The World's Largest Jigsaw Puzzle
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LIFE: The Great Challenge   -   by Royce B. McClure
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  • FIRST TO COMPLETE IN GERMANY.
December 23, 2007
Johannes Heckl - Greding, Bavaria, Germany

Assembled between Mid-July 2007 and 23rd December 2007

My name is Johannes Heckl and I am from Greding, a small city in Bavaria, Germany. I finished the big puzzle on 23rd of December 2007. In spring 2007 I saw on the internet that there was a new 'World's Largest Puzzle' available. I wanted to have a little break, to consider if it made sense for me to attempt such a big puzzle. Previously I had finished the 'Tropical Impressions' and the 'Skylines of the World' puzzles both manufacturered by Ravensburger. At that time they had been known as the world's largest puzzles. The challenge of this new puzzle enticed me to buy it.

FIRST TO COMPLETE IN GERMANY.

I started with the 24,000 piece puzzle in the middle of July 2007. Until then I didn't know where I could hang it on a wall, because the largest wall our house has (without a window or door between) is about 3,5 metres. So I decided to do the final assembling on our top floor. I wasn't able to find a wooden sheet the size of the puzzle 4,40 m x 1,70 m, so I decided to buy 2 sheets 2,20 x 1,70 m and connect them into one big sheet. The most difficult part was to get the puzzle on to that sheet. After finishing each section of the puzzle I put it aside. After finishing all the sections I glued the top surface with puzzle conserver (transparent) to give more strength to the parts. Afterwards I glued the wooden sheet with wood glue and connected the 4 sections. It was very difficult, because wood glue dries quickly. To improve it I made glue stripes, that allowed a little flexibility to fit the puzzle edges to each other. It was the worst part of the whole puzzle experience, because I feared I would damage it!

I saw that some puzzlers are sorting the pieces by shape. Not me, my puzzle strategy is to sort the pieces by colours except for the puzzle edges which I did by shape, too. It's very important to have enough space to lay down all puzzle pieces right-side-up, in order to sort the colours. On this puzzle I worked with 2 big sheets 1,20m x 1,50 and 4 or 5 smaller sheets 80x50 cm. It helps a lot to work on different parts of the puzzle at the same time. For me it was difficult to stay on the puzzle for more than 4 hours a day, because I also was at work for about 10 hours a day.

My experience is, the longer each assembly session the better it is, because you can remember the locations of the the different color and shapes of the different pieces. I puzzled in my living room, and most of the time I listened to sitcoms (King of Queens, AL Bundy, Bill Cosby, Grey's Anatomy...) on television so it was not as boring as it would be without music or televison.

Another very important factor is the light. In my opinion you have to decide by the light and the colour what part of the puzzle you should work on at the time i.e. Some colours were better reflected by the day light (blue of the sea and the undersea city) other colours (black of the universe) were better reflected by the room light.

FIRST TO COMPLETE IN GERMANY.The most interesting thing on this puzzle is the composition between the elements. You have so many impressions that allows you to change the single parts. For example you get stuck by doing the sea, you can move to the animals that were normally easy to do. That helped you because further pieces were in the correct position and the puzzle quantity was reduced.

I had read in one of the commentaries, too, that that the undersea city section was difficult to assemble. I can't agree, because due to that comment I feared this part till the end of the puzzle without a reason. Ok, it wasn't easy but if you hear something you first of all think that this part could be impossible. In the end perhaps it took about 5 percent more of the time, but not more.

Altogether I can say that this puzzle was a great experience for me and I will always remember the moments where I fitted the last parts of it ( without any lost pieces!) I don't know if I ever would start a challenge like 24,000 pcs again. But perhaps if I like the subject, why not? What would be the next size 30.000 pcs, I don't know! I see it as a hobby, not as a battle against the time. You have to enjoy it.

My advice to the puzzlers around the world: If you like challenges and you already competed with a 6000 pcs puzzle successfully, then there is no reason why you can't get success with 'LIFE: THE GREAT CHALLENGE'.


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