The World's (previous) Largest Jigsaw Puzzle
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LIFE: The Great Challenge   -   by Royce B. McClure

When was the puzzle released?
The first units were shipped from the Educa Borras factory in Barcelona during the first week of March 2007. So in Spain it was on the shelves by 10th March. Elsewhere, you can consider two weeks or one month later, depending upon the distance, and whether the goods were transported by truck or by vessel.

Are all of the puzzle pieces fully interlocking?
Yes. The puzzle has a fully interlocking classic cut.

Could you recommend how you would prepare the completed puzzle for display?
This needs careful planning due to the size of this puzzle. At the moment we are basing our recommendations on different peoples' experiences in mounting the last 'largest' puzzle which was 18,000 pieces. More information here:  Mounting the completed puzzle.

Does the puzzle have four separate borders or just the one?
The puzzle has only has one border. The puzzle is split into quarters vertically, meaning that the whole very lefthand side of the image is the first quarter. And so this part of the puzzle will have 3 straight edges: the top, the bottom and the lefthand side. The righthand side of this portion is random puzzle edges which will interconnect with the pieces in the next bag. Bags two and three will only have straight edges along the top and the bottom, and lastly bag 4 will obviously have 3 straight edges (top,bottom and RHS).

It can be assembled in four sections and is no different from the 18,000 puzzle in that sense, as that too had some straight edges and unformed edges. That image was quartered like a window pane and so each separate quarter had two straight sides and two sides that had the jagged edge to interlock with the other puzzle portion. However what they have - depending on the puzzle- is a green or gold border all the way around.

If you visit on-line puzzle forums you will find that one of the biggest gripes about assembling some earlier large puzzles was when the artwork had physical colored borders around and within the image. People complained that these parts were tedious, frustrating and difficult to assemble.

It obviously is a lot of work to assemble a puzzle of this size. It would be most frustrating to reach the end and find out that I have one or two puzzle pieces missing! If that happens, what can I do?
Every care is taken to ensure that a complete puzzle is packed into your box.

The puzzles sections remain connected after cutting and are checked to make sure that no pieces are missing from it. Then each puzzle section immediately goes through an automated breaking-up/bagging machine. This is specially designed so that it is virtually impossible for a puzzle piece to go missing. The pieces go into a polythene bag and it is heat sealed closed.

Royce's art appears on many jigsaw puzzles made by various puzzle manufacturer's and we've had feed back from a number of them saying how people have written to them about missing puzzle pieces - that their customer's initial reaction was disappointment but later they found the piece in some strange place. We are told that this is not an isolated incident but a frequent occurrence!

So it is important that after each puzzle making session you carefully inspect the floor and your clothing. This is especially true where there is a patterned carpet or rugs as it is very easy for unnoticed pieces get sucked up into the vacuum cleaner. Or have become stuck in clothing and inadvertently carried to other places and lost or to go through the washing machine.

Since this is the world's largest puzzle - it is likely that in many cases it will be worked on by at least several people over a long period of time and so it's important that every care is taken.

Lost Pieces - UPDATE (May 2013):

Until very recently, the manufacturer (Educa Boris in Spain) has had a free 'lost piece replacement service'. We have been informed by puzzlers that they no longer have any spares in stock of the 'Life' puzzle, so cannot replace lost pieces any more. That's bad news! What to do?

You could try re-creating your own missing pieces with a bit of handywork. Here is a link to a large "Life" image that you could use for printing:   (Tip: there is a repetitive pattern to the puzzle shapes so you can find a piece that fits the missing spot and use that as a model to hand-make one out of cardboard. Glue the color print of the missing image to the home-made piece. (Some basic image editing skills will be required in a program like Photoshop to size and match the missing image.)

Sorry, I know this is a lot of work. If you have any better ideas please let us know and we'll pass it along. .

The picture on the box looks too small to use as a guide to assembling the puzzle!
Inside the puzzle box there is a poster of the image. This measures 36 cm 98 cm (14 ¼ in x 38 ½ inch) and will be an additional guide for you.

You may want to laminate it to protect it from the frequent handling it is going to get, especially if the puzzle is going to be assembled by a team.

Have you seen the puzzle first hand?
Yes, we have. We were provided with a half-cut... (in fact we made it a condition of the licensing contract! ;-)) so we only had to assemble 24 pieces. We made an occasion of it. We had extended family members gathered to celebrate our daughter's 21st birthday. Each of the guests got a 'piece' and together we assembled it in record time! ;-) However to be fair we won't be entered into the 'Hall of Fame' for that effort...though later when time permits we hope to take the 'family' category on our web site, and will assemble it from scratch.

The printing on the puzzle is excellent - Royce is delighted with the sharpness and color quality. And of course the die cutting is excellant - Educa always produce a good quality product. We know as we have many designs with them in their 'normal' puzzle range.

The completed puzzle makes a fabulous mural and will be great for schools, churches, hospitals, sport club rooms, businesses and homes. There is plenty of detail even in the large size.

I was wondering, what are the dimensions of the box the puzzle comes in and what is the weight?
The box measures 22.5 inches wide x 13.5 inches deep and 10 inches tall (57cm x 34cm x 25.5 cm) and weighs approx12 kg ( approx 26 pounds).

I love your puzzle and plan to take up the challenge this Fall. However, the largest wall space in my home only measures about 11 feet across. Will there be a print or anything of "Life: The Great Challenge" that I can display on my wall?
At the moment there isn't an art print or poster but that could change in the future. However the actual puzzle includes a poster inside the box. This poster measures 36 cm x 98 cm (14 1/4 inch x 38 1/2 inch) The only problem is that it is folded into quarters that match the contents of the four different bags. So if you are framing it, it seems a shame that there would be those creases on it. Along with any wear and tear that it gets during the time it is used as reference during the puzzle making process. While my poster was new I laminated it. This will protect it and it does minimize those folds.

One other suggestion is to purchase the 'Life - panorama' puzzle. Also by Educa, this is the exact same image however it is only 3,000 pieces. But don't think that it is easy! It is still a challenge. And assembling it will be a different experience from the largest puzzle. But by then you'll be quite familiar with the image. I think that it's appropriate that your commemoration of the largest puzzle is this 'smaller' version hanging on your wall. This puzzle measures 156 cm x 53.5 cm.

It is said that the "Life" puzzle comes in sections. Can you tell me the measurements and how many pieces are in each one?
There are four vertical sections each bagged as such and having 6,000 pieces.
Each section is 107 cm wide and 157 cm tall i.e. approx 42 inches wide and 62 inches tall ( i.e 3 foot 6 inches by 5 foot 2 inches).


Click HERE for tips on assembling the puzzle.



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