Review of John Sloane’s Puzzle, Ripe and Ready

We usually don’t have a lot of dedicated time during the Christmas holidays. There is an hour here and a half hour there to have bits of fun between family visits, church, and addressing other needs. Consequently, we looked for a somewhat easier puzzle to work on during the recent Christmas holiday, Ripe and Ready by John Sloane.

This is a 500 piece puzzle. The pieces are relatively large, so they’d be easy for most people to work with. The puzzle box states that the puzzle is suitable for anyone ages 13 and up. I think someone even a little younger could probably work on the puzzle with help. Unlike one or two other puzzles we’ve purchased from Bits and Pieces, this puzzle has pieces with a substantial feel and we didn’t have any trouble with the art coming apart from the puzzle base as we had with one other puzzle we worked on from the company.

The puzzle itself is beautifully rendered. The use of color tends to make the puzzle easier to work on because some colors are definitely found only in one section of the puzzle. However, the completed puzzle is nice to look at and I would imagine that some people will make it into a wall hanging using a product such as Mod Podge. The puzzle pieces work well for making the puzzle into a wall hanging. They interlock well, making it possible to transfer the puzzle (with care) to a base for gluing.

Most puzzles have some sort of trick that provides a challenge. In this case, the puzzle makes a number of the pieces look like edge pieces, even though they’re supposed to go into the middle of the puzzle. Normally, we try to get all of the edge pieces together, create a border using them, and then work on the inner parts of the puzzle. That strategy didn’t work in this case because we truly couldn’t tell which pieces were supposed to go at the edge. I won’t ruin the puzzle by telling you what strategy did work .

Overall, this is an easy puzzle that works well for times when you don’t want too much of a challenge. It would be a good puzzle for beginners or for a rainy afternoon. We spent a total of eight hours putting the puzzle together. If we had sat down and worked on it continuously, I imagine we would have put it together much faster.


Author: John

John Mueller is a freelance author and technical editor. He has writing in his blood, having produced 99 books and over 600 articles to date. The topics range from networking to artificial intelligence and from database management to heads-down programming. Some of his current books include a Web security book, discussions of how to manage big data using data science, a Windows command -line reference, and a book that shows how to build your own custom PC. His technical editing skills have helped over more than 67 authors refine the content of their manuscripts. John has provided technical editing services to both Data Based Advisor and Coast Compute magazines. He has also contributed articles to magazines such as Software Quality Connection, DevSource, InformIT, SQL Server Professional, Visual C++ Developer, Hard Core Visual Basic, asp.netPRO, Software Test and Performance, and Visual Basic Developer. Be sure to read John’s blog at When John isn’t working at the computer, you can find him outside in the garden, cutting wood, or generally enjoying nature. John also likes making wine and knitting. When not occupied with anything else, he makes glycerin soap and candles, which comes in handy for gift baskets. You can reach John on the Internet at John is also setting up a website at Feel free to take a look and make suggestions on how he can improve it.