OK, now, who'll take it apart?

Sunday, Sept. 28 was warm and pleasant in southern Germany – the sort of day that makes people want to be outdoors. Consider the town of Ravensburg, for example. Almost one-third of its population spent hours basking in the sunshine and fitting picture puzzles together. When you consider that the town is home to a leading maker of puzzles, that's not so surprising. But then, this was more than an idle pastime. Much, much more, in fact.

If you haven't heard, those 15,000 or so folks were part of a team effort to see whether they couldn't simply break but instead obliterate the Guinness Book of World Records listing for assembling the largest jigsaw puzzle in history. And by the end of the afternoon, they had – or so the 125-year-old company claims. In sections, the participants finished more than 4,000 small rectangular puzzles in such motifs as animals and landscapes. Then, carefully keeping them intact, they joined them all into a 6,500-square-foot monster that covered almost the entire central square. Number of pieces: 1,141,800. Guinness's current record: 212,000 pieces (assembled six years ago in Singapore).

No immediate confirmation from the record book editors about whether all that work will be rewarded with a new listing. But a spokesman for Ravensburger AG, which markets puzzles ranging from Hannah Montana themes for kids to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome for adults, sounded confident. "We tried, and we succeeded," he declared. So why give up all that time when the participants could have been out, say, boating on nearby Lake Constance or picking apples in the region's orchards? Well, said one resident, "We really like puzzling."

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