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Puzzle Tips

Online Puzzles
1. Click on the "load" link to display the puzzle. You may get a message bar at the top of your browser warning you that it has blocked active content from loading. Click on the message bar, choose "Allow blocked content", and then click on "Yes" when it asks you if you're sure. (There's nothing in the file but the puzzle).

2. When the puzzle loads, you'll see the puzzle pieces scattered on a blue "desktop" puzzle space. What I usually do to get started is to move the pieces into columns, starting at the left-hand edge of the puzzle space. As you find the edge pieces, move them over to the right side of the puzzle space. When you've got all the pieces sorted, find the corner piece for the upper right-hand corner, and place it in the top right-hand corner of the puzzle space. Build out from there.

An alternative is to start with the model's face, since that's usually fairly easy to find, and work out from there.

3. When you have placed the piece correctly, it will be joined with the pieces that have already been placed, and the line between the pieces will disappear.

Download Puzzles
1. Unzip the file to some convenient place on your computer (like the Desktop).

2. Double-click on the puzzle icon to start the program.

3. You now see all of the pieces of the puzzle. You can move a piece by dragging it with the mouse, or you can click on it to pick it up, and then click again to set it down when you've moved it to where you want it. For the Easy and Medium puzzles, the pieces are already oriented correctly (so you don't have to turn them). For the Hard puzzles, you will probably have to rotate the piece to fit it into the puzzle. Rotate the piece by left-clicking on it to "pick it up", then right-click to turn it clockwise. To turn it counter-clockwise, hold down the Control key while right-clicking.

4. You can move several pieces at once by "drawing" a box around that pieces that you want to move (using the left mouse button and dragging). The selected pieces will turn red. You can then drag all of the red pieces to wherever you want them to be.

5. A floating toolbar appears near the upper left-hand corner of the puzzle space, with buttons that allow you to Minimize the program (very handy if someone walks into the room while you're doing a hot puzzle), the Exit button to close the program, and a Picture button (see below).

6. When you put a piece in the right place, it will attach itself to the puzzle and you'll briefly see a couple of white stars. After that, you won't be able to move that piece without moving the entire puzzle. (So if you're not sure if you got the piece in the right place, try to move it. If you can move it without moving the puzzle, it wasn't in the right place.)

7. What I usually do at this point is to sort the pieces into two piles, with the edges (those pieces with a flat side) in one pile and everything else in the other pile. Move the "everything else" pile out of the way, and assemble the edge pieces. When I've finished getting the edges in place, then I arrange the remaining pieces in the available space, and continue doing the puzzle.

8. The picture is displayed in the viewer to guide you. You can move the viewer by dragging it by the top of the viewer window wherever you want on the puzzle desktop. You can resize the picture by clicking on the square icons at the bottom of the viewer. You can "roll up" the picture viewer by clicking the small triangle near the upper right-hand corner of the viewer. You can close the viewer window by clicking on the "X" near the upper right-hand corner of the viewer or by clicking on the "Picture" button on the toolbar.

Which is better -- Online or Download?
Obviously, if your computer can't or won't take Windows .exe files, then you don't have a choice. Likewise if you don't have a Flash player installed on your computer.

But if you have the choice of either one, I much prefer the download version. The action is crisper, you can pick up the pieces to move them, and you can move several pieces at once.

Try them both and decide for yourself.
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