsaw puzzles, featuring a large range of themes, pictures and styles, including vintage and wooden puzzles.

After the Puzzle Rally, many attendees stayed on to work on even more jigsaw puzzles of 100 to 2,000 pieces in a more leisurely fashion.

With the success of the Joy of Jigsaw Puzzle Rally, the Hudson Puzzle Club and the Jigsaw Puzzle Guild plan to host another rally in the spring. Details on that event are forthcoming.

Piece & Love is a new division of eeBoo that produces puzzles of 500 pieces or more, that are vibrant, contemporary and extremely high quality. eeBoo Piece & Love commissions art from among the best contemporary artists and the result is a line that has a distinctive presence on the shelf. Like all eeBoo products, Piece & Love jigsaw puzzles are manufactured with the environment in mind, using 90 percent recycled gray board and soy-based inks.

Based on the Upper West Side, eeBoo is a 25-year-old woman-owned and -run company. 

The Jigsaw Puzzle Guild offers a subscription service of four jigsaw puzzles per year. Puzzle themes are from museum artwork collections across the United States. The Jigsaw Puzzle Guild also creates custom puzzles for museums, brands and companies.

The Hudson Puzzle Club is a group of puzzle enthusiasts who work on puzzles — one on one or together. Working on a wide collection of new and vintage puzzles, they meet at the Hudson Park Public Library most Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and the first Saturdays of each month. All jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts are welcome to work on and exchange puzzles at the club. The club has a Facebook page and a Meetup page.

The Hudson Park Library branch is located on Leroy St., just east of Seventh Ave. South, tucked away on one of the most beautiful streets in the city. Serving Greenwich Village since 1906, it is graced with large windows overlooking James J. Walker Park and St. Luke’s Place. It’s a relaxing place to work, read — and do jigsaw puzzles.

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