Sidmouth’s jigsaw man is first to finish 18k puzzle

Sidmouth’s John is fastest jigsaw maker in the West

THERE is no doubt about it. When it comes to jigsaw puzzles, John Dyson has got the knack.

He is not just the fastest puzzle-maker in the West, this time he is the FIRST person in Britain to complete Ravensburger’s 18,000-piece puzzle Skylines of the World.

“It is unbelievable, I don’t really know how he does it so quickly,” said Cornee Marlow, Ravensburger’s marketing co-ordinator in the UK.

John, from Manor Road, Sidmouth, bought the puzzle after learning no-one had yet completed it in the UK and set about constructing it in his study in May.

It has taken him 266 hours to finish, 20 hours quicker than he took to complete his first major challenge, Jungle Scenes – another 18,000 piece puzzle - last year.

The 10-foot by six-foot puzzle depicts four famous skylines, including fireworks over Sydney Harbour Bridge and New York’s skyscrapers.

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John chooses the early morning to do his puzzle-making and explains: “The light in Sidmouth at 6.30am in the morning can be very good indeed for it.”

He has developed a knack for completing such large puzzles and has even written an un-published pamphlet on how to do jigsaws.

John said: “I am just satisfied to be able to do it, I wanted to do something no-one else in the country had achieved. This is my way of doing it. Maybe no-one has done both of them – apart from a 23-year-old geek in Germany (who finished the Jungle Scenes puzzle in just 150 hours).

“I learnt a lot from doing Jungle Scenes. The first section was really difficult. It was a big learning curve. It is a question of managing pieces, organising them properly and it is mind over matter.”

Ravensburger will launch its fourth 18,000 piece design in January, called At the Waterhole, but John, 69, known locally for his work running the summer Hopper bus as a Sidmouth town councillor, has decided to take a break from puzzle-making “unless something bigger comes along, then I might be tempted.

“Now I have finished it I have disassembled it on to plastic sheets – 16 for each puzzle. They are in my study and I could be looking for a home for the jigsaws,” said John, who feels they should be shown off on a large wall, perhaps in a hospital, and is keen to hear from anyone interested in doing so.

*If you would like to display John’s puzzles for others to see, please contact Di Bowerman, (01392) 888 502, at the Sidmouth Herald, to be put in touch with John.