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Because business IS personal

18 Oct


Posted by John Hennessy

Images take on new meaning when they are given a context. We think puzzles need a story.

 When I was a young man I rented a room in a Victorian mansion in Seattle owned by ninety-year-old man who decorated the place with his paintings. He wasn’t a very skilled painter, but when he told you about the pictures (and sometimes about the old paintings he covered up when he painted over ones he bought for the canvas) they came alive. I often think if him recapturing his youth (“that guy in the red hat on the wagon is my little brother”) at the easel he had set up in the basement of the house he grew up in.

 Here at Hennessy Puzzles we’re not artists. We use images by talented artists (and never cover up other people’s art to save money). We know challenging and fun puzzles can be produced using dull colors. We prefer bright colors. We like our puzzles. We hope you do too.

 We started the story for each of our puzzles. We would love to hear not only reviews of our puzzles, but also stories about doing them, or stories about doing other puzzles. Heck, we are suckers for stories about almost anything.

 We know we are asking a lot. We know how valuable stories are, and we aren’t offering anything but the opportunity to share them. We’ll make up the stories if we need to, but we’d prefer to use yours. If you have ideas for future puzzles we’d like to hear them too. Who knows?

18 Oct


Posted by John Hennessy

Jigsaw puzzles have become a popular distraction at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Jigsaw puzzles widen the Friday night recreational activities at a university more noted for underage drinking and couch burning. UCSB has recently lost its place on Playboy Magazine’s list of the ten best party schools in America.  

18 Oct


Posted by John Hennessy

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, 

stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? . . . And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.

- Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Those “puzzlers” that we rely on — our brains — can use all the help they can get to stay in shape. Just like the rest of our body, with regular exercise our “puzzler” maintains a healthy level of fitness and is less likely to get, well, sore.

Here’s the good news: jigsaw puzzles are a fantastic way to exercise your brain. Check out these Brain Boost facts:

Jigsaw puzzles are like personal trainers for your gray matter, stimulating continuous activity throughout all parts of your brain. This increases their efficiency and capacity. Also, while you are memorizing colors and shapes, hunting down that funky piece with red and black stripes, your short-term memory is getting a shot in the arm. You may never lose your car keys again.


Jigsaw puzzles engage BOTH brain hemispheres – right-brain functions and left-brain functions. Your logical left brain is a problem solver. Your creative right brain likes to look at the big picture and is more intuitive and subjective. When you work on a jigsaw puzzle, you are causing both sides of your brain to work in tandom.

Working on and solving jigsaw puzzles makes us alert, increases our concentration and expands our creativity. More good news: because it is a calm, quiet activity — unlike a madcap evening of, say, B-I-N-G-O — putting together jigsaw puzzles slows our breathing, reducing our heart rate and blood pressure.

Dopamine is something you want more of. A chemical produced by the brain that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, dopamine production is increasedwhen your brain is engaged in working through a jigsaw puzzle. It also helps regulate movement and emotional responses. Dopamine deficiency results in Parkinson’s Disease; also, people with low dopamine activity may be more prone to addiction. Keep in mind that a little healthy addiction to jigsaw puzzles is good for you!

Jigsaw puzzle meditation? Yep. Turns out putting together jigsaw puzzles and focusing on the same image for long periods of time actually mimics meditation, bringing calm and peace of mind.  Ommmmm . . .

Finally:  think of working a jigsaw puzzle as a little therapy session. Every now and then, our lives may seem, well, puzzling. The simple activity of losing ourselves in the peaceful practice of working on a jigsaw puzzle often helps us to have a subconscious shift of piecing together parts of our lives that we could not see clearly before. What was hazy in our mind may now more closely match the picture on the “lid.”


18 Oct

"Doing jigsaws doesn't build character, it reveals character"

Posted by John Hennessy

(what John Wooden would have said if he was famous for doing jigsaws)

Welcome to Hennessy Puzzles, a tiny subdivision of a small family run publishing empire. For a couple decades we have been in the map business, publishing recreational maps (KYM GUIDES) for the Western United States. As our responsibilities grew we had a less time to travel the world researching maps and more time at home doing things like jigsaw puzzles.

Hennessy Communications has looked like a confusion of jobs, addresses, pets, kids, relatives, and homework assignments, but, with some concentration, patterns emerge. Sort of like a jigsaw puzzle. These first three Hennessy puzzles are based on maps. We originally planned to use KymGuides as basemaps but they needed so much illustration to make a good puzzle that it was easier to start from scratch. We wanted beautiful images and accurate maps. We shy away from the word “educational” to avoid scaring the children, but we assume you will appreciate knowing where Coalinga, California, Winslow, Arizona, Arlington Ave, Los Angeles after finishing our maps puzzles.

18 Oct

A Word is Worth A Thousand Picture (if it's the right word)

Posted by John Hennessy

If forget who said that. No doubt some frustrated writer who just had to deal with a graphic artist who chopped off a few words so that the paragraph would fit .


We put a lot of effort into pictures here at Hennessy Puzzles, but we know the importance of a good story. I bet most of the images you have hanging in your house come with a story. “We picked this one up at a street stand in Barcelona. That one is of the kids when we first moved into the house. Uncle Joe painted that one.” Most images come with a story. Sometimes the story is more important than the image….especially if Uncle Joe didn’t have must talent as a painter. All our puzzles have stories to go with them. We hope our stories help you enjoy our puzzles. We’d like to hear your stories.

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