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The Puzzle of the Puzzle Trade
July 26, 2007 5:04 AM   Subscribe

What does a person mean when they say they want to 'trade puzzles'?

Today I saw a sign on an empty shop front beside the bus stop. It said something along the lines of "If you have any puzzles to trade call Alex". So I called the number, a person picked up and I told him I had a puzzle to trade. He asked me how many pieces the puzzle had and I told him 5000 pieces. Things took a stranger turn when he told me he liked puzzles that had 500 to 1000 pieces but he could "only handle up to 1000 pieces or 1001 pieces" and he asked me to tell my friends to call him if they had puzzles of that size. Does anyone know if "500/1000 piece puzzle" means anything or give me some clue to what this guy was talking about? Is he mentally unwell? Is there a puzzle trading society I don't know about? Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks.
posted by thelongcon to Human Relations (39 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
Um, could he just be talking about swapping jigsaw puzzles? You know, you've finished one, you don't want it anymore, so you swap it. Doesn't seem that mysterious to me.
posted by jontyjago at 5:08 AM on July 26, 2007


Sounds like jigsaw puzzles to me.
posted by redfoxtail at 5:09 AM on July 26, 2007


Jigsaws.
posted by genghis at 5:09 AM on July 26, 2007


1000 piece puzzle
posted by Margalo Epps at 5:09 AM on July 26, 2007


I thought it would've meant something more considering he wouldn't accept my 5000 piece puzzle.
posted by thelongcon at 5:13 AM on July 26, 2007


Maybe he just doesn't have time for a 5000 piece puzzle.
It could also be some kind of drug code. What kind of neighbordhood was it in?
posted by sophist at 5:14 AM on July 26, 2007


It could also be some kind of drug code.

They're probably wanting to invite you to their rock-and-roll parties. Where there will be drugs. And No Jesus.

(Seriously, I've known a few puzzle people that it's very common for them to trade. He may simply not have the room to do a 5000 piece puzzle versus a smaller one.)
posted by beaucoupkevin at 5:19 AM on July 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


That part about 1000 pieces or 1001 pieces is particularly strange. Why would you make that distinction? Why not just say 'up to 1000 pieces'? It does sound like he was talking in code.
posted by mattholomew at 5:41 AM on July 26, 2007


Some puzzles come in 1000 and some come in 1001. That is the size he is shooting for -- he doesn't want to miss an opportunity for a 1001 by saying "only up to 1000." They are significantly smaller and less time-consuming than a 5000 piece puzzle.

Come on now, not everything has to be shady. The guy just wants to share his jigsaws and try new ones without spending money.
posted by Marit at 5:52 AM on July 26, 2007


Dude, he just likes puzzles.

That, or it's a sex thing.
posted by bshort at 6:01 AM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Urbandictionary has nothing fun or exciting about drugs or sexy times in relation to puzzles. I think he just wants your puzzles.
posted by banannafish at 6:17 AM on July 26, 2007


Did he say 'okay, so you want an eightball of puzzles?' or 'I like my puzzles shaved and uncut,' or anything like that? Did it sound like he was masturbating on the phone? If it wasn't drugs or sex, it was probably just puzzles.
posted by box at 6:21 AM on July 26, 2007 [9 favorites]


Oh I just wanted to add that I called the guy around 2 in the afternoon (on a Thursday). Is it strange he was home? I'm hoping there's something more to this than just plain jigsaw puzzles.
posted by thelongcon at 6:21 AM on July 26, 2007


Well, how do you know that posted number was his home number instead of a cell or work number? I think you're reading into this way too much.
posted by Meagan at 6:25 AM on July 26, 2007


I agree that you're reading too much into this. Especially since he told you to tell your friends if they had puzzles to trade.

I've never traded puzzles, but it seems like a thing that people would do, much like trading (in) video games after you've beaten them.
posted by boreddusty at 6:34 AM on July 26, 2007


Buy a 1001 piece puzzle. Call him up. The truth is out there.
posted by roue at 6:34 AM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's 2.30 in the afternoon and I'm home.

I'm doing a jigsaw too. Anyone want to swap?
posted by Nugget at 6:37 AM on July 26, 2007


I called the guy around 2 in the afternoon (on a Thursday). Is it strange he was home?

Umm... the guy spends his time doing jigsaw puzzles of a certain size and then swaps them with strangers. I would honestly expect him to be home at 2pm on a Thursday afternoon..
posted by worker_bee at 6:38 AM on July 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


To get a definitive answer you should call him back, arrange to meet at a safe, neutral place to "trade puzzles" and then see if he actually shows up with a puzzle.
posted by amyms at 7:03 AM on July 26, 2007


I have never heard of puzzles as a code for anything other than puzzles.
posted by The Deej at 7:09 AM on July 26, 2007


But if you follow amym's advice -- bring a puzzle of your own to trade. Not fair to make him come meet you otherwise.
posted by Malor at 7:11 AM on July 26, 2007


Congratulations! You have been chosen to do original, front-line research on this question. Go buy a puzzle.

Let us know how it works out, we'll be filing a missing person report if we don't hear back from you.
posted by yohko at 7:14 AM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Does this help? Note that it does come from the Worldwide Jigsaw Puzzles Meetup Message Board.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 7:20 AM on July 26, 2007


I agree that Ralph the signmaker was talking about real puzzles, not metaphorical ones.
posted by TedW at 7:49 AM on July 26, 2007


My intuitive hit is that the guy is Aspergers or something like that.
posted by ottereroticist at 7:57 AM on July 26, 2007


This is a really common thing for jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts to do, you are reading way too much into this.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:33 AM on July 26, 2007


I think this guy wants to trade puzzles.

And by "puzzles" I mean boxes full of little parts that fit together in a specific arrangement to result in a pretty picture.

Or wives.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:34 AM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh I just wanted to add that I called the guy around 2 in the afternoon (on a Thursday). Is it strange he was home? I'm hoping there's something more to this than just plain jigsaw puzzles.

At my job we get to pick our days off. Mine are Saturday, Wednesday and, yes, Thursday.
posted by Tuwa at 8:54 AM on July 26, 2007


If you're not game for actually trying to swap puzzles with him, maybe another Mefi would?
posted by drezdn at 8:57 AM on July 26, 2007


If you're not game for actually trying to swap puzzles with him, maybe another Mefi would?
posted by drezdn

Maybe this is a good MeFi Project. Collect old puzzles from MeFites, and deliver a crapload of puzzles to the guy all the once, just to see the look on his face.
posted by The Deej at 9:23 AM on July 26, 2007


He doesn't have to be too slow to do a bigger puzzle - I take it as he can't "handle" a larger puzzle cause he doesn't have room to do that in.
posted by agregoli at 9:49 AM on July 26, 2007


I'm with The Deej, but delivery to Australia?
posted by nilihm at 9:56 AM on July 26, 2007


Aussie mefites only.
posted by The Deej at 10:04 AM on July 26, 2007


Looks like you can send a 1 pound package from US to Australia for $10.10.
posted by The Deej at 10:06 AM on July 26, 2007


"Puzzles" is code for "plate of beans."
posted by craven_morhead at 1:43 PM on July 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


This question better not be the start of a puzzle or ARG...
posted by adrianhon at 5:13 PM on July 26, 2007


I'm in Sydney, and I actually bought a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle last week from Kmart at the Broadway Shopping Centre. ($2! On sale!) My husband enjoys putting them together. But his name is not Alex, and to my knowledge he has never "traded" puzzles with anyone. But now you're making me suspicious...
posted by web-goddess at 5:40 PM on July 26, 2007


I'll have a bit of time to kill in Sydney next week. If you email me (at the address in my profile) and let me know where you saw the sign and phone number, I'll be more than happy to meet the guy, puzzle in hand. I'll let you know what happens.
posted by bunglin jones at 11:58 PM on July 26, 2007


Thanks for the answers everyone, I was probably looking for something weird that wasn't there. I'll email you, bunglin jones, when I get the number again, probably on Monday.
posted by thelongcon at 5:40 PM on July 27, 2007


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