Among all the devastating, strange, unexpected effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the sudden strain on the global puzzle supply is perhaps the most comical. In addition to stocking up on toilet paper, dried pasta, and hand sanitizer, Americans are buying all the puzzles they can find.
During a recent trip to Target CityPlace, I saw a sign at the entrance warning shoppers that a few basic items were out of stock: face masks, gallons of water, pure acetone, and, yes, puzzles. After a month of shelter-at-home, any source of entertainment starts to feel like an “essential supply,” I guess.
Lucky for us, there are several local stores prepared to fulfill all our puzzle needs. By purchasing through a small business, you can help your fellow Dallasites pick up the pieces, too.
- Interabang Books is one of few independent book shops in Dallas–and considering that its Preston Hollow store was torn apart by a tornado only a few months before the pandemic hit, the shop could use some extra support to get through another unexpected closure. In addition to a vast selection of literature, Interabang’s online shop is well-stocked with puzzles. This one features an optimistic illustration, “Love Lives Here” by Anne Bentley, is 1000 pieces, and costs $16.99.
- Independent bookstores are rare, and indie toy stores are even rarer. Support one of Dallas’ longest-running toy stores, The Toy Maven, by purchasing a puzzle the whole family can enjoy. German-made Ravensburger Puzzles’ Krypt puzzle provides a challenge with 631 all-gold pieces. Buy it online for $21.99.
- Speaking of local toy stores, The Tot has plenty of kid-friendly puzzles for the little ones to work on while the adults tackle 1000-piece jigsaws. This Petit Collage Decoder Puzzle is designed for ages four and older, and it includes cool glasses that uncover secret codes in the puzzle.
- If you’re looking for an aesthetically pleasing puzzle, try museum gift shops. The Dallas Museum of Art has Bryce Wilner’s Gradient Puzzle in Blue/Green, Red/Yellow, and Black/White for $25 each. The Nasher has chic Pattern Puzzles inspired by the textiles of Dusen Dusen; my favorite is the Lenticular puzzle for $25. The Nasher Store’s Over and Over Puzzle Game is a bit pricey at $50–but as the name implies, the 3D origami puzzle can be reconfigured endlessly.
- No local puzzle list would be complete without a few Dallas-themed puzzles. We couldn’t find any Dallas-themed puzzles sold by local companies, however, there are some Dallas puzzles on Zazzle. Here’s one of the Dallas skyline and here’s one of a vintage map, so you can test your knowledge of the city. Both puzzles are available in easy, challenging, and difficult configurations.
- Finally, some of our favorite indie shops are working hard to keep up with the quarantine-induced puzzle craze. While these small stores have limited quantities, they have each been posting updates and restock info on their social platforms. We love Magic Hour Shop’s cool Champagne Problems ($26) and Life of the Party ($35) puzzles, the Frida Kahlo and horoscope puzzles from Favor the Kind, and The Fitting Room’s gift bundle with two puzzles and a board game.