Sunday, 5 May 2019

Mathematical Madness and More Packing Challenges

Will I ever solve this? Probably not!
I just received a copy of the Hoffman packing puzzle from Tom Lensch. The aim is to pack twenty-seven blocks, measuring A x B x C into a cubic box with sides of A + B + C. A, B and C must be different and the smallest dimension must be larger than (A + B + C) / 4.

Tom has made this absolutely beautifully and the names of all 27 different kinds of wood have been engraved onto each one. I purchased the clear box too to show it off when (if) successfully packed!

Pack 012
Continuing the amazing challenges by Osanori Yamamoto, I could not resist the Pack 012 puzzle. Just 3 very simple pieces into a rather constrained space - how hard can it be? GULP!

Sunday, 24 March 2019

The Pièce de Résistance!

Mrs S has been very tolerant with the enormous torrent of new acquisitions recently and to top it all off she has allowed/bought for me the pinnacle of my puzzle collection. This is to mark our upcoming 25th Wedding anniversary...yes, I survived that long! I have been allowed one - JUST one - Miguel Berrocal puzzle sculpture. The one I have always wanted which fits with my medical background (and first-class honours degree in Anatomy) is the Goliath opus 114.

It was purchased with fantastic service from Edward at Art45 Ltd and arrived earlier this week - I have put it on display but not had any time to explore the disassembly yet.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

The Cube Madness Continues

My name is Kevin and I am a "CUBOHOLIC"!

Yes, I admit it, I am addicted to gorgeous cubes - this time they came from my friend Alfons Eyckmans. He is a brilliant designer and his craftsmanship is amazing! He showed off a bunch more interlocking burr-like cube puzzles on his Facebook page and after drooling for a while I placed an order. He makes them by hand and to order so it took a few weeks before some PayPal was needed and Mrs S was taken aback by yet another large box.

I think she was quite justified in asking whether these cubes were different from all the other cubes that I had in my collection. I reassured her that they were totally different and the anger subsided - phew! Violence averted!

Embarrassingly there might have been 5 of these beauties in the package:


Mad Max


At roughly the same time I might also have received a couple of extra cubic puzzles from Yavuz Demirrhan's Cubozone store. The Maze cube was gorgeous and irresistible!

Front view
Even the back is stunning!
The aim is to manipulate the maze cube so that it is flush into the frame.
Then an interlocking puzzle called Kubikub 2 was also gorgeous and remarkably good value:

Kubikub 2

Sunday, 10 March 2019

A New Metal Puzzle Producer?

3 Gorgeous metal beauties from Jon Keegan
I saw in the last IPP design competition that someone seemed to be trying to emulate my good friend William Strijbos. There were new puzzles entered manufactured beautifully from aluminium. One was very reminiscent of the Angel box and the Pachinko box. I had to have a try at these. After a few emails, some rather eyewatering PayPal changed hands and I received 3 beauties. Not had time to investigate much but they look and feel fabulous. I have to say that Jon's presentation is absolutely fabulous - they arrived in a big well-padded box and each puzzle was also beautifully boxed:

Beautifully presented
These are very complex puzzles - I hope to write a review in due course but need to solve them first - no solution is provided!

Sunday, 3 March 2019

4 Deliveries In One Go!

Yes, it's another Stickman!
Mrs S was unimpressed (maybe even slightly miffed) to have to answer the door for 4 deliveries on Friday! The most impressive of them is the Stickman Dwemer puzzlebox - it is huge and beautiful and I have absolutely no idea what do do with that complex mechanism. That should be a lot of fun.

4 Turning Interlocking Cubes from Brian Menold
Andrew Crowell has been designing TICs like they have gone out of fashion and the reports are that they are amazing - I certainly loved the GiganTIC from last year. Brian released another four and sent 3 of them to me in the disassembled state. I am awful at assembly puzzles so this may be a huge challenge.

Stretchy 12 Burr
This is one of Juno's latest which I really could not resist. Stunningly beautiful too.

Coordinate motion puzzles from Lee Krasnow
Lee's Barcode burr and variants that he released recently has been a huge hit - it included a coordinate motion version called the Coordicode burr which I loved. He has gone on to make a whole bunch of other coordinate motion versions and I bought the sets with just 2 cubes. We have the GreenCode burrs (1-4), the CrossCode burrs (1-4), the PurpleCode burr and GoldCode burr. I cannot wait to get stuck into these.

There might be more on its way. Whack! Ouch!

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Puzzleisure Continues to Make Gorgeous Toys

I received a copy of the Hydrant puzzle from Stephan Baumegger last week. The beautifully turned wooden puzzle was a winner of a Top 10 Vote Getters award at the IPP38. The challenge is to find the firehose. It is absolutely stunning as is all of Stephan's work and I am enjoying playing with and exploring it.

There was also a copy of his Exchange puzzle, Goodie, in the package. It is a dissection of a 5x5 cube which needs to be assembled and looks rather tough to me! When I first took the pieces out of the plastic box for a photo, I could not get them to fit back in again!

Thank you, Stephan!

Saturday, 19 January 2019

The Most Moves Ever!

The Sequence Cube
I just received this wonderful 3D printed puzzle from Aleksandr Leontev. This is the Sequence cube and is an N-ary puzzle requiring an ENORMOUS number of moves and a rather complex sequence. I saw it shown off by him on Facebook and asked whether he would make a copy for me. It took a while but after a few months, I got sent this. The details are on puzzlewillbeplayed here.

I am looking forward to spending several weeks getting lost in the solution. The level is:

The extra piece increases the level to a whopping 12,282 for the first piece!

Sunday, 23 December 2018

If The Deliveries Continue She's Going To Murder Me!

It's not my fault! The compulsion is beyond my control! In fact, the beautiful puzzle above wasn't bought by me. Jakub and Jaroslav of Pelikan puzzles make a small run of a puzzle to give away to people who have helped them or been good friends over the previous year. The Aracna looks like 12 piece burr but in reality is a 13 piece puzzle because there is a rather cute spider-shaped piece inside. It was designed by the amazing Alfons Eyckmans and this version is made from Walnut with a Wenge spider inside. Hopefully, I will have time over Xmas to play with it (unfortunately I am working both Xmas eve and Xmas day this year 😢).

Six face
I received a couple more beauties from the Published Professor of Wood, Brian Menold. I have not bought many interlocking puzzles or burrs and have focussed on some packing puzzles recently but decided that I am rubbish at packing so fixed the situation here. Summer is a caged 3 piece puzzle designed by Klaas Jan Damstra and Six face is a variant on a TIC from Andrew Crowell - fabulous woods and fabulous workmanship.

K36 - #12
I couldn't resist it! This is the K36 from Kim Klobucher - a full N-ary puzzle with 36 moves. It's my 3rd Kcube! Just as beautiful as ever!

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Some Lovely Gifts

Slim Pyraminx
Grigorusha Pentagon
Siamese Void Pentagons pre-scrambled
My friend Terry decided to thin out his collection - he has decided that he doesn't really enjoy Twisty puzzles and so sent me these rather special goodies. 2 are designs made in 3D printed nylon by Evgeniy Grigorusha and the other is from Tony Fisher and is pre-scrambled for me (I suspect it may stay like that!

Adam and Eve
He also sent me a copy of Adam and Eve which was Rox and George's entry into the IPP design competition 2 years ago. Yes, the apple is actually a red pepper!

Thank you so much Terry - I look forward to playing with them.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Post IPP Bad Behaviour

Just about to be released by Pelikan puzzles
IPP has come and gone and I couldn't be there! In my misery, I consoled myself with browsing for toys and maybe buying a few! I was surreptitious about it to avoid a Whack! Ouch! but then a big box arrived from Jakub! I bought almost everything he has produced.

From the back left:
3D Onat Contrast by Stephan Baumegger
Key Lock by Stephan Baumegger
Rotacube by Lucie Pauwels
Middle row from the left:
Trap R2 by Osanori Yamamoto
Wourie by Alfons Eyckmans
Front row from the left:
Square target by Osanori Yamamoto
Red Cube by Volker Latussek
Shield by Osanori Yamamoto

Also coming in this batch are puzzles that I have already from Stephan Baumegger - Excaliburr and Droid.

Keep an eye out for them - Puzzles from Pelikan sell out quickly.

I also might have received another of my beloved N-ary disentanglement puzzles from my friend Namick Salakhov. This is the Loopary branch puzzle, one of his entries in the design competition.

Loopary Branch
I also couldn't resist another sequential discovery puzzle from Joe Turner - the 6th in his Free me series:

Mrs S also doesn't know about a puzzle coming from Australia - don't tell her until I am at a distance to give me a head start in the race to get away!

Sunday, 22 July 2018

A Recent Splurge

More JCC Disentanglement Puzzles
JCC has been very busy! These new ones have arrived from Wil Strijbos. They are beautifully made and an initial play has revealed that they are pretty tough! They will not be produced in large numbers. They will be available in the future to enthusiastic collectors only. Mrs S is not impressed because they are VERY jingly!

Jerry has been selling some old and new board burrs on his shop - how could I resist. The middle one is a Stainless steel version of Dirty Dozen. Truly fabulous!

Brian Young has released a couple of new sequential discovery puzzles and of course, I could not resist - I bought the tougher of the 2 - the 3 Wise Bolts. The other one I solved in the design competition room at last year's IPP in Paris. You cannot buy just 2 puzzles from I added in a couple of extras for luck. The Kumiki Airlines puzzle was a big hit with Allard so I couldn't resist and Nigel has been encouraging people to get the Mega six burr for years. Nigel is pretty much always right!

Finally (at least I think that is it) I bought a few from Eric Fuller. He seems to have gone mad for packing puzzles recently which are not really my thing but these seemed interesting:

Two [acking puzzles but with an interesting twist to them - they have sliding panels. Despite the similarity, they were designed by different puzzlers. 

Finally, the Combined burr looks look a 6 piece burr but is an interesting interlocking puzzle with some very interesting pieces.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Big Steve Annoys Mrs S

The Tongue Tied Puzzle
I am sure that you have noticed that Allard's blog has had quite a few references to tongue depressors recently, especially when mentioning Big Steve. It began at an MPP when Steve brought along a very large box of them to make rapid-fire stick bombs using the aforementioned medical implement. After that, a Facebook campaign led by an unusually named Chico Banane has led to a sort of war where boxes and boxes of tongue depressors have arrived chez Steve and annoyed Mrs Steve (Nora).

In fits of giggles, I would recount these tales to Mrs S and she was not amused and definitely took the side of Mrs Steve (an alternative Mrs S?) A week or so ago Steve 3D printed his own tongue depressor puzzle which requires the creation of an interlocked symmetrical shape. Lots of us jumped and asked for a copy and Steve decided to use this as a means of off-loading large numbers of his wooden tongue depressor collection to unsuspecting puzzlers...I think a certain Spanish puzzler received quite a lot!

My copy arrived in a surprisingly large box and Mrs S was very suspicious (she recognised the from address). When I opened the box on arriving home from work I immediately hid the contents:

Nicely packaged?
Later that evening, Mrs S somehow found the package and realised that unnecessary tongue depressors had made it into our house!

The puzzle packed in wooden shock absorbers!
Let's just say she gave me a piece of her mind that lasted quite some time! I cowered in the corner and reassured her that it was not my fault and Big Steve had contrived to do this himself. Now if Big Steve ever meets Mrs S again then a very large man will probably be obliterated by a rather small but extremely violent Scottish woman! It's been nice knowing you, Steve! I'll pay my respects alongside Nora at your funeral and drop the spare tongue depressors on your coffin!

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Mrs S is going to Whack! Ouch! Me

You should be able to hear the jingling across the Intertubes!
Mr Strijbos sent me an email to show me a few new designs by the great Jean-Claude Constantin. He seems to be experimenting with what is possible using the U wire piece. These are very interesting topologically and allows for some very challenging puzzles. I asked Wil if I could buy them and he responded the way I hoped. These are just prototypes and are not routinely available just now. After JCC has had some feedback, I am certain they will be available quite soon.

I am sure that not only will you be able to hear the jingling but you will almost certainly be able to hear the Whack! Ouch! from Mrs S!

Sunday, 27 May 2018

More Twisty Puzzles to Torture Me

Grilles II cube
Having recently had some success with the latest twisty puzzles from MF8, I noticed a few new ones available for purchase. How could I resist? I was feeling full of confidence when I paced the order but on arrival, I am a little less sure. The Grilles II cube is a mix of a corner turning cube (with an overlapping centre piece plus a 3x3. Here is what it looks like after a few turns:

Just a corner turned through two cuts and a face
It is pretty much against the law to order just one twisty puzzle from China so I also bought the latest skewb - this is the 7x7 Professor skewb:

7x7 Professor Skewb
Even without turning it looks fairly horrific but when it turns (both deep and shallow cuts) plus trivial corner tips, it shows off its complexity:

The Professor Skewb feels very unstable and I am not sure whether it is solvable. Just playing about with it has produced quite a few pops of pieces. We will see when I get a chance to properly play with it.