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How the Fastest Puzzlers Do It

We asked some of the winners of our Speed Puzzling Contests how they puzzle so darn fast!  For those of you who think sorting first is the right way, prepare...

We asked some of the winners of our Speed Puzzling Contests how they puzzle so darn fast! 

For those of you who think sorting first is the right way, prepare to be surprised!

Contest winner Rebecca says:
"My style is very chaotic. I don't do much sorting except what's very easy as I turn over pieces, and I never look at the picture. I stick with things that are easily visible on the pieces themselves, like areas of color or unusual shapes. I do try to turn over all the pieces first, but even then if something obviously matches I will often stop and do it because that can give clues to where the next piece goes." 
Another contest winner tells us:
"I always start by flipping all the pieces face up, then looking
for pieces that obviously go together. I'll pick them out to
put together, and do as many such groupings as possible.
When possible, I'll try to place the group in its approximate
location, using the picture of the box to figure that out.
For team puzzling, we do practice together, but the most
important thing we do is communicate. We tell each other
what we're doing, or what we plan to switch to. That way
we can each make the best decision on what to work on
Maya (our founder) doesn't do contests, but is a notoriously fast puzzler. Here's how she does it:
"I'm very greedy -  if I see a match I take it, and while I'm often focused on one color/texture,  I'm keeping a lot of possible matches in my mind at once, and happy to take advantage of whatever I notice.  It's doesn't feel organized, but it feels like parallel processing and not focusing so much on any one thing that you miss opportunities."
Are you a super fast puzzler? Leave a comment letting us know your tips!
4 comments on How the Fastest Puzzlers Do It
  • Michael Fox
    Michael FoxOctober 18, 2022

    This article was very interesting, but honestly, I’ve never thought of frantically, chaotically, rushing to solve one of these beauties. I have to hurry up and hurry in most other areas of life. These puzzles actually rescue me from time and chaos. But, we have one thing in common. I never look at the image while assembling the puzzle. It adds to the magic and sense of discovery.

  • Anonymous
    AnonymousJune 02, 2022

    We speed team puzzle, and an important thing we do is keep a little bit of an eye on what the other person is working on, and if we see a piece we think they might need, put it near their similar pieces.

  • Sherry Heidebrecht
    Sherry HeidebrechtMay 24, 2022

    We have doubles of several artifact puzzles and our family has regular team puzzle contests! Our individual methods are all over the place, but with 4 or 5 people on each team we find communication is the key.
    We do all of our puzzles without the picture in order to make it more challenging. We have multiple cork message boards in several sizes for sorting/assembly.

  • Kait M. (Contest Winner)
    Kait M. (Contest Winner)May 20, 2022

    Hi! As a speed puzzler, I always flip the pieces face up and sort at the same time, edges and others by color or section no if it’s a large puzzle. I work on whatever section stands out to me the most for wooden puzzles. If it’s a standard ouze or something with a defined edge I’ll do those first. I don’t train to speed puzzle, I just puzzle for pleasure all the time.

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