Today my library held its first puzzle contest. By chance, opportunity, and mild interest I became very much involved with it. Twelve teams of four competed for a personally engraved chunk of acrylic, or, more likely, for the thrill of victory. Each team was issued a 500 piece puzzle, sealed, and inside of a paper bag.
Our inaugural puzzle was of doughnuts.
This will be important to our story, and since I ended up as a judge, and de facto event photographer, I hereby submit two pictures of these identical puzzles being put together in the midst of the competition to reinforce it:
The winning time was just under 32 minutes. Second place was around 39 minutes and that team included two children who clearly have a serious future in this competitive sport if they stick with it, and if it ever becomes a competitive sport. Third place clocked in at something like 48 minutes, after which most people who completed the puzzle were curious as to the winners' strategy, as it was so much faster than theirs.
It turned out the winners had no special strategy beyond the usual color sorting and division of sections that most of the contestants used themselves. The winners were just really, really fast at it.
After myself and the other judge congratulated the winners and marveled at their accomplishment, while everyone else was still working away, I suddenly said:
"Wait! We can't accept this puzzle."
I pointed at it as the team nervously looked up.
"It's full of holes!"