Glossary of Jigsaw Puzzle Terms
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It cannot have escaped our attention that people in different parts of the world and, indeed, of the U.S.A., sometimes use different terms in discussing or describing jigsaw puzzles and the activities associated therewith. We will try here to accumulate a few which we have seen in letters to this website and in our own experience.
Any terms and comments can be directed to our Mail Center .
Thanks, Jim McW
From Keith in the U.K.:
1. Whimsies - The fancy shapes included in some puzzles. This comes from the early cutters who would sometimes cut fancy shapes on a whim.
2.Contour cut. - The cut that follows the natural line or lines of the picture such as the head , the best example is a map puzzle that follows the Counties in U.K. or the States on a Map of U.S.A.
3. Antique Puzzles - Puzzles generally before 1890, before printing was used to manufacture puzzles,the period when they were hand cut and hand coloured.
4.Vintage - To my mind this is 1900 to WWII. I'm not sure what post WWII is?
5.C cut - The normal interlocking cut in the shape of a C.
6. S cut - Two C cuts next to each other the second reversed to form locks on pieces both sides of the cut.
7. O/B - Original Box.
8. Straight Cut - a direct cut between two C cuts . Look at a modern puzzle and you will see what I mean.
9 Wavy Cut - Often the first cut on a large hand cut puzzle where the large board was cut in two with a wavy line.
10 . Push fit - Non interlocking pieces as in the early Tuco puzzles and, of course, most Antique puzzles.
From Jim McW in the U.S.A.:

·Tabs - The protruding parts of pieces.
·Knobs - Another name for "tabs".
·Innies and Outies - Some people call tabs "outies" and the holes into which they fit "innies".
·Color Cut - cut along lines in the picture, so that adjoining pieces may not have any color in common
·figurals - pieces that have recognizable shapes. These may be as simple as stars, circles, letters or triangles, or very complicated, as in the wonderful Par puzzles.
·Interlocking - The pieces fit together so that they do not come apart easily.
·Interlocking edges - Only the edge pieces are interlocking. The interior pieces are push-fit or non-interlocking.
·Lifted tab - a tab in which the lamination or the layers of cardboard have separated to some extent. This is often caused by carelessness in separating the puzzle pieces to return them to the box.
·Feathered tab - This is another term for what we call a lifted tab.
·Stripcut - Refers to a puzzle which has been cut (by saw or die) in strips first, then into pieces.
·Pushfit - Refers to a puzzle which has non-interlocking pieces.
·Caving - Refers to box condition, denoting a concavity, often caused by stacking puzzle boxes. Sometimes called "stacking crush" or similar terms.
·As New - Denotes a condition equal to (or virtually equal to) brand new condition.
·Shelf wear - Refers to box condition, denoting slight scuff marks on the shrink wrap or surface of box.
·Tape lift or tape residue - Refers to box condition, denoting remains of or signs of former application of adhesive tape to box, usually for purposes of keeping it closed.
·Chipping - Refers to condition of wooden pieces, usually, denoting that tiny pieces have broken off some pieces. Many wooden puzzles are cut from high-quality plywood, which is less likely to warp than solid wood, but perhaps a bit more prone to chipping, which, in extreme cases, may involve the loss of significant portions of a tab, either from the under-layers or from the picture side.

Some terms are slang or humorous. Jigsaw assembly by a group may involve a bit of friendly competition and/or ribbing:
·piece thief - a person who
   a) puts a piece in an area being worked on by another person in the group
   b) hoards all the pieces on one side of the board or table
   c) hides pieces he or she KNOWS other persons are looking for!
·piece hoarder - See above.
·busy body - a person who tries many pieces in many spots very rapidly, all over the puzzle, in such a way as to prevent anyone else from being able to place their pieces.
·squiggledy piece - a piece with an otherwise hard-to-describe shape
·For a REALLY humorous treatment of jigsaw puzzle terminology, see jigpuzzliana! [McW- Unfortunately, now a dead link]

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