Snapping into place: Jigsaw puzzles have ardent following

Tracee Herbaugh

There are jigsaw puzzle nights at coffee shops and libraries. Puzzle groups and puzzle games online. Hand-cut wooden puzzles that cost thousands of dollars. And puzzle designs that range from edgy, original artwork to your own, custom-ordered family photos.

Jigsaw puzzles for grownups are in vogue.

“I was not as passionate about jigsaw puzzles at first, but once I started, I saw the loveliness of these puzzles,” said AJ Jacobs, a writer working on a book about puzzles, including jigsaws and crosswords.

“Puzzles are a very soothing and joyous way to spend a couple of hours. They’re physical, tactile pieces and you get an endorphin rush when pieces snap into place.”

Fans said jigsaws provided respite from daily stress, a chance to step away from the screens and be in the moment.

Abby Matson, 37, found them therapeutic after the unexpected death of her dog three years ago. “The puzzle was the only thing I could do to keep from crying,” she said.

Matson’s friend, Abby McDaniel, 38, joined her. “We stayed up so late doing this puzzle,” Matson said. They started a puzzle group that now has six members. It’s informal. Members send photos of a completed puzzle before mailing it to the next person.

“It brings out an inner competition,” McDaniel said.

Jacobs, author of books including The Know It-All and The Year of Living Biblically,’ enjoys immersing himself in an activity and then writing about it.

Part of his research into puzzles took him to the World Jigsaw Puzzle Championship in Spain, a timed competition with teams representing 40 countries.

He, his wife and two children finished second to last.

People work on a jigsaw puzzle at the trendy SoHo House hotel in New York. PHOTO: AP