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Results for the Spring 2021 Artifact Puzzles Speed Puzzling Contest

Last Saturday April 17, we held the first ever National Artifact Puzzles Speed Puzzling Contest over Zoom, in collaboration with Speed Puzzling.

140 top puzzlers registered across the nation, about half competed in the Individuals category, and around half with a teammate in the Pairs category.

We shipped a sealed secret new puzzle out to everyone ahead of time, and everyone opened theirs at the same time on Zoom. 

The new puzzle, Iwona Lifsches Poohsticks will be available to everyone to buy in a few days.

Congrats to the amazing 8 prize winners who placed in the top-4 in each category!

The median Individual time was exactly 1 hour, the winners clocked-in at:

  • Individual 1st Place: Kate Henschel of Maine, at 28 minutes, 50 sec
  • Individual 2nd Place: Rebecca Tushnet of Virginia, at 32 minutes, 51 sec
  • Individual 3rd Place: Lauren Kautz of Minnesota, at 34 minutes, 44 sec
  • Individual 4th Place: Will Flannery of Virginia, at 35 minutes, 2 sec

The median Pairs time was 55 minutes, the winners clocked-in at:

  • Pairs 1st Place: Ariana Murphy and Morgan Leak of Viriginia at 23 minutes, 36 sec
  • Pairs 2nd Place: EB and Dan Caron of Massachusetts at 24 minutes, 48 seconds 
  • Pairs 3rd Place: Sophia and Zeb Figura of Iowa at 27 minutes, 2 seconds 
  • Pairs 4th Place: Emily and Claire Cheng of California at 28 minutes, 37 seconds.

Will we run another such contest? We hope to run either a fall contest or another contest next spring, also by Zoom. Some changes we are considering for those events are:

  • Different secret puzzles for the Pairs and Individual, so people could participate in both
  • Maybe make it a mystery puzzle, so there is no box image and no preview of the image
  • Open it up to international puzzlers (this one was US only)

Got feedback? Post a blog comment, thanks!



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  • Kathy S. on

    Christopher, I hear ya! I never worked jigsaw puzzles until about a year ago, as something relaxing to do while listening to music or podcasts. It’s almost like art therapy for me, as I savor the colors and admire the artist’s work — often the very brushstrokes of the painter. And also the designer’s work — so clever! I love that each Artifact puzzle has a different cut design. Tara Flannery, Jef Bambas, Ashley Boyd, David Figueiras and others in the Artifact stable are great artists themselves. (I often think their names should go on the boxes, too.)

    A wooden puzzle (the only kind I work anymore; I’m spoiled!) is a total sensory experience— not just visual, but tactile — the nice heft of wooden pieces, the satisfying feeling you get when you click a piece perfectly into place, the pleasure of running your hand over the completed, smooth surface. I just love every minute!

    So I should have known better than to enter a speed puzzling contest. It’s the opposite of my usual “Zen” approach. But I had no idea that speed puzzling was a THING — i.e., that there are people who do this on a regular basis. Since I do way more puzzles than anyone else I know, I figured that I must be in the “upper percentile” of puzzlers. Ha! Obviously, I’ve never met any “competitive” puzzlers… and didn’t even realize there was such a thing! So I very naively thought I actually had a chance. And even though it’s not my usual mode to work a puzzle quickly, I knew I had to give it a try because I really, really wanted to win first or second prize: any 300-pieces-or-more puzzle that Artifact makes.

    And the reason I wanted THAT so badly is that I’m in love with the “Lucero’s Place” puzzle (385 pieces), but mine was lost in December while traveling. I have been checking this site every day for the last five months in hopes of finding it back in stock! I only entered the contest because I hoped to get that beautiful, beloved puzzle into my hot little hands again!

    The Iwona Lifsches “Poohsticks” puzzle that we worked for the contest is no substitute for “Lucero’s Place,” but it is fun, with bright colors and and some especially clever multi-piece whimsies. I have to tell you, though — I enjoyed it a lot more the second time around… when I worked it with no stopwatch!!

  • Christine on

    I was a bit disappointed it wasn’t a mystery puzzle, as that is how I prefer to puzzle! I’d love if that were the case next time. Different puzzles for the two would be fun too!

  • Christopher Jarosz on

    I can appreciate people who want to be competitive in their endeavors, but personally I find assembling jigsaw puzzles as a time to think and relax.


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