Monday, May 31, 2010


Yesterday I finished the 540-piece globe puzzleball I got for Christmas (and haven't even opened up until a couple of days ago). Here are a few pictures of it in the process of being built:

And here it is, completed:

There was one piece missing in the south Pacific ocean when I took this picture, but I found it later.

As a puzzle it's interesting and challenging, but the oceans, which cover an awful lot of Earth's surface (and when you do it in globe form, it's clear it's even more than you're expecting even if you know the statistics), are inordinately hard. It would have taken me weeks if I hadn't used the numbers on the back of the pieces for some parts of the ocean. I don't think there's any way to correct for this.

Near the end it gets crazy hard to press the pieces into place because you can't get your hand inside to press against the back. I tried to make up for it a bit with a long-handled wooden spoon, but it's too clumsy to really do the job. There's an easy solution that I'm surprised the manufacturers haven't hit on. Split the puzzle into two puzzles, one per hemisphere, and have the equatorial "edge" pieces have tabs to snap into one another. Then you have all the freedom you need to work on the two halves with full access, to make sure each piece fits securely. At the end, you slip the two halves together to make a full globe. This would work with all their spherical puzzles, not just the earth globe.

Though it's kind of fragile, I can now treat the completed puzzle as a desk globe. I just need to decide where to put it.

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