What's New

Site updates, links, news, and puzzles on the way or received...

February 2012

Three from the latest offering by master craftsman Eric Fuller over at Cubic Dissection:

Alchemy, designed by Brian Young, made by Eric Fuller, from Ash wood.

Sun, designed by Jos Bergmans, made by Eric Fuller, from Sapele wood.

Tom's Square Dance, designed by Tom Jolly, made by Eric Fuller, from Padauk and Holly woods.

The Visible Burr, designed by Bill Cutler, made by Jerry McFarland, from Cherry, Maple, and Walnut woods.

The Open Cube, designed by Marc van Kreveld and Theo Geerinck, produced by PuzzleWood

The Gear Pyraminx, designed by Timur Evbatyrov, produced by Meffert.

A 2x4x4 Cuboid, made by Olz

A vintage Magellan puzzle, in black and in its package

A Chinese Knot 2x3x3 twisty puzzle

An impossible Penny in a Bottle

A while back I received from Scott Elliott (Thanks, Scott!), a copy of his Screwy Screw - an "impossible object" type puzzle where the objective is to figure out "how did he do that?" In this case, the two nuts spin on or off the bolt in opposite directions! I.e., one spins clockwise to go on and the other spins counterclockwise to go on. Scott discusses this puzzle on his blog, here, here, here, and here.

The Atom Trap - a vintage 1969 dexterity puzzle from the Franco-American Novelty Company of NYC.
The transparent hollow egg contains a divider panel having two holes, and is filled with a bunch of styrofoam beads. The objective is to move the beads all to one side of the panel or the other - but the beads acquire a static charge when the egg is shaken, and hilarity ensues as they fail to cooperate.

More interlocking keychain puzzles - Yay!

Keychain Helicopter by Lido

Keychain Covered Truck

Keychain Revolver

Keychain Locomotive
(I found a sound one to go with my damaged copy.)

Keychain Wrestler

Keychain Kottage Kar

Keychain Open Car

Keychain Covered Wagon

Keychain Elephant - Mechanical Servants

At the 2012 New York Puzzle Party (NYPP) hosted by Tom Cutrofello, I bought this hand-made Slice Cube from fellow attendee and twisty puzzle enthusiast "Zhewei." He had posted about this puzzle on the Twisty Forums here.

If the standard 33 cube is rotated 45° about one face's axis (e.g. z axis) then built up and cut down to be re-formed into a cube, one obtains the Fisher's Cube; approx. 30° around z [T] gives the Windmill Cube; 45° around z and x (or 90° about an edge-to-edge axis) gives the Slice Cube; combining Fisher's and Windmill gives a "normal-sized" Greenhill's Cube (which is actually larger - Anthony says [T] it is "a 'Truncated Cube' (corners trimmed down to triangles), stood on one corner then built out to a Cube shape. This basically determined the edge length - 77mm."); 60° about a corner-to-corner axis gives the Axis Cube [T] [T]. An "axised" Cube with twists, reformed into a cube gives the Ghost Cube [T].

Other finds from the 2012 NYPP:

D Box - a puzzle construction kit, designed by the Light brothers
See www.dboxpuzzle.com

Rudenko Mosaic

I Heart NYPP - a gift from Nick Baxter and Dick Hess - Thanks!

Ethereal Maze - designed by Steve Winter
See Steve's Shapeways shop
a gift from Brett - Thanks!

PEKE - designed by Kohfuh Satoh
made by Saul Bobroff at Here to There Puzzles of Beverly MA.
a gift from Saul - Thanks!

Phelan, designed by Alfons Eyckmans
made by Maurice Vigouroux, from Walnut
from the French online puzzle shop Arteludes.com run by Jean-Baptiste Jacquin and Maurice Vigouroux
Burr in Cage, designed by Ishino
made by Maurice Vigouroux, from Padauk
from the French online puzzle shop Arteludes.com run by Jean-Baptiste Jacquin and Maurice Vigouroux

Rhombic Star - Arteludes - Thanks!

I finally found a Russian Festival Flower

January 2012

Colin Gaughran is a woodworker in Lyme, Connecticut. Colin can make any burr pieces, notchable, millable, or even general, using his CNC machine. You can contact him via his eBay sale here. I gave him permission to use my piece ID graphic so you can clearly specify your desired pieces. (I put labels on mine so I can easily identify them.)

Four unusual sequential-movement puzzles from Russia, courtesy of Wil Strijbos.
These are all designed and patented by Dr. Valery Rudenko.
See www.roscreative.ru [Y]

Rudenko Matroyshka [Y]

Rudenko Doser [Y]

Rudenko Disc [Y]

Rudenko Clips [Y]
A clever implementation of the Towers of Hanoi

Four rare vintage interlocking keychain puzzles from Japan, courtesy of Mike van Buiten of the Netherlands.


Trophy Cup


Apollo Command Module and LEM

A put-together egg puzzle.

River Crossing - Bepuzzled 1997 Canada
Get the 3 couples by twos across the river - A man cannot cross with any woman but his wife, and cannot be alone with other women on either bank. A simple and attractive wooden implementation.

Braille sliding piece puzzle

A modern version of Sam Loyd's classic Get Off the Earth vanish puzzle.

Train in Line - Bits & Pieces
A nice wooden railroad shunting puzzle with 5 numbered cars.

Keychain Wagon (8 part)

Keychain Showboat

Keychain Heart

Keychain Open Car

Keychain Firetruck

Keychain Battleships, in bags

Keychain Batter

I stickered my purple Mf8 Starminx.
As people have noted, it does not turn as smoothly as Tom's (admittedly much more costly) 3D printed version.

I received a black Treasure Chest cube from Mefferts.
This hollow, opening cube was designed by Oskar van Deventer - he called it the Gift Cube. [T]
This interlocking keychain puzzle revolver came from Israel.
As you can see from the photo of its parts, it is distinct from the two other revolver puzzles I have.

Slocum and Waite identify this Japanese interlocking keychain puzzle as a Diver, but it reminds me of Gigantor.

I found two additional Good Luck Horseshoe/Horsehead puzzles.

Le Bracelet de Cleopatre
A vintage French boxed wire puzzle. I've been looking for this one for a while!

Quickstep - designed by Jeff Namkung
A Level 4x4x4 cube.
Printed via Shapeways and dyed by Richard Gain

The Moscow Puzzles - Boris Kordemsky

The Badge and The Square
Two Magnetic Puzzle Up Games, dexterity challenges copyright 1979 by Reiss Games Inc.
Each comes with a magnetic wand, to be used to correctly stack the steel balls inside the plastic domes.

DaYan Bermuda Cube Neptune (black)

Mf8 Master Kilominx (solid colors)

DaYan Gem IV Deepcut (black)

Another Tough Puzzle (Triangles) - Great American Puzzle Factory

Keychain interlocking puzzle car (Germany)

Keychain interlocking puzzle Circuit Breaker (France)

Keychain interlocking puzzle Duck w/ Seaman's cap

Keychain interlocking puzzle Hedgehog (Germany)

Say Cheese - Popular Playthings
A rolling-block route-finding puzzle, designed by Eric Harshbarger.

Pentomino Puzzles by Eric Harshbarger

4 Uni Cubes - idea by Marcel Gillen, Program by Georges Phillippe
IPP18 (Tokyo) exchange puzzle from Luc De Smet
Includes 7 plastic polycube pieces - the O, L, and T tetracubes, and four pentacubes - two mirror-image pairs N1 and N2, and S1 and S2. Comes packed in the box in a 2x4x4 arrangement. Five challenges - you can remove each of the four pentacube pieces in turn and with the remaining six pieces make a 3x3x3 cube; also, find an alternative to the 2x4x4 solid.

Tanacube Too Small - Oskar van Deventer

The Tanacube Too is Oskar's solution to a challenge originated by Peter Rasmussen and Wei Zhang,
to create a cubic puzzle having the classic Tangram Square dissection appearing on each face, and meeting other criteria.
You can read about the challenge at www.tanacube.com, also at George Miller's Puzzle Palace website,
and in CFF #65, November 2004, in the article Tangram Cubes: A Collaborative Effort, by Peter Rasmussen and Wei Zhang.

George Miller had offered 3-D printed copies of Oskar's Tanacube Too (at $550), but George has shut his online shop.
Oskar kindly created a Shapeways model of Tanacube Too at a more reasonable price.
Oskar then created the smaller, less expensive, Tanacube Too Small shown here.

Bill Darrah created the first solution to the challenge, called the Tanacube.
You can see Bill Darrah's Tanacube at George Miller's Puzzle Palace website, at Bernhard Schweitzer's Puzzlewood website,
and in Neil's Puzzling Parts blog entry of May 23 2011 (California Puzzle Party).
The wooden versions were made in the Pelikan workshop and originally cost $350.

Both Tanacube and Tanacube Too were entered in the IPP 2004 Design Competition,
but neither won an award - they were up against some stiff competition!

Hungarian Olympic Rings

Some puzzles from SmartGames, including Pirates Hide & Seek, GoGetter Cat & Mouse, and GoGetter Prince & Dragon.

Keychain interlocking puzzle Oil Can

Keychain interlocking puzzle Legal Coffee Bean

The Rhombic-18, by David Pitcher. [T] [Y] [S]
This is a twisty puzzle in the shape of a Rhombic Dodecahedron. All faces turn, and all 4-fold corners turn.
It is similar to Matt Shepit's Rua puzzle [T], which is also a face-turning RD, but does not allow vertex turns of any sort.

December 2011

Wishing puzzlers everywhere Happy Holidays!

Washer Cylinder, number 12, from William Strijbos
A secret-opening container.
Shown in comparison with Wil's Aluminum Cylinder Box, and Iwahiro's AlCyl.
Reviewed by Oli and Kevin.

My 2011 Christmas Presents from the Karakuri Creation Group:

Can you tell which artisan crafted each one?

It's a Hardly by Rocky Chiaro
A fairly simple and beautifully crafted brass puzzle model of an early Harley Knucklehead motor.

The Tokyo Puzzles - Kobon Fujimura - Ed. by Martin Gardner

Casse-Tete et Jeux Magiques by Daniel Picon

The Twentieth Century Standard Puzzle Book - 1907 Routledge, London - A. Cyril Pearson

The Magician's Own Book - 1862 - Arnold, George (1834-1865) & Cahill, Frank
I don't have a physical copy, but this book can be downloaded from www.archive.org.

I found some additional Grandpa's Wonder Soap edgematching puzzle pieces:    Now I just have to figure out which pieces comprise a puzzle!

This a modern example of a Chinese Magic Mirror   When sunlight hits its polished brass reflective face (opposite to that shown) properly, one can see an image of the IPP Burr puzzle logo. The unique production technique was invented some 2000 years ago in China and entails more than ten complicated procedures.

The Cannon Ball Puzzle, issued by Skor-Mor in 1973.
Seven pieces of five balls each can be assembled into a side-5 pyramid, in addition to other shapes.
Despite the credit to "John Bird, inventor" on the box, this was invented by Michael Reilly. You can read an interview with Michael at Eric Shamblen's PuzzleMonster website. Michael attempted to produce a remake via a Kickstarter project, but it didn't get funded. However, you can find a remake at Creative Crafthouse.
Reilly is also the inventor of the Oops and Oops Again ball pyramid puzzles, as well as the game Archieball.

Additional interlocking keychain puzzles!

Keychain interlocking puzzle Robot

Keychain interlocking puzzle Destroyer

Keychain interlocking puzzle Elephant

Bartissol Man

Blue Horse (Dutch, vinyl)

BP Longlife Oil


Spunky the Dog

Revolver (missing pieces)

Motorcycle Cop

Locomotive (cab is damaged)

Jeep (windshield frame is damaged)

Check out some new websites of interest:

Madachy's Mathematical Recreations by Joseph S. Madachy, (c) 1966, 1979 - pub. by Dover, NY.   - nice sections on geometric dissections, and chessboard placement problems.

Designer Colin James very kindly sent me a copy of his Qboid puzzle.     It offers over 1000 challenges at four different levels. 12 cubes, with patterned faces. When properly arranged, the patterns form digits and letters. Entered in the 2009 IPP Design Competition. Thanks, Colin!

A couple of Tom Jolly designs from the latest offering by Eric Fuller:

The Rattle Box, designed by Tom Jolly, made by Eric Fuller from Quilted Ambrosia Maple, Leopardwood, Padauk, Walnut, and Canarywood.
A 5x5x5 cube with a hollow interior containing a 2x2x2 cube with one unit missing.

The Ribbon Puzzle, designed by Tom Jolly, made by Eric Fuller from Chakte Cok and Zebrawood - six pieces that form the 3-piece burr shape.


On Sunday Dec. 11 I visited David at Eureka Puzzles. It's always a blast talking puzzles with David, and his shop is well-stocked with an excellent selection, and an enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff! I picked up a few nice items:

First and foremost, I found Wausau '83, a burr designed by Bill Cutler and made by Jerry McFarland, from Walnut, Cherry, and Maple. Bill says this is the best of the Wausau series, and it requires 11 moves to remove the first piece.

David recommended Tridio Twist! by FatBrain Toy Co.
Three mutable pieces and 48 pattern challenges. Designed by Marijn van Herel and Eliane Scharten.

Modest Hexominoes by Dr. Richard Hess (IPP17)
Place all 20 pieces so that each hexomino shape contains five identical pieces. Includes a booklet with 100 additional problems to maximally cover polyomino shapes with congruent tiles.

The Massai packing puzzle from Siebenstein Spiele, 2011.
Pack the 5 identical L-shaped tetrominoes in the tray.

The Revenge of the Nails puzzle, by Rick Irby.


Additional twisties:

An inexpensive remake of the Dino Cube, by "SmaZ"
I got the version with SmaZ' "hollow" stickers, signed by him,
and also a version with the remake of the original "Dino" stickers.
The puzzle turns well!

A four-layer "Leesho" puzzle.

Quintillions, a nice Pentominoes set, by Kadon.
This product launched Kadon in 1979.
This is a vintage Rubik's Domino (2x3x3) - this one has the spindle mechanism.

A vintage boxed set of wooden Kumiki puzzles,
marked "Made in Japan" but with no other provenance.
Includes: a barrel, a caged ball burr, a truncated cube,
a six-piece burr, a "crystal," a ball, a pistol,
a battleship, a dragonfly, and a small pagoda.

November 2011

Codebreaker - The History of Secret Communication - by Stephen Pincock

Mf8 Starminx II - in translucent purple
This is a mass-produced version of what the twisty forum knows as the Starminx I, previously custom-made by Aleh [T] , Drew Cormier [T] , and Tom van der Zanden, in mini [T], and larger size [T] . (Mf8 called their Dino-Dodecahedron a Starminx I, hence the naming confusion.)

Keychain Space Blaster Guns
A vintage sliding piece puzzle advertising Silverthorn's of Orfordville, Wisconsin. This is an instance of the classic design known as Ma's Puzzle, and while the related Dad's Puzzle has been used extensively for advertising, this is the first time I have seen Ma's puzzle used.
Two members of the Wausau burr series by Bill Cutler - '82 and '84.

Some twisties from hknowstore:

IQube blue - 1.2.5

IQube red - 1.2.5

Tuttminx Classic
[T]   www.verypuzzle.com

Ayi's 4.5.5

Dioctipoid 1

Dioctipoid 2

The White Eagle Mobil Gas puzzle, and a metal six-piece burr: 

Some holiday reading material - books on puzzles, mathematics, and computation:

The Curse of the Voynich, by Nick Pelling, is a probing look into the history of the enigmatic Voynich Manuscript. Dated to the 1400s, the manuscript was discovered in 1912 by the antiquarian book dealer Wilfrid Voynich in an old trunk in a villa near Rome. Once thought to have been created by Roger Bacon, it has resisted all attempts at decipherment, and its true provenance remains shrouded in mystery. Its baffling text and strange illustrations continue to fascinate researchers. You can find purchase info about Pelling's exposé at Compelling Press. Check out Nick's website, Cipher Mysteries, for discussion about other uncracked historical ciphers.

Professor Stewart's Hoard of Mathematical Puzzles, by Ian Stewart

Famous Puzzles of Great Mathematicians, by Miodrag S. Petkovic

Puzzles and Programming, by Fadi Jabr

The Greatest Puzzles of All Time, by Matthew J. Costello

Mathematics From the Birth of Numbers, by Jan Gullberg

The Curious Book of Mind-Boggling Teasers, Tricks, Puzzles & Games, by Charles Barry Townsend

The World's Biggest Puzzle Book, by Charles Barry Townsend


The three classic wooden vintage secret-opening puzzles Takitapart (U.S. Patent 2181116 - Boyle 1939), Pick-A-Peg (U.S. Patent 2469364 - Boyle 1949),
and Tri-'N'-Do-It (U.S. Patent 2207778 - Boyle 1940), all invented by John D. Boyle,
were issued in this boxed set, called the Masterpiece Puzzles.

Here is a plastic interlocking keychain puzzle Knight:

Our electricity was out for over a week due to the storm on October 29th - 30th 2011. This is a shot of the trees in our back yard, bowed (with a few broken limbs) due to the load of snow on them. We lost power on Saturday night the 29th and it wasn't restored until the evening of Monday November 7th. The unseasonable accumulations of about 12" of heavy, wet snow onto trees that had not yet fully shed their leaves brought down many trees and limbs large and small and wreaked havoc with the above-ground utility lines across the northeast. The extent of the damage was unbelievable - nearly every street had issues. Fortunately, we had the option to stay with a kindly nearby relative who had power (thanks, Pat!), and the temperatures were not frigid enough to cause pipes to freeze in the unheated house.

October 2011


This is the XMATRIX Quadrus puzzle,
developed in 2009 by artist and designer Jeremy Goode and issued by www.xmatrix.co.uk
You can see Goode's European patent GB2472581(A) online.
The Quadrus retails for £20 - Jeremy kindly sent me a copy to try. Thanks, Jeremy!

Quadrus is a large (140 x 140 x 30mm) and attractive traditional rolling-ball multilevel maze in a gold-tinted transparent acrylic case, nicely packaged in a cardboard slipcase tray that shows off the ambigrammatic XMATRIX logo. Quadrus is also available in a blue tint, and has a smaller cubic sister puzzle called Cubus.

In Quadrus, the maze network is defined by three layers of internal latticework structures and interstices - one lattice on each large face, and a third suspended between them, with an empty thickness between pairs of adjacent layers - giving an overall thickness of 5 layers between the "floor" and "ceiling" faces. The walls in a layer are 4mm wide, and the pathways between walls are 8mm wide. Walls and pathways in a layer are arranged on a 34 x 34 virtual grid of 4mm x 4mm squares. The ball occupies a 2x2x2 space within the lattice.

The maze contains a central 12x12 square compartment - a white panel with a stylized 'X' cutout separates the compartment into a gold-framed side and a silver-framed side. Each side of the compartment has a single entrance into the maze. To solve Quadrus, one must navigate the ball from the central gold-framed compartment to the central silver-framed compartment on the opposite side, by tilting the puzzle and guiding the ball through the maze. I have found that the occasional ill-planned tilt can send the ball somewhat further than one intends, adding a dexterity dilemma to the already-considerable routefinding challenge.

This style of maze is similar to the Boston Subway puzzle designed by Oskar van Deventer for the 2006 IPP Exchange. (See Boston Subway at Oskar's website.) Boston Subway is a much smaller puzzle, but also comprises a "sandwich" of 5 layers of transparent acrylic, through which one navigates an internal metal ball from point A to B and back. Unlike Quadrus, Boston Subway requires the solver to use an included magnetic wand to move the ball through the maze. As interesting as Oskar's Boston Subway puzzle is, I find the Quadrus more convenient to hold and manipulate, and it is far easier to see and keep track of where the ball is. While less portable, it is more engaging to the casual puzzler.

For the 2009 IPP, Oskar also designed Next Floor. (See Next Floor at Oskar's website.) Produced from laser-cut MDF, this maze is formed from 5 grooved layers with four interstices. A version of Next Floor is marketed by Bits and Pieces, but unfortunately folks reported that the layers can be loose and the ball can squeeze through unintended paths or even fall out, spoiling the fun. No such issues plague the robust, high-quality Quadrus puzzle.

I found an older seven-layer version (in an eBay auction). Unfortunately it included no documentation and I am unware of its provenance.

You can read some reviews of the XMATRIX puzzles here, here, here, and here.

My own impressions? When solving a maze, I do not typically sit with the puzzle tilting it to and fro. I manipulate and study the puzzle enough to systematically create an accurate representation of the network "on paper" and then exhaustively map it out. The physical object itself becomes somewhat unimportant and is usually stored away. With the XMATRIX Quadrus, however, two things are true: It is just as much a pleasure to hold and play with the physical object as it is to intellectually solve the maze, and this is one maze puzzle that will be left out for others to enjoy rather than being put away and forgotten.

The IPP 29 Souvenir Book has finally arrived! Also picked up The Big, Big, Big Book of Brainteasers, by the Grabarchuk family.


Some puzzles by craftsman Colin Gaughran, who has a shop in Lyme, Connecticut - a Chuck Burr, an Altekruse, and some six-piece burr pieces - in Maple and Walnut.

Chuck Burr - Colin Gaughran

Altekruse - Colin Gaughran

Colin Gaughran made this set of 12 burr pieces, from Maple.
The included pieces can be used to make at least four interesting burrs,
including Bill Cutler's #306, CINTVY, FILTVY, and FGINOY.
The pieces are: 52, 359/615, 871, 911, 928, 943, 975, 960/992, 1007, and 1024.

Leesho (Liso)

A set of burr puzzles in Maple and Walnut, from Colin -
a Woodchuck, an Altekruse, and a #306.

Rubik's LED Flashlight 1x1x3

Equal-7 - issued by Recent Toys
Invented by Vladimir Krasnoukhov
Tilt the cube to slide the dice - four successively harder objectives - make the total on all sides: 10, 11, 12, 7.

Cast Donuts - Hanayama
designed by Vesa Timonen

Keychain VW Beetle

Fritz and Paul
A version of the "Which is Larger" optical puzzle
made in Germany
"New! Great! Amazing! The droll Piccolos or the enigmatic twins Wins every bet very amusing!"
D.R.G.M. Reg. i. a. K. - Staat
Franz Wieland, Berlin S. 59, Camphausenstr. 25.

Keychain Diagonal Burr

Interlocking keychain puzzle Tanks

Traveling Salesman tangle - Rolfs - IPP31

T+3 - designed by Hiroshi Yamamoto
The 3 pieces can be arranged to form four different pentominoes, including a T.
A really nice dissection!
This won a Jury Honorable Mention at the 2011 IPP Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition.
Thanks, Brett!

Bindu Truss - one in a series of "Baffler" puzzles
designed by Chris Yates
and issued by Ceaco.
Thanks, Brett!

Rubik's Puzzle (assembly)

Out of Time - Lambert Bright - IPP31
Free the Cuckoo from the Clock

Sudoku 3D Ball - 22 Advance
Thanks, Brett!

A vintage Crown interlocking keychain puzzle, issued by Bell.
With its original card!

Some new puzzles from Creative Crafthouse (Thanks, Dave!):

8 L-ements - designed by Rick Eason

Fisherman's Dilemma

Get My Goat

Perfect 10

Mindreader Cards (125 set)

Mindreader Cards in box

Alpha Snake 9 - designed by Ken Irvine

Math Snake 9 - designed by Ken Irvine

Lucky Seven (I solved it!)

An order from Meffert's:

Venus Cube - black
designed by Evgeniy Grigoriev

3x3x9 - black

3x3x9 Roadblock I - black

An order from hknowstore:

Super Dipyramid (4x4x4) - black

Windmill Cube - black

Crazy Tetrahedron - Standard

Ingot (3x3x3) - Red, Yellow, and Green

Master Trajber's Octahedron (4x4x4) - colored pieces

"New Spring" 2x2x2, clear version, tinted pieces version, and bandaged 3x3x3 version (internal colors)

A gift from my brother - the "Vegas Baby" cube from SiamMandalay

September 2011

Some site code enhancements:

Here is a Mini-Hexaminx, designed and made by Grégoire Pfennig, printed by Shapeways. [T] [S]
Shown in comparison to a U.S. quarter, a Pillowed Hexaminx hand-made (cast) by Traiphum Prungtaengkit, and a Tomy Megaminx.
This small wonder is very stable and usable. I am impressed that something so compact works so well. Nice work, Greg!

Next up is another wonderful puzzle by Greg - this is his Mental Flop. [T] [S]
Visually, it's a cross between a 1x3x3 Floppy and Tony Fisher's Mental Block, hence the (great) name.
Shown in good company - an original Floppy Cube hand-made by Okamoto, and an original Mental Block hand-made by Tony Fisher, along with a U.S. quarter.
Very stable and playable!

I received an Mf8 DaYan Crazy Tetrahedron (Jupiter)

Here is a keychain car (yellow, green, and white)

I ordered three puzzles from Mr. Puzzle Australia -

Houdini's Torture Cell designed by Brian Young, Six Australian Animals designed by René Dawir, and Six-Piece Framed Burr by miToys

The World's Best Paper Puzzles - Slocum and Botermans
Three vintage puzzles...

Nice Cubes, in original package
Copyright 1968 Funtastic,
Div. of KMS Industries, Inc., Alexandria, VA.

The 14 Puzzle - Milton Bradley

Stumpa 2
(A plastic diagonal star)

A couple of puzzles from Steve Strickland's new website:

This is the Q Burr, designed by Jim Gooch, made by Steve, from Rosewood. Four pieces, one of which is a cube.

Six Pack, designed by Jim Gooch and made by Steve, from Mahogany, Red Oak, Padauk, Bubinga, Walnut, and Pecan.
Six interlocking pieces.

Keychain puzzles...

Bomber keychain puzzle

Burr keychain puzzle

Teapot keychain puzzle
This one has an actual screw thread.

August 2011


Some interesting websites:


More details on new puzzles from IPP 31...

This is the Dice Box, designed by George Bell [S], with input from Scott Elliott, and printed by Scott. It's not overly difficult, but I think the printed live hinges are cool.

Assorted cubes - Richard Gain
You can find these at Richard's Shapeways shop, and sometimes he has dyed copies for sale at his Etsy shop. Unless otherwise noted, these are designed by Gain.
I picked up (from the top, clockwise): Superstrings, which won a Jury First Prize at the 2011 Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition, Angle-C, Elevator designed by Jos Bergmans, and Roll Up! Roll Up!.

Suits Edgematch
I found this at Der Verrückte Laden, a puzzle shop in Berlin.

Turtle's Heart - Kotani

MT5T (Make the Five Tetrominoes) - Mission 1
designed by MINE (Mineyuki Uyematsu)
A similar version won a Jury First Prize at the 2011 Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition

Ampelmann - Roman Götter
Fit the Ampelmann figures into the black case so a single figure is showing in each circle. The clear piece is a hint - it shows the shape of the cavity inside the case. Simple, eh? These figures are the old East Berlin crosswalk signal symbols - one of the few vestiges of Communist rule that Berlin citizens want to keep. Read more about " "Speciation and Competition in Berlin's Traffic Lights."

Prismazul - Logika

Two Silhouette Puzzles designed by Diniar Namdarian- make a Pigeon, and make a Dog.

Four in a Frame - a two-sided four-piece tray packing puzzle based on a triangular grid, designed by Markus Götz

Mond oder Kreuz
Make both a crescent moon, then a Greek cross from the pieces.

Tromino Trails - Pavel Curtis

Creeping Block - exchange from Dirk Weber
Thanks, Dirk!

Reunification - Bram Cohen

IPP 31 - octahedron - Vinco

Maze Medal - designed by Oskar van Deventer
Comparison to an earlier version made by George Miller


Six piece caged burr

Four-piece red weave

Quartet in F - Stewart Coffin
Several new tanglement puzzles:

Schlitten - Constantin, Rings with red cord (?), The Squared Fish - A. Jacob, Batwing and Batwing 2 - PuzzleMaster,
Puzzle Up Nails - Rick Irby, IPP 31 Gift - Markus Götz, Hybrid 55 - Richard Hess

A couple of eBay wins - Squaring the Circle, and a group of tray packings:

Some new puzzles from CubicDissection:

The much-copied Digigrams, designed by Martin Watson.
Made by Eric Fuller, from Grandillo, Walnut, and laser-cut acrylic.

Boards and Sticks with Frame, designed by Gregory Benedetti.
(See this design at Ishino's site.)
Made by Eric Fuller, from Wenge, Bubinga, and Leopardwood.

Zauberflote, designed by Gregory Benedetti.
(See this design at Ishino's site.)
Made by Eric Fuller, from Yellowheart and laser-cut acrylic.

Time for a few more interlocking keychain puzzles, inspired by Slocum and Waite's new Compendium...

This Old-style Telephone Interlocking Keychain Puzzle was designed by John Flower in 1952 and issued by the UK company Bell.
It has six pieces and assembly requires several pieces to be moved back and forth in sequence, which is not typical for keychain puzzle mechanisms.
I like this one a lot!

This interlocking keychain puzzle is Spunky the Dog, patented by Irving Hartley Steinhardt in 1953 (2651522).
According to Jerry Slocum, Spunky was Steinhardt's pet dog.
The six letters in S-P-U-N-K-Y are embossed, one in each of the six pieces.
Spunky, and other dogs, have appeared in several forms, including one having a larger left ear (2nd from left).

This interlocking keychain puzzle ball was patented by Irving Hartley Steinhardt in 1939 (2178190).
This patent number is embossed on the hollow inside of the green key piece of the example with the chain.
The six letters W-H-A-L-E-N are embossed, one in each of the six pieces. Grover Whalen was president of the New York World Fair Corporation,
and helped run the 1939 fair - for which Steinhardt's Trylon Perisphere puzzle was issued.
This puzzle ball contains virtually the same pieces as the Trylon Perisphere, except the Trylon key piece has been truncated and become part of the ball.
According to Slocum and Waite, this is the first keychain puzzle, issued by the Helenhart Novelty Company of New York City.
Steinhardt also patented the horseshoe-shaped clip, in 1942 (D132116), and another type of retension device having a cord, in 1944 (2361069).

Keychain Dumptruck

Keychain Truck

Keychain Elephant

This is a Rex Rhombic Dodecahedron (RRD), designed by William Kretschmer. It was announced on the TwistyPuzzles forums, and is available from Will's Shapeways shop. As Will says, the turning is nearly flawless. It's about the same size as the LanLan 4x4x4 RD. This is a great puzzle!

Peri Spiele's 19-piece n-iamond packing

Penguins on Ice - SmartGames - Raf Peeters
Raf has created another great multi-challenge puzzle, this time based on Pentominoes. But instead of requiring 12 pieces, Penguins on Ice uses only five - each of which can assume multiple shapes! Thanks, Raf!

A set of three assembly puzzles from Japan - Garigari Grapefruit (easy), and Garigari Soda (normal), Garigari Cola (hard)
Made in China and distributed by Hanayama

Redi 3x3x3 - Eric Vergo
This puzzle turns at its vertices like Oskar van Deventer's Redi Cube, plus like a 3x3x3. Announced on the TwistyPuzzles forums, and available at Eric's Shapeways shop. Very clever, Eric!

IPP Burr - Mr. Puzzle Australia

Oskar's Gear Shift - Meffert


Die Welle (The Wave) - Constantin

456 Burr
Almost identical to the Arjeu 456 Burr

Collection of Martin Gardner's Scientific American Mathematical Games columns on CD

Here are two puzzle boxes I recently received from Robert Sandfield.
They were both designed by Perry McDaniel and both made by Kathleen Malcolmson.
The name of the first, the Unlocked Drawer, is apt - there is no lock - yet there is no obvious way to open the drawer!
It is made from from Lacewood, Prima Vera, and Mahogany.
This was Robert's exchange puzzle at IPP 27 in Australia.

The second is the Banded Dovetail Puzzle.
It is made from from Alder, Prima Vera, and Mahogany.

Prolific puzzle designer Oskar van Deventer [S] attended IPP 31 in Berlin, and I purchased his More Madness, which he was kind enough to sign for me. No-one has yet devised a comprehensive solution strategy for this puzzle. More Madness was announced and discussed on the TwistyPuzzles forum. It is based on the geometry of the triangular di-pyramid. Initially, each of the triangular faces turns. This puzzle has "overhang bandaging" - occasionally a piece juts out such that it blocks a twist that would otherwise be OK. Every move jumbles.

At IPP, Friedhelm von Knorre and Rainer Popp gave an interesting lecture on Trick Locks. I obtained Rainer's T4 and T5 locks. Both are quite hefty and challenging.

Also obtained at IPP, here is a four-piece Dual Tetrahedron coordinate motion puzzle, beautifully crafted from Walnut, Acacia, Maple, and Plum, from Vinco.

I had the pleasure of meeting Tom van der Zanden [S] at IPP, and picked up two of his great designs.
Tom made me a slightly larger version of his Starminx I [T], and I got one of his Super-X cubes [T] - the Super-X turns like a Dino plus a 2x2x2.

The Starminx is shown in comparison to Tom's Mini-Pentultimate. Previous versions of the Starminx have been made by Drew Cormier [T] and Aleh [T].

Adam Cowan made the first Super-X announced on the forum [T]. Drew Cormier improved on Adam's Super-X by adding magnets to stabilize it [T]. Tom's version uses printed-in detents for stability, and having played with different versions, I would venture to say that Tom's is the best to date.

William Strijbos recently had some new puzzles to offer, and I picked up a few at IPP. The first is the Jugo Flower, made from metal. The Jugo Flower (aka Yugo Flower or Game Jugo) is one of the most rare twisty puzzles - I have read that only seven prototypes were made. You can see examples of the original plastic versions at Hendrik Haak's website. Wil has reproduced the puzzle in metal. The fifteen petals can each be flipped over around the long axis. There are four marks on the top of the aluminum hub, and only those four petals positioned at the marks are able to flip, simultaneously. All the petals can be rotated around the hub, provided they are properly aligned (the mechanism is somewhat "catchy"), and a new set of four petals can be positioned at the marks. The goal is to scramble the petals, then restore them to all face-up. This puzzle is similar in principle to "Lights Out."

The next puzzles are two aluminum dovetail secret-opening puzzles. Each has a greenish inlaid piece - one is convex and the other concave - to be removed (then replaced). I am told there are internal pieces that can fall out when the puzzle is opened, so be careful!

At IPP I also picked up a Cube 16, a nice five-piece design by Stewart Coffin, and made from Black Palm, from Bernhard Schweitzer.

This is Crazy Bottles, designed and made by Jean Claude Constantin. It is a mechanical implementation of the "water jugs problem" (or "wine jugs problem"), in which specific quantities of liquid are to be obtained using only jugs of given capacities. Each pour must either empty or fill a container. Crazy Bottles uses ball bearings to simulate integer quantities of liquid, and contains three areas around its perimeter to simulate the jugs, delimited by gates and having capacities of 7, 12, and 22 balls. The center holds two small dice - shake the dice to generate a problem - all combinations are solvable. This type of puzzle can be analyzed using barycentric coordinates.

IPP 31, Berlin

Here are a few snapshots I took...

and here are a few of the puzzles I found...

Compendium of Keychain Puzzles by Jerry Slocum and William Waite, Impossible Folding by Allen Rolfs, Trick Lock #4 and #5 by Rainer Popp, a Dino Cylinder by Smaz (thanks, Rox and Smaz!), a Starminx I (large version) by Tom van der Zanden (my copy is #1!) [S] , a Super-X [T] by Tom van der Zanden, a vintage Figurenmatch [T] twisty, Cube 16 designed by Stewart Coffin, produced from Black Palm wood and purchased from PuzzleWood, Superstrings (a 2011 Design Competition Jury First Prize Winner) by Richard Gain [S], MT5T (a 2011 Design Competition Jury First Prize Winner) by Mineyuki Uyematsu, the Elevator Cube, Angle-C, and Roll Up! Roll Up! by Richard Gain [S], Der Mond (makes a crescent or cross - thanks, Wil!), a red four-piece weave puzzle (don't know who made this - thanks, Brett!), aluminum convex and concave trick dovetails - from Wil Strijbos, a metal Jugo Flower from Wil Strijbos, Turtle's Heart from Yoshiyuki Kotani, Crazy Bottles from Manfred Ulrich.

Fortunately, Air Canada found my suitcase they had misplaced, so here are the other puzzles I obtained in Berlin:

From upper left: a set of optical illusion and math magic cards (thanks, Dor!), Tromino Trails by Pavel Curtis, Triangle-Square-Pentagon by Emrehan Halici, three Japanese Ice Cream Puzzles, Penguins on Ice by Raf Peeters and SmartGames (thanks, Raf!), Batwing and Batwing 2 by PuzzleMaster, Prismazul Octuple by Ingo Uhl and Logika (from Tanya Thompson), Ampelmann (and hint) by Roman Götter, Dice Cube by George Bell and Scott Elliott, Spinning Tops and Pen from Stephen Chin (thanks, Stephen!), next row: Puzzle 7 from Bernhard Schweitzer (thanks, Bernhard!), Quintet in F by Stewart Coffin, Ei des Columbus, Walking Monkey (it "walks" downhill) from a souvenir shop, next row: Hybrid 55 by Dick Hess (thanks, Dick!), The Squared Fish Puzzle by A. Jacob, Maze Medal designed by Oskar, Four-Piece Edgematching Puzzle, Die Welle by Constantin, The Creeping Block Puzzle designed by Dries de Clercq, from Dirk Weber (thanks, Dirk!), IPP Burr by Brian Young, 456 Burr, D-301 (6 pieces in a cage), next row: IPP31 Gift Puzzle by Markus Götz, Tangle with Red Cord, Schlitten by Constantin, 5-piece Dog Silhouette and 6-piece Pigeon Silhouette by Diniar Namdarian, Four in a Frame by Markus Götz, Dual Tetrahedrons and Octahedron by Vinco (thanks, Vinco!), Reunification by Bram Cohen (thanks, Bernhard!).

July 2011

Eric Vergo made this Elite Skewb for me [T]. It's instance #1! This is the order-3 vertex-turning cube - a Skewb combined with a Master Skewb.

Meffert's is offering the mass-produced Curvy Copter created by Tom van der Zanden. Tom's Curvy Copter has been very popular as a custom-produced 3D printed puzzle, and is now available at one tenth the price. I bought the black and white "twins" pair. The Curvy Copter functions like a Helicopter cube, but it exposes central edge pieces that must be correctly oriented, making it a more difficult challenge.

Instant Insanity II - by Winning Moves.
This reminds me of the Pakovalec (aka Xylinder).

A vintage wire tanglement lot.
The top middle puzzle looks like the Folley patent # 1102576 of July 1914. Bottom middle is a Chilian.

A vintage Trio puzzle.
See U.S. Patent # 2162278 Galeazzo, June 1939.

A vintage square wire tanglement puzzle (pair). From another puzzle collection. Similar in design to a Ryede puzzle I've got.

Eric Fuller created a reproduction and two new versions of the vintage wooden trick dovetail Das Wunder Puzzle. I bought a copy of his mechanism #1. It's made from Carolina Ash, Black Walnut, and Sapelle. Similar to The Little Giant Puzzle, shown in Slocum & Botermans' 1986 Puzzles Old and New on page 147, and said to be on sale in 1896.

I finally found a Cover Up - issued by Ideal in 1982, it originally appeared as Hepta in 1974 and was designed by the famous Alex Randolph. See the entry for Hepta at Boardgamegeek. I had wanted to try this puzzle since reading about it at Celia Seide's website. Celia also pointed out Spielarchiv.de which has a reference to a version called "Magic 7" under Spiele->nach Autoren->R->Randolph,Alex -> Magic 7. There are seven plastic 1x3 straight pieces and seven angle pieces. The plastic 7x7 board is colored using 7 colors each of which appears 7 times. For each of the 7 colors, use all the pieces to cover all the spots not of the target color. It's pretty large - I put a quarter coin on the cover.

Cliff Hangers, a challenging 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle from Springbok. This one captures a scene with beautiful and subtle colors, and has been fun for the family to assemble. Springbok puzzles employ special dies and no two pieces in a puzzle are identically shaped. Springbok was founded in 1963, acquired by Hallmark in 1967, and as of 2002 Springbok puzzles are produced by Allied Products. You can read more about Springbok's history at their website. Thanks, Paxton!

A keychain car puzzle from Mechanical Servants - this one has an unusual mechanism I like.

This is Granny's Tea Box - The Pendulum, a secret-opening box, made by Kelly Snache from a vintage wooden tea box. Very clever mechanism! I like it. See a review at Jeff Chiou's blog.

A vintage advertising cardboard edgematching challenge, the Synder Standard Nine Piece Puzzle. According to the package, "Par is tweleve minutes."


A Popplock T6, with aluminum rivets, designed and made by Rainer Popp. Purchased from Grand Illusions.

The New Pyraminx, in black, from Mefferts.

Some new solo challenges from Thinkfun:

invented by Vesa Timonen and Timo Jokitalo
Tilt the board to slide green, but not the blue, pieces into the central hole. Every move must move all pieces in the tilt direction as far as each can go unobstructed. Fun!

invented by Derrick Niederman
For each of 40 challenges of graduated difficulty, fit a subset of the supplied transparent pieces to completely cover the field of letters such that each piece covers one word that runs backwards or forwards.

Solitaire Chess
invented by Vesa Timonen
For each of 60 challenges of graduated difficulty, successively capture pieces using legal chess moves until only one remains.


From 7/7 through 7/10, spent a nice extended weekend in Québec City. Also visited Quechee Gorge in Vermont on the way up. (We took the photo above left from atop the Observatoire de la Capitale. Above right, looking down into the 165 foot chasm of the Quechee Gorge, was taken from center span of the bridge on Rt. 4 in Vermont, which bounced disconcertingly each time a vehicle passed by.) While in Québec, I made time to visit two nice toy shops where I picked up some puzzles - Benjo (thanks, Allan!), and L'Imaginaire (thanks, Daniel!). Benjo is within walking distance from the main tourist area, and stocks many of the logic puzzles from SmartGames, Foxmind, and Popular Playthings, as well as a great variety of quality toys for kids of all ages. L'Imaginaire is further afield, located in a mall easily accessible from downtown via bus, and caters more to the anime and D&D crowd, but stocks a full line of Hanayama puzzles, PuzzleMaster tanglements, and a few other puzzles.

Troy Extra Muros from Smart Games, designed by Raf Peeters. I really like this one!

IQ Twist from SmartGames, by Raf Peeters

Booster packs for two great puzzle games from SmartGames - North Pole Camouflage, and Safari Hide & Seek

Tangramino, Equilibrio, and Architecto books from Foxmind - I can use the pieces in the Cliko set I already have, to try many new challenges.

Oops! - from Foxmind

Popular Playthings has issued a nice version of Eric Harshbarger's Digits in a Box

Cube Conundrum from House of Marbles
Purchased at the Vermont Toy Museum in Quechee Gorge Village.

The Avenger burr from PuzzleMaster

Meffert's Pillowed Holey Skewb, in black, from PuzzleMaster

Three new twisty puzzles: two-layer and three-layer "Grimace" puzzles, and the Mf8 Helicopter Dodecahedron, in black:

A tangle from Hong Kong: 

June 2011

A Mini Mixup Cube by "PuzzleMaster6262" [T] [S] (also see a version by Oskar van Deventer [S] )

The idea of a 3x3x3 cube which is able to interchange edges and centers via 45 degree turns of its middle slices seems to have originated with Sergey Makarov back in 1984. [T]

The "No. 1 White City Puzzle Savings Bank A Barrel of Money" was issued by Nicol & Co. of Chicago, and is a souvenir of the 1893 Columbian Exposition.

The bottom of mine seems to have been painted red. This is in fact not the only time I have seen one of these vintage White City Barrel No. 1 puzzles with traces of red paint on it (for example, on the handtruck). Does anyone know if these were actually red when originally issued?

The Smooth Operator is the latest design, for 2011, from Tucker-Jones - I purchased this one at Necker's, a great toy store in Simsbury, Connecticut:

Here is a fairly simple tanglement, but in a fairly large size, called Troika:  

The Quadlock 1 is an interlocking burr cuboid puzzle made by Jerry McFarland from Mahogany, Walnut, and Maple, and designed by him in 1992. Purchased from Jerry. It has 19 pieces and is difficult to take apart. It is beautifully finished! You can read reviews here, here, and here.

Kelly "Snake" Snache and Robert "Stickman" Yarger are two talented puzzlebox craftsmen who have teamed up to create this Tea Box Puzzle, housed in an actual wooden Tea Box. A tea bag tag seems to be hanging out one side. Hmmm...

Here is a wooden Kumiki Trolley by Shackman:

From Rick Irby, two tanglement puzzles - Impossible, and the Nails Puzzle Ring:

Keychain Motorcycle Cop (yellow)

Keychain Showboat (orange)

Keychain Clown

Keychain Cat

Here is William's Cross, designed by Wil Strijbos. Two aluminum pieces with a clever hidden locking mechanism. Courtesy of John Devost.

Here is a new Limited Edition Blue DaYan Gem III. [T] It is a shallow-truncated octahedron where the vertices and faces turn. Independently designed by Daqing Bao, also appeared as the custom "Concept 11." [T] Shown compared to the DaYan Gem, which is a truncated edge-turning octahedron.

I received one of Robert Sandfield's IPP30 Locked Draw Puzzle Boxes, made by Kathleen Malcolmson. Here it is shown open, since that is the state it remains in until one solves it!

Various new acquisitions:

A set of three Star Wars themed Pizza Hut (South American) promotional puzzles from 1997 - the Death Star (interlocking/assembly); Han Solo frozen in Carbonite (sliding piece); and R2D2 fixing C3PO (dexterity):

A vintage Shackman "Dice" assembly puzzle, with instructions:

Keychain Fish

Keychain Dino in package

Keychain Cowboy (blue)

Keychain Camel Rider (green)

Keychain Slipper

King Tut's Pyramid for the Puzzle Master - Milton Bradley
This is a version of the Towers of Hanoi puzzle.

Vintage promotional puzzle Which is Larger?

Vintage The Game of Fifteen

Adam's Block Puzzle Senior and Locked Blocks

From Stewart Coffin's collection, an instance of Willem van der Poel's The Grandfather of 6x6x6 - the original 18-piece burr, made by Pelikan. Willem's exchange puzzle at IPP24. Includes a sheet with the 50-year history of the puzzle and instructions.

From the Ergatoudis collection, The Troublesome Twenty-Seven - an instance of the Dean Hoffman packing puzzle, made from mahogany by Trench Puzzles.

May 2011



I received a set of Makishi Puzzle Boxes - 18, 30, and 50-move examples:


You can read about how to obtain Yasutoshi Makishi's puzzle boxes on his daughter Naomi's blog.
A few fellow puzzlers have posted favorable reviews, including Jeff Chiou, Brian Pletcher, and Oliver Sovary-Soos.
I, too, am very pleased!

"The Rainbow Puzzle" - a vintage dexterity challenge by Montauk Specialties Co. of Chicago Ill., with its original package; also a robust metal tanglement puzzle - a variation of the "Wit's End" type, where the cord has been looped through itself (an eBay find):

Some more interlocking keychain puzzles:

This past weekend on Saturday 5/14, Brett hosted a puzzle dinner in Manhattan. It was a fun get-together, and I spent a while chatting with Ken Irvine, George Hart, Stan Leeb, and other puzzlers. I picked up a Creative Crafthouse 18-piece Burr No. 2 in a trade with Ken, to add to my collection of 18-piece burrs. Brett got me two Marusenko Spheres - shiny! And when I got home, there was a Dino Skewb by TomZ waiting for me!

Check out:

Three more nice wooden puzzles from Brian Menold at Wood Wonders:

Barrel Puzzle - Menold

Mine's Cube in Cage - Menold

Pentominoes in Cage - Menold

Keychain puzzles:


From King's, a smaller version of "Kwazy Quilt." In BurrTools, you can model the Kwazy Quilt pieces on a triangular grid as hexagons, each having from one to six triangular points. BurrTools reports 3594 solutions, but I suspect this includes some symmetrical positions. I found the particular solution shown by hand.


Three puzzles from Eric Fuller's latest run:

Five Sticks 28 designed by Stéphane Chomine, made by Eric Fuller,
from Walnut (frame) and Gum (burrs).
28 moves to remove the first piece.

4 in 2 designed by Stéphane Chomine, made by Eric Fuller,
from Walnut (frame) and Mahogany (burrs).
14 moves to remove the first piece, 17 for the second.

3 Sticks Trapped designed by Stéphane Chomine, made by Eric Fuller,
from Walnut (frame) and Yellowheart (burrs).
Level 12.6.8.

Here are two nice wooden puzzles from Brian Menold at Wood Wonders:

Vinco 4 Piece Burr

Coffin's 4 Piece Cube

When you order, expect to receive a random wood selection, unless you specify and are willing to wait.

The mass-produced Mosaic Cube issued by Meffert was designed by Oskar van Deventer and originally available from Oskar's Shapeways Shop as the Fadi Cube. It is a vertex-turning, order-4 cube, related to Okamoto's Lattice Cube. There has been some controversy about the stability of the Mosaic Cube [T] and Oskar designed a new spherical core.
I bought a black spherical core from Shapeways and modified a Mosaic Cube to swap out the standard core.

To access the screws and disassemble the puzzle, one must first remove the corner caps, which are glued on and have three small legs that fit into sockets in the underlying stem piece. An Exacto knife, used with care, is helpful to pry up the corners.

One or more legs might break when a cap is removed, however this is not catastrophic - you can use "Stik Tak," "Fun Tak," or a similar product to re-attach the corners so they remain easily removable.

After swapping in the spherical core and adjusting the screw/spring tensions, I find the puzzle very stable, playable, and enjoyable. The Mosaic Cube is not overly difficult to solve. It is similar to a Dino or Rainbow Cube, as one might expect.

The steps I employ are:

  1. Orient the corners - they are fixed in place so this step is trivial. Once the corners are oriented, the correct face colors are evident.
  2. Solve the small square centers. These centers are attached in pairs - a single piece provides a square center to two adjacent faces. There are 12 such pieces and they can be solved in the same way as Dino or Rainbow Cube edge pieces - intuitively.
  3. Solve the large edge pieces. There are 24 of them.
I have three algorithms that sometimes prove useful. To describe the algorithms and their effects, we have to agree on a notation for the Mosaic Cube - here is what I use. I hold the cube at an angle and look at it edge-on - the up and down faces are held parallel to the floor, and an edge is towards you. I label the 8 vertices using two letters describing their position: UF, DF, UR, DR, UL, DL, UB, DB - as shown in the image (DB isn't visible).

Any of the 24 large edge pieces can be identified by giving the labels of the two corners it lies between, with the adjacent corner first. For example, the large edge piece on the bottom in front would be DFUF while the piece above it would be UFDF.

A move is a twist of a vertex by 120 degrees either clockwise or counterclockwise from the point of view of looking directly at the vertex. A move can encompass just a corner and the 3 large edge pieces surrounding it, or those pieces plus the further "layer" including 3 more large edge pieces, and 3 center dual-pieces (accounting for six small square centers). I will symbolize the latter move, clockwise, using the relevant corner name - e.g. UF means twist the UF corner and the two layers surrounding it 120 degrees clockwise. UF' symbolizes the corresponding counterclockwise move. I will use the lowercase name of the corner to symbolize the "smaller" move of just twisting the corner and the 3 large edges surrounding it - e.g. uf and uf' for counterclockwise.

To 3-cycle DFUF => URUF => URDR, use:
UF' ur UF ur'

To twist just the single UF corner piece 120 degrees clockwise, use:
(UR uf UR' uf)*2

To 3-cycle the far edges about the UF corner clockwise - i.e. DFUF => ULUF => URUF, use:
ur UF' ur' UF' ur UF' ur'

I figured that one out myself :-) - I do a setup (ur UF' ur'), then use the previous 3-cycle UF' ur UF ur', then undo the setup (ur UF ur'), which strung together looks like:
(ur UF' ur') UF' ur UF ur' (ur UF ur')

The adjacent ur' ur near the end cancels out, and the resulting adjacent UF UF simplifies to UF' giving the concise 7-step algorithm.

Stephen Chin of Australia is a skilled woodworker and woodturner. He created a beautiful apple-shaped wooden interlocking / coordinate motion puzzle he calls 1 Pinko Ringo, inspired by Wayne Daniel's 10-piece icosahedron. Stephen's puzzle was among the top 10 vote-getters in the 2010 IPP Design Competition. A similar puzzle by Stephen called the Bomb won the first Rochester Puzzle Picnic Puzzle Competition. Stephen has also created his own version of the icosahedron, known as the "Spinico." Brian Pletcher blogged about it. George Bell did some CAD modeling and after several prototypes to get the angles just right, offers spherical versions of Stephen's design in two sizes at his Shapeways shop. He calls this the Exploding Ball. The puzzle comprises 10 identical very interesting pieces. The dissection using 10 identical pieces was at first thought to be impossible to assemble, but it can be managed. Disassembly can be challenging if you cannot think of a convenient method. I bought the larger version.

Hong Kong puzzle designer and craftsman Smaz has mass-produced his Dino Cylinder design [T] [T]. His original "hollow" stickers make for a beautiful puzzle! It is even shipped in a nice black velour drawstring bag.

I bought a Brainstring Advanced.

I received a nice Barnes & Noble Tangram set:

Cubic Mania Puzzle Blocks was issued by Dale Seymour Publications. It comprises eight cubes, each colored with four colors. Each cube uses each color at least once. Using the chart of cube graphs I developed, the included cubes can be mapped to the tan set { 24 x 3, 27, 34, 42, 43 x 2 }.

There are several challenges, including building a 2x2x2 where every side shows all four colors, and another where every side is a solid color.


April 2011

Puzzle Ring Reader - by Akiyama Hisayoshi: 

A vintage Presidential Muddle Puzzle:

Yes, it is missing a button - but it is sturdy metal and larger than I thought. I like it a lot. See U.S. Patent 524703 - Carter Aug. 1894

An order from Witeden:

The Witeden 3x3x6 and Super 3x3x4 puzzles are nice. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend the QJ pillowed cubes or even the V2 - turning is stiff and catchy.

Tiros, shown below, is an 18-piece burr designed and made by Alfons Eyckmans. I obtained this in a trade with French puzzler Guillaume Largounez. Guillaume was also kind enough to help me arrange a purchase of several other wonderful wooden puzzles by various designers, made by French craftsman Maurice Vigouroux...

Tiros - designed and made by Alfons Eyckmans
Tiros requires 150 moves to get the first piece out!

Sticks in a Cage - designed by Tom Jolly - made by Maurice Vigouroux

Jupiter - designed by Stewart Coffin See U.S. Design Patent 232571 Coffin 1974 - made by Maurice Vigouroux

36 Piece Burr - made by Maurice Vigouroux
This has only eight holes inside. It has one solid key piece, but without using piece coloring constraints, even BurrTools cannot solve it!

More photos of the Jupiter - it came in 60 unit pieces, 10 each of six colors. Five unit pieces assemble to make a "star" and 12 such stars go together, in two halves of six stars apiece, to form the puzzle. The colors must be distributed such that colored pieces mate, and all pieces of a color run parallel.

Burr Cube by unknown designer - made by Maurice Vigouroux
from Caroline (Loblolly) Pine

Typhoon S1 by Osanori Yamamoto - made by Maurice Vigouroux

These small instances of Tom Jolly's Twist the Night Away and Pivot by Jos Bergmans, are available at Richard Gain's Shapeways shop. They're both great designs that require piece rotations to solve. I had fun solving Tom's puzzle at IPP29 in San Fransisco, but I missed out on Eric Fuller's limited edition of them, so it's nice to be able to have an instance of this design, and an inexpensive one at that. It did take a lot of sanding of the pieces to make this one work, though. Pivot took me a while to solve, and I only managed to do it after I saw an image of the solved cube and deduced the piece placement from the cuts on the faces. It's still difficult to figure out the required sequence of moves and rotations!

I received a Master Pentultimate designed and made by Eric Vergo. It turns very smoothly. This is a great design! Shown below along with Tom van der Zanden's Pentultimate, and Chris Hemerich's Elite Tetrahedron. The Elite Tetrahedron is also shown in comparison to Meffert's Professor Pyraminx.

I received a Dino Dodecahedron by Mf8, purchased from hknowstore. This puzzle was first proposed by Lukeharry then made by Kevin Uhrik, now mass-produced by Mf8. [T]
I solve this with no algorithms - it's a fun puzzle. Also quite large - larger than a Pyraminx Crystal.

I decided to change the "puzzling over lately" section on my puzzle home page to make use of jCarousel.
Please email me with comments if you like it, don't like it, or observe any bugs. I have seen the images disappear after multiple window resizes, for example.

Take a look at an interesting interview with master puzzle craftsman Tom Lensch, done by Woodcraft - here is the blog entry, and here is a YouTube video.

You can buy a spherical replacement core for your Meffert's Mosaic Cube, at Oskar van Deventer's Shapeways shop. [T]

The Quadratum Cubicum is an interesting assembly challenge from a French designer.

You can buy a Human heart anatomy puzzle. They also offer eye, skeleton, torso, brain, ear, muscle, and pregnancy puzzles.

A French collector Alain Koli has a great online collection of French boxed puzzles of all types [English translation].

The DaYan Gem II is a truncated cube where faces of the cube and vertices of the cuboctahedron rotate.

Stan Isaacs sent me examples of his Doctor Octo and Dr. High Octane puzzles. Both are members of the Instant Isanity family - but these versions use octahedrons rather than cubes, and a clever mirrored base to allow one to see all faces. Thanks, Stan!

I obtained this vintage advertising puzzle - the card urges readers to place a classified ad in the Pittsburgh, PA Dispatch. The puzzle objective is to remove the key from the card without damaging anything. The card refers to U.S. Patent 695059 - Kellogg - Mar. 11 1902, but also see U.S. Patent 295665 - Mount - 1884

I bought part of a collection from a fellow who decided to divest himself of puzzles. Here are some items I received:

The Sonneveld Cubed Burr puzzle, designed by Dic Sonneveld and made by Tom Lensch
3 unusual burr pieces inside a cubic cage - rotations are required to solve.
Made from Shedua, Prima Vera, and Granadillo

Bermuda Hexagon designed by Bill Cutler in 1992, made by Tom Lensch
12 pieces to be packed into the hexagonal case in 3 layers.
This design was awarded the 3rd prize in the 1992 Hikimi Wooden Puzzle Competition
I think this one is made from Mahogany.

Stewart Coffin's Convolution, made by Wayne Daniels

A Good Egg - Rocky Chiaro

D-Ice - Rocky Chiaro

A lock requiring three keys to open. Similar to but smaller than the large trick lock I bought a while back from Lee Valley.

A trick vesta that will prick the finger of the unwary.

A vintage trick lock - one must first find a way to open a panel to reveal the hidden keyhole, then one must figure out the proper way to use the key. An interesting mechanism, distinct from the trick locks I already have.

"Old Hand Cranes 1 Gin"
Eight different blocks to be packed in the wooden Sake cup
designed by Nob Yoshigahara
produced by Hikimi

Coffin's Cuboids

Checkerbox - Bill Cutler
12 checkered pentominoes pack into a 3x4x5 box

Home Alone Husband - Toyo Glass

Bin Cross - Toyo Glass
designed by Bill Cutler
Most of the Toyo Glass packing puzzles...

Plums, Pineapple, Peanuts, Corn, Beer, Rice Crackers, Pudding

A few more keychain interlocking puzzles:

Fellow puzzle collector Richard Whiting kindly made me this beautiful Imperial Scale tanglement puzzle. It's very elegant and Victorian-looking, with brass fittings throughout. According to Slocum, the earliest known example appears in Catel's Catalog of 1785. The Imperial Scale also appears in Hoffmann in Chapter II, #19. Richard tells me this is the second one he has crafted (the first can be seen on his own website, which is definitely worth your time). Thanks again, Richard!

Additional items from Oy Sloyd Ab: a 13-burr set "Boite 13" and a wooden lock by Constantin

Boite 13 includes just 13 burrs from the set of 25 notchable pieces, length-8 (1,52,103,256,1024,792/911,824/975,888/1007,960/992).

Some websites of interest:

I have added links to several new Forums & Blogs.

I have created a page for Sequential Movement Puzzles, and consolidated several appropriate subcategories there. That new page links to several sub-pages, including a new page for Peg Solitaire and Jumping Puzzles. The Logic page is deprecated - there is now a section for Logic Puzzles on the All Other page. I have updated the Sitemap accordingly.

I have truncated this What's New page to Feb. 2010.

An order from Finnish company Oy Sloyd Ab. The order arrived quickly, and they were a pleasure to deal with!

Two sleeve-on-cylinder type mazes (Blindlabyrint) designed in 1983 by Lauri Kaira: 

Only 2000 copies of each were made; most were sold back in 1984. 1A is a single-track labyrinth; 1C is a branching maze.

Three designs by Vesa Timonen: 

In CFF #84 March 2011, Vesa published an article "A Travelogue to My Puzzle Designs" where he describes the genesis of several designs including the 1998 Timonen's Burr.

A large C and U tanglement, and HooDoo Loop by Popular Playthings (Thanks!): 

A vintage 1949 Intreeg sliding piece puzzle

Cool Moves (a type of peg solitaire) by Discovery Toys

A vintage Hedgehog puzzle called Trilby (US quarter coin for size reference)

More keychain puzzles:

March 2011

I received this nicely made copy of the Discon puzzle, from craftsman Steve Kelsey. Thanks, Steve!

I received the level 138 18-piece burr Burrly Sane for Woodworkers, designed and made by Jack Krijnen. Thanks, Jack!

Other finds...

My thoughts and fervent hopes for safety, solace, and recovery from the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and related dangers are with our Japanese friends, and other unfortunate victims around the Pacific.

I have given a facelift to the Pattern Section.


William Waite was kind enough to provide some info on what I thought was called the "Contortionist" keychain puzzle. It turns out this model is actually known as the Wha Hoppen or Wrestler puzzle. The hapless wrestler has been tied into a pretzel by his opponent. I found an image of the card, shown. William says this was marketed by the Harrison Co. of Long Island City NY in the 1950s.

I picked up some additional keychain puzzles:

Six-piece burr keychain puzzle

Canon keychain puzzle

Football keychain puzzle

Howdy Doody keychain puzzle

Elephant keychain

Elephant keychain

Horseshoe and Ball keychain

Burro and Rider keychain

Airplane keychain

Beetle keychain

Raygun keychain

Rocket keychain

Airplane keychain

Car keychain

Giraffe keychain

Allsides Cube keychain - designed by William Waite
From a limited edition of 26 puzzles, including a signed card reminiscent of the way keychain puzzles were sold in the 50s.
Each of the four pieces touches all sides of the cube, hence the name. Four moves to remove the first piece. "One of the most difficult keychain puzzles ever produced."

Other assorted finds:

John Devost has organized a charity auction to provide aid to Australian fellow puzzler Dave Cooper. Dave is a police officer working to help his community deal with the terrible aftermath of the flooding and cyclone, whose own home has sustained substantial damage. The auction runs through March 12, and can be accessed at www.puzzleparadise.ca.

An order from PuzzleMaster:

Chain Gang - Designed by Dick Hess

456 Burr

The Bee Box - Designed by Constantin
See an explanation at Grand Illusions.

Hanayama Cast Coil

Get a Clue from Pavel Curtis.

A fully functional 3x4x5 from Tom van der Zanden.

Idiot's Delight - Field Mfg. Co. Inc. NY
Cube set signature 01143639 - Isomorphic to SK

Contortionist Keychain Puzzle

Selected Papers on Fun and Games - Knuth

Games, Puzzles, & Computation - Hearn, Demaine

Unlikely Story Cluster Puzzle

Two 4x4x4 cubes - Shengshou and Ghost Hand 4x4 II

February 2011

I finally obtained one of Bill Cutler's 66-piece Cube puzzles! The Cutler Cube is a beauty, 100mm on a side.

I've created a new section devoted to the Traditional 18-Piece Burr , and I've ordered some 18-piece burr puzzles:

Condor's Peeper from Mr. Puzzle. Level 62.

A design by Bruce Love called the Lovely Burr.
Level 18.
You might find one made by Jerry McFarland
at Bill Cutler's website.

Vertigo from Pentangle
Ordered from Mind Games in the UK.

Some additional finds - I was pleased to find the Bass Tantalizer puzzle - I have updated my section on the Instant Insanity puzzle family with some new research results.

An advertising version of the Tantalizer puzzle, from Bass.

The Professor Pyraminx, issued by Mefferts
Designed by Timur Evbatyrov
Another great design from Timur, mass produced beautifully by Meffert! I love this puzzle!

Gorey Games by Larry Evans 1979

A Lifetime of Puzzles Honoring Martin Gardner 2008

Pentangle's Leg Irons tanglement puzzle

On Saturday Feb. 12, I attended the 2011 New York Puzzle Party hosted by Tom Cutrofello, in Manhattan at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA). MOCA is currently housing the exhibition "Chinese Puzzles: Games for the Hands and Mind" curated by Wei Zhang and Peter Rasmussen. Oskar van Deventer was on hand to present his 17x17x17 Cube "Over the Top."

I picked up a few items, including:

The exhibition catalogue, "Chinese Puzzles: Games for the Hands and Mind"

A copy of "Ingenious Rings"

Bottom-filling Teapot and Fairness Cup set

An Unbandaged Helicopter Cube designed by Eric Vergo (this is copy number 1!)

A 12 Sticks puzzle by George Hart, 3-D printed on his Makerbot. This is the 1st of his series of stick puzzles!

18 piece burr #3 - Creative Crafthouse

Xcruci8 - designed and made by Vaclav Obsivac
Exchanged at IPP28 by Laurie Brokenshire

A nails tanglement used to advertise Vicodin; a 1964 Tilt-n-Roll dexterity puzzle by Milton Bradley; a Crazy Maze Cyclops dexterity puzzle; a vintage cardboard "seat the witches on the cats" puzzle advertising Dickinson's Witch Hazel; Victory - a vintage 1943 cardboard Egyptian-type dissected square puzzle; a black 1x2x2 twisty puzzle:

January 2011

A 17-piece jigsaw puzzle cut from a dollar coin, from Coin Cut Art by "Grinan"

I chose a 2000 Sacagawea Gold dollar coin. Grinan uses a steel blade only .002" thick. "Numismatic Jigsaw Puzzles" is an original idea of Jeremy Barrett and copyright of Coin Cut Art.

I am looking forward to the upcoming New York Puzzle Party hosted by Tom Cutrofello.

A set of Bishop Cubes

A bucket of Clics, to make various 4-color cubes to explore Instant Insanity type puzzles.

A vintage Setko Block Puzzle

A vintage Rotato Chips Puzzle by Grumette

Some interesting websites:

And several new items below!

Dave Janelle of Creative Crafthouse sent me a nice selection of the great puzzles they stock:

The Ramube Octahedron designed by Ramu Kaminoff in 2008 and exclusive to Creative Crafthouse. Eight complex pieces and 2 balls locking things up inside. Dave says, "This is in my opinion our MOST difficult puzzle. It is difficult for me to imagine anyone solving this without use of the provided instructions."

The Century Cube II - a 4x4x4 cube composed of five serially interlocking pieces. A nice design that yields to logical thinking.

The Dragon Burr - a burr having 18 unique pieces. Rated as one of their most difficult puzzles.
This was originally designed by Maurice Vigouroux in 2003 and called simply "The 18 Piece."

Erich Friedman's Cover Up design - three challenges. I got the easy level right away, but I am still working on the next two!

The (Count Your) Blessings Cube - six interlocking pieces.
The pieces occur in three mirrored pairs.

The Giant Puzzle
Some info from Dave: The "Giant Puzzle" was first introduced in 1888 by McLoughlin Bros of New York. We found a picture of the old puzzle in Slocum and Botermans book, "New Book of Puzzles" (1992) and were fascinated by it. It has a bit of a Sukoku edge to it, and it's really hard. The object is to arrange all the pieces in the base such that there is no color repeated on any row, column, or any diagonal. Also, no number can be repeated on any row, column or any diagonal. Also, each row, column and major diagonal must add to 25. You might try to tackle each of the requirements separately before you take on the full challenge of making them all happen at once!

Thanks, Dave!

On Saturday 1/15, I drove up and paid a visit to David Leschinsky at Eureka Puzzles. Had a great time, as always, and came back with some interesting items:

The Nifty Fifty from Jean Claude Constantin requires you to pack the four pieces into the tray.

The Quartet Puzzle - the Quartet's tray has a movable end wall, and you must pack specific subsets of pieces into the tray depending on where the wall is positioned.

Bill Cutler designed the Slider and used it as his exchange for IPP30. It looks innocent enough, but judging by the internals, it is not your typical 18-piece burr! It is made from Walnut, by Jerry McFarland.
Eureka is carrying a new line of nail disentanglement puzzles by Rick Irby. I picked up the Rattlesnake Nails, the Point the Way, and the Twister Nails.

David recommended the Dig It! puzzle produced by Foxmind.
It is designed by Alex Polonsky. There are 50 challenges in four increasing levels of difficulty. In each, you must move a set of pieces in succession until a "bone" piece is fully revealed.

This reminds me of the Flying Block (or Jumping Block) puzzles designed by Dries de Clercq. Sliding, jumping, and rotation of pieces are allowed, but only one piece at a time. Mr. Puzzle Australia produced one.

I found another dissected die - it seems fairly old - it comes in a purple box and has nine red pieces with white pips:

I am unsure of the provenance - there are no markings on the box or pieces. The box is 1.75"^3 (45mm^3). There should be at least 21 pips, but there are only 20 - so evidently one is missing. The pieces are not the same as the Wolff Spots Puzzle described in Hoffmann.

Several new twisty puzzles are on the way:

Elite Tetrahedron -
by Chris Hemerich [T] [S] [Y]

Tuttminx - designed and prototyped by Lee Tutt in 2005 [T] - produced by Leslie Le [T] [W]
The Tuttminx is a 32-sided truncated icosahedron.

Mosaic Cube - produced by Meffert - designed by Oskar van Deventer (as the Fadi Cube)

Ayi's 4x4x5 [T] [W]

A fully-functional proportional 3x3x5 made by Smaz.

I bought a copy of Eric Vergo's Pentagram puzzle - first announced at the TwistyPuzzles forums. It is an order-2 vertex-turning dodecahedron, designed by Eric and 3D printed by Shapeways. It is the same size as the Meffert's Pyraminx Crystal. You can buy a copy at Eric's Shapeways shop.

There is an online video review of this puzzle on YouTube.

I received a black Mini Rhombiminx. This is an order-3 vertex-turning rhombic dodecahedron, built around a 2x2x2 using custom parts. (The first Rhombiminx was built around a cut-down 4x4x4.) Every 4-part vertex turns, and there are 3 mutually perpendicular cuts through each square cross-section (i.e. the 2x2x2 cuts).

This puzzle is the same size as the Dino-Rhombic Dodecahedron (DRD) I got from Drew Cormier - here are some comparison photos:

It is larger than the white Mini-mini Rhombiminx I got a while ago, which is built around a mini-Eastsheen 2x2x2. Here is a group shot with various Rhombic Dodecahedra twisty puzzles.

The black Mini-Rhombiminx is in the center. The white Mini-mini Rhombiminx is below it; clockwise from there is a 2x2x2 Rhombic Dodecahedron made by Karl-Heinz Diekmann, a Kite Skewb, a truncated 4x4x4 RD, a Lanlan 4x4x4 RD, a QJ 3x3x3 RD, and the custom DRD.

I decided to purchase one of John Devost's HexTwist Five Intersecting Tetrahedrons puzzles - it is a geometric artwork, a real dexterity assembly challenge, and a great example of John's woodturning skills - each rod is lathe-turned to have a special twisting shape. The rods are made from exotic woods, including: Purpleheart, Bloodwood, Redheart, Bubinga, and Lacewood. They are held together by magnetic tips and chrome balls.

Here is a Lanlan 4x4x4 Rhombic Dodecahedron:

The long-awaited puzzles of Meffert's Jade Club finally arrived:

The tetrahedron and the cube are both made from a translucent plastic painted pearly white, with raised designs on the faces that have been highlighted in various pastel shades. They are very pretty, and each is fairly small though surprisingly hefty. Each contains a unique RFID tag!

Also received a Lanlan Master Skewb and a DaYan/Mf8 Crazy Megaminx Plus Saturn:

I really like both of these. It's great to be able to own a Master Skewb at mass-produced prices. The Lanlan version is nicely made and turns very well. Not too long ago custom copies were going for $400 - I bought a hand-cast version for over $100. I also really like the Crazy Megaminx Saturn. The fit and turning on the copy I got are very good, and I like the stickerless design and brightly colored plastic. It is about the same size and weight as a Meffert's Pyraminx Crystal. Purchased at the HK Now Store.

Here is Eitan's Edge-Turning Octahedron (ETO) - announced on the TP forums. Equivalent to Gelatinbrain 4.3.1. Available from Eitan's Shapeways shop. First shown by David Calzone back in 2009. Congrats to Eitan for making this available! The design moves well, is stable, and is a nice size. The puzzle came very nicely stickered.

In comparison with other octahedral twisty puzzles:

From top to bottom, left to right: Meffert's Skewb Diamond (order-1 face-turning octa); DaYan Gem I (edge-turning trunc. octa); order-2 vertex-turning octa; order-2 vertex-turning trunc. octa; order-3 vertex-turning master Trajber's; Meffert's Hex Skewb (order-1 face-turning trunc. octa); order-2 face-turning octa; Eitan's ETO (order-2 edge-turning octa); vintage Magic Octahedron (order-2 vertex-turning octa); QJ Trajber's (order-2 vertex-turning); hand-cast custom Trajber's made by David Calzone; QJ 3x3x3 octa (sort of hybrid edge- and vertex-turning); Octaminx custom made by me; Meffert's Pyradiamond (order-1 vertex-turning octa); vintage Christoph's Magic Jewel (order-2 vertex-turning trunc. octa); Lolo's Octahedron custom-made by Kevin Uhrik (order-3 vertex-turning octa); Truncated Trajber's custom-made by Tanner Frisby.

I still would like to find: a 24 octahedron, a Dino octa, a Rainbow octa, a Master octa, a Master FTO, and a Professor Trajber's. Maybe a Square-1 and/or Square-2 octa, too.

Starting off the year with a Popplock T3 puzzle lock (may be available from Puzzlemaster.ca), and a nice wooden copy of George Bell's Nine Bed Nightmare assembly puzzle (may be available from Puzzlewood.de):

December 2010

Have a Safe, Prosperous, and Happy New Year!

For the last puzzle in 2010, I received Tom van der Zanden's excellent Pentultimate.

You can buy one, and several other great twisty puzzles, at Tom's Shapeways shop.

This is the order-1 face-turning dodecahedron. It has six cuts, all of which pass through the center of the puzzle, midway between pairs of opposing faces, and are great circles on the circumscribed sphere. Each divides the puzzle into two halves.

It is an engineering design masterpiece and employs a sophisticated "shells" mechanism. The shells build upon a Megaminx, through a Pyraminx Crystal, Master Pentultimate, to the outer Pentultimate. In a shells mechanism, the pieces of an inner shell hold in the pieces of the next shell out. For example, the Pyraminx Crystal has two shells - an inner Megaminx and the outer Crystal. The faces of the inner Megaminx hold in inner edges, which in turn hold in the outer Crystal corners, which hold in the outer Crystal edges.

The Pentultimate is 25mm (1") on an edge, and is the same size as a QJ 3x3x3 dodecahedron. The design explores the limits of economical miniaturization within the 3D printing process, yet the puzzle is not fragile and is quite comfortable to hold and manipulate. It was announced on the TP Forums here. You can see an image of the complicated internal mechanism in that thread.

For information on the earlier impressive albeit fragile so-called "knucklehead" mechanism pioneered by Jason Smith, who designed and constructed the first working version of this puzzle, see an article at Jason's Puzzle Forge website.

Happy Holidays to all!

Here are the four of the Karakuri Group 2010 Christmas Presents I ordered:

My selection this year included boxes by Kamei, Iwahara, Miyamoto, and Tuburai. Can you tell which is which? So far I have opened the second one shown.

Two tanglements from Fiddl'Widdit - thanks Susan & family! The Triamese Angels is an even more difficult version of the Gordian Knot / Eggbeater design, and the Ski Doodle is a multi-level trapeze:

From Meffert's, the Vulcano (aka Trignis) designed by Timur Evbatyrov,
and the DaYan Gem (an edge-turning truncated octahedron):

Double Disk from Hog Wild LLC of Portland OR

An original Hungarian Supernova

Some duplicates, but each is complete: Jinxed; another 64-piece Mr. Jig-O-Pin; Mental Misery.

A set of McDonalds promotional puzzles

Brett paid a visit on the 5th and traded some puzzles with me...

Hanayama Cast Rattle
designed by Bram Cohen

by KO Sticks LLC
Produced with support
from the Museum of Mathematics


Rubik's Slide

Lagoon Wild Wire Crocodile

by Popular Playthings

Dicebox Mindbender Cube Mates
by Mi-Toys

Colossal Book of Word Play - Gardner

Some of Bruce Viney's puzzle box designs can now be purchased as DIY kits from Myers Crafts.
I ordered two - the Interlink Box and the Tik Tak Tok Box.


I got a copy of the Taschen edition of the 1847 Pickering coloured The First Six Books of the Elements of Euclid by Oliver Byrne: 

The Twisty Puzzle bonanza continues!

The Double Think Binary Ring Puzzle from Hog Wild LLC of Portland OR

Three layers - in the top and bottom layers, the pairs of interlinked rings turn independently, allowing segments to be mixed between them.
In addition, each ring has twelve segments that can be flipped to mix between the layers -
such a move also exchanges inside and outside segments from the middle layer.
The segments flip smoothly but it is somewhat difficult to rotate the rings.

From Lightake.com, a "Rainbow Black Hole," "Cake Cube," and the LanLan Hydrangea (a face-turning truncated octahedron):

From eBay seller kcwong707, a "Mask Cube," a "Magic Ball," and a 2x2x2 Dodecahedron:

November 2010

Stewart Coffin's Diagonal Cube design -
modeled by George Bell using BurrTools and printed by Shapeways -
available at George's Shapeways Shop.

Three inexpensive wooden burrs.

Rubik's Slide

A pair of trick bolts, from Lee Valley.

Crazy 4x4 III

Lonpos Cosmic Creatures

DaYan III LingYun, DS Mahjong Cube, YongJun Star, ZhiSheng Egg (Potato)

A fully functional 2x3x4 cuboid twisty puzzle, designed by Garrett Ong. [T] [S]
Garrett's 2x3x4 won the Summer Puzzle Building Contest. It's a great achievement at its price point (under $60).

October 2010

The Ambigram Burr, designed by Gregory Benedetti. Available from Puzzlewood.de. Made from Wenge, Padauk, and Robinia. Thanks to Bernhard Schweitzer and John Devost!

An acrylic 3-D maze
This reminds me of "Next Floor" by Oskar van Deventer - see it at Oskar's website (scroll down).

La Canadienne - an advertising promotion edgematching puzzle

The elusive Duff Beer 2x2x2

A pillowed white Master Skewb made by TP forums member "Cublem" [T]

Two more tray packing puzzles in a vintage series by Lakeside - Horses and Animals

A version of the vintage Queen's Jubilee puzzle, called Uncle Sam's Divorce

A vintage Imperial Scale tanglement
This is one of several classic tanglement designs that have appeared in puzzle chests from the orient in the 19th century. You can download a PDF showing how to make and solve several designs including the Imperial Scale.

Visual Illusions by James Kingston

19th Hole - Pentangle

Reverse-All and Bullseye by Setko

A set of three vintage picture puzzles by Currier & Ives - the Old Swiss Mill, the Puzzled Fox, and the Bewildered Hunter. Thanks to Gianni Sarcone for making me aware of these.

Some websites to visit:

First puzzles of October: a vintage Psyche-Paths puzzle, presaging Tantrix; Stewart Coffin's No. 250 House Party tray packing puzzle, made by Tom Lensch; The Gear Cube Extreme, designed by Oskar van Deventer and offered by Meffert's; Making Working Wooden Locks by Tim Detwieler; A vintage Ten Spot puzzle:

September 2010

"The Five Minute Puzzle That Might Take a Little Longer"
Designed by Andy Turner
Entered in the IPP 2009 Design Competition
Made by Eric Fuller, from Oak (box) and Paduak

1x5x5 - Murilo - Shapeways

Square 2 - originally designed by Dave Litwin; Beijing Olympics ball; Red 3x3x3 Apple

Curvy Copter II - Tom Z

Rex Cube - Cormier - Mefferts

Holey Skewb Twins - Fisher - Mefferts

An order from Funagain:

"The New Puzzle. Registered Industrial Exhibition - Registered According to Act of Parliament"

I believe this vintage jigsaw puzzle is a souvenir of one of the first of the great
World's Fairs, or Expo[sition]s, the "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations" or just "The Great Exhibition" for short.
Based on an idea of Prince Albert's, the fair was held in 1851 in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London,
and was the first international exhibition of manufactured products.


Mathematics, Magic and Mystery by Martin Gardner, 1956: 

The Question Mark Puzzle from Pentangle - six pieces form a cube in two ways, and also fit into the 3x6 box to form a question mark shape. - This is equivalent to the Steinhaus (aka Mikusinski's) Cube.


August 2010

It's nearing the end of summer around these parts - but you wouldn't know it from the temperature outside - pushing 90 F.

Plan something for the fall - host or attend a Gathering For Gardner Celebration of Mind party.

Ms. Leone, a teacher at the local elementary school, uses puzzles in her classroom.
Last year I loaned a bunch of puzzles to her for her students to try,
and she was very kind to send me a Cyclone puzzle as a thank-you. Much appreciated!


The Cyclone is offered by The Lagoon Group, via their Family Games division.
I found a PDF of assembly instructions at http://www.give-me-a-clue.com/.

Interestingly, this design seems to have first appeared as a lamp!
The product IQ Light won the 2001 Danish Design Award for its packaging.
IQ Light was designed by Holger Strøm of Denmark in 1973.
It is based on a single piece or tile, various numbers of copies of which
can be interlocked to form more than 21 different shapes.
30 tiles form a triacontahedron.
In the assembly, there are 12 vertices where 5 tiles hook together, and 20 vertices where 3 tiles hook together.

You can find a template for the piece at www.craftster.org.
William Chow has a website explaining the geometry of what he calls the Celtic Tile.

Two new offerings available at Bits & Pieces, both designed by Doug Engel - the Moebius and the Trinity Infinity:

Josh Jordan was kind enough to send me a copy of the Calibron 12-Block Puzzle remake produced by Pavel Curtis. Thanks, Josh! Pavel has posted an interesting write-up of the Calibron puzzle. Pavel also offers the Square Dance by Derrick Schneider - I've been wanting one for a while and was pleased to find Pavel had resuscitated it! Square Dance won an Honorable Mention in the 2002 IPP Design Competition.


Via the Renegadepuzzlers forum, I learned about five new inexpensive wooden puzzles produced under the label "Confusion Contemporary Puzzles" by The Lagoon Group. I purchased mnine at Mind Games in the UK.

aka "Three Open Windows"
(made by Eric Fuller)
Designed by Tom Jolly

Designed by Ronald Kint-Bruynseels
See it on Ishino's site

Mental Block
Designed by Rick Eason
aka the Twenty Cube

Caged Knot
Designed by Tom Jolly
See it on Ishino's site

Designed by Ronald Kint-Bruynseels
aka Die in Prison #2
See it on Ishino's site

Three books (OK, OK, they're not about mechanical puzzles, but their topics might be of interest to puzzlers...)

Hobby Games - The 100 Best
Edited by James Lowder
See info at the publisher's site, greenronin.com.
See a "companion guide" by Matt Tarbit.
Also read some interesting factoids compiled by Alan De Smet.

Family Games - The 100 Best
Edited by James Lowder
See info at the publisher's site, greenronin.com.

Dice Games Properly Explained
by Reiner Knizia

See a short video review of the Rubik's Slide.

See a gallery of antique dexterity puzzles. (Be sure to scroll right.)

Child's Play, a new twisty puzzle designed by Eric Vergo [T]: 

The Yankee Puzzle - a vintage route-finding puzzle patented in 1896 by W. G. Adams (554565), described in Slocum and Botermans New Book of Puzzles on page 110:

A vintage Jig-O-Pin puzzle:

A tangle set, an inexpensive wooden tray-packing puzzle by Toysmith, the vintage 1968 Double Disaster puzzle by KMS Industries, and Yankee Ingenuity by Tucker-Jones (new for 2010):


20 moves suffice!

Morley Davidson, John Dethridge, Herbert Kociemba, and Tomas Rokicki have proven that every scrambled position of Rubik's Cube can be solved in 20 moves or less. (Finding those 20 moves, however, can be quite a challenge!)

Read more at www.cube20.org.

I believe the rest of the group will agree with me when I report that the Rochester Puzzle Picnic hosted by Jeff Aurand on 8/7 was a success! I certainly had a great time chatting with fellow puzzlers and puzzle craftsmen, and assaying the wide variety of puzzles on hand. Jeff has amassed an impressive collection of Karakuri boxes, Jim brought some rare pieces, Kelly and Jim let us try Kelly's latest creations, and we got to play with the competition entries from Stephen, Peter, and Soahn. I was also able to pick up the batch of puzzles Brian was kind enough to collect for me during IPP30 in Japan. Thanks again to Jeff, and to Brian! You can read more about the event at RenegadePuzzlers.ca.

Brian opened my Strijbos Aluminum Cylinder Box: 

Brett got me a copy of "Knotty Number Problems" by Ivan Moscovich (thanks!): 

I found a vintage sliding piece puzzle, and a wooden interlocking puzzle:


July 2010


Copyright 1970 by gametime, Inc. of NY, NY
A 5x5 Graeco-Latin Square - arrange the 25 pieces in a 5x5 grid such that no row, column, or diagonal contains more than one instance of a circle color or tile color.

1x3x4 Designed by Ola Jansson, made by Tanner Frisby

Terra-Toys offers a series of four "3D Puzzle" animals in their Wildlife Conservation Collection, made in China from woods claimed to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
I picked up a Polar Bear and a Panda. Both have unusual opening tricks - not difficult, but distinct from the typical Kumiki-style animals.
There are also a Rhino and a Sea Turtle. The Rhino is very similar to the Nanook Polar Bear.

In and Out Boxes by Loftus
I know, I know - magic tricks usually make poor puzzles.
But this effect sounded interesting -
you start out with the red box inside the black,
then remove the red and put the black one inside it.

Two vintage folding puzzles from Binary Arts: GeoLoop and GeoMorph12

The new DaYan GuHong Cube allows reverse corner cuts.
This particular version is molded from six colors of plastic
so there are no stickers to wear off or tiles to fall off.

ShengShou Circle Ball Cube

Dian Sheng Hexagonal Dipyramid

Dian Sheng Tank Diamond

Pepsi edgematching puzzle (Spanish)

Hanayama H&H - designed by Oskar van Deventer
Thanks, Brett!
This one seems very similar to Oskar's "Key Ring" design.
See Oskar's web site.

Handcuffs - from Teddy Sakamoto

Hanayama - Mickey Keys
Thanks, Brett!

The set of eight types of DaYan Crazy 3x3 Plus Cubes - "Eight Planets"
The circle pieces either do or don't turn with the face. The eight types are different ways of arranging dos and don'ts.
I got mine from Mefferts but you can find them at several vendors.

The IPP30 Design Competition entries have been posted at PuzzleWorld.

For great coverage of IPP 30, see:

From Mr. Puzzle Australia, new for IPP30, One Four All and Mt. Fuji.

A vintage Think dissection puzzle in its package.

An assortment of vintage puzzles, from the UK.

An order from Lightake.com:

"Gem" from DaYan
A Magic Jewel clone

Six-armed spider cores
by MHZ and Maru

QJ 3x3x3 RD black

Intellect Ball - 13cm

QJ 2-layer Super Square-1
and a 2x3x3 cylinder

QJ Finhop 3x3x3

A Pyramorphix clone

Rugby ball

Treasure Box

QJ truncated pyraminx

Kong Ming Lock 28831

Kong Ming Lock 30394

June 2010 -- Hellooo, Summer!

A vintage (1928?) sliding piece puzzle, "Al Smith to the White House"

Read some biographical material about Al Smith at www.nps.gov.

A spherical dexterity puzzle, and a trick vesta that will prick an unwary finger: 

A new cross between the Pioneer Cube and Munroe's Marbles, and a set of ShengShou Cubes: 

Another vintage version of the classic dexterity puzzle "Pigs in Clover" - this one by Milton Bradley:

A 2x2x2 Rhombic Dodecahedron, made by Karl-Heinz Diekmann: 

Think-a-Dot, a vintage puzzle/game by ESR: 

ESR (Education Science Research) (Wikipedia entry) made a few toys especially coveted by geeks, including Think-a-Dot, Digi-Comp I and II, and Dr. Nim. You can buy a replica of the Digi-Comp I from Minds-On Toys. Jaap's Puzzle Page has an entry on Think-a-Dot. Pantazis Houlis posted a YouTube video showing his Think-a-Dot in action. Webster.edu hosts an online simulation.

Neurotic Numbers, a vintage 1968 puzzle from Lakeside: 

Thanks to Tanya Thompson at Thinkfun, I'm puzzling over their new Zig Zag Knot

Peter Wiltshire has crafted from aluminum a reproduction of the Stanley puzzle found in Hoffmann (Chapter VIII, No. 12): 

He has a very limited number for sale at Puzzleparadise.

Eureka Puzzles in Brookline had the new Philos version of Shirt Case designed by Edi Nagata

Unfortunately, the solution given for the tray side shown in the photo does not work - the pieces are a little too large and don't quite fit. Given that a cardinal rule of mechanical puzzles is "no force required" this is very frustrating, particularly since this is the kind of puzzle I like to give to casual puzzlers to play with, and this flaw encourages violating that rule.

Some additional websites of interest:

Karl-Heinz Diekmann made this instance of Ola Jansson's 2x5x5 puzzle for me:

The comparison photos show the 2x5x5 with the KHD/Olz 1x4x4 I recently acquired, and an original hand-made 1x3x3 from Okamoto I got a while ago (prior to its mass-production).

In case you haven't noticed, I've reorganized the home page to improve readability, make navigation a little easier, and to improve its appearance when JavaScript is disabled.

Some interesting websites:

The Aluminum Cylinder Box by Will Strijbos, courtesy of John Devost (John's photo): 

New twisty puzzles from Meffert's: The Skewb Hex, Mastermorphix (traditional shape), and an MF8 Teraminx:

May 2010

I received several great logic puzzles produced by Smart Games, many designed by Raf Peeters:

They include: Anti-Virus, Titanic, Roadblock, Alcatraz, Anaconda, SmartPhone, Chicken Shuffle, and Cannibal Monsters. Anti Virus is the production edition of Bulbous Blob designed by Oskar van Deventer and James W. Stephens - you can see it and play a few levels at the Puzzlebeast website. Thanks, Raf!

I took advantage of a special offer at Shapeways for a dyed, assembled, and stickered Floppy 2x3x3 designed by Oskar van Deventer:

I also ordered a Quartet from the Shapeways shop of "RubixFreakGreg" -- designed by "Lykwid" [T], the Quartet is a square version of the triangular Grimace made by Smaz. I'm going to dye each layer a different color and then sticker the sides.

I received a copy of the new Rubik's 2x2x4, signed by designer Hidetoshi Takeji:

Brett got me two new puzzles from RecentToys - Bronco designed by Oskar van Deventer, and Mind Jewel, designed by Alexander Polonsky: 

This vintage 1967 Instant Insanity clone by
"A to Z Ideas Inc." of California is called Psykonosis:

Here are the cube layouts:

  G      R      W      G  
R B G  B G W  W R R  G W B
  G      B      B      W  
  W      R      G      R  
  1      2      3      4  
Here is the graph - Psykonosis is not isomorphic to SK!

A cheap way to make a Hexagonal Dipyramid - combine the parts from two Guo Jia diamonds:

Two new puzzles in fine woods from Eric Fuller's latest sale at CubicDissection: Luxemburr, designed by Matti Linkola, exchanged at IPP16 - made in Yellowheart and Walnut; and Padaung Rings, designed by Alfons Eyckmans and made from Tulipwood and Acrylic - it takes 24 moves to remove the first piece.

Yet more twisty puzzles! Meffert has produced Oskar van Deventer's Caution Cube [S] and calls it the Gear Cube; Swedish designer Ola Jannson's 1x4x4 design has been FDM printed, assembled, and stickered by "incredible" Karl Heinz of Germany [T].

The Svetnashki is a sliding piece puzzle design from Russia, based on polarized light:   It comes in two sizes: 7 cm. and 10 cm.

I obtained a vintage Pigs in Clover dexterity puzzle. This puzzle caused a craze around 1889, and appeared in political cartoons of the time. It was invented by G. M. Crandall, who applied for a patent in February 1889.

April 2010

I dyed, assembled, and stickered my Shim's Master Pyraminx. I really like this puzzle! It was designed by Timur Evbatyrov and is available on Shapeways.

Here are two photos to show relative size - a comparison with an original Tomy Pyraminx, and a group photo including various tetrahedral twisty puzzles:

The group photo includes, left to right, row by row from the top: the Hoberman BrainTwist, Meffert's Jing's Pyraminx (designed by Adam Cowan), Meffert's NGP (Platypus), Tomy Pyraminx, a custom Halpern-Meier Tetrahedron (keychain Skewb core) made by Matt Davis, Meffert's Pyramorphinx (a curvy Mastermorphix), Traiphum Prungtaengkit's (Traiphumi's) Mastermorphynx (a custom-made edge-turning Pyraminx), a keychain Meffert's Pyramorphi[n]x, Shim's Master Pyraminx, and a reuleaux Babymorphix custom-made by Taylor Howell.

I received two wooden burr puzzles - on the left is The Baffling Burr Puzzle ("Six interlocked pieces of wood that will challenge the experts") - there is no other information on the box. This has pieces numbers 52, 615, 792, 960/992, 975 and is Bill Cutler's #305, not Bill's Baffling Burr, which has pieces 103, 760, 960/992, 996, 1024. The second is the Burr Puzzle from Toys From Times Past. This has pieces 1, 188, 256, 960, 975, 1024 and is the same design shown in Hoffmann, except Toys From Times Past has incorporated a locking mechanism into the key piece.

A Skewb-core Rhombic Dodecahedron, from Popbuying.com:

I've provided a solution for the vintage 1904 National Puzzle (aka Saunders' Puzzle), in my Routefinding section.

For inexpensive wooden puzzles, check out PaxPuzzle.com.

Cube4You cubic 3x3x7 (black)

A set of wire puzzles, including the Valspar puzzle.

4x4x4 Trajber's Octahedron

Digits in a Box, designed by Eric Harshbarger and exchanged at G4G9.
Ten size 1x3x5 digits laser-cut from colored acrylic - just pack them into a 5x5x5 box.
Purchased at Eureka, also available at Eric's quickbrownfoxpuzzles.com.

Puzzle Impossible, from Hanayama. This is an unusual sliding piece puzzle - marks on the transparent pieces combine with marks on the tray to form digits. Purchased at Eureka.

Athena, from Popular Playthings (Huntar).
Designed by Bob Hearn.
Bob discusses the genesis of this puzzle on the TwistyPuzzles Forum. Athena is a re-skinned version of Bob's Subway Shuffle puzzle.
Purchased at Eureka.

Cobra Cubes, from SmartZone Games.
Designed by Ariel Laden.
Purchased at Eureka.

World Passport, from SmartZone Games.
Designed by Tzafrir Kazula.
Purchased at Eureka.

The Crazy Cheese Puzzle, from Blue Orange Games. A nice wooden 3x3 edge-matching puzzle with two levels of challenge.
Purchased at The Games People Play.

Holzwurm (Product No. 6038), from Philos.
Designed by Dieter Matthes.
Form a 3x3x3 cube from 9 pieces having protrusions and hollows.
Purchased at The Games People Play.

Confusio (Product No. 6170), from Philos.
Designed by Georg Pfaeffinger.
Made from Schima, Hevea, and Samena woods.
Form a 5x5x5 interlocking cube from 9 pieces.
Purchased at The Games People Play.

A vintage Saunders' Puzzle, marked National Puzzle Boston.

Wire Puzzle No. 1 - China
Purchased from EsTOYS.

The Lost Game of the Pharoahs
A simple six-piece ball pyramid.
(Pharoah sculpture not included!)

Twist-L-Dan, in Oak, Wenge, and Karin woods,
designed by Takeyuki Endo.
Purchased from the Karakuri Club.

8Pd, in Oak, Angsana, and Karin woods,
designed by Takeyuki Endo.
Purchased from the Karakuri Club.

The vintage Cubo Color Puzzle.

Shim's Master Pyraminx, designed by Timur Evbatyrov (YouTube videos here and here), available on Shapeways.

Got the Stewart Coffin Tray Puzzle Set, in Poplar and Lyptus woods, made by Tom Lensch. Purchased at PuzzleParadise.ca. This set includes six of Coffin's tray-packing puzzles - a single-sided rectangular tray (#181, 1 solution), a two-sided pentagonal tray (#181-C, The Housing Project, 1 solution each side), and another two-sided pentagonal tray having a movable wall segment on one side (#181-A, The Castle Puzzle, 3 solutions; #181-B, The Tree Puzzle, 2 solutions, other side #181-B, The Vanishing Trunk Puzzle, 1 solution).

Two new twisty puzzles: the Intellect Ball, and a mass-produced 2x2x4.

March 2010

I dyed my Compy Cube purple (just to be different) and stickered it:

The Compy Cube (aka Shallow Dino, aka Sausage's Cube) is a full custom 3-D print, designed by Jason Smith. It is easy to solve intuitively, requiring no memorized algorithms.

I acquired a RevoMaze Extreme Silver (V2):   As of this writing, only 3 people in the world have solved one!

Ordered three new cubes made in China by QJ - mass-produced copies of classic mods - the Trajber's Octahedron, Greenhill's 3x3x3 Octahedron, and Fisher's 3x3x3 Dodecahedron:

On 3/13, I attended an enjoyable puzzle get-together hosted by George Hart at his house. Thanks, George! We had a fun evening and a safe trip out and back, despite the horrendous weather, which brought down an incredible number of trees along many roadways.

I took along several puzzles from my collection for folks to try, including the Eis by the mysterious R.D. - George's friend Glen Whitney, who is executive director of the Museum of Mathematics, solved it! George put it back together, whereupon it defeated all comers for the remainder of the evening. I did, however, manage to reproduce the feat at home - but it wasn't easy even after having seen it done! At right is a picture of the insides.

George had plenty of puzzles of his own for people to play with. I found a large burr by the fireplace and managed to solve it. It was a model for the Giant Burr at the Math Midway exhibition - see George's Math Monday Blogs (the 1/11/10 entry). I've added the design to the catalog in my section on burrs, to which I have made several additional updates.

Check out Jim Storer's Puzzle Collection!

This six-piece puzzle is a 3-D printed adaptation by George Bell, of Stewart Coffin's Peanut design (see the original in wood at PuzzleWorld, and at Scott T. Peterson's site). I ordered the 3 cm. version from George's Shapeways store, in Alumide material. (Photo by John Devost.)

Rounded out my collection of beautiful aluminum puzzles by R. D. Rose:

Left to right, they are: #1 Double Dovetail Square, #2 Double Dovetail Round, #4 X-Y-Z Burr, #5 Vortex, #6 Double Semi-Maze.

I already have #3 Triple Dovetail Triangle, #7 Dodecahedron (both originals), #8 Iso-Crate, and #9 Six-Key Mine (copies from Bits and Pieces).

February 2010

I got a copy of Tom Jolly's great two-piece design called Tangler, made from Quilted Maple by Eric Fuller. I bought one of the large versions of Jason Smith's first run of the Compy Cube (a Shallow Dino).
I bought one of Garrett Ong's hand-made 2x2x4 puzzles (before I knew they'd be mass-produced).

Tai Yan black 3x3x3, Dian Sheng (Type E .222), "Professional Speed Cube," DaYan Crazy 2x3x3 black, Mickey Mouse head 2x2x2

The annual New York Puzzle Party (NYPP) hosted by Tom Cutrofello took place on Saturday Feb. 13, and was pretty well-attended, with about 40 people enjoying the day of lectures and puzzle buying, selling, trading, and playing. A few of us got together and stayed at Brett's house Friday and Saturday nights. You can read about it on Brian Pletcher's blog.

I found a few new puzzles - eL Perch by Rick Eason, Only 2 Sticks designed by Kofuh Satoh and made by Saul Bobroff, and Coyote Howling at the Market by Jurg von Kaenel, QJ Heart-to-Heart and 2x3x3:

Other new puzzles - online purchases and some auction finds...

  I picked up a backissue of the journal of The Conjuring Arts Research Center, Gibeciere Vol. 4, No. 2 - this issue includes a complete translation of Pablo Minguet y Irol's 1733 book Engaņos ā Ojos Vistas which contains an early mention of a six-piece burr puzzle.
A burr made by Brian Menold:
A copy of Stewart Coffin's Twelve Piece Separation design, made from Mahogany and Bloodwood, by Thomas Moeller.
Ordered a pair of black Edison 3x3x3 Cubes from edicubes.com.


Truncated this file to improve load time.

Here are links to old What's New files (some overlap):