Sunday, 1 September 2019

She Really Wants to Know How Many More are Coming!

Rex Rosano Perez has sent me a couple more to play with
I received these two beauties a couple of days ago from Rex in the Philipines. The workmanship is stunning and I cannot wait to get playing. These two are Apolaki (the yellow one) and 8th (the black one).

Aleksandr Leontev send me a couple of N-ary puzzles
Aleksandr continues to push the boundaries of what is possible with N-ary puzzles. On the left is Vertical which is based on the Numlock puzzle and requires 14,999 moves to complete. OMG! that is the minimum if I don't get lost and I fully expect to. So far, a quick fiddle has proved to be very confusing! On the right is the "White bow-tie" puzzle which is a two in one ternary and Quinary puzzle requiring 170 and 1251 moves each. I suspect I will start with this one to try and preserve the tattered remnants of my sanity!

JCC has started using new attractive materials
This came from Wil Strijbos and I don't actually know what it is called - if you do know then please let me know.
Last, but definitely, NOT least I bought the latest production from the Two Brass Monkeys whilst at the MPP yesterday. The Nova Plexus is a beautiful new 3D interlocking puzzle which is available in brass and in limited numbers in stainless steel - how could I resist getting both? I can see mirror image constructions side by side. Great packaging too!

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Made to Wait....Again!

I ordered puzzles from Brian Menold's recent pre and post-IPP releases because I couldn't resist more TICs and because I couldn't resist the Box Elder and...just BECAUSE! They arrived promptly in the UK and yet again Royal Mail noted their arrival and things just stopped...for 2 weeks! They knew that Her Majesty's Customs and Excise had stolen them but did they update their tracking? Hell no! It took a phone call before I found out that I had to pay a ransom. Luckily it was not too much money (even after the Royal Mail part of the extortion!) How could I resist?

Hat Trick
Hat Trick won a prize in the 2019 IPP design competition for Laszlo Kmolnar (one of my all-time favourite puzzle designers). I can't resist a puzzle by Laszlo and really cannot resist that Box Elder - gorgeous! I've seen on FB that this is a serious challenge.

Bouquet
Another of my favourite designers, Chris Lohe. An offset 6 piece burr it a wonderfully intricate frame. level 23 so a real challenge!

2019
Klaas Jan Damstra always designs fascinating puzzles - Another I cannot resist.

Then there are the TICs - yes Andrew Crowell has been at it again:

PackTIC #6
Made from Orange Agate, Argentine Mesquite, Anigre and Borneo Rosewood.

X TIC
Made from Cambodian Ormosia, Maple, Pucte and Argentine Mesquite.

MysTIC - sent out with the last piece needing to be placed
Yet again...that Box Elder, along with Redheart and Katalox. Gorgeous!
These should keep me busy a while - I actually haven't finished all the last batch that I bought from Brian.

Yay! More beautiful toys for me and Mrs S received some new shoes so no Whack! Ouch! just yet

Sunday, 18 August 2019

I'm a Sucker For Punishment

Now THAT'S what I call a disentanglement puzzle!
I cannot resist disentanglement puzzles - I even think that after all these years I might actually be moderately mediocre at them. When my friend in Azerbaijan, Namick Salakhov, contacts me with a puzzle offer, the answer is always YES! Last year (2018) he had 2 entries in the IPP puzzle design competition and I had already bought and solved the amazingly complex Loopy Lattice puzzle and had asked for a copy of his other entry that year. These puzzles are terribly difficult to make and hence the wait can be prolonged. After a year this little rather enormous beauty arrived. Called the Quadrupled Quadlooplet puzzle, there are 2 challenges:


  • Start with the looped rope threaded through adjacent holes of the core plate. Release the rope, and then return it to the starting position.
  • Start with the looped rope threaded through opposite holes of the core plate. Release the rope, and then return it to the starting position.
Namick says that it is not as tough as the other and I am hoping that it is true as the Loopy Lattice took me months to solve.

Also arriving just this week were a lovely bunch of new disentanglement puzzles from my amazing friend Aaron Wang. He designs and makes the most incredibly difficult puzzles. He has been busily working away with a number of other Chinese designers and has just released a bunch of new ones which I couldn't resist:

Aaron's entry in the 2019 design competition has multiple challenges and looks horrific. Goetz has said that it is not too bad but my preliminary fiddle has led absolutely nowhere at all!

These are the only ones without string but I suspect are still very tough (after all, they are rated as level 10!)

The original Clover puzzle was terribly difficult - the addition of an extra loop can only make it harder (level 10+)

Aaron himself has stated that the Grenade puzzles are both very difficult (the first one has 4 challenges - I will be happy with solving just 1)

To make it harder there is a split loop and 2 balls to prevent movement - OMG!

No-one likes going to the dentist and I suspect that will be the case here - another level 10+

Holy crap! Just look at the length of the string on that! It doesn't bode well for an easy solution!

All of these (and a few more) are available just now for you to buy on Puzzle Paradise - the craftsmanship is excellent and Aaron is great to deal with.


Sunday, 7 July 2019

I am a Holistic Puzzler - Wood AND Plastic

Juno's latest
Of course, when Juno puts out an update we all pay attention - especially these two puzzles. The Slammed car is a sequential discovery puzzle with multiple steps - the aim is to reveal the contents of the car - I think he is having a dig at me with what he has put inside (even if I have not gotten into the cavity yet). The Grooved board burr number 3 is like the previous 2 but a whole lot more! It looks amazing.

Sequential movement puzzles from Diniar Namdarian
To prove that I pay attention to all the new puzzles, I did buy the latest from Diniar. I am awful at sequential movement puzzles but I do love to try them. The advantage of these is that there are pdf booklets which have multiple challenges for most of them. Wonderful stuff!

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Something Totally New To Me


After seeing my friend Nigel rave about the Double Cube on Facebook a month or so ago, I could not resist and after a bit of a search managed to import a copy (plus the Lucky cube which looks like a Yoshimoto cube) - these are made by Hanayama and seem to be limited to the Japanese market - there is almost no English on the packaging or the instruction/challenge booklet.



There are multiple challenges to each to form various shapes - apparently one or two of these challenges are incredibly difficult. This is a totally new challenge for me and I am greatly looking forward to it - hopefully, I can find some time soon.

Most of you will have noticed that Brian and Eric had some updates to their stores recently - I couldn't resist and I bought a few things...much to the disgust of Mrs S.

Penultimate burrset - The challenges are hidden inside
Stand By cube #4
I got my 4th burrset from Eric and am kinda hoping that no more are released plus the Stand by cube is the 4th from Gregory Benedetti (the first 3 were huge fun - reviewed here).

Layer cake - a burr in rings by Jose Diaz
GalacTIC - so tough it was sent out assembled
I lurve gorgeous wood and burrs and even more so, I lurve Turning Interlocking Cubes - the recent update from Brian had 4 of them - I could not resist!

FanaTIC
LunaTIC
PackTIC #5
PackTIC #7
OMG! I cannot wait to get to these!

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

Mokum
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:

Terrax

Mad Max

Kalinka

Capricorn
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