Playing… 1000 piece London Underground Puzzle

I have frequently travelled on many lines of the London Underground whether that be heading to Kensington Olympia on the District Line or heading to King’s Cross on the Hammersmith and City Line. However some regions like the far ends of the Central Line and the DLR are completely alien to me. I saw this 1000 piece London Underground puzzle and had to try it!

The image on the front was of the London Underground map and what struck me were the large regions of blank space which was going to make this 1000 piece puzzle both interesting yet exceedingly difficult. That’s what made me buy it! I love a good challenging puzzle even though at some points I felt like I was losing my mind as I put pieces where they seemingly fit only to find a small gap on closer inspection.

Anyway to the puzzle. My usual method for puzzles is to sort out the pieces into edge and non-edge pieces, construct the edge and then focus on features of the puzzle however because the puzzle is all white around the edge, bar a few pieces, I had to change tack. I decided to focus on the Circle, District and Hammersmith and City lines which were the central elements of this puzzle. Moreover, all lines would ‘pass’ through this central region, making it easier to connect pieces.

Then I decided to go for the Overground Line on the reasoning that it covered a lot of the map. Whilst in theory this was a good idea, constructing the puzzle around this failed especially not helped by the fact that I didn’t know much about the Overground and I’d hardly heard of most of these stations. I continued to work on certain lines piece by piece, switching after a while so I didn’t start to lose my mind. Eventually I had constructed most of the lines and referring to the image on the box, filled in most of the station names too. After around 4 hours or so, I ended with the edges completed and only white pieces left.

Now began the arduous task of filling in the blanks. I decided to go for a logical brute force approach. Based on the patterns I’d already seen in the shapes of the pieces, I separated the pieces into shorter and longer pieces and began trying the pieces in every possible place in each orientation. I managed to get a few done by sheer luck and it was at this point I realised that I had made an error constructing the border. A piece fit perfectly into the main puzzle but did not join to the edge and so I removed the surrounding edges and continued trying the pieces.

At this point I had a helper and we split the remaining 100 pieces or so in half and focused each on one half of the puzzle. And of course by sod’s law, most of my pieces fit in on the other half and vice versa. Soon I was left with just 33 pieces left and I continued with the brute force approach and the end was in sight, especially since we also fixed the edge.

Finally after 14 hours, the puzzle was completed and I finished the 1000 piece London Underground map. It was a long haul and at times I felt like I was going off rail but in the end, determination powered through and without delay, I surged through to finish the puzzle off. I really enjoyed this puzzle despite feeling like I was really getting nowhere with the white pieces. It was easy to do most of the train lines pretty quickly but the border proved much trickier than it first seemed.

This puzzle is available from The Works for £7. Difficulty wise, I would give it a 7/10 for those pesky white edges and regions of white which made it very challenging. Besides pesky white pieces, there were also minute details on some of the white pieces which were very hard to see!

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