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The Occidentalist

The Occidentalist


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Minor and Worm Take On Puzzles

Outside of school, Minor and Worm compete in local challenges building puzzles

  Hobbies exist to fill people’s free time with activities that they enjoy, whether that be hiking, cooking or, in the case of two teachers here at west, completing puzzles. Puzzling, as many call it, is a strategic and sometimes frustrating game, but it also serves as a peaceful way to decompress. Emily Worm, a social studies teacher at West, and Genevieve Minor, a librarian at West, have both participated in some of the puzzle competitions that take place in Traverse City.

  “I like puzzling because I think it’s fun, and it relaxes me and gives me something to do. And then the competitions are fun because I get to do puzzling, but I get to do them with my friends, so it’s a good excuse for us to get together and hangout,” Worm said.

  These competitions may be a fun way to spend the day with friends, but they continue to be a difficult challenge that tests each person’s ability to strategize under pressure. 

  “Everybody got the same 500 piece puzzle, and then it was kind of just like “ready, set, go!” […] They give you a three hour limit, and if nobody finishes in that three hour limit, then it’s whoever has the most completed. But there were plenty of people that finished in that time period,” Minor said.

  The most recent competition that the two competed in was located at and hosted by the Grand Traverse Commons. There were about ten tables, and each one consisted of a team with anywhere from two to four people competing.

  “I got second place, we were like two minutes shy of getting first place. But we won a gift certificate to the commons,” Worm said.

  The winners of this particular competition got prizes. The first place winning team won a $100 gift certificate to the commons, and the second place winning team won a $50 certificate. On top of that, there were also sub-category prizes, such as completing a specific portion of the puzzle first.

  “My team won for putting together the border, we got the border first and so we won a gift certificate for two people to take one of their historical tours. We ended up placing I think like eight overall, but we got the border done first, so we still won something,” Minor said.

  Even as someone who likes to construct puzzles regularly, these competitions can be extremely difficult to win for various reasons. First off, the puzzles are not easy by any means. Likewise, it can be hard to work efficiently when under so much pressure.

  “I like puzzles of towns, or people, or just lots of stuff. They tend to pick puzzles where it’s one really big sunflower or the last one I did was a bunch of rocks of different colors, and so they kind of purposely choose ones that can be a little bit more difficult to put together. They’re not the kind of puzzle I would pick, but that’s also part of the fun,” Worm said.

  The puzzles are difficult and can make the experience frustrating. However, the competitions use high quality puzzles that make it worth it.

  “Everybody gets to keep their puzzle because they can’t use them again because people are already familiar with them. And they get good puzzles versus really cheap ones, which is nice,” Minor said.

  Puzzle competitions are a great way to spend free time because they’re fun and are a good excuse to hangout with friends. They are also a great way to fundraise money for important community projects or developments.

  “I would really like to do a puzzle competition here at West as a fundraiser for model UN. I think there’s enough community members that it wouldn’t necessarily have to fall on students or staff, but, obviously, students and staff would be welcome. It’s just really fun, and it would be a quick fundraiser because you can get it all done in just a day,” Minor said.

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About the Contributor
Samantha VanWingen
Samantha VanWingen, Section Editor, Photographer
Samantha VanWingen is a senior and is taking the newspaper for the first time this year. She chose to take this class because she enjoys writing and has an interest in journalism. Outside of school, Samantha loves to be in nature, whether that’s hiking, biking, skiing, traveling, or simply sitting on the beach.

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