This week I had the pleasure of interviewing @2puzzlepeople !
1. How did you come up with your Instagram name?
I’m a competitive jigsaw puzzler, and with my partner (Dan) we’re British national pairs champs. So, we picked something that would be really clear and simple – we’re just two puzzle people.
2. How does competitive puzzling work?
Competitive puzzling can vary depending on the specific competition. But the core principles are usually: 1. everyone gathers together at a specific time/date/place (usually in person, but some competitions are virtual). 2. everyone has the same puzzle to put together at the same time. 3. the first person/pair/team to finish is the winner. There are some other elements – like if you lose a piece, you will have time added on, which may mean if you have someone close behind, they can leapfrog you. Most competitions are time-bound; so if you don’t finish within a given amount of time (usually 90-120 minutes) you must stop and count the number of completed pieces. This determines what place you get in the competition. In team competitions (where teams consist of four people), the format is usually a ‘marathon’ style. This consists of three or four jigsaw puzzles, generally between 1000-1500 pieces each. It takes hours for teams to complete their puzzles, but it really highlights the importance of having a well-rounded team (as there are different types of strengths within speed puzzling) and of having well-chosen puzzle artwork. (I’ve seen some very poor choices from time to time! I never know if the sponsoring puzzle companies or the competition organisers make the puzzle choices, but I suspect when it goes wrong it’s down to the sponsors.) The bottom line is whoever finishes first wins. It’s a surprisingly compelling sport (?) to watch – it sucks you right in. And most of the big ones are live-streamed on YouTube. It’s more fun to participate, though. And generally speaking, you don’t have to pre-qualify for competitions. You can just sign up.
3. What was your most recent favorite puzzle you worked on? What was the least favorite? Why was it your favorite and why was it not your favorite?
Oh, this is such a hard question. I recently did a Ravensburger black ‘Krypt’ puzzle with 736 pieces. It’s all black and has a confusing cut to it (on purpose), which makes it quite hard. I can normally complete a 500 piece puzzle in under an hour (depending on a few things). So, I didn’t expect a 736 piece puzzle to take a full six days. It’s hard to say whether that makes it my recent favourite or recent least favourite. But . . . it’s left its mark.
4. What is the hardest puzzle you work on? Why was it so hard?
Someone at work asked me this question recently and there’s no hesitation in my answer. I did a 550 piece Where’s Waldo puzzle when I was about 12 that damn near killed me. I kept it on one of those felt roll-up matts under my bed and would work on it every night before going to sleep. I can’t remember how long it took me in the end, but months and months. I don’t know why I didn’t give up, it was sheer torture. But I’ve done two more puzzles like that (Waldo) since then, both 1000 pieces, and didn’t have any trouble at all. But I know I’d run for the hills if I ever saw that 550 piece one again.
5. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?
World Puzzle Day is coming up on 29 January! And as part of that, I’m inaugurating a puzzling fundraiser called Puzzle for a Cause. Hopefully it’ll become a regular event. Beyond that, I’ll be training for the British championships in June and hoping to retain our pairs title!
Thank you so much SJ & Dan!!! If you would like more information. The following contact info is below: