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LIFE: The Great Challenge   -   by Royce B. McClure
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December 28, 2007
Frank Leatemia -  The Netherlands.

25 October - 28 December 2007: approx 180 hours of actual 'puzzling' time.

I live in the city of Delft which lies in the province of Zuid-Holland.

While doing this puzzle I already put my comments in the Blog section of the website. (Reprinted below.)
Here I want to contribute with a short story and a photo.

I did not have the space to lay down the puzzle as a whole so I took pics of the different parts when they were and sent them as proof of completion. On each section I let my son put in the last piece. You can see him in the pic above.

This is one amazing puzzle to do. Although it's big it isn't too hard to do. I started October 25th 2007 and finished December 28th. With working, the short and dark days and all the obligations you normally have in December, two months isn't that much. In time it took me around 180 hours, that's 45 hours per section on average. Having good light will speed things up considerably.

Oh yeah, I am from the Netherlands and already looking for the next project!

Frank's son places the last piece:

Blog entries:
Frank says... Hey, Just finished the first part. The puzzle isn't that hard but it's big. I started with the clownfish at the bottom which is relatively hard because of the fact that you can not build the fishes by splitting the pieces by color because the color itself changes within one fish. Then I did the balloons, easy, the zebra's, easy, the leopard, giraffe's etc. Then went down to the water above and under and finally did the mountains and the air.

The relative 'easyness' of the puzzle lies in the fact that you don't have very big area's with only one color. There are lot's of small animals and fish at all kinds of places scattered around.

I started october 25th and finished november 4th which is 11 days. Because I have a very busy family life I wasn't able to spend lot's of time every day so it is better to talk about the amount of hours which I estimate at 50 to 55 hours.

I will start with part two soon and update when finished.

November 4, 2007 11:59 PM
Frank says... Hey, just finished the second part yesterday. Because I had hardly any time lately it took me two weeks to complete it. In hours it took me around 40 hours which is considerably faster than the first part. I had to do most of it in the late evening hours and I think doing it with normal daylight would speed things up even more.

About strategies I would say to Carrie that I use an empty box of another 6000 piece puzzle which I glued and hung on the wall. I split the pieces in half and put them in the two parts of the box to make them manageable. My strategy always was to toss and mix the pieces in the box and thus seek out what I need. I use the 80/20 rule so I seek out what I can find with relative ease, the rest will show up later during the process. I do NOT seek out all the pieces which I think puts too much stress on me.

Again I started with the lower part and first got out everything which looked like 'fish' or 'seaweed'. On the table I sorted things out further for instance the purple and green seaweed etc. After finishing this part I did the animals, the lighthouse, the balloons/moon, the piece of rock/grass with the sheep, the birds and butterflies and then went down to do the upper part of the water. After that I did the underwater part and went back to finish the rainbow,the dark starry part of the sky and as a last item the blue part of the sky and the mountains.

As you see there are many, many items you can work on separately which make this puzzle relatively easy despite it's magnitude. There are almost no big parts with one color.

In my opinion you can finish the puzzle even faster when you start with a different part then the lower one I did start with. The reason I started there is just the configuration of my table.

November 22, 2007 3:01 PM
Frank says ... Hey, Just finished the last part of the puzzle so it's over and done. I did not have time to comment on the third part separately so I do it here.

I started with the sailing boats which is quite easy. Then I did the purple part of the sky which is fairly easy as well. Then I did the birds and the planets. This is more difficult because there are so many birds. After that I started with the larger fish and weeds at the foreground. Then the rocks and the water, the sky and as a last subject the fish and dolphins at the background.

Somehow this was the hardest part. It took me around 50 to 55 hours to complete. There are so many details in this part especially the water which make you go nuts. Again I had to do most of the puzzling at night with bad light. In my opinion you can do this part in around 45 hours if you have normal daylight.

The last part wasn't that bad at all. I started with the sailing boats again. Then I did the planets and the purple sky followed by the dark part of the sky with all the stars. After that I did the fish and the coral rock on the left. The hardest part - again - was the water surface. I even had to go back to the trick where you use the repeating pattern of the pieces to get things together. The last part was the blue underwater city. I was a little bit surprised about Anik's comment that this was a very hard part because I had no difficulty with it at all. I just started with the dolphins and then the dark blue part on the left with the walls. You already have the fish to 'glue' this part together. Then I did the floor part with the small dolphins near the name ROYCE. From then on back to the light blue at the top and around the dolphins. Here they 'glue' the whole thing together. Then I filled in the fainter buildings in the background. This whole part took me less then forty hours again with much evening work with bad light.

My overall impression of this puzzle: It's great!!
It has a magnificent composition which makes it not too hard but on the other hand gives you many hours of fun piecing it together. It took me two months to complete or to be more precise around 185 hours. In days (6 hr/day) it would be around 30 days so what Anik did in 28 days is quite possible if you have the time to spend every day on it. A fact which is very important is that you have good light: daylight!! I had to do much of the work at night which slows you down by a factor of 2......hahaha. Well, that's it. I made some pics during the process and am looking forward for the next challenge.


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