A Puzzle More Difficult than a Water Temple

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For Christmas a year and a half ago, one of my good friends gifted me with this Legend of Zelda map puzzle. I knew from the moment I unraveled the wrapping paper that I would one day finish the puzzle and seal it for hanging. I tucked the box in my nightstand where it stayed for a long time.

My husband and I went on a summer cleaning binge to get rid of things packed away in corners and closets from our move 2 years ago. In the process, I unearthed this long-forgotten gem and decided not to put it away again. So with organizational chaos around me, I dumped this puzzle out onto the coffee table and I stared at the hardest puzzle I’ve completed up to this point in my life.

All the edge pieces were the same shade of brown, so starting with the outside border was basically impossible. On top of that, the entire puzzle was a gradient of yellowish and brown with black images. So plan B was to divide and conquer. No, literally.

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I separated the edge pieces, light to dark yellow, shades of brown, and the black  diamond border that’s one row in from the outer solid border. I also picked out what pieces I could find of the Hylian banner at the bottom, the Triforce compass, and the top, left compass. Since those things were large and positioned relatively close to the edges, it gave me a starting point.

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This was a right pain in the bu…ombachu.

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Eventually I got somewhere. And now, I somehow lost the rest of my photos for the mid-section of this puzzle. And I wish I could say it was as easy as snapping my fingers to get from the above photo to the one below, but alas, not such dice.

After this point, I sifted through both the darker and lighter piece piles to find “landmarks” like Hyrule castle, dragon, Deku, Death Mountain, mummies, etc. The first section I completed was the desert, since all the pieces in that area had polka-dots that aren’t found anywhere else. I moved onto Hyrule castle and Lon Lon Ranch with the same technique.

After that, it was a process of trying to test pieces of similar colors into spots until the rest fell in place. Not surprisingly, the water was the toughest section. What is it with these water levels?

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Anyway, boom, I finished it after two days.

Now, I remember gluing puzzles together from my younger days. Back then, you had to carefully flip the whole puzzle over and glue the backside using a brush attached to the cap. The puzzle glue I bought for this project had what appeared to be a plastic putty knife attached to the cap, and it specified using a “liberal amount of glue” on the front side. It’s a red and teal bottle called Save-A-Puzzle by Mega Puzzles, and it was less than $3 if I remember correctly.

After contemplating going with my childhood method or trusting the bottle, I decided to trust the bottle. I slid newspaper under the puzzle, which sucked a bit, since the folds of the newspaper kept pushing sections of the puzzle up. I had to keep pushing them down during the gluing process so they would dry as warped rolling hills.

I held my breath and applied the glue over the front. Thankfully, it didn’t moisture-log the image, and it dried completely clear. Unfortunately, the glue that drained between the cracks held fast to the newspaper when fully dried. I ended up tearing the backs of a few puzzle pieces when listing it from the newspaper. It still didn’t affect the front, and I am super happy that I didn’t decide to glue the back instead.

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I slid the dried puzzle into a poster frame, the final size being 18″ x 24″, and I put it on top of my dresser with my Marauder’s map. You can see a bit of pink at the bottom of the frame, and that’s a bit of that non-slip rubber material you use in kitchen cabinets. I used it here to keep the frames from sliding, since they aren’t attached to the wall.

I’m thinking I might start collecting video game and nerdy maps and do my living room up with them when we eventually move to a bigger place. I think maps are classy as Fu… arore.

-Fifi the Ninja

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