This is a guest blog post from puzzle investor Timothy Wright:
In my review of the double-sided August Macke Farbige puzzle, I wrote, “For the modest price, the fun and frustration, you want this small puzzle in your private collection. Most Artifact puzzles are amenable to sharing the experience with a friend; this one may be the exception. With half the pieces always wrong side up I suspect if I shared my puzzle table with an alter ego and someone was constantly turning the pieces over, one of us might get hurt. I’ll share this puzzle with the nicest, most loving couple I know. They never argue, and I’ll report any incidental carnage.”
Well here's my update on that: my best friends did recently start this puzzle together, but didn't realize it was double-sided - each one assumed that the other had laid out and turned over all the puzzle pieces as a courtesy for them.
They had trouble finding everything they needed on just one side, and in the end they reasoned it would be better for each of them to work on their own puzzle rather than ever chafe one another. So one of them just started another puzzle; a kind of a territorial solution, as opposed to a delegation solution. They are still very happy. Drama was entirely averted!
Some say the real test of any relationship is a riding a tandem bicycle together. Much worse than ballroom dancing; on a tandem bicycle all activities must be coordinated by the captain who sits in the front seat, who steers and gears, and has the final word on all activities. It may sound unfair and who would want the rear seat with very limited view, except the saving first rule of tandem bicycles is when anything goes wrong it is always the captain’s fault. The second rule is: “See above rule” and there is no third rule. It works out the captain may have the last word but he also must be a very clear communicator and a darn good listener.
One could do their doctoral thesis on couples working on jigsaw puzzle together. Some couples will not ever share a jigsaw puzzle, it is too personal. My dental hygienist told me that as she started sorting out all the edge pieces her husband corrected her - in his puzzle rule book sorting out the edges first amounted to cheating. My solution to her marital tiff was to recommend “Mechanical Griffin”.
Since all couples are unique, and since all Artifact puzzles are unique, I’d like to hear your special “Artifact Puzzles Couple Stories.” Do you and your partner share the same set of unwritten rules? Does your partner hog all the choice pieces? Does your best bud finish all but the very last piece, and let you have that satisfaction? I’ll theorize that sharing puzzles need not be a war zone but could be a theater of kindness and deference. It’s just a theory, I could be wrong.
I did a web search for "unwritten rules of jigsaw puzzles," and my query actually came up as suggestion as I typed it. Silly me, if it were on the internet it would not be unwritten would it? Is it the one and only place the www is literal?
So undeterred I searched “Jigsaw Etiquette” only to learn that there is a jigsaw puzzle named “Etiquette”. Silly me, not what I was looking for. Did I just wake up in a room full of lawyers?
I have concluded that if we want a list of “Unwritten Rules of Jigsaw Puzzles” we must write our own - you can post your suggestions for jigsaw puzzle etiquette or couples-puzzling stories in the comments below, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.