Sunday, 26 November 2017

I Needed Something to Keep Me Busy!

I blame Derek!
I knew I was going to be off work a while after my surgery so I sort of...had to...couldn't resist going shopping! Derek said the stuff that Juno was producing was brilliant. If Derek said so then I had to didn't I? I got the A Mazing Burr, the Mirii 4x3, Reza 4-4 and Reza 6-8! I have had a quick look at the geometric assembly puzzles and they scare the $%@P out of me! Thanks to Hendrik for providing it for me, his new store is here.

The Bell from Siebenstein Spiele
I had been looking for a Panex puzzle for a while but they always come up at auction for silly prices and I never managed it. I was delighted when Siebenstein Spiele produced a nice wood version with slightly less pieces. I thought it might be a nice variant on a classic N-ary puzzle, The Tower of Hanoi. I was wrong!!! It is MUCH more complex than that and I am a bit lost just now! Nick Baxter has an interesting resource which I am trying to avoid using initially but I am sure I will be forced to give in soon.

Witeden super 3x3x5 cuboids

Witeden super 3x3x4 cuboid
I love cuboids and these were produced a while ago. It was time to catch up and have a fun play. They all look very similar but there are some very important differences between them.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Juno releases another burr with a difference

Visible framed burr
Junichi Yananose recently released another new design which is considerably more complex that it would first appear. The Visible framed burr looks like "just a 4 piece burr in a frame" so should be relatively straighforward. Apparently there has been a special modification of the pieces to ensure a unique assembly and this will also make it considerably tougher to solve. I cannot wait to have a go!

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Even After My IPP Splurge I Couldn't Resist

Slot Machine
Eric Fuller showed off some new puzzles at IPP after I had already spent all my money. I therefore didn't buy from him then but 2 weeks later he puts them up for sale on his site and I just couldn't stop myself. First I had to buy Slot Machine - John Rausch had been carrying around a 3D printed version and tortured a lot of people with it. He loved the dance of the pieces. He insists that it is best experienced as an assembly puzzle so I will need to get a BT file for it and try and encourage Mrs S to dismantle it for me. Gulp!

Clamped Cube
Eric has produced lots of variants of 6 piece burrs over the years and I just cannot resist them. This one has 2 cube pieces trapped inside.

Worm Cube
I love interlocking solids and, whilst this one doesn't have rotations, Eric says that it is very complex and confusing and therefore I had to have it! At this point I really have run out of money!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Post IPP arrivals - she's going to kill me!

Just when Mrs S thought that it was safe!

All just gorgeous!
Yesterday I received a few toys bought from Jakub's New Pelikan Workshop - they are to be released very soon and are of course the usual amazing standard:
We have (L to R):
  1. Twisted Cube
  2. Little Dance
  3. Scotsman (tender)
  4. Ultra
  5. Camera
  6. IPP37
  7. Identical Twins
Earlier in the week I received a BIG box from the USA. I had ordered this from the amazing Jerry McFarland when we met at the IPP. It is the Grand Pinhole Cross designed by Stewart Coffin:

A whole lot of pieces!
Jerry sent it flat pack to save on the size of the box and also to give me the full challenge. Allard wrote about his here. There are multiple challenges starting with just making a cube which is a challenge in itself:

The other challenges can be seen here.

Solved the basic puzzle
There might be another delivery on its way from Eric - shhh! Don't tell Mrs S or she may lock me out of the house!!!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Mrs S is Away and Sneaky Deliveries Arrive

2 gorgeous (and large) puzzles from Johan Heyns
Whilst Mrs S was up in Edinburgh visiting her parents (and abandoning me on our 23rd wedding anniversary) I had to pay a ransom to Parcelforce for the various import fees/taxes to allow release of my puzzles bought from Johan Heyns' Intellectualcraft store. The left hand puzzle is an interesting burr called Matrix designed by Émil Áskerli. It looked stunning when Johan showed it off on his Facebook page and I had to have it. Of course I didn't pay any attention to the size and was a bit shocked when a 13.5x13.5x13.5 monster arrived and on the stand (a mark of all of Johan's puzzles) it is 16.5cm high. She's going to murder me when she sees it! The other puzzle is the multi-base N-ary puzzle, Numlock. I bought mine with ternary and quinary pieces but it was also available with septenary and nonary pieces (too expensive for me unfortunately). That one is even bigger and if you never hear from me again then you will know what has happened to me.

John Haché (a good puzzle friend from Canada) and I clubbed together and bought some new toys from Andrei Ivanov's store in Russia. My share of the package was 3 rather stunning puzzles made from Stainless steel - I had seen one of them at the last MPP I had attended where Allard had managed to acquire them too.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Martin Increases the Backlog

From the left: Tangram cube, Clover Octahedron and Redi cube
There have been quite a few new releases recently in the twisty puzzle world and I have drooled over them all in time and promised myself that I will buy them soon. But then those pesky woodworkers keep sidetracking me with their gorgeous productions and I forget what I am after. Luckily, I spend a while (along with my good friend Paul) chatting to Martin Fox, the full time Puzzlestore UK owner, on Facebook and "just for my own benefit" he is keeping track of the puzzles that I have mentioned that I am interested in. Every now and then he reminds me of what's on my list and asks if I am ready to buy. This time I had to wait until after payday and then a nice little box arrived which was of great interest to Zachary but the contents were of interest to me. Zachary got inside the box after I had removed the contents and I now have the above new toys.

I lurve a box! Get the puzzles out of the way.....QUICK!
The Tangram cube is a rather daunting looking puzzle that might well take me some time. I am aware that it is a shape modification of another puzzle but it also has some supercube properties which I don't really know how to deal with.

The Clover Octahedron is the last one in the set of Clover puzzles (I still need to find a copy of the Fracture octahedron) - it goes with the Clover Cube, Clover Dodecahedron and Clover Icosahedron.

The Redi cube is a very simple corner turning twisty designed by the amazing Oskar van Deventer and is very suitable for any young kid or beginner who is just starting with twisty puzzles.

These should be a really fun set of challenges and great additions to the collection. Thanks Martin.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Brian increases my backlog

You know I cannot resist wood
Not only did I buy a whole load of puzzles from Brian a month or so ago and a new set from Eric just a week ago, all of which are contributing to a rather large pile of unsolved puzzles in my study and on the tray next to my chair in the living room. Suddenly Brian has increased his output and I couldn't resist another order. The puzzles were highly recommended to me and.....just LOOK at that wood!

Three new puzzles arrived this week:
  1. On the right is Straight4ward designed by my friend Laszlo Kmolnar who is responsible for a bunch of the very best packing puzzles in the world - this one has 2 solutions one solution without a rotation, then another with a rotation. It should be really fun - it's stunning with a Bocote box and Bloodwood pieces.
  2. In the middle is the Sonneveld cubed burr - I had wanted a copy of this for years but never found one I could afford and then Brian makes them out of gorgeous woods - I chose the Zebrawood frame with East Indian Rosewood pieces. So far I have got nowhere with it.
  3. On the right is a very interesting idea from my friend Christoph Lohe - I said a while back that whenever he has a design produced I would endeavour to buy it because they are just so clever. The aim here is to insert the third complex burr piece into the frame with the other 2 captive ones. The puzzle also has a linear and a rotational solution so double the puzzling for the money! I chose the Ash frame with Mahogany pieces.
All look great! Plus I have more stuff coming from Eric - Mrs S will be most annoyed - YAY!!!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

I have a Wood Problem

Carousel Puzzle
I have never owned anything from Kelly Snache but I have played with one or two of his fabulously crafted puzzles at various MPPs. I admired his Carousel puzzle when he showed it off on Facebook and was delighted when he offered to sell me a copy. I don't collect boxes but DO collect wood and DO collect sequential discovery puzzles with a cavity. Kelly was quite tickled by the description and I will stick to it! This requires a sequence of 6 moves to open it - I have not had time to play yet. The craftsmanship is simply superb!

Dispersion and Wheel Lock by Tsy Hung Chein
Y6BB by Yavuz Demirrhan
Chequered Board Burr by Frans de Vreugt
When Brian Menold has an update we all pay attention! I couldn't buy everything he had produced but I cannot resist board burrs and the puzzles from Tsy Hung looked so interesting and very similar in idea to the Galaxy puzzles I had enjoyed before. I had really loved his Castle puzzle which I have reviewed here.

To prove that I am not very bright I also bought a puzzle from Eric's remainder clearance. I bought an SM/24 which I looked at on his discontinued puzzles site and ordered quickly. I loved the colours and the idea of multiple interlocked 6 piece burrs - What I did not realise was that I already had an original copy of this puzzle made by Jerry McFarland in Walnut. The colours had fooled me! I now have one fully assembled and one in pieces!

New - neither have been solved!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

The postman has Been Busy

3 Piece Burr Cube
Johan Heyns has been at it again! He showed off some beautiful new creations on his Facebook page and I couldn't resist a purchase. He is trying to make this his full time career and I always try to support a craftsman in need plus the workmanship is fabulous! His on-line shop is now up and running and looks beautiful - prices are very reasonable. The above puzzle is just $55 and comes with a stand. I cannot wait to give it a try.

Exploding Triangles on Stand
He had saved me the exploding triangles coordinate motion puzzle from his last batch and I am delighted to add yet another of his fine Co-mo puzzles to my collection.

Jakub from Pelikan Puzzles is soon to update his site with some new puzzles. There will be the 2 that I featured on my site last week and a new one designed by Klaas Jan Damstra, the Tower puzzle:

 Klaas' designs are always fascinating and this will probably keep me busy for quite some time.

Finally Martin tempted me with some more twisty puzzles! He's a VERY bad influence but at least these puzzles are relatively cheap!

Clover Dodecahedron - I haven't yet managed to solve the Clover cube!
This may stop me in my tracks!

4x4x3 Mixup plus
Wormhole v2
Wormhole v3
Having recently solved the 3x3 Mixup ultimate, I wanted to go back to some puzzles that had frightened me off when they first came out. The cuboid mixup plus looked horrific and the Wormholes have mixup capabilities but also have an inner puzzle visible through the little windows. Great prices from Martin.

I appear to have a bit of a backlog but as long as Mrs S doesn't murder me then I will remain happy. In fact she has encouraged me to clear out part of my study to make more space and has offered me some storage elsewhere in the house. I am not sure what I have done to deserve this!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

More Pelikan Wonders

Big Quadrox
Jakub from Pelikan puzzles showed off a couple of new designs from Stéphane Chomine. He let me buy them a bit early to review them - they will be coming on the market very soon. Above is Big Quadrox which is a larger version of the Quadrox puzzle that I bought from Brian Menold in July 2015 and wrote about here. The smaller version was a great challenge so this one should be amazing!

Continuing the series of puzzles with burr sticks in a ring frame, Jakub also has made Tribord - it will be available in 2 different wood colours. 

I cannot wait to play with these - the quality is amazing as usual.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Wire and Wood Arrive Chez Moi

Tronc Commun 3
T Cube
Brian Menold update his site a couple of weeks ago and I just couldn't resist another couple of wooden beauties! Having solved and raved about Gregory Benedetti's Tronc Commun 4 and compared it to my prototype version of version 3 I could not resist getting a Menold version of number to match. It is stunning in Wenge and Zebrawood with lovely brass pin reinforcements. Of course I couldn't just buy one puzzle so I added the beautiful looking T cube (designed by Yavuz Demirrhan in Red palm and Bloodwood.

Slant Cube
I missed out on the Slant cube made by Eric Fuller and so when a good friend offered me a new version as well as one of his old puzzles I jumped at the chance.

This is supposed to be very tough!
I am rubbish at symmetry finding puzzles but I also got given one of these - it might take me many months (I know the infamous symmetrick did!).

A nice new batch of wire puzzles arrived from the Far East - thanks to 2 very good friends who worked together to get them for me:

I think I am going to be busy for quite a while! I haven't even dared look at the 3x3 Mixup ultimate that arrived a couple of weeks ago - it frightens me to death!

Sunday, 26 February 2017

A Little Flurry of New Toys

Binary Bud
Namick Salakhov sold me a copy of his Binary Bud puzzle. This was his entry into the 2013 IPP design competition. It has several aims which might keep me occupied for quite some time. My initial play has been quite confusing but I have been assured by Goetz that it is a great puzzle.

I had been waiting a while for Wil Strijbos to get a few more JCC puzzles back in stock:

These two are sequential movement puzzles with B-nary having the aim to remove a ball bearing that is trapped inside - it needs a logical N-ary sequence to navigate through to an open channel. There is a little twist to it too! Junc is very similar to the N522 but the top perspex can be removed to allow it to be reconfigured in a few other positions for new challenges. In fact there are 425≅1015 different possible configurations which should keep me occupied for a while. Don't tell Mrs S or she will stop me buying new puzzles until I have worked through them all! If I do one every 5 minutes (very very unlikely) that will take me 1.07 x 1010 years which is more than the probable remaining time the sun will survive!

A new JCC disentanglement - looks fearsome!
The amazing hexagonal coordinate motion box
Now in my last blog post I mentioned getting some new twisty puzzles from Marty's store. They arrived yesterday and I am delighted:

The Crazy Comet is a new design which looks like a Bermudaminx but is much more complex
The Crazy comet was a design by Oskar van Deventer which has been mass produced - it looks tough but apparently has some parallels with other puzzles that I own and can already solve - here's hoping!

The 3x3 Mixup Ultimate
The centre slices do 30º turns and can still be rotated
Plus my stickerless 4x4 and 6x6 cubes arrived and they are fabulous! I have already attempted a layer by layer solve of the 6x6 which proved really tough!