The Fiddler puzzle

It is always a challenge to review a jigsaw puzzle – primarily because so much depends on personal taste. So, if you don’t like challenging jigsaw puzzles (1000 pieces) that exercise your sensitivity to color, pattern, and design as well as shape, then maybe this particular puzzle isn’t what you would call Major Fun. Not to worry, the manufacturer, Ceaco, has a significantly vast and varied selection of puzzles of all levels of difficulty, and we can, with confidence, guarantee that if you like jigsaw puzzles at all, you’ll find something very much worth the time you are willing to while away in the name of puzzling fun.

Our Chief Puzzle Taster, (my wife, Rocky) is an artist. Like most of our Tasters, she has a relatively light-hearted approach to puzzles, tending to appreciate the art as much as the puzzling. Which perhaps explains why she really liked The Fiddler. It’s part of Ceaco’s Mosaic line – images that are created by assembling selections from the works of other artists. (Take a look at this hi-res image of the Fiddler puzzle for a better understanding of what you’d be playing with.)

Though, when viewed close-up, the effect of the mosaic is to present a more complex image, she discovered that it helped her find pieces by searching for a particular style of artwork, while, at the same time, sharpening her appreciation for how different artists work.

Her strategy for solving this puzzle underwent several changes as she progressed. First, she would just pick up any arbitrary piece and try to figure out where it goes. Later, she separated the red and blue color pieces. Later still, she separated pieces into four kinds of shapes to help her fill in the gaps. It wasn’t until she finished the whole puzzle that she could decipher many of the images used in creating the mosaic. And, even after the whole puzzle was solved, she was still able to spend considerable time exploring (and indeed marveling at) how the person who created the mosaic from such disparate parts was able to create a picture which, when seen from across the room, looked as realistic as a photo.

There’s a lot more to like about this puzzle, and, in deed, all of the Ceaco puzzles we’ve so far tried. The pieces lock together well enough for you to feel that you’ve actually found a fit (even when the visual cues are not as powerful as you’d like). The colors (always an important factor when doing jigsaws) remain vivid throughout. Both of these factors add greatly to the fun and aesthetic of the jigsaw experience.

Surprisingly, the Fiddler is similar, in challenge, that is, to the Wedding , one of Ceaco’s “Dream Day” series. This series, rather than presenting mosaics composed of the work of different artists, shows the work of one artist who has included 18 different “surprise” images within the context of the painting. These 18 discrete objects, like the different art styles in the Fiddler, provide useful visual clues while she was solving the puzzle.

These differences within a puzzle go a long way towards making the puzzle more fun, and alleviating much of the severity of the challenge – even though it has 1000 pieces. A puzzle like Motor Cycle Race, which also has 1000 pieces, turns out to be much more challenging – simply because the image is stylistically so similar throughout.

Ceaco’s puzzle boxes are designed for easy recycling. They open by tearing a pull tab. Though they close well enough, it does make you have to be a little more careful when you get ready to disassemble and store the puzzle. It might be a good idea to keep the plastic bag the puzzle comes in, and to tape it closed before you put it all back into the box.

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