Sunday, 25 July 2021

Mrs S SaysIt's Never Ending!

Free Me 7
Joe Turner has released his long awaited Free me 7 puzzle and it looks lovely. Hopefully I am up to the task.

Mrs S has seen me receive rather a lot of new toys recently and she is hoping it will end soon. Do I dare tell her about the one coming from Juno?

Sunday, 18 July 2021

Something Really Special from MrPuzzle

Abraham's Well
The puzzle community have been waiting for a new sequential discovery delight from the warped mind and brilliant hands of Mr Puzzle himself, Brian Young. To try and stop the massive increases in price that occur after a new puzzle release, Brian has made a LOT of these and will be releasing them in phases. I was lucky enough to get in there as soon as the first batch was made available and it arrived really fast!

It is incredibly beautifully made and the instructions look really intriguing:


Sunday, 11 July 2021

Obscure Burr


Obscure burr
Yes I know you all recognise the craftsman immediately! Apparently this puzzle solution is based on an obscure mathematical theorem. I need to avoid using the usual lock picking method of solving it and work out the solution from the theorem. Not managed it in the last 4 days!

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Jakub Goes Into Overdrive!

Upcoming puzzles from the New Pelikan Workshop
Luckily for me I am about to start a week of annual leave. Jakub has just sent me 9 (yes NINE!) puzzles to play with. The pressure is on to solve them and get some words for him and you (so that you can decide what is worth your cash).

We have (from the back Left to Right):

Camel Ride by Stephan Baumegger (a 12 piece burr with a character inside)
Colliding Galaxies by Alexander Magyarics (a packing puzzle through an odd shaped hole)
Fermat by Dr Volker Latussek (a packing puzzle with prism shapes and the usual box)
All tetra pod by Osanori Yamamoto (a new shaped packing puzzle)
Palace by Oasnori Yamamoto (a new variant of packing puzzle)
Play-boy 2 by Alexander Magyarics (a packing puzzle based on a triangular grid)
Lutz by Dr Volker Latussek (a sliding piece puzzle)
Waffle by Osanori Yamamoto (a take apart puzzle with rotations)
Web 3 by Dan Fast (a grid assembly puzzle)

All these are gorgeous and beautifully made - I have had time to only photograph and have a little fiddle so far!

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Aaron Produces Something Challenging

Axes and Hammer and Three Bodies
These puzzles have been stuck in limbo in a Chinese airport for 3 months! Finally they arrive and boy, they are worth the wait. 2 challenges that are beautifully made and both based on very old ideas - they have been made MUCH more difficult! I cannot wait to have time to play!

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Pelikans coming soon!

Jakub and Jaroslav do it again!
I have received a batch of new toys from Pelikan puzzles again - they look incredible! I will power my way through them as fast as I can so that you can get your copies.

I have already received a trio of others which they are holding back for the same release in the next week or so.

Yay! Fun times ahead!

Sunday, 11 April 2021

I Don't Collect Boxes Except...

 For the occasional Stickman!

Stickman #35 The Onehanded Puzzlebox
My friend Asher Simon designed this and collaborated with Rob Yarger to create something amazing and really very tough. The original copy that Asher sent me got badly damaged by the Customs officers and I got a cardboard box of bits (several of which were broken). This time he left a stern letter to the customs officers and they left it alone. So far I have only looked inside and taken the pieces out.

I now have this and am not sure what  to do next:

What have I done?

Sunday, 7 March 2021

More Pelikans a'Coming


These are stunning!
I might just have received a few new toys from Jakub this week. The pressure is on - I need to solve them extra fast and write something for him to put on his site.

From back left:
Akku by Dr Volker Latussek
Rattlesnake by Alexander Magyarics
Sliders by Alexander Magyarics
Chamburr by Christoph Lohe and Andrew Crowell
Fake Cube by Dr Volker Latussek
Pepper Castor by Alexander Magyarics
Cyburr by Christoph Lohe and Andrew Crowell

I hope that I can find some time soon!

Sunday, 6 September 2020

He Just Keeps getting Better and Better

My Friend Brian is just amazing! Shut away in his little corner of America, he slowly and carefully produces some of the most beautiful puzzles I have ever seen. In the most recent release, I nabbed 5 new designs from Andrew Crowell, Alexander Magyarics and Haym Hirsh:


Opposite 1&2
The wood choices are fabulous and the finish is amazing! I have some annual leave coming up in a week and, with the pandemic, nowhere to go. I have a whole lot of chores to do but hope to have plenty of time to devote to these beauties!

Thank you Brian, I greatly appreciate your skills.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Aaron is Going to Keep me Occupied a Long Time

Over the last month or so, Aaron Wang has been showing off his upcoming puzzles (some designed by him and others by friends). He is a disentanglement genius and always produces absolutely stunning and incredibly difficult puzzles. After receiving them yesterday, I have had almost no success even on the "easy" ones!

The latest production run
They come with no real instructions as it is all fairly self evident but there is a little paper insert in the  bag with them:

Basic instructions but absolutely no solution!
If you fancy buying any of these then contact Aaron using the email address in the photo above

Not routinely available but I was able to get a couple of extras to add to my N-ary puzzle collection:

They look horrific! Rainbow and Piano
I can’t wait to try them all even if I do expect to fail!

Sunday, 5 July 2020

A New Puzzle Lock Maker is in Town

Andrew Coles showed off a puzzle lock he had designed and made at the last MPP (Wow! That seems such a long time ago now). Those who played with it were wildly enthusiastic and encouraged him to make it generally available. Andrew has been a busy man - he's produced a bunch and set up a web store and they are available to order now. I've not yet had time to play with mine but what I can tell is that the quality is superb!

Go and buy one to encourage him to keep this up!!

Sunday, 17 May 2020

PuzzleMaster's Own Brand of Metal

I couldn't resist!
PuzzleMaster have a rather lovely range of metal puzzles of varying difficulty levels. I decided to try a few!

Sunday, 10 May 2020

What Was I Thinking?

Rhombic Tuttminx
I have been watching the increasingly complex twisty releases from Leslie Le and his team at Very Puzzle. My friend Pete had shown off many many of their puzzles and they had frightened me at the same time as intrigued me. Eventually, I could stand it no longer - my lockdown mania (yes, I know I still get out) had caused me to impulsively buy a couple of new twisty toys.

The puzzle above is the Rhombic Tuttminx - it appears to be a combination of rotating pentagonal faces and hexagonal faces. The stickers are absolutely incredible - I am so glad I paid a few extra $ to have them place the stickers for me!

This one seems to have disappeared from their site. It is the CORD - because the axes of rotation match those of the Cube, Octahedron and Rhombic Dodecahedron. I personally can't visualise that - but to me it looks like a spherical transfromation of a cube with rotating faces, corners and edges (you can just about see that in the picture above). I am also not sure that I can solve this one!

Sunday, 22 March 2020

I Have Yet Another Burrset!

The Phoenix 18 Piece Burrset
Jack Krijnen makes beautiful toys! He often makes small toys! He sometimes makes sets of toys. A few months ago on FB, he showed off a particularly gorgeous Burrset. He has called this the Phoenix Burrset.

Absolutely stunning - and really pretty tiny!
This set consists of a set of 45 burr pieces in 3 different woods, a pair of tongs to pull out the pieces and some cards denoting 12 challenges including SuperNova (level 166), Excelsior (level 156), Burrly Sanefor extreme puzzlers (level 151/2) and Tiros (level 150). These are incredibly tough burrs and will be a huge challenge for any burrista - I know that my large copies of SuperNova and Tiros remain unsolved. Each burr piece is 10x10x40mm - it's going to be very fiddly to play with these but with the aid of Burrtools, I shall have some fun!

Several different kinds of wood were used - my copy has a Mahogany and Cedar box with Zebrano, Birch and Amouk burr pieces.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Yet Another Grooved Board Burr! It Might Take Ages

Grooved 6 board burr #4
Yes, Juno has been at it again! I cannot resist these! I lurve 6 piece burrs and board burrs can be particularly interesting. Junichi Yananose has designed and produced the 4th of these in a series and of course, I had to buy it! The difficulty level is supposed to be less than number 3 which was unbelievably difficult but still tougher than number 2. I think this will be a perfect and fascinating challenge!

If you are interested then there are still a good few left on the Pluredro store for sale.

This one could well take me Ages! Burrtools said that when Brian Young put the pieces into Burrtools. This is a unique puzzle - a combination of sequential discovery puzzle and a burr - I ordered this within about 60 seconds of finding out that it was being released. I told Mrs S that it was going to be my birthday present from her this year! She did not give me a Whack! Ouch! thank goodness! There will only be 200 produced and the first 100 sold very quickly. I am not sure whether there will be any more produced - you might want to contact Sue to find out if you want one.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Brian Plies Me With Pieces

I cannot resist anything that Brian Menold produces and when he combines with the incredible Andrew Crowell then I am helpless to resist: I bought a few from Brian's recent releases:



Broken Soma

I was only going to buy the 3 TICs (even if the Cluster is not really a TIC as the end result is not a cube) but when I heard that the Broken Soma was a rather special challenge designed by Ken Irvine, I could not resist that either so yet another wonderful toy "fell" into my shopping cart!

Yesterday at the 40th Midlands Puzzle Party I was handed a small package by Big Steve. My good friend and previous IPP exchange partner/boss John Haché had CNC'd a bunch of Yavuz Demirhan's Autobahnkreutz 2 in steel. It's teeny tiny but very cute. I might need to use some tweezers!

Sunday, 20 October 2019

It's a Titan(ic) Challenge!

The Titan's Treasure Puzzle Lock
I saw this at the last MPP and just couldn't resist after people played with it and loved it. I was careful not to watch what they did and have a nice challenge in front of me.

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.

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

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.

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.