Last year, Dave Evans broke the Guinness World Record for largest hand-cut wooden jigsaw with his spectacular 40,763-part jigsaw puzzle to celebrate the 2012 Jubilee of the Queen. The puzzle measured 20 feet by 8 feet (the height of an average two-storey house!) and took over 200 hours to cut. Unfortunately for poor Dave, the puzzle collapsed after the final piece was put in. It took 16 days to rebuild, before being transported to the Sandringham estate.
Jigsaws have been around for about 250 years. An English cartographer named John Spilsbury created the very first jigsaw puzzle in 1767 when he chopped up a wooden map and challenged people to reassemble it. He named it a “dissected puzzle” and it quickly became a popular geography teaching method. We owe a lot to John!
Some jigsaws can cost thousands of pounds – especially those with celebrity connections or museum pieces from the John Spilsbury era. But today, some of the most expensive are made by Stave Puzzles. The one with the heftiest price tag has to be the ‘Knight at Stavely Castle’ – a complicated, 5-layered masterpiece with a 3D castle. Yours for just £5,000!
15-year-old Deepika Ravichandran of East Hampton became the fastest in the world to compete the ‘GWR Hasbro Puzzle’. This is a puzzle like no other: it’s oval shaped, has no guiding picture, and most of the pieces cannot be told apart. However, the jigsaw champion still managed to complete it in 13 minutes and seven seconds. Asked what makes her so good at it, Deepika simply replied: “it’s my thing”.
Students at the University of Economics of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam made history when they set a new Guinness World Record for the world’s largest jigsaw (by this we mean the most pieces). The puzzle was made up of 551,232 pieces (2.5 cm x 2.5cm each) and measured around 48 feet by 76 feet. Wow. We’d need to get a bigger coffee table.
We thought we had a big collection of jigsaws, but we were put to shame by Gina Gil Lacuna, a retired Filipina. She officially broke the Guinness World Record with her collection of 1,028 puzzles. Her love of them started when she helped her son solve a 5,000 piece Disney jigsaw. She now allots three to four hours a day to work on her puzzles. “The more you work your brain, the better off your mind will be”, she says.
Ready for some maths? According to experts, it takes four times as long to do a 1,000-piece jigsaw than it does to do a 500-piece jigsaw. Why? Each time you double the number of pieces in a puzzle you quadruple the difficulty. So a 4,000-piece jigsaw would take SIXTY FOUR times longer to finish than it would with a 500-piece one.