Diary of a Link-a-Pix addict

Friday, September 6, 2002 Day 1

After I printed out the puzzle, I started doing some of the small groups. I found the upper left area to be the easiest going at first since there weren't very many numbers in that part and I managed to complete it quickly; I'm probably about twenty minutes into the puzzle here.

The problem with completing that part of the puzzle so fast, however, was that I'd already made a mistake in the upper left where I colored in something a square too far and into another color's area. It wasn't an issue, as I found out, which is good because I didn't feel like starting completely over after getting this far into the puzzle. At this point it was getting late; I took a picture of it and went to sleep.

Day 2: about halfway through

Day 2

I'm now about halfway through the puzzle after another hour of working on it. I haven't had that much difficulty with it yet and it's been pretty smooth sailing.

I can now make out the Statue of Liberty but nothing else in the puzzle (though I can tell the blue-black areas in the lower-half of the puzzle is water or night or something).

At this point I've had to sharpen my colored pencils a few times. Again, it's getting late, so I took another picture, posted it to my web journal to show people how far I'd gotten and went to bed.

Day 3: do something else for a while...

Day 3

I'm starting to have trouble now. I've gotten the sky haze filled in and the tip of what appears to be a building or two, but I've now colored in almost all of the 1's, 2's and 3's that can be colored in, and most of the 4's and 5's that had only one path available in the areas that I'd be working in.

It's about now that the fun started turning into some frustration when I couldn't make any easy deductions and realized I would start having to make some assumptions, draw in paths lightly in pencil and see if everything fits together. I've found this is the best way to try out assumptions to see if they work.

Since colored pencil and ink pen do not erase,I had to think of a way to try things out without making an irreversible error, and writing paths in light pencil, so they could be easily colored over or erased seemed the best idea. I decided to take another picture and go do something else for a while, but the puzzle kept calling me back to finish it since I was so close.

Day 4: finishing a big puzzle

Day 4

I gave up on doing other things that evening and finished the puzzle. At this point I'd realized I'd made another mistake in the book area of the image. There was a solitary yellow number with no matching end to it in the uncolored area I was working in, so I had to have made a mistake.

I figured I could either just color things in here to the best of my ability with the information given, or I could just toss the whole thing and say to heck with it. I decided to press on since I was close to finishing and I figured nobody else would really care if I screwed up too badly on the book section of the image as long as it looked reasonably like the actual solution.

I've now had to sharpen my colored pencils about seven times in the last two hours and I was getting tired of doing it. I wondered if felt-tip markers with pointed tips would work as well as colored pencils. Unfortunately, now was not the time to try this, as I'm picky enough to finish a puzzle in the same medium that I started with. After finishing up the book area all that was left was the rest of the water and the bottom of the green buildings. While coloring in a few blue paths, I realized I'd made another mistake as I had a lone 6 in that area with no matching 6.

I shrugged, thinking that I'm close enough, a blank square in the blue area won't matter much, continued coloring and finished off the blue section. After that, the rest of the green building part was quickly done and I was able to hold it up, take the final picture and go onto other puzzles.

There's something satisfying about actually finishing a big puzzle, even with a couple of mistakes in it. I finished it with a recognizable image, so that was good enough for me.

About the author

Jeffrey Hitchin grew up in Point Loma neighborhood in San Diego. He graduated from Point Loma High School in 1987 and went to Brandeis University, graduating in 1991 with a degree in Biology with a minor (believe it or not...) in Spanish.

After graduation he returned to San Diego for a couple of years before moving to Seattle in August of 1993 where he is currently employed as a software tester at Microsoft. Today Mr. Hitchin is a part of the Windows group working on the Help & Support Services application. Currently he lives in Redmond with his domestic partner, Greg. His "Diary of a Link-a-Pix Addict" article contains the impressions of his first encounter with Link-a-Pix puzzles. See Jeffrey Hitchin's homepage

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