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Can I offer you a nice puzzle in these trying times?

These aren’t your grandma’s puzzles

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A nearly finished Dungeons and Dragons puzzle Photo: Mondo

I come from a family of puzzlers. If you visit my childhood home, nine times out of 10 there will be a half-finished puzzle out on the kitchen table. Our summer vacations are measured by how many puzzles we complete, and how many pieces they are. We have favorite puzzle designers and strong opinions about puzzle piece shapes and textures. And don’t get me started on the agony of gradient puzzles.

While just a few years ago it seemed like none of my peers shared my puzzling obsession, puzzles are now more popular than ever. Forbes reported that “jigsaw puzzles for adults” saw a huge spike in Amazon search traffic last month. Über-trendy startup Piecework Puzzles is sold out of every single one of its Instagram-worthy puzzles as of this writing. Our colleagues at The Goods investigated this phenomenon, chalking it up to a perfect storm of social media and social distancing.

Whether you’re a lifelong puzzle fan in search of some fun new options or a puzzle-curious newbie looking to dip your toe into the hobby, we’re rounding up some of our favorites. For new puzzlers, we’d recommend starting in the 300- to 500-piece range, before venturing into 1,000-piece territory in beyond.

Fewer than 500-piece puzzles

Little Ramen Puzzle

  • $15

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Trendy puzzle company Areaware makes a line of “Little Puzzle Things,” under-100-piece confections designed to be finished in 20 minutes. In addition to the adorable pictured bowl of ramen, there’s a soft pretzel, birthday cake, cheeze puff, and more.

500- to 999-piece puzzles

Box art for The Golden Girls puzzle
| Photo: Smith Street Books

The Golden Girls puzzle

  • $15

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Illustrator Chantel de Sousa designs of pop culture collectibles, including this puzzle collage of The Golden Girls. A Friends edition is currently out of stock, but can still be ordered at Amazon, and a versino for The Office is coming this fall.

A product shot of the Map of Hyrule puzzle
| Photo: USAopoly

Hyrule Map puzzle

  • $40

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Piecing together the map of Hyrule is one of the most satisfying parts of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Relive that experience with a puzzle of the Hyrule map — no tower scaling required.

1,000-piece puzzles

Box art for The Simpsons puzzle
| Photo: The OP Games

The Simpsons puzzle

  • $22

Prices taken at time of publishing.

The Simpsons has been running for over 30 years, so there’s no way a 1,000-piece puzzle could hold every single character. This one comes pretty close, though, with literally hundreds of characters represented.

Game of Thrones “Beautiful Death” puzzles

  • $20

Prices taken at time of publishing.

During Game of Thrones’ run, HBO commissioned artist Robert Ball to create a series of posters based on the show known as the “Beautiful Death” series. A few of those posters were turned into 1,000-piece puzzles, including the wildfire-inspired version pictured here.

A nearly complete Dungeons & Dragons poster
| Photo: Mondo

Dungeons & Dragons puzzle

  • $20

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Mondo recently released a new line of pop culture-inspired puzzles for pre-order, and all of them are gorgeous. My favorite, a portrait of the house from Home Alone, is already sold out, but this one featuring iconic Dungeons & Dragons art is still available (and also very cool).

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