Jigsaw Puzzle

Jigsaw puzzles are a type of physical puzzle typically made by cutting a piece of wood with a design on it into interlocking pieces.

Background[edit | edit source]

Jigsaw puzzles take their name from the way that they are traditionally produced, by cutting a drawing placed on a relatively hard material, such as wood or cardboard, using a saw. However, the name is a misnomer, because instead of a jigsaw, frequently other kinds of saws such as the fretsaw were used to produce them. The invention of the jigsaw puzzle is credited to John Spilsbury, who cut up a map of Europe into its constituent kingdoms as an educational tool for geography in 1766.

Puzzle Application[edit | edit source]

Typically, jigsaw puzzles in hunts are used as a fun and physical way to get an image with some amount of effort, requiring solvers to use both image data as well as the shape of the pieces. Of course, some jigsaw puzzles subvert this trope, either with an image that is difficult to match up, or unhelpful or misleading cuts (such as extra corners or straight cuts).

Additionally, there may be other pieces of information used in the jigsaw puzzle, such as the pattern of the cut, the number of pieces, or another image on the other side of the puzzle.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

For a typical jigsaw puzzle, the normal strategy of starting with the corners, then the edges, and working your way inward should be sufficient. If there is an image, it's also usually possible to cluster certain colors or related content together for easier access. It may also help to sort pieces by edge connections.

Notable Examples[edit | edit source]

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Dickishness (MITMH 2014) (web) - While not a traditional jigsaw, this puzzle did involve putting something back together. It just happens that it's a stack of paper that was put through a shredder in front of solvers' eyes.
  • Star Maps (MITMH 2020) (web) - An almost complete white jigsaw puzzle with only a series of red dots to identify what pieces go together.
  • P.I.HUNT 8 (web) - An entire puzzle hunt in the form of a jigsaw puzzle, using the medium in many different ways.
  • Some Assembly Required (CiSRA 2013) (web) - Part of the unconventional Day 4 tradition, in this year, all of the puzzles were cut up into small shapes that had to be reassembled. Click to revealYou started with 5 puzzle pages, and only got 4 puzzles. The cut patterns drew out the answer to the "missing" puzzle (which, themed to the puzzle title, is this one)

See Also[edit | edit source]