What's New

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

December 2015

Happy Holidays to my readers!

Some thoughtful Chistmas presents I received (Thanks, girls!):

Remove the cord/bead from the frame.
From The Puzzle & Craft Factory

Star Shuffle 2
Stack the four disks so that
a star appears in all twelve holes.
From The Puzzle & Craft Factory

Tzr Shirt
From PuzzleMist (William Waite)
Arrange the six pieces to form a T-Shirt.
A fair and pleasing solution.

Quartet Quandary
From PuzzleMist (William Waite)
Fit the four pieces in the tray. Two solutions.

Domino Peg
From PuzzleMist (William Waite)
Fit the 12 pieces in the tray to form
different patterns of holes -
ten goal patterns specified on the back of the tray.

Puzzle Erasers Set
Paladone Products Ltd.

Sudoku Cube
2007 Westminster Inc. Altlanta GA

Ed. by Wang-Iverson, Lang, Yim
Proceedings from the 5th International Meeting
of Origami Science, Mathematics, and Education

Origami Design Secrets
by Robert Lang

Origami Masters Bugs: How the Bug Wars
Changed the Art of Origami

Marcio Noguchi, Robert Lang


Triagonal Agony
designed by Laszlo Molnar, made by Brian Menold
from Redheart and Yellowheart
Pack six pieces in to the container
to form a solid 3x3x3 cube inside.
This must be done sequentially, through
only two triangular openings.
Shipped unsolved. I really enjoyed this one!

Tropical Fish
designed by Chi-ren Chen, made by Brian Menold
from Redheart and Yellowheart
A six-board burr.

Kumiki Fox, Camel, and Swan
by Mi-Toys
All have satisfying though simple mechanisms -
The Swan the simplest and the Camel being the trickiest.

The Puzzle Universe
by Ivan Moscovich

designed by Masumi Ohno,
purchased from and made by Eric Fuller
from Shedua and Bloodwood.
15 moves to get the shuttle from start to free.

designed by Bill Cutler,
purchased from and made by Eric Fuller
from Ash, Padauk, and Purpleheart.
7 moves to get the first piece out.

Liberal Cube
designed by Markku Vesala,
purchased from and made by Eric Fuller
from Purpleheart and Nylon.
Reminds me of Markus Goetz' Edge-Corner-Cube II.

Thor's Hammer
designed by Stephen Baumegger, purchased from and made by Pelikan, from Maple and Oak.

designed by Tamás Vanyó, purchased from and made by Pelikan, from Maple and Purpleheart.

La Delivrance
A vintage French Boxed Tanglement puzzle.

Journet The Brooch
A vintage dexterity puzzle. Fairly rare.

I received this large example of the van der Poel burr as part of a group of wooden puzzles. I don't know who the craftsman is.
A couple of pieces are slightly different from the official design, but the assembly sequence is the same.

Kumiki Bottle

Kumiki Turtle

Kumiki Motorcycle - this one is missing a few pieces


These we'll be counting as early Christmas presents...

SuperNova - designed by Alfons Eyckmans and Jack Krijnen,
and made by Alfons Eyckmans
from Maobi, Bird's Eye Maple, and Afzelia.
Very nice fit, with smooth slack-free movement.
At level 166, this is the world's current highest-level 18-piece burr,
made for me by one of its designers! I've been wishing for one for a while. Very special.
You probably won't be seeing apart pix of this any time soon :-)

Caramel Case Burr Set - designed and made by Jerry McFarland
from Wenge, Walnut, Cherry, Acrylic, magnets, and Maple plywood.
I got serial number 3!
This contains the standard 42-piece set used to make 314 solid burrs
but because of the dimensional compliance of the pieces,
many many additional holey burrs can be made!
The pieces are engraved using the von Känel numbering system I advocate,
so it is quite easy to pull a needed selection from the beautiful case.
Doesn't it look like a box of fine Caramel candies? Jerry's wife thought it did, hence its name.
Also engraved on each piece is its "standard" letter ID as used in Pentangle's set from the 1980's
and the number of copies of the piece in the 42-piece set.
I love how the pieces are spaciously arranged and easy to extract or replace.
The acrylic top and unusual magnetic-closure Wenge edges are very elegant.
The tolerances in the case are so good that replaced pieces simply float down into place on a cushion of air!


Eureka Puzzle - A nice brass ring-in-plate maze puzzle, with its ring.
Marked with its name and "PAT APD. FOR."
2 1/16" in diameter. 18 step solution.
The disk is thick enough to be nicely rigid.
The ring is relatively thick and its gap is precise -
the puzzle operates smoothly, unlike many of its imitators.
I had no idea what this was, other than thinking it another run-of-the-mill
ring-in-plate puzzle, until I did some research.
Now I am very happy to have found this, and it was a bargain at only $7.50 delivered!

The Eureka Puzzle appears in Jerry Slocum's collection and on page 108 of Slocum and Botermans' 1994
The Book of Ingenious and Diabolical Puzzles where it is stated that it was patented in Britain in 1895.
I actually found two relevant patents on Espacenet - the one to which Slocum refers
is probably GB 189504167 awarded to Edward Ernest Appleton of GB on March 30 1895.

But note that Appleton says the invention is "a communication to me by Amos B. Paulson of Philadelphia."

I was able to find a Paulson patent - Canadian patent CA49134 issued on June 6 1895
but evidently prepared (or filed) in February 1895.

I was unable to find a relevant Paulson patent in the US database.

For my photos and discussion I arbitrarily oriented the puzzle so the logo on my copy
was face up and readable in the lower left.
The arrangement of holes forms several small constellations including the hexagon about the center,
the small 5-hole squashed 'X' or bowtie just off the center at about 4 o'clock,
the larger 5-hole 'X' pair above it near the edge at 12 and 1 o'clock,
and the diamond at 10 o'clock.

These help in recognizing that the design is repeated in several other similar
ring-in-plate mazes, including the Gilbert Spider Web puzzle number 893,
the Spider Web puzzle in the Sherm's Super Puzzles set,
the Green River Whiskey advertising puzzle,
the Royal Stoves & Ranges Bergstrom Bros. advertising puzzle, the Adams' Spider Web puzzle,
the Red Devil Spider Web advertising puzzle,
and the Chronicle Telegraph advertising puzzle
(the latter five shown in the Slocum collection at the Lilly Library).
I have another "Spider Puzzle" ring-in-plate maze made in Occupied Japan
but it is shaped like a vintage razor blade and though it has a hexagonal set of holes
around the center, the rest of the configuration is different.

There is a vintage Cracker Jack giveaway called the Spider Web Puzzle
that also has the same pattern of holes and the same solution.
I was able to find a copy in its original envelope.

Regarding the Spider Web in the Sherm's Super Puzzles set,
the solution diagram is misleading
(failing to show the central hexagon accurately) - see below, and the puzzle itself is poorly made,
admits false paths - a 5-step solution - and does not allow the final canonical solution move
since its disk is just slightly too large, being 2 1/8" in diameter!
Even the Gilbert 893 is so poorly made that it admits a 3-step solution -
it is slightly too small at 2" in diameter!

In both the Sherm's (left) and the Gilbert (right) puzzles, the holes in the disks line up
with the Eureka puzzle almost perfectly but in each the whole field is slightly off-center,
and their disks are thin plate metal rather than nice brass.
Trouble is due to their thinner poorly made rings and the plate inconsistencies.
In both cases the thinner ring combined with the thinner plate allows
an illegal move from the hexagon outwards in step 2. The Gilbert's inaccurate diameter then
allows an immediate reach to the edge and off. On the Sherm's, the thin ring and plate allow
an illegal "scrunch" short move in step 4. But its too-large plate and/or off-center
registration prevents the real solution at step 18!
Below are shown the only moves that are allowed (when starting from the center) on the original Eureka Puzzle.
The 18 step solution is confirmed in the patent diagram.
This indicates that the Sherm's "solution" gets the bowtie and diamond traverses wrong, too.

The Gilbert Spider Web appears in an instruction booklet copyrighted in 1920 (PDF - scroll to page 10).
I found an ad for the Eureka Puzzle in The American Stationer, Vol. 37, March 14 1895 on page 476.

The troubles with Eureka's later imitators illustrate that one must not only arrange the holes
correctly with respect to each other, but also on the disk as a whole,
and that the dimensions and thicknesses of the disk and ring are essential.
Choice of material matters, too - brass components are easily cleaned and slide nicely
but cheap metal rusts and catches even when clean.
It seems as though most imitators just copied the hole pattern but got virtually everything else wrong!


Some Dexterity puzzles by Loncraine Broxton / Family Games - gifts from fellow collector Colin James. Thanks!

Loncraine Broxton Crazy Maze No. 4 (alt.)

Loncraine Broxton Diabolically Difficult Multi-Maze

Loncraine Broxton Mega Maze Titan


You may wish to check out Eric Marx's new blog, "Heavy Metal Puzzles." I found the recent post about Dan Feldman's rarer early locks very informative.

I also enjoyed Jason Allemann's post about his Lego Sysiphus Kinetic Sculpture.

Those of you hankering after a solution for a certain puzzle from the IPP35 exchange might find Ann Mahony's post about Secret Valentines of interest.

Those of you who enjoy a good cocktail while puzzling should check out Steve Canfield's blog Boxes and Booze.

From Canfield's blog I learned about Stephen Kirk and Cryptic Woodworks.

It has been quite a while since I bought a Berrocal. I am pleased to have obtained a bargain on one of Berrocal's "micro" puzzle pendants, Micheline X. It is a wearable rendition of his Portrait de Michele mini multiple - my favorite of the minis. A fairly large number of these were made, a few in gold, silver, and stainless, and most (according to the accompanying booklet) - including mine - in nickel-plated base metal (in auction descriptions often said to be chromed brass). It is surprisingly small but also surprisingly detailed. I have read that one sold for $750 back in the late 1970s - I have seen recent auction prices ranging from $350 to near $2000. I was lucky and won mine for just over $200!

Other micro pendants include the 1971 Micro David-off having 17 pieces, the 1973 Micro Maria having 23 pieces, and Micro Mento (which is not a puzzle). You can read about fellow puzzle collector Roxanne Wong's quest for the micros in the March 2015 post on her blog.

Micheline X - Miguel Berrocal 1976
Chromed base metal.
23 pieces. (You see only 22 because the base screw shown in the last row, second from right, is composed of two inseparable parts.)
Came with two small booklets - an instruction book, and a compendium of Berrocal's multiples. Mine is missing its certificate.
Can you tell where I'd gone wrong in my reassembly photo?

Here is a comparison with Portrait de Michele (with Micheline sitting atop my 1 kilogram cube of Tungsten), and shots of Portrait and its pieces:

Though their outer forms are very similar, along with the general curves of several pieces, their internal architectures are quite different and their locking mechanisms are distinct, along with their ring bands.


Outer Space Rocket - keychain puzzle with card

Le Lien Soudanais - vintage French boxed tanglement puzzle


November 2015

One more November update...

Hanayama Cast Moebius - designed by Oskar van Deventer

Radiolarian - designed by Jason Smith,
issued by Mf8

Insanity Cube - designed by David Pitcher,
issued by Calvin's Puzzles

Mirror Blocks - issued by Yuxin

Ride 'Em Cowboy - keychain puzzle on original card

Schylling Pony Puzzles -
tanglements featuring a wooden horse figure

uPuzzled Puzzled Presidents series -
a series of re-branded large metal two-piece tanglements
I got: Taylor's Linked Metal Puzzle, Tyler's Warped Metal Puzzle, and Van Buren's Crooked Loops.
(The entire series comprises more than the three shown here.)

Geologic Aries - designed by Stewart Coffin,
issued 1972 by Nylon Products Corp. MA

Quadrant 9 - a 9 square edgematching puzzle
by Dan Gilbert, issued by DaMert 1995
Each piece is two-sided.
A gift from author Joe Konrath - Thanks!

Three Pipe Problem - a 9 square edgematching puzzle
by Peter Schaefer, issued by International Polygonics 1983

Caltrops 3-Piece Puzzle
Form a tetrahedron.

Baffel - a vintage wooden checkerboard dissection in a tray.
17 pieces, including a 1x1 and two 1x2s.
The pieces are stained on only one side and may not be flipped.
Supplied with the original box cover and base but no box sides.
1939 A. C. Braden - Play Equipment Co. Los Angeles CA
How about that sneaky gnome in the foreground, hiding a piece behind his back!


I have been keeping busy and time has been flying! At least the yard is cleaned up and ready for winter! Here is another update...

One Hole - designed by Bram Cohen
made by Eric Fuller, from Ash and Shedua
Five pieces must be maneuvered out of and in to a box with a single hole.

I was pleased to find a Shackman Comic Man puzzle in its original box. I have a similar puzzle, also in its box, but with a different label and appearance. A comparison photo is included below.

Vintage Comic Man Puzzle

Vintage Aeroplane Block Puzzle
Various Kumiki puzzles...

Showboat - keychain puzzle on original card - Peter Pan UK

Bibendum (large size) puzzle in original package

Kamen Rider - released in 1970s
Plastic Japanese Figure Puzzle on card
(May be too large for a keychain puzzle.)

VW Keychain puzzle (colorful version)

EXCEL Cube keychain puzzle

Spaceship keychain puzzle trio

Compare this to the large modern Spunky Dog -
here, the ears are swept back. Also, there is no protruding nose.
Is this supposed to be something other than a dog?

Bibendum / Michelin Tire Tanglement

Jack of Hearts - Tucker Jones 2015

Vintage VIM Tanglement

Le Coeur Prisonnier vintage French boxed puzzle

Roalex Color Tiles sliding piece puzzle on original card

Simple Dreidel Cube

Megamorphix - Moyu - stickerless version

Oskar's Icosaix - Mf8

Kor Geomag Proteon Blatta set
The magnetic core of this makes a halfway decent egg-shaped twisty.

SmartEgg Dragon - Blue, Red, and Black levels


October 2015

It's late October and here in Connecticut most of the leaves are down at this point. The colors seemed nice and vibrant this year - better than the last two years. The first two weeks in October are prime leaf-peeping season around these parts and I have been really enjoying the scenery.

It's (again) been a while since I posted here. Frankly, the prospect of photographing my backlog of new puzzles acquired at IPP35 has been discouraging me from posting. Believe it or not, creating half-way decent original photos of puzzles is pretty time consuming.

So, I've decided to defer trying to photograph all the IPP35 exchange puzzles and instead focus on some of my favorites of the moment, and a few new acquisitions.

Here are three interesting puzzles I recently bought from my friends at PuzzleMaster in Canada. They have an unparalleled selection and the exchange rate of USD to Canadian Dollar favors the US at the moment which makes buying from them a great bargain!

Apple - designed by Osanori Yamamoto, made by Pelikan.
A PuzzleMaster exclusive.

A 9-Step, 2-Key Puzzle Lock.
A new replica of an old Indian lock.

Cheer - designed by Ronald Kint Bruynseels, issued by Philos.
A three piece interlocking puzzle.


I have spent some time updating my section on Vintage French Boxed Tanglement Puzzles - I have scanned the box covers of my puzzles, along with their instruction sheets, and taken photos of the puzzles themselves. I have also cross-referenced several sources documenting the puzzles of the period - see my page for a full explanation. Here are some samples:

Here are a couple of new acquisitions:


Speaking of French Boxed Puzzles, there were many dexterity puzzles, and some have been reproduced in more recent times. Here is an example:

L'Eclipse de Lune - repro of a vintage French Boxed dexterity puzzle,
copyright 1984 by Franz-Josef Holler, Munich.
Shake the three black pieces to cover the face of the Moon.
I like this one since it is not too difficult.


I am sure you won't be surprised if I mention I have also been working on my section on Keychain Puzzles - here are a few interesting new finds:


A few twisty- and 3D sliding-class puzzles:

Buzzle Ball (mass produced)

Canadian Barrel designed and 3D printed by Tom van der Zanden
A limited-edition Ottawa souvenir Purchased from Tom at IPP35
Works like the Cheese.

Sherman head - McDonalds premium

Bloxbox designed by Piet Hein and issued by Hubley in 1972
A clean example, in its original (albeit damaged) package.

Twiddler Triple Temptation


Here is an interesting take on a USB memory stick - it is enclosed in a steam-punk or cryptex style secret opening case:

Cryptex Round Lock USB Flash Drive


Here are a few vintage cardboard puzzles:

Seven-to-One Puzzle (no date or provenance)
Assemble seven pieces to form a mystery letter.

Cleo Cola Nine-Piece Puzzle
A vintage advertising edge-matching puzzle.

Fourmost Puzzle - National Distillers
A vintage advertising puzzle from the World's Fair.


Here are some finds from IPP35:

Binary Pin Burr - designed and made by Jerry McFarland

Number Blocks - designed by Goh Pit Khiam and made by Tom Lensch
Only four numbered blocks in the frame - move them from the 1243 config shown first
to the 1234 goal config shown next.
Winner of a Jury Honorable Mention in the IPP35 Design Competition.
One of my favorites. A clever design, beautifully made by Tom.

Slideways Cube - designed by Ray Stanton
made by Pelikan, exchanged by Ray at IPP35.

Packed Pyramid - designed and made by Bill Sheckels
exchanged by Norton Starr at IPP35.

Symm-Aster - designed by Vladimir Krasnoukhov
purchased from him at IPP35.
Using the three pieces, make six symmetric shapes
where the cut-out stars are also symmetrically arranged.

Think Twice - designed by Vladimir Krasnoukhov
purchased from him at IPP35.
Using the three pieces, make two symmetric shapes.


September 2015

Took a break from posting. Still puzzling, though!

August 2015

It has been a while since my last update - I have been quite busy with a variety of pursuits, not the least of which has been co-hosting (along with my good friend Brett Kuehner) the 35th International Puzzle Party (IPP). Now that I have some time to breathe, I will try to catch up with posting here.

An important note: no doubt as part of their comprehensive effort to better serve their customers (*ahem*), my ISP Comcast has decided that they will discontinue personal web pages as of October. Fortunately Rob's Puzzle Page is mirrored at robspuzzlepage.com (thanks, Brett!), so this website won't be disappearing - but you should update your links to point to http://robspuzzlepage.com rather than the Comcast site as soon as possible, please!

At IPP35 not only did I serve as co-host, but I also participated in the Puzzle Exchange. I received 87 new puzzles at the exchange, and in the near future I will be posting photos and information about them here. Of course, I was unable to resist a few select purchases of even more puzzles at the Puzzle Party - those will also be appearing here. And perhaps best of all, as co-host I received a beautiful host gift - a gorgeous, hefty, and tricky puzzle box called the Tinker Puzzlebox, hand-crafted in exotic woods by the talented artisans and puzzlists Stickman and Stickboy - Robert Yarger and Neil Hutchison. I'll be posting pix and info about the Tinker Box, too. There have been non-IPP related puzzle arrivals as well.

And now for some puzzles...

Each year the IPP is hosted by volunteers and it is a tradition to present a specially commissioned puzzle to the host(s) at the end of the event. I co-hosted 2015's IPP35 along with Brett Kuehner, and the executive committee secretly asked the talented artisans and puzzlists Stickman and Stickboy - Robert Yarger and Neil Hutchison - to create our host gift puzzles. The pair began an eight month collaboration with them sending ideas and parts back and forth across the country, culminating in the Tinker Puzzlebox.

The Tinker Puzzlebox, crafted by Robert Yarger (Stickman) and Neil Hutchison (Stickboy) from Leopardwood, Wenge, and Maple.
A minimum of 49 steps are required to discover its three secret compartments, with the discovery of tools and hidden spaces along the way.
Thanks to everyone involved!


The IPP has grown to become a significant logistical undertaking and pulling it off would be impossible without the help of an army of volunteers. Brett and I were fortunate to benefit from the kind efforts of many people who comprised our IPP35 committee. Another IPP tradition is to thank the committee volunteers with a small puzzle gift. Brett and I commissioned Ken Irvine to design a novel interlocking cube, and Brian Menold of Wood Wonders to hand make them. Rob Jones kindly provided funding for the project. We agreed on the name The Ottawa Cube, commemorating the location of IPP35 in Ottawa, Canada, and used Redheart and Maple to give it suitable Canadian colors of red and white.


The puzzle I decided to bring to the exchange is called DeLand's Circle Puzzle and it has an interesting history.

DeLand's Circle Puzzle
Some time ago I corresponded with Richard Kaufman
who had been researching the magician Theodore DeLand (1873-1931).
DeLand had created a vanish puzzle called La Mysterieuse in which I was interested -
I had found some information on vanish puzzles in Richard's online publication Genii Magazine.
(The thread cited references a nice online vanish puzzle called The Bermuda Square -
you can download a PDF here.)
In the course of our conversation Richard told me he
had found an illustration of DeLand's Circle Puzzle and the only known set of instructions.
No physical copies (originally printed on celluloid) are known to exist.
Richard kindly gave me permission to re-create the puzzle and use it as my exchange at IPP35.
I worked with Pavel Curtis, who refined the design and laser-cut copies for me.
I include a four-piece border as an aid - the puzzle is more difficult if you at first try it without the border.

If you are interested, I have several extra copies for sale - email me to inquire.


At IPP35, online, and also via a recent private transaction, I have acquired many new keychain puzzles - including some fairly rare Japanese items - and a few cards/instruction sheets. I probably won't show them all here, but if you share my fondness for them, have a look at my Keychain Puzzles Page. The new items are distributed throughout, appearing in every category. There are now over 500 keychain puzzles shown! I have also re-factored the page code to be "responsive" - it should display nicely on different form-factors of device, including mobile phones and tablets. Let me know what you think! Another project of mine is to work through this website and gradually modernize all of the pages.

One pleasing acquisition from IPP35 is
the 2nd Edition of Slocum and
Waite's Compendium of Keychain Puzzles.
I was able to contribute a couple of entries,
and the Compendium includes a link to
Rob's Puzzle Page Keychain Puzzles Page!


I'll end today's update with a non-IPP puzzle - a recent acquisition via the European workshop of Jakob Dvorak and Pelikan Puzzles.

This is the Vauban H5 designed by Stéphane Chomine
and precisely made by Pelikan Puzzles from Bubinga and Maple. Four pieces.


July 2015

Truncated this What's New page at September 2014 - use the "Find other What's New posts..." control at the top to go back in time.

A rare vintage Boodle Alderman Puzzle - enameled tin plate.
Said by Slocum to have been made in 1891 by "Strait Manufacturing, Hatter & Glover."
Based on the idea of a corrupt politician of the times in shackles.
My copy is in fairly good shape but is incomplete - some of the shackle pieces are missing.
Both James Dalgety and Jerry Slocum have this puzzle -
it is described in Slocum's Puzzles Old and New on page 93.
Both admit, however, (as do I) to lacking a clear understanding of the puzzle's objective and solution.
If anyone out there has any information about this puzzle, especially a solution sheet, please contact me!

June 2015

Think Outside the Box - designed by Tom Jolly and made by Eric Fuller
from Cherry, Padauk, Maple, Yellowheart, and Purpleheart woods.

A-Pack - designed by Terry Smart and made by Eric Fuller
from Walnut and acrylic with Bird's Eye Maple pieces.
A packing puzzle with two trapped sliding shuttles.

Optiborn - designed by Stephane Chomine and made by Brian Menold
from Black Palm, Wenge, and Holly.

Halny - designed by Jos Bergmans and made by Brian Menold
from Black Palm, Holly, Olivewood, Canarywood, Bocote, and Lacewood.

Delight - designed by Stephane Chomine and made by Brian Menold
from Lacewood and Bolivian Rosewood.

Quadrox - designed by Stephane Chomine and made by Brian Menold
from Padauk and Red Oak.

Twiddler Double Dilemma - designed by Wilfried Braun

2x2x2 Metalized Egg - Blue - Meffert

Curvy Dino - designed by Evgeniy Grigoriev, issued by Calvin's Puzzle

Okki - a vintage keychain twisty puzzle

Anchor Ei des Columbus

Anchor Geduldprüfer

Anchor Blitzableiter

Anchor Grillentöter

Nob Devil

A vintage White Rose Tea Puzzle

A vintage Knight's Tour puzzle by Are-Jay

A vintage Dingbat sliding piece puzzle

Check Saw - vintage checkerboard dissection from Shackman

A vintage X-cel Checkerboard Puzzle

A nice, large Kumiki Tori Gate

Keychain Shmoo puzzle on original card
with a previously obtained white example
Also shown - excerpt from Billboard magazine of May 1949 offering "Shmoo Puzzle Keychains with fortune" at a dozen for $1.50 or a gross for $16.20.

As indicated on its card, the Shmoo originally contained a fortune - on a small slip of flimsy paper and nestled in the cavity in the white piece shown at bottom center in my photo of the puzzle's pieces. Mine is missing, as are most. Here is a record at worthpoint.com of a 2014 auction for an instance that included the elusive fortune paper, though there is no photo of the fortune itself.

Aside from the head and tail pieces, the Shmoo puzzle is equivalent in architecture to the Lucky Duck keychain puzzle issued by Pal Plastics, which also appeared as the Lucky Ducky that itself contained a fortune - one instruction sheet promised 'Find your fortune inside "Lucky Ducky."' (See step D in instructions shown below - "Find Egg Inside.")

Here are some interesting facts about the Shmoo, from Denis Kitchen's website, the Wikipedia article on Capp, and the Wikipedia article on the Shmoo:
By the postwar 1940's Al Capp's comic strip "Li'l Abner" - created in 1934 - had millions of fans and had made him millions of dollars. In August 1948 Capp (b. Alfred Gerald Caplin 1909 in Connecticut, d. 1979) introduced a new character called the Shmoo, which became an unprecedented merchandising phenomenon, spawning dozens of Shmoo-themed products and lasting through 1952 - and generating over $25,000,000 in sales in one year (in dollars of the time - more than $200 million today). Shmoos packed with candy were dropped by the U.S. during the Berlin Airlift. A Shmoo Savings Bond was issued by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1949 - Al Capp appeared with President Truman at the unveiling ceremony. Shmoos appeared alongside Capp on the cover of Time magazine in 1950. For a not-so-flattering account of Capp and his strip, see an article The Brand Called Shmoo by Daniel Raeburn at the Baffler website.

"The Shmoo is shaped like a plump bowling pin with legs, but no arms." Oddly, the card shows a Shmoo with arms, but the iconic character has none. More Shmoo trivia - Shmoos are white - there are evil Shmoos called Nogoodniks and they're green colored.

I have split off the Keychain Puzzles from my Interlocking page and given them their own page. The Interlocking page has grown very long, and there are now almost 500 keychain puzzles shown! Hopefully I have correctly updated the site navigation.

And here are a few nice keychain puzzle finds, several with cards, boxes, or instruction sheets...

Peter Pan Dog on original card

Merit Lorry on original card - hard plastic

Merit Helicopter on original card - hard plastic

Keim Keychain Puzzle Set from West Germany on original card
Includes a Plane, Destroyer, and Jeep in red, white, and blue.

Mechanical Servants Robot

Mechanical Servants Truck

Mechanical Servants Sedan

Keychain puzzle Pig

Keychain puzzle Elephant

Atomic Jet

Bibendum - yellow

Large Locomotive - Lido

Small Locomotive

Keychain Puzzle Jalopy

Jericho Car - pink

Keychain Puzzle Star - in red, and in blue - both new in package

Firefly Hotaru designed by Akio Yamamoto
A tiny hand-made secret box.

Hanayama Cast Hexagon designed by Mineyuki Uyematsu
Adapted from "Claws of Satan"
winner of a Jury Honorable Mention in the 2014 IPP Design Competition.

Slida - Slida website
Colorful but simple.

Four in a Box designed by, made by,
and purchased from Alfons Eyckmans

A vintage XceL Checkerboard Puzzle

Dreidel Cube designed by Guan Yang
issued by Lim Cube

2x2x2 Mirror Blocks Cube

12-petal Russian Festival Flower


May 2015

Serengeti Box - designed and made by Matthew Sobek
The Ebony Giraffe and Elephant are the keys to opening this Zebrawood,
Bloodwood, Alder, Oak, and Mahogany secret box.
But be careful or they'll jump out at you!

Monstrous Maze Straight
and Narrow (red)
issued by Tomy 1982

Naked Secret Box Orange designed by Akio Yamamoto

Champion Spark Plug tangle

Rudenko's Mosaic - issued by Brainwright
Thanks, Alison!

Cat Stax - issued by Brainwright
Thanks, Alison!

2 Rings - designed by Chi-Ren Chen
made by Brian Menold from Hickory and Walnut

Plusminus - designed by Yavuz Demirhan
made by Brian Menold from
Brazilian Rosewood and Canarywood

Frisbee - designed by Stephane Chomine
made by Brian Menold from Hickory and Wenge

Pyraminx Diamond - 8 color version
issued by Meffert

Metalized 3x3x3 Egg - blue version
issued by Meffert

Gear Barrel - issued by Meffert

Keychain Fire Truck with Siren - 2 examples

Keychain Hot Rod

Keychain Japanese Jingle Bell

Keychain Russian Rooster

Keychain Bell Elephant

Keychain Peter Pan Ball


April 2015

I have managed to find several keychain puzzles, including duplicates and a few new items...

Pontiac Indian Head automotive advertising keychain puzzle.
Really happy to have acquired this unusual puzzle!
"Canada" is embossed on the hair piece.
The blue wedge rotates to allow the green and red wedges to be removed.

Lufthansa Supercargo advertising keychain puzzle.
This has quite a few more pieces than the typical keychain puzzle!

Waldi dog Olympic mascot keychain puzzle.
Since my first was slightly damaged, I found a couple more.

Japanese Diver keychain puzzle.
With instructions.

Bowling Pin and Ball with card.
Assorted keychain puzzles...

Sombrero Man - I am unaware of the provenance of this puzzle.
It is similar to the puzzles in the Shackman Clown series

Soccer Man - I am unaware of the provenance of this puzzle.
It is similar to the puzzles in the Shackman Clown series

Kumiki Locomotive

Kumiki Battleship

Kumiki Airplane

Barcode Burr designed by Lee Krasnow
3D printed by Stephen Miller
Stephen has designed the Fire puzzle, available at his website PyroPuzzles.

Smart burr designed and made by Alfons Eyckmans
from Itauba and Wenge woods
15 pieces, level
I like it because of its 'S' theme!

Octic versions I, II, III, IV
purchased from Zoneden.
Four versions of a nicely done shape variation of a cross cube.

Bundle of Sticks designed by Tom Jolly
made by Eric Fuller from Wenge and Holly

Chicken Puzzle designed by Olexandre Kapkan
made by Eric Fuller from Yellowheart and Cherry

Matchbox Play Six designed by Olexandre Kapkan
made by Eric Fuller

Houdini designed by Nicholas Cravotta and Rebecca Bleau
produced by Thinkfun
A tanglement puzzle kit with 40 challenges.

Pentagram designed by Eric Vergo
produced by Mf8
Once again an expensive 3D printed twisty gets mass produced.

W(h)orl(e)d Burr designed by Derek Bosch
3D printed by Steve Nicholls

March 2015

Rhombic Maze Burr designed and
3D printed by Derek Bosch.

Try It a vintage static cubic
4x4x4 maze issued by Milton Bradley 1960.
I found a second copy in its box.

Castle designed by Tzy Hung Chein.
Made by Pelikan from Oak and Mahogany.

Kumiki Alligator

Spacemen Jiggle Puzzle issued by Comon Tatar 1957.

Brackets Burr designed by Stéphane Chomine.
Six pieces, made by Brian Menold from Redheart and Wenge.

Just Two In Box designed by Stéphane Chomine.
Two pieces and cage, made by Brian Menold from Canarywood and Walnut.

Red Planks designed by Jos Bergmans.
Nine pieces, made by Brian Menold from Redheart and Maple.

Khamsin designed by Jos Bergmans.
Four pieces and ring, made by Brian Menold from
Walnut, Maple, Wenge, Redheart, and Yellowheart.

Viper Cross by Vinco.
Six piece coordinate motion puzzle.

A set of three Jungle Bungle edgematching puzzles designed by Dan Gilbert.
Issued by DaMert in 1992. Each has eight pieces -
form a square such that pictures on abutting edges match.
Large pieces on nice heavy cardstock.

Several new puzzles arrived over the last few weeks but I have had limited time to photograph them and add them here. Attempting now to remedy that...

Knot Simple designed by Doug Engel.
Issued by Bits & Pieces.

Hanayama Cast Keyhole
designed by Vesa Timonen.

Five tanglements from LiveWire, including: Alien Encounter, Off the Rails,
Ringleader, Roller Coaster, and Wish Upon A Star.

I finally managed to find the lovely Chinese Cross Compendium issued by Pentangle.

Quad Rhom issued 1991 by Tensegrity Systems.

Four Piece Ball Pyramid issued by Kinder Ferrero

HELLical Burr designed by Derek Bosch
as a more fiendish follow-up to his 2013 prize-winning Helical Burr.
Four pieces. Printed by and purchased from Steve Nicholls.
Kevin Sadler posted a YouTube video of the disassembly here.

The Kray Twins designed and 3D Printed by Steve Nicholls.
This unusual six-piece burr was Steve's IPP34 exchange gift.
Steve kindly sent me a copy - thanks very much, Steve!

Burgh Lock designed by Splinter Spierenburgh.

A vintage Four Piece Pyramid issued by FUN Inc.

Try-It issued in 1964 by Milton Bradley.
A transparent static 4x4x4 cubic maze.

Cross and Crown 7 organized by Michel van Ipenburg
and made by Robrecht Louage.
A higher-level version of the original 1913 Cross and Crown -
C & C 7 requires 4802 moves!

Big Ben - a secret-opening puzzle designed by John Moores,
Junichi Yananose, and Brian Young. Made by Brian Young (Mr. Puzzle Australia).
This was John Moores' generous exchange gift for IPP34.
Sadly, John passed away in January 2015.
Made from Papua New Guinean Rosewood, Western Australian Jarrah,
and Queensland Silver Ash, with some metal tools inside.

designed by Osanori Yamamoto.
Made by Pelikan.
Remove four U-shaped pieces from a frame.
Purchased from Tim Rowett at NYPP2015.

Akiyama Cube
designed by Hisayoshi Akiyama.
Made by Naoyuki Iwase (Osho).

Swaps - issued in 1977 by Gordon Bros.
A nice plastic instance of the Fore and Aft peg solitaire puzzle.

Imperial Trick Knife and Hopalong Cassidy Trick Knife
Two examples of the same simple mechanism.

Mf8 Curvy Copter III - stickerless version

Gear Skewb - designed by Timur Evbatyrov
Produced by Calvin's Puzzle
Timur originally called it "Skewb des Soleils"

2x2 Megaminx - designed by Gregoire Pfennig and Felixouchon
Produced by WitEden [T]
Very difficult to align and turn.

Mad Hedz Black Breath and Mad Hedz Crazy Mummy


February 2015

A vintage dexterity puzzle The Rainbow Puzzle by Journet.

Mini Chessboard - designed by William Hu
Made by Eric Fuller from Peruvian Walnut and Maple

Uri Three Bars - designed by Dario Uri
Made by Eric Fuller from Wenge and Maple
A single Level-10 solution.

Splined Box No. 3 - designed and
made by Eric Fuller, from Cherry and Peruvian Walnut

Kumiki Tank - Toybox Puzzles distributed by ISHI Press.

Wausau '81 - 12 piece burr designed by Bill Cutler
Made by Jerry McFarland from Walnut, Maple, and Cherry

Google Unchained - promotional tanglement puzzle

Loncraine Broxton Pyramid Maze

Monstrous Maze Crazy Curves (blue) by Tomy 1982
Note the miniscule balls (one is in the maze somewhere).

January 2015

I was a guest on WNPR Radio on the Colin McEnroe show! McEnroe's January 27th program was on the topic of Puzzles and I was asked to talk about the history of puzzles. It was fun but a bit nerve-wracking :-) Check out Puzzles: The Joy of Being Perplexed at the WNPR website. There is a link where you can listen to a playback.

Padlock from the Pirate's Wallet Chest by Robert "Stickman" Yarger
Thanks, Rob!

Copy Device - Hiroshi Yamamoto
Place the 3 pieces flat in the tray to create two identical green areas.
Winner of a Jury Honorable Mention in the
IPP34 Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition.

A custom FDM 3D-printed 3x5x5 cuboid twisty puzzle
made by Floyd Newberry [T]
Not loose and turns great.
I love the purple material and the custom hollow stickers!

I found another antique puzzle ball - the smaller one on the left, with the simpler design.
Shown with my previous find.

Moyu Aosu 4x4x4 stickerless

Moyu Wheel of Time black
A nice shapemod of a Cross Cube.

Tight Noose - designed by Tom Jolly,
made by Brian Menold from Wenge and Olivewood

Saturno No. 1 - designed by Yavuz Demirhan,
made by Brian Menold from Padauk and Granadillo

Two Wheeled Cube - designed by William Hu,
made by Bernhard Schweitzer

Danse Macabre - designed by William Hu,
purchased from Bernhard Schweitzer

Chain - designed by William Hu,
gift from Bernhard Schweitzer - Thanks, Bernhard!

Doors and Drawers - designed by Michael Toulouzas,
purchased from Bernhard Schweitzer

Two great keychain puzzle finds, both hard-to-find vintage items issued by the UK company Bell.

Petrol Pump - Bell
Designed by John Flower in 1951. 172,000 produced.

Electric Iron - Bell
The first Bell keychain puzzle designed by John Flower in 1951 - 134,000 sold.

I found three different vintage transparent static full-cube mazes...

Christopher Sarbaugh 8x8x8 Cube Maze - (aka 8 Cubed or Crystal Maze) 1987 Japan (Tsukuda)
A transparent static cubic maze with an 8x8x8 grid.
Russian Maze - 1988 - A transparent static cubic maze with a 6x6x6 grid.
Miller's Maze - Robert Miller, Creata HK 1983 - A transparent static cubic maze with a 5x5x5 grid.

I found a second vintage Ryede Puzzle (on the left) - this one is complete
and even came with its paper package/instructions in pristine condition.
Also shown: Ryede patent - 787796 - Rydquist 1905
and a listing for the Ryede Keyring Puzzle in an early 1900's vintage catalog from the Western Puzzle Works in Minnesota.

A vintage red Magic Egg Puzzle - a red celluloid (or plastic?) egg
with gold and black markings.
"Stand it on end - try it" - balance the egg on its fat end.
An internal weight and magnet frustrate your efforts.
Label says "Pat. Pend."
I don't have any information on the origin or history of this puzzle -
if you do know something about it (or if you have a photo of the interior of
a specimen), please email me!

Allen Rolfs was kind enough to send me copies of several reproductions he has made of antique puzzles -
including Leprechaun's Dilemma, The USA Puzzle, Rabbit in Hat, and The London Underground.
Thanks very much, Allen!

I made a trip up to Cambridge and stopped in at Games People Play
where I found a nice repro of a vintage paper puzzle The Boxer by 4moreideas
and a matchbox-sized silhouette puzzle This is no pipe 1995 Wetzel - Heilbronn - W. Germany.

In Brookline I stopped in at Eureka Puzzles and found
a Mixed Up cube from Philos designed by Ad van der Schagt,
and a Down Under obstructed-entry tray packing puzzle by Siebenstein Spiele.
Down Under also poses some anti-slide type challenges.

John Hache posted a link to a vendor (Otakumode.com - also available elsewhere) selling these
Nyanko Clay Pot Puzzles.
Pack six different cat-shaped pieces into a bowl so the lid fits properly.
I bought the versions with black cats (Kuroneko) and white cats (Mikeneko).
There is a third version with tan cats (Doraneko).

The Dirty Dozen - a versatile sliding piece puzzle by Square Root.
Twelve different challenges using the large wooden pieces and tray.

I obtained a vintage catalog
issued by the Western Puzzle Works
of Minnesota sometime in the early 1900's -
it shows several antique puzzles I own -
now I know what they were called!

The F - Nob Puzzle Series 1987
A nice wooden tangram-style puzzle.
The first challenge, to reassemble the dissected letter F, is quite enjoyable.

Great Minds Set of 5 Puzzle Compendium
A gift from Claire and Steve - thanks!

A Puzzle Drive (Anchor) Tangram style Puzzle No. 13 "Qualgeist"

Geometric Magic Squares - Lee Sallows 2013 Dover
See Sallows' website.
I was reading about a puzzle called Cubic Matters exchanged at IPP34 by Yee-Dian Lee
and voted by James Dalgety as one of his best finds of 2014 -
this inspired me to read up more on Sallows' mathematical discoveries. Very interesting!
The set of pieces and the ways they can be combined to form cubes are shown in the diagram on the right.
See the Wikipedia article on Geometric Magic Square.

New keychain puzzle finds:

Chadwick 1977 set, DIY Airplane, Race Car (orange), Two-piece Fish, Small Locomotive, Barbell, Yellow Pages

Victoria puzzle from Reiss -
Not a keychain puzzle, but a small
interlocking plastic locomotive.

I have improved my Route-Finding section, and added better photos to my tanglements section on Vintage Wire Puzzle Sets.

I have overhauled my section on Kumiki Puzzles. Let me know what you think! Did you grow up with these? My first exposure was the plastic "8-Ball."

It's long overdue, so let me kick off the new year by describing the puzzle haul I received from the IPP34 held in London in August 2014.
I could not attend, so a big "Thank You" to Brett for being my surrogate magpie...

Baffling Bolted Book - designed by Louis Coolen and Adin Townsend
exchanged by Allard Walker
A gift from Allard - thanks very much!
This secret-opening sequential-discovery puzzle was a pleasure to play with!
I can be discouraged by and lose interest in secret-opening puzzles
when the mechanism seems just too arbitrarily difficult to me to fathom - I am easily bored by
the "randomly shake/whack/tilt/twist/prod/etc" methods too often required.
For some reason, though I can devote hours to the analysis of certain kinds of puzzles,
I find I have no patience for exhaustively worrying a secret box until something happens to work.
The Baffling Bolted Book, however, to me strikes just the right level of difficulty,
proffering potentially rewarding insights at each step.
The book employs metal hardware and some clever 3D-printed pieces.
And inside awaits a deceptive tray-packing/symmetric shape puzzle designed by Adin.

Geared Mixup Cube - designed by Oskar van Deventer
produced by Meffert
A gift from Rox - thanks!
Cross and Crown 2013 - originally designed by Louis Burbank in 1913
(2013 version shown compared with smaller metal original)
Updated version arranged by Michel van Ipenburg based on my original example
and made by Robrecht Louage
exchanged by Dr. Goetz Schwandtner
The disk and cross material is "trespa."

Coronation Cube - designed by Richard Gain

Trick Symmetric - V. Krasnoukhov

Bickering Couple - Pavel Curtis

Three Layer Double Dovetail - K. Malcolmson, R. Sandfield

Naked Secret Box Red - Yamamoto, Kimura

Twin Board Burr - Dawir

Color Slide - Hans van der Zanden

Six Ticks - Andreas Röver

Bindi - V. Krasnoukhov

Crab Puzzle - V. Krasnoukhov

C'est la Vie - Camden Lock

Three Pentagons - Arai

Join the Club - Scott Elliott

Rabbit in Hat - Allen Rolfs

Windmill Key - Tyler Somer
I received this at the 2014 Rochester Puzzle Party
(RPP) that followed IPP34. Thanks, Tyler!

London Underground - Allen Rolfs
A plasticized card repro of a vintage metal design.
US Patent 486141 - deVirgile 1892

Squiggle - Dr. Richard Hess
Received at a meetup at the Liberty Science Center in September - thanks, Dick!

Square Dissection - N. Baxter
Received from Dr. R. Hess at a get-together - thanks, Dick!

Whatsit - a "guess what this is" object given to me by R. Hess. Thanks, Dick!
(I cheated and simply visited the website embossed on the object :-)

Houses and Factories 2 - Hess
Purchased at a get-together.

At our September LSC get-together,
I had the opportunity to play with (solve and restore)
R. Hess' instance of an original vintage
Cooksey Maze puzzle issued by Pentangle.
The peg seen at the bottom can be pushed in and toggles back and forth
with a satisfying "snick" between the position in the photo,
and the diametrically opposite position across the cylinder,
thus engaging different slots within the maze sleeve.
One must navigate the sleeve off the bottom of the cylinder
by a series of rotations, downward and upward slides, and pin toggles.
Way cool!
Oskar van Deventer has designed a simplified version,
available at Oskar's Shapeways shop.
Oskar also offers several varieties of the Cooksey Tribute.

December 2014

Happy New Year to my readers! I hope the new year brings health and happiness to you all.

Google Analytics tells me that since its inception in its current form in November of 2007, Rob's Puzzle Page has garnered over 1,000,000 sessions and more than 789,000 unique users from over 220 different regions of the world - not bad considering there are only 196 countries. I even had one visitor from North Korea and one from Turkmenistan. As far as I can tell, the only areas from which I have had no visitors are:

The top twelve volumes were from:
  1. US (over half)
  2. UK (9%)
  3. Canada (6%)
  4. Australia
  5. Germany
  6. Netherlands
  7. France
  8. Japan
  9. Spain
  10. India
  11. Italy
  12. Russia

Thank you to all the folks who took the time to email me - I have enjoyed our dialogues and I look forward to new discussions.

The last puzzles of 2014...

Dayan Gem VI

Moyu Master Fisher Cube

Q-Borg - by Auldey

2-piece Fish Keychain Puzzle


I received several puzzles, either purchased or as gifts, from the IPP34 in London in August, even though I could not attend. I have yet to photograph them and put them up on the site - I plan to get to them forthrightly in 2015. To those who sent gifts - you know who you are - thank you very much!


Happy Holidays to my Puzzling Family and Friends!

Check out Smart-Kit.com - an interesting collection of online puzzle/games. (I have no affiliation with them at all - I just enjoyed a couple of their offerings.)

Here are puzzles I found under the tree...

Heart's Desire (2014) From Tucker-Jones

8 Plaques designed by Stephane Chomine
made by Brian Menold
Looks like a Snafooz-type cube, doesn't it?
That is, until you realize there are eight pieces rather than six!
I am not going to show you the assembled cube,
since the image gives too many hints.

Packuliar designed by Tom Jolly
made by Brian Menold
Pack the four pieces into the box -
a sequential assembly puzzle.
No solved image - too much of a hint.

Cross 5 designed by Yavuz Demirhan
made by Brian Menold
from Canarywood, Walnut and Redheart
Remove five pieces from the frame.
11 moves to free the first piece.

Distorted Cube / Pyramid Pile designed by Stewart Coffin
made by Brian Menold
from Poplar
Arrange the pieces to fill the box 3 different ways
and also make two pyramids outside the box.

Four Piece Pyramid designed by Stewart Coffin
beautifully made by Brian Menold
from Redheart, Padauk, and Yellowheart
A very tricky assembly of four pieces!

Painful designed by Yavuz Demirhan
made by Brian Menold
from Canarywood and Redheart
Separate the four pieces
14 moves to free the first piece.

Boron designed by Donald Osselaer
made by Eric Fuller

Gobi designed by Alfons Eyckmans
made by Eric Fuller

Rupture designed by Dan Fast
made by Eric Fuller

Vibromax Jumping Jack Tamper keychain puzzle

Ship keychain puzzle - in package, made in HK

Mf8 Crazy Octahedron Standard - no circle faces
This substantial puzzle is a nice implementation of the "Dino-Octa" face-turning octahedron
design (GB 4.1.3) originally hand-made by Katsuhiko Okamoto in 2006. [T]
Out of the box it is prone to catching, though.
I prefer stickerless twisty puzzles like this when available.

Mf8 Crazy Octahedron Venus - all circle faces
The four other "planets" (Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn)
can be made by combining pieces of the Standard and Venus puzzles. [Y]

Some more puzzles from my friends at Ceaco - check back periodically at their Brainwright website for interesting new items!

Plexi Roundominoes - issued by Brainwright
A colorful set of 28 curvy shapes and a booklet of assembly challenges.
Developed by Kadon.

Plexi Iamondhex - issued by Brainwright
A colorful set of 12 angular shapes and a booklet of assembly challenges.

CoCoCross - issued by Brainwright
A set of graduated rolling-block challenges
with two different blocks and an ingenious
and convenient compact case.
This is one of my new favorites!

On the Line - issued by Brainwright
A set of graduated overlay-pattern-assembly challenges.
Arrange four identical transparencies to form a given shape.

Manifold - issued by Brainwright
A pad of 9cm2 sheets, printed with various
patterns of light and dark areas.
Fold every sheet so one side is all light and
the other all dark. Gets quite tricky!
Manifold was developed by Jérôme Morin-Drouin at The Incredible Company.
You can download a PDF with five sample challenges at their website.

A nice package arrived from Turkey - Trichromat designed and made by Yavuz Demirhan
The 7cm cubic cage is Wenge, and there are 3 pairs of pieces, of oak, maple, and padauk.
44 moves to get the first piece out.

Kumiki Lion
with instruction sheet on very flimsy paper
new old stock from auction

Robinson Roulette - German version
"Created by Terry Pegg of Choro Ltd. Birmingham UK." Issued by Milton Bradley 1985
See Jaap's page on Robinson Roulette.
This is a solitaire sequential movement puzzle.
There are 11 holes in both the outer and inner rings and each ring also has an arrow.
The inner ring rotates relative to the outer.
To set up, orient the outer ring so its arrow is at 12 o'clock, and the inner arrow to 6 o'clock.
Populate the inner ring with 10 red pegs and 1 white peg ensuring that the white peg is not at 12 o'clock.
The goal is to transfer all red pegs and lastly the white peg from the inner ring to the outer.
A move consists of grabbing the peg at 12 o'clock on the inner ring and rotating
until it becomes adjacent to an empty spot on the outer ring, then transfering it to that spot.
This movement of course simultaneously positions some other inner hole (and its peg if present) at 12 o'clock.
Choose your destinations wisely since if you haven't yet placed the white peg
and you're left with no inner peg at 12 o'clock for the next move, you've lost.

Colour Rings
Puzzle-friend Colin James kindly sent me a copy
of this nine-square edgematching (or dis-matching) puzzle.
Thanks, Colin!

Cover Up (2004)
Puzzle-friend Jacques Haubrich kindly sent me a copy
of this 8-piece puzzle, which he says is the "mother" of this type of puzzle,
designed by Robert Reid (examples here).
The later Boston Cover Up from 2006 is similar but
uses 3 J-shaped pieces rather than the 3 U-shaped (or C-shaped)
pieces in Jacques' 2004 version, and requires six 1x3 bars
to cover them as opposed to the five 1x3 bars needed here.
Thanks, Jacques!

Some new vintage keychain puzzles...


Tiger - very simple, similar to the Owl

Baseball Players (a few short of a team...)

World's Fair Trylon Perisphere
including box and flimsy instruction sheet

Some new twisty puzzles...

As of late 2014, there is a new series of 2x2x2 head-shaped twisty puzzles, called Mad Hedz, issued by Intex Entertainment (aka New Entertainment).
I got four of the six (two aren't out yet) from Amazon.

DaYan Gem VIII

Yong Jun (YJ) Moyu Crazy Yileng Fisher Cube - another "axised" 3x3x3

Paul Stevens of Wisconsin kindly sent me a copy of a puzzle
he designed and made called the 8-in-1 Puzzle.
It is made from recycled wood and comprises eight pentacubes and a two-compartment box.
All but one of the pentacubes are non-planar.
Select any seven of the eight pieces then pack them
into the 3x3x4 compartment, allowing a single 1x1x1 void.
It is quite challenging! Thanks, Paul!

My friends over at Ceaco sent me several nice puzzles to review for the holiday season. Thanks, Alison!
Ceaco specializes in jigsaws (but see below for their other product lines) - check out the Ceaco website.
My wife and kids really enjoy jigsaws, and they prefer
complex scenes without a lot of uniform (boring) background pieces.
These two jigsaw puzzles from Ceaco fit the bill perfectly and provided hours of fun -
Magical World and Hidden Expedition Smithsonian -
the latter even comes with a disc containing a hidden-object PC game.

You can find retailers at Ceaco's Where to Buy link.

Ceaco's subsidiary Brainwright (Brainwright website) specializes in brainteasers
and mechanical puzzles, which are up my alley.
I've seen the 2015 catalog and Brainwright is really
expanding their lineup - there are a lot of cool new puzzles coming!
You can find retailers at Brainwright's Where to Buy link.

Another subsidiary Gamewright (Gamewright website) offers interesting games.
You can find retailers at Gamewright's Where to Buy link.

Orbis is a sequential-movement route-finding puzzle with 60 graduated challenges.
Orbis is a licensed copy of "Marble Monster" by the German company Huch & Friends.
It has an unusual mechanic I haven't seen before.
After the board is set up per a challenge card, you use the orange "pawn" to move
from circle to circle along a hexagonal grid, pushing a single marble on each move,
with the goal of eventually being in a position to push the yellow marble into the center.
The proper meandering path for the orange pawn is by no means trivial to deduce.
This is a great puzzle - if there is a flaw here, it is shared by many similar multi-piece graduated challenges -
when you realize you have gone astray and need to start over, resetting the pieces can be a bit tedious.
I think this would make a great smartphone app!

GeoBrix - at first sight seems to be a standard 2D tray packing puzzle.
There are thirteen substantial-sized pieces - each a black solid planar polycube with one colored face.
They include some tetracubes, pentacubes, a hexacube, and a septacube.
However, not only is there the expected challenge to fit the pieces back into the square 8x8 tray
(for which there are at least 18 solutions)
but an included booklet gives 20 different tangram-like silhouettes to be built from the pieces.
And finally, one can build a 4x4x4 solid cube from the pieces.
Lots of replay value here. Solutions are included.

Logic Dots is a pattern and logic puzzle - nine one-inch cubes with colored sides (one cube has six gold sides)
must be placed into a 3x3 tray according to one of 36 challenge cards, each of which gives a series of clues.
Eight of the cubes have three colors and opposite faces are colored the same.
The tray is made with a sliding clear plate on each side. When playing, remove one plate but leave the other in -
for later challenges not only will you be rotating the tray,
but you have to flip it over and observe color positions on both sides of the tray.
You must deduce the correct cube positions based on the clues and ultimately locate the golden cube.
At the outset of each challenge you are told the relevant set of 9 colored cube faces to be used "face-up" in the grid -
since a cube's opposite faces are the same color, those will be the colors visible on both sides of the tray.
The logical challenges start simple but get much more difficult.
You may be reminded of Thinkfun's Chocolate Fix puzzle, but Logic Dots really ups the ante.
I think this would also be a good puzzle for precocious youngsters - at least the initial challenges. The box says for ages 8+.
Logic Dots was created by the Swiss team Atelier Rohner and Wolf.

None of the puzzle inventors are credited on the packages, materials, or the website,
so if you know who invented these, please drop me an email!

Rocky Chiaro designs elegant, unusual, and intriguing puzzles and is a superb craftsman who hand-machines them from solid brass.
Rocky is also one of the nicest puzzle people I have ever met. You should visit Rocky's website and check out the beautiful puzzles he has available.

I recently acquired some new puzzles from Rocky, and he very generously included several gifts. Thanks, Rocky, and Happy Holidays to you!
Here is a photo tribute showing the Rocky Chiaro puzzles I own. A few have been mass-produced and offered through Bits & Pieces.

The first image shows an original Perplexity, a B&P T-Dof, a D-Ice, and a Good Egg.
The second image shows 3 "pin puzzles" - an AB-L, an Eight-Block Collusion, and the Eight Rods Puzzle - an IPP26 souvenir gift from B&P similar to the AB-L.
Also shown are the Jax from B&P, It's a Hardly, and two copies of the Treasure Chest (aka New Endeavor) from B&P.

Rocky has produced a set of puzzle keys. Shown are: Hel-Sin-Key, Boston Key Party, Toe-Key-Yo, the new King-Key (I love the name :-),
and two copies of the Roc-Key from B&P. For now I am stumped by the Toe-Key-Yo.

Last but certainly not least, here are Rocky's trick bolts. These are among my favorite puzzles.
Shown are: One-L-Nut, One-Wa-Sure, Pin-N-Nut, Dub-L-Nut, Dub-L-Wa-Sure, Ring-N-Nut, the new Screw-E,
and two copies of the Brass Bolt (equivalent to the Ring-N-Nut) from B&P.
I haven't yet opened the Screw-E, Rocky!

November 2014

Kumiki Elephant - a beautiful and substantial
wooden interlocking elephant puzzle from the Yamanaka Kumiki Works.

Save Your A** - by Creative Crafthouse. Thanks Dave!
A variation on the Josephus problem.

Coke Can Jigsaw Puzzle - Thanks, CPS!

Flip-It - Binary Arts 2001

Ariel Laden's Kookoo Puzzles - Funny Fliers
Four six-card puzzles, and one large puzzle using the backs of all 24 cards.
Position and interleave the cards of a set to form a complete picture.
This principle is very similar to that of the 1973 puzzle Frustables by Gameophiles Unlimited.

Build the Block - a metal square dissection puzzle branded "Arco."

Tapping Puzzle - a small plastic dexterity puzzle

Chinese Pandora's Box - a cheap Chinese copy of a 4-piece caged burr.

Mf8 (Void) Master Pentultimate - another great twisty puzzle from Mf8
(Shown with optional center panels in place.)

Bell Goose interlocking keychain puzzle

Heart interlocking keychain puzzle - its architecture is similar to the Bell Goose

Keychain Movie Camera puzzle - from Pussycat (Germany)

October 2014

Bedevil designed by Yavuz Demirhan, made by Brian Menold
from Redheart and Holly

Gates O designed by Tamas Vanyo, made by Brian Menold
A Box Elder cage with Bambooo pins and 8 identical Wenge pieces.
35 moves to get the first piece out.

Russian Flower - 6-Petal version
A vintage 3D sliding puzzle
Now I have examples of the 1-petal, 5-petal, and 6-petal versions.

A-Maze-Ment in the Pleasantime Games Tac-tix series from Pacific Game Co. 1967
A vintage sliding piece puzzle
Start with the eight numbered tokens on the board as printed.
Move one at a time along the connections, using the blank space, until they are in left-to-right numeric order.
This is topologically equivalent to an 8-piece puzzle in a 3x3 grid with one blank.
Transform this:
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To this:
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Zobrist Cube Set designed by Al Zobrist
A nice magnetic-closure box containing 33 plastic pieces and a 56 page booklet
specifying over 20,000 puzzles - each either a 3x3x3 cube, a 3x3x4 prism, or a 4x4x4
cube to be constructed from a subset of the pieces.
Zobrist Cube Kickstarter

Utopia issued by Popular Playthings 2009
invented by Sjaak Griffioen
Sixteen "buildings" - four each of four different heights.
Place on the 4x4 grid according to rules and hints given
on 50 challenge cards divided into 25 Phase 1 and 25 Phase 2.
I enjoyed Phase 1 but Phase 2 seems overly confusing.

September 2014

Yamanaka Kumiki Burr from the Yamanaka Kumiki Works
54 pieces in four different types assemble to make
an attractive symmetrical structure.

While taking inventory in one of my storage cabinets I re-discovered a puzzle I didn't recognize, disassembled in a bag.
I posted a photo of one of the 12 identical pieces to some online forums and asked for help identifying the puzzle.

Several puzzle-friends responded (thanks!), and John Devost came through,
suggesting the Cubion designed by Philippe Dubois.
(Also sometimes spelled Coubion.)

Cubion at John Rausch's site, Coubion in Jerry Slocum's collection, Cubion in Tamura's collection,
Cubion in 1999 Baxter auction where lot d7 sold for $93, Cubion in 2007 Baxter auction where lot 771 sold for $525,
Cubion in 2011 Baxter auction where lot 2242 sold for $325.
The Coubion is shown in Slocum's 1994 The Book of Ingenious and Diabolical Puzzles on page 75.
Based on the references and images we found online I was able to reconstruct my copy.

Cubion designed by Philippe Dubois, unknown provenance

It fits together albeit with lots of slop. The relatively soft wood makes it easier to "squish" the pieces into place.
The notches are not precisely cut and the resulting fit is imperfect but I cannot fathom any other
better configuration of these pieces with their peculiar cuts. I do not know who made it - it was part of a group
of wooden puzzles of unkown provenance in an auction lot I won back in December 2007.
Crudely made but I give the maker props for even attempting it since the necessary angles seem so obscure!
I wonder how many Cubions are out there?

Had I reviewed my old What's New pages in the first place,
I would have found this photo I posted back in December 2007 of the assembled form...

But I still wouldn't have known the name of the puzzle.
I hadn't added it to my Interlocking section but I will now.

Maltese Cross keychain puzzle by Bell
The Chinese Cross pieces (with replica card)

Large Acrylic Ball Burr provenance unknown, but not Perry
Shown in comparison with Perry Brass and Acrylic Ball Puzzles

Concentra Atlantis Dan Gilbert 1994
A circular edgematching puzzle with pentagonal pieces.
Not too difficult since the die cuts give clues.

The Greatest Puzzles Ever Solved by Tim Dedopulos
2009 Carlton Books Ltd.

Word Winks 2004 Mindware - illus. by Tess Zimmer

You and Mona Lisa Mirrorkal
Invented by Ivan Moscovich
Produced 2011 Recent Toys USA

You and Einstein Mirrorkal
Invented by Ivan Moscovich
Produced 2010 Recent Toys USA

Tut's Tablet - a rolling cube maze
Invented by Sjaak Griffioen
Produced 2012 Popular Playthings

Hello Sailor a vintage Ring-in-Plate Maze
issued in 1983 by Loncraine Broxton
Nice, bright colors and much larger than I expected - 125mm dia.

Kelly Snache is a puzzle-box artist and craftsman in Canada. Check out his interesting new website at: Woodlockplans.ca.

I purchased three books by my good puzzle-friend Dr. Richard Hess -
each is a unique compendium of mathematical recreations and logic challenges:
Number-Crunching Math Puzzles - Puzzle Wright Press 2009,
Mental Gymnastics - Dover 2011,
and Golf on the Moon - Dover 2014.
None are tired retreads of old material - each contains new and unusual puzzles.
Some are quite difficult - but solutions are included.
You can purchase these online or directly from the author at .

Yamanaka Burr Set four classic traditional six-piece burrs from the Yamanaka Kumiki Works
Can the pieces of these four burrs be intermixed to form four other burrs simultaneously? See my answer.

Gravity Maze - from Thinkfun, designed by Oli Morris

Hive designed and made by Alfons Eyckmans, from Padauk, Moabi, and Oak.

Turnstile - from Thinkfun - designed by Steve Hayton

Smart Egg Techno

Hanayama Cast Galaxy - designed by Bram Cohen
Winner of a Jury Honorable Mention in the 2013 IPP Design Competition

I received several interesting new items from Dave Janelle at Creative Crafthouse - thanks, Dave!

Hoffman's Packing Box, or
The Inequality of the Means Puzzle - produced by Creative Crafthouse
Fit the 27 identical blocks into the frame.

Pinwheel Puzzle - produced by Creative Crafthouse
Arrange the tiles so that all nine stacks including numbers on the rim add to 20.
Alternately, arrange so that all nine stacks excluding numbers on the rim add to 15.

Enigma II - produced by Creative Crafthouse
Based on the famous German WWII cipher machine - decode several challenges.

Confederate Army Cipher Disk - produced by Creative Crafthouse
For code enthusiasts and history buffs.

Keychain Almond - a four-piece interlocking Almond keychain puzzle from Spain

Professional Puzzle - a burr set including 12 pieces produced by Yamanaka Kumiki Works

Based on a post on Jeff Chiou's blog, I ordered two nice puzzles from MINE in Japan:

Square in the Bag - designed by Hirokazu Iwasawa
This puzzle won the Puzzler's Award at the 2012 IPP Design Competition.

Cor-RECT-ly in the Bag - designed by Hirokazu Iwasawa

Some rare twisty puzzles... - the last few weeks have brought several nice (and rare) twisty puzzles, including (from top left):
Tutt's Icosaminx designed by Lee Tutt and hand-cast by Kevin Uhrik,
a Reuleaux Master Tetrahedron made by Hung Nguyen,
a Master Face-Turning Octahedron designed and made (3D printed) by Tom van der Zanden,
an original vintage Olidjus from Russia,
and a Master Octahedron (vertex-turning) designed by Scott Bedard and hand-cast by Kevin Uhrik (shown previously).

Olidjus - a rare vintage original twisty from Russia

Tutt's Icosaminx - a custom twisty designed by Lee Tutt and hand-cast by Kevin Uhrik

Master Tetrahedron - a reuleaux version made by Hung Nguyen (cublem)
This moves beautifully!

Master FTO - a Master Face-Turning Octahedron designed and made by Tom van der Zanden

Truncated this file to improve load time.

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