Puzzles are not the old guy's thing, but he hears the latest and greatest in the puzzle world is something called Sudoku. It's basically a crossword puzzle for number lovers. There seems to be just as many books devoted to sudoku these days as there are the standard crosswords. Most of the books are separated by skill levels ranging from novice to something called expert. While in his favorite book store, the local library, the other day, Insider picked one up marked 'simple' and geared for children ages 6-12. The old guy did one in pencil while the librarian had her back turned. After unsuccessfully trying to solve a few different puzzles, Insider stuffed the book back on the shelf and walked over to the crosswords, which are more his speed. The old guy has always been more into words than numbers, but he never realized to what degree until he tried to work with them in that fashion. All the credit goes to those number geeks.
Insider's favorite kind of puzzle is the jigsaw. The only way to successfully enjoy the jigsaw is to find the right-sized table in the corner of the room and spread out all the pieces. The old guy likes to start by sorting them in piles of different colors and picking out the pieces meant for the border, which is the best place to start. On Insider's table right now in the corner of the living room is a half-completed puzzle of a scene from Pearl Harbor during the World War II bombing. The border was easy to figure out because it was all bright colors, like red and orange. The edge of the entire photograph contained various different explosions. As easy as the border was to complete, the rest of the puzzle has been as difficult. It's basically all blacks and grays, representing the water and ships, and blue and white, signifying the sky and clouds. That makes it hard to figure out which pieces go where because there are hundreds of black pieces of similar sizes and format. The same goes for the grays, blues and whites.
The old guy has been working on the Pearl Harbor puzzle since Christmas and has two more to put together before the next arrival of new puzzles arrive. It seems someone in the family picked up on Insider's affinity for puzzles and each year his gift is a couple puzzles. Apparently, Insider is tough to shop for, and this is an easy out for this family member. That's okay by him. It's a lot of pressure for the old guy, but it sure beats getting a tie every year.