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Puzzle Me This


I had considered writing today’s note as a palindrome, to celebrate the culmination of ten consecutive palindrome dates (1-20-21 through 1-29-21). Fortunately, in a temporary lapse of madness, I was dissuaded by the enormity of the task. It’s worth noting, I also did nothing to mark the 21st minute of the 21st hour of the 21st day of the 21st century. I briefly considered having 21 shots (after all, 21 is the legal drinking age) but, again, a brief gap of folly saved me from alcohol poisoning. Instead, I focused on completing my 990 piece puzzle. Why not 1,000, you ask? I can’t say for sure, but at 55x18, I suppose they think it acceptable to renegue on 1% of the promised pieces. Puzzling! It would be like a Dunkin’ including a nibbled donut in the dozen I purchased.


The trick to completing a puzzle is breaking it down into activities, not focusing on the enormity of the task, then sticking with it. I start with the edges, of course. Then, there is usually a large first plane object that stands-out from the din and has a distinct texture, color and, hopefully, straight lines. Once that is completed I tell myself I’m almost there (I find lying to myself helps). For the undistinguishable parts, I find manmade structures are easier than nature, skies are easier than forests, color gradations easier than random patterns. I focus on the “easier” parts first -- color is now my guide. When the puzzle is about 80% done, I find focusing on the puzzle piece shapes helps me make progress. Finally, when I’m down to the final 5%, I resort to brute force, trying every semi-sensible combination. I suppose most complex endeavors in life have some of the same aspects. A strategy, division of labor, project management, shifting approaches as needed and persistence. Then again, consuming donuts is nothing like that. Granted, you start with the edge, but the similarities end there.

Happy Friday!


I was wondering how you were going to weave donute into your puzzle post. Clever.

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