Guide to Puzzles – The New York Times

Here are some puzzles, usually priced between $10 and $200, for the novice or the amateur.

Fortunately, most ordinary puzzles announce their difficulty numerically. A puzzle of 100, 200 or 500 pieces should satisfy the first solver, as should clear pictures with bright colors, cut into a regular grid pattern. “What’s most important is that you have fun putting the puzzle together, so it should be an image you enjoy looking at,” recommends Ms. McLeod. Novices can start a search with some of the big brands, like Ravensburger, Springbok, Buffalo Games and Puzzles and Bits and Pieces (prices range from under $10 to over $50), most of which will allow you to search by theme. Ravensburger alone has hundreds of options, from astronauts to unicorns to Neuschwanstein Castle ($34.99), a riot of fall foliage and fairytale towers.

If you’ve solved enough pictures of cats, candy bar wrappers, and scenic Italian landscapes, you’ll want a puzzle that offers something more. The Wasgij brand specializes in cartoon-like puzzles (around $20) that, when solved, helped explain what caused the disaster pictured on the box. Ravensburger has released a range of escape room puzzles ($19.99), in which you must solve puzzles as you complete the puzzle, arranging the pieces into objects that can help you escape. the witches’ kitchen or the space observatory. Puzzles from the Magic Puzzle Company end in a round ending, with new pieces that allow you to rearrange the picture. Nervous System mixes two puzzles ($175). PuzzleTwist specializes in puzzles ($20) that essentially differ from the picture on the box. Stave Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles are a specialty of Tricky Puzzles, along with others known as Troublemakers, Tormentors, and Teasers, but since these can cost upwards of $1,000, they’re less of a hobby than a investment.

If aesthetics matter to you, there are companies that bring puzzles closer to art and design. One is Pomegranate, which specializes in reproductions of works of art by Van Gogh and Diego Rivera ($17.95 to $34.95), allowing you to linger over color and texture suggestions during that you solve. “You can learn about brushstrokes and color palettes and you can memorize the minute details of extremely complicated, densely populated canvases,” novelist and puzzle enthusiast Margaret Drabble wrote in a post last spring. Then again, an old 2D master can still seem kitschy. Those who prefer a more modernist touch can try Piecework’s trendy and lavish illustrations ($26-$36), Areaware’s soothing gradient puzzles ($15-$35), in which colors slide from light to dark, the Pomegranate’s line of Charley Harper posters or Jiggy’s playful rectangles ($40). Some collectors might argue that some wooden puzzles are themselves works of art or, at the very least, models of exquisite craftsmanship, especially those who specialize in fanciful shapes, such as Liberty Puzzles and Wentworth Wooden Puzzles.

You can try Bgraamiens’ The Lines ($18.99), in 1000 insane graphite strokes on a white background. Too abstract? Check out puzzles from Nervous System, the makers of these mixed-media puzzle sets, who specialize in organic shapes based on phenomena like geodes, ammonites, and wriggling amoebas ($45-$95). For a particularly devilish take on the gradient puzzle, try Play Group’s 5000 Colors ($150). No part has the same color as another. If that might be too much color, turn to monochrome puzzles, like Ravensburger’s Krypt Series ($20.99), which takes incredible patience to solve because every piece is the same color. Or here’s one whose name says it all: Beverly Micro Pure White Hell (about $25).