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ESCAPE FROM FRAMES

[982]from "W20"-20 April 2003:
I HAVE A PUZZLE...YORK SERIES 4335-8 1975 FLADBAURY ENGLAND . CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT IT. PRICE THEN ,PRICE NOW ANY INFO WILL BE APPRECIATED IT HAS 1500 PEICES.

THANK YOU
"W20"
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We believe all the York series puzzles had approximately 1500 pieces and that they were issued from about 1963 to 1999, or later.
Thanks,
Jim McW
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[983]from "RA21"-21 April 2003:
THE DUEL
I would greatly appreciate it if you could tell me the artist of your puzzle's painting entitled "The Duel". I have seen a replica many years ago but it was done in a black and white version. I didn't know it was a painting.
Thank you so much.
"RA21"
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We have been informed that the artist was Laslett J. Pott.
Does anyone have other information?
Thanks,
Jim McW
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[984]from Nancy Ballhagen-20 April 2003:
Here is one for MM #787, dated Oct 2002:
It may be too late, but better late than never. I think we just got in a Lassen that has 5000 pieces or more, it is from Clementoni. Just got a very large bunch from them and I know it was really big, or maybe we just ordered it and haven't got it in as yet. There is a page of Lassen puzzles on our website and it would be there if we got it in.
Nancy
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from Nancy Ballhagen--21 April 2003:
Hi again,
Looked up the Lassen puzzle, it is on order and will be a 13,200 piece puzzle. It is called "Lahaina Vision", very colorful.
Nancy
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[985]from "TW"-21 April 2003:
Hi,
We have a set of 4 Milton Bradley puzzles. 1000 pieces each puzzle. They are called "Rustic". The date on the side of the boxes shows 1977, MB company, under Berne & Universal copyright conventions. The series are: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. The artist is Frank M. Hamilton. Do you have any information on this series? Do you know anything about the artist? We have searched online for any information on him, but to this date have not found any information.
Thank you for your time in this matter.
"TW"
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The only thing we found in our files was this picture, also from 1977:Autumn"Autumn", by Frank M. Hamilton, 1977 [?].
We're not sure about the title. Does anyone have other information about this series or about Frank M. Hamilton?
Thanks,
Jim McW
*************** from "AB"--25 October 2003:
I too am searching for information about the artist Frank M. Hamilton. My Grandfather has had a picture in his living room for at least 20 years by this artist. I also came across a stationary card with the painting titled "Cool and Crisp" by Frank M. Hamilton. It is a winter scene of a Farmhouse with wagon. The company that published? the card was the 'Leanin' Tree' from Boulder, Colorado ..card 1527.
"AB"
***************from "SS"-7 November 2003:
I have a Frank M. Hamilton picture from my parents. I have had it for about 20 years. I'm not sure how long they had it before that. I would also like to know more about him.
Frank M. Hamilton printprint, unknown title, by Frank M. Hamilton.
"SS"

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[986]from "GT"-22 April 2003:
Hi--What a great site this is!!
I have just come across a puzzle made by BURT PICTURE PUZZLE. The title is Sunshine and Shadow and the artist is R Weber. The box and the puzzle are in great shape. Is there any value to the puzzle? (I actually came across a whole box of vintage puzzles in the attic, 2 "Freedom Fighters", Big 10, Star,Perfect Picture Puzzle, and Tuco). Please let me know if you know anything about this puzzle. I have attached a picture for you.Sunshine and Shadows"Sunshine and Shadows", BURT, 1930's.
"GT"
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Thanks for the kind words.
This puzzle is almost certainly from the 1930's.
Burt puzzles, if complete and in fine condition, should bring at least $10 to $15, perhaps more, depending on a number of different factors.
Thanks,
Jim McW
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[987]from "M23"-23 April 2003:
PLEASE HELP ME....

I'm doing a project in World Geography that requires me to find information of how the jigsaw puzzle was diffused into the world from Europe... How and when did it reach Germany and France or when and how did it reach the U.S. before the Great Depression... If you know please please help me I have searched non stop and I can not find any inoformation that would help me with this problem.

Thank you,
"M23"
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Thanks for the kind words.
See our FAQ page for a start. See our LINKS page for some books to look for in your local library.
Thanks,
Jim McW
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[988]from "AH"-24 April 2003:
Hi,

I'm a post-graduate student at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. As part of the year's work I have a research project - the automatic solution of jigsaw puzzles by computer.

Thus far computer puzzle solvers are not very capable: the largest puzzle solved to date is a 204 piece puzzle (but, it only took 20 minutes, for comparison a 100 piece puzzle took 3 minutes). People have been trying to solve this problem since the 1960's. Some non-scienticts suggest that we shouldn't be trying to solve this problem as it 'defeats the purpose of puzzle building' - But, puzzle solving is a very interesting problem and impacts on a number of problems within computer science, specifically artificial intelligence, computer vision, image analysis, pattern matching, it also delves into computational theory. What makes puzzle solving especially intruiging is that it has been proven to be an NP-complete problem (as pieces are added the computational complexity increases rapidly - a 500 piece puzzle is not just 10 times harder than a 50 piece puzzle).

Most computer algorithms solve 'apictorial' puzzles - by analogy a puzzle that is of a single color - most computer solvers also place strict limitations on the shapes of pieces.

As an aside to my main research I am interested in attempting to develop some means of classifying puzzles by difficulty. Thus far it seems that the picture has the most impact, followed by number of pieces, and cutting style (color-line, etc.)... I have seen some references to 'what makes a puzzle difficult', but there doesn't seem to be much consensus or directed discussion. When a puzzle is produced it is normally targeted at a subject audience (by age, for example) - is this done completely subjectively, or is there some mechanism in place?

I would be most grateful if you could perhaps pose these question to some of your puzzlers, or point me towards more information on the topic.

Thank you,

"AH"
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I'm not sure that I or many of our community will be able to help with the mathematical side of this question, but we do have some opinions about what makes a puzzle difficult! As you say, the pictorial content can make a puzzle more or less difficult, and the number of pieces is an obvious factor in difficulty. Many people find puzzles more difficult if the pieces are all very similar in shape, less difficult if there is great variety in shape. Color-cutting makes a puzzle more difficult. There is a great variety of other "tricks" which the puzzle maker can introduce to increase difficulty: extra pieces; irregular or unusual borders; double-sided; double-sided with the same image on both sides, but rotated! What are some other aspects of difficulty, folks?
Thanks,
Jim McW
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from Keith--28 April 2003:
Hi A.H.
Fascinating ! I wish you well.
The progress of the dissected educational toy into challenge puzzle has provoked quite a bit of discussion among the collectors of older puzzles. The early puzzles were of hand-cut wood and by studying the methods people used to assemble them, then introducing deceptive devices to upset these methods became a game between the cutter and the assembler.
So the first objective was to assemble the straight edges of the borders, it is in fact very difficult to assemble a puzzle made up of straight edged pieces, think of the well known plain small square puzzle that has been a classic for hundreds of years and goes back well before dissected puzzles. The corner pieces if cut at an angle can also be disguised, this was taken even further and edges had V pieces introduced making it difficult to link up the borders and straight pieces added to the centre area to further confuse. Then straight borders were eliminated at first with wavy lines then simply followed the shape of a cut out figure. Now that has gone one step on with areas of the centre being cut out in the most challenging of todays puzzles.
Shapes were made identical at first by stack cutting areas of the puzzle together so that certain shapes became identical, this was taken to the ultimate with cardboard press cut puzzles having all pieces identical in shape, usually interlocking, in fact pushfit puzzles are usually more difficult than interlocking.
Colour was at first divided into areas of similar shade the easy pieces being the divide between contrasting colours, cutting between these divides ( colour line cutting) in some cases does make for a degree difficulty but may not always succeed. I happen to find dark colours harder to assemble than light, I am not sure how common this is but for sure light is a factor. Some puzzles were double sided this could be a factor depending on how well the reverse sides are matched, some modern puzzles have the same picture on the reverse.
I almost certainly have left some important factors out and have ignored number of pieces firstly because it is a mathematical factor and many very small puzzles with quite few pieces can be much more of a challenge. This may give you something to think about, I am sure some cutters will think of other factors, I wish you success with your project and hope we get to know your conclusions.
Regards
Keith
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from Nancy Ballhagen--29 April 2003:
Hi Jim,
I read the letter from So. Africa. For me the most difficult thing is pieces shaped the same, and monotonous colors such as blue skies, lots of tree branches, leaves and that kind of thing. To give you an idea of what I consider difficult, we did the Springbok stained glass puzzle and it took 2 or 3 weeks, we actually put it away once to make room for Thanksgiving dinner, and didn't get it out again for a couple of years. Another one was by Hoyle called Diamond in the Rough, it was one raw piece of coal, and the rest was hundreds of sparkling diamonds, I thought it would be fun and pretty, but sure wouldn't want to do it again. It is hanging in the "museum ceiling gallery" of our puzzle store. I know some people like to do puzzles as a challenge and the harder the better, I like to do puzzles for fun and have a nice picture when finished. My husband works mostly by piece shape and he doesn't seem to care too much about the picture unless it is one he really doesn't like. He is very good at it. Number one son Mitch likes photo cityscapes mostly but will work at almost anything and is very good, I think he uses the shape of pieces mostly.
Number 2 son Richard (RBPuzzles) is also very good and I think works mostly by shape of pieces also. He also will do most anything. I bought him a hand cut puzzle made of masonite the first time I went to a AGPC convention in Bloomington, In. I think I paid $5.00 for it on the auction they had. The pieces were less than 1/2 inch and there must have been at least 1000 or maybe 2000. The pieces were almost all alike with a little knob then a v shape then another knob, not really interlocking. Richard said it took a while but he finally got it done. We are working on one now called "The Blue Staircase Maze" it is all very small staircases with little doorways, rounded sort of like Southwest, and some people walking up or down the stairs. There are a few potted plants and in many of the doorways and windows are lights otherwise it is all blue. We used to carry it in the store (it was made by Golden) and always thought it would be fun, not so. It has been on the table for more than a month and we have worked on it only 2 or 3 times.
I hope this gave you an idea on what puzzles we think are difficult.
Nancy
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from LA--1 May 2003:
I've been mucking about with some older Springboks lately that I think are good examples of really tough puzzles... and of course Springbok pieces are not quadrangular, which makes them tougher:
Flat Banana"FLAT BANANA" - all the same shade of yellow
About a Million Marbles"ABOUT A MILLION MARBLES"
Equivocation IIEQUIVOCATION ii

I've also included a picture of a puzzle from Buffalo Games billed as "The World's Most Difficult Jigsaw". ("400 pieces; feels like 4,000").
Devil's Dilemma"Devil's Dilemma"
It was designed by the former president of Tuco puzzles... It is two-sided, identical on both sides, with one side rotated 90 degrees... What makes it more difficult than other puzzles of its type is that, with most two-sided puzzles, you can tell by feel which side is which.... but these pieces are cut in an alternating fashion, with the horizontal cut with one side up and the vertical cut with the other side up.

Keep on puzzling (and thanks, Jim, for the forum)
"LA"
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This is PAGE SIXTY-FIVE of the Questions and Answers section of puzzlehistory.com.

Chris McCann's book,Master Pieces: the Art History of Jigsaw Puzzles.

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