What's New

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

December 2023

R.I.P. CubicDissection. Thank you for 20 years of some of the best puzzling of my life.

CD's last second

Pack6 - My first CD puzzle

November 2023

This year has brought change in the puzzle world, and I cannot help but feel dispirited if I dwell on some of those changes.
But I am reminded of a quote:
"The Past is history. The Future is a Mystery. Today is a Gift - that's why it's called the Present." - various attributions


Brian's Big Baffling Bolt
Brian's Big Baffling Bolt - aka BBBB - an SD puzzle by Brian Young at Mr. Puzzle Australia

Brian has announced that he will be retiring and his website/store will close after Christmas 2023.

Neptune - Juno - CD
Neptune - designed by Juno, made by the folks at CubicDissection.

Over a year after the passing of Eric Fuller on November 5th 2022, Steve, Tom, and Jeff at CubicDissection
have announced that this release will be the last - CubicDissection will cease operations on December 1st.
However, they intend to open a new shop called Ars AEnigmae - go there to sign up for their newsletter.

Burner - by Dee Dixon at DEDwood Crafts
Strugg-L - by Juno at Pluredro

TIC Vault - Crowell
TIC Vault - an SD puzzle by Andrew Crowell
Of course there is a TIC involved, but the TIC itself is not overly difficult.
Somewhat hard to obtain since it is only released sporadically, but well worth it!
Winner of a Jury Honorable Mention in the 2023 Design Competition.
KeeBox 2 - Hunziker
KeeBox 2 - an SD puzzle by Roger Hunziker
Pickagram - a magnetic Tangram, from Art of Play
I am disappointed in this - the 3D shapes fit awkwardly,
and no booklet of shape silhouette challenges is included.
Honeycomb Honeycomb
Honeycomb - an interlocking/packing screw puzzle by Oskar van Deventer
I joined the Kickstarter
Ring the Changes - Sicherman
Ring the Changes - designed by George Sicherman,
made by Brian Menold at Wood Wonders
A fun set of challenges! Pack the pieces in the tray.
But moreover, outside the tray, flat on a surface, each piece can in turn
be surrounded (not on top) by the other pieces with all edges mating,
and no corner left uncrossed at its point.
The Persistence of Memory - Magyarics - Menold
The Persistence of Memory - a 3-piece (plus box) 3D restricted-opening "apparent"
(i.e. the openings have to be all filled) packing puzzle designed by Alexander Magyarics
and made by Brian Menold at Wood Wonders
I got the laser-cut Mahogany box with Kentucky Coffeewood pieces.
The opening is a bit tight but it functions and I enjoyed solving this one.
PicoLock - Feldman
PicoLock - by Boaz Feldman
Among the Top 10 Vote Getters at the 2023 Design Competition.
Easy Peasy Lock
Easy Peasy Lock - by LockPuzzle
HoKey PoKey Lock - Nicholls
HoKey PoKey Lock - a trick lock by Steve Nicholls
at Two Brass Monkeys
KeyRing - Williams
KeyRing - by Matthew Williams at MW Puzzles,
purchased from Nothing Yet Designs
Bandit - Williams
Bandit - an SD puzzle by Matthew Williams at MW Puzzles
A Bolt from the Blue - Morris
A Bolt from the Blue - a trick bolt by Ali Morris at Two Brass Monkeys
Think Sticks - Walker
Think Sticks - a kit of small brass cylindrical burr pieces by Allard Walker,
available at Two Brass Monkeys
Hanayama Cast a & a - Timonen Hanayama Cast a & a - Timonen
Hanayama Cast a & a - designed by Vesa Timonen
Level 2
ZAK - Rademic
ZAK - designed by Radek Micopulos
See the Rademic Shop
Dovetail Cube - Stephens
Dovetail Cube - designed by James Stephens
Thanks, Nick!
Peanut Puzzle - STC - Evans
Peanut Puzzle - designed by stewart Coffin,
beautiful acrylic cast by Lewis Evans

Several fun puzzles from Vinco:

Akadia L - Vinco Akadia L - Vinco Ball Room - Vinco Ball Room - Vinco Block or Cube - Vinco Block or Cube - Vinco Try-Bal - Vinco Try-Bal - Vinco OMPIC - Vinco OMPIC - Vinco Coverho - Vinco Coverho - Vinco One Minute Cube - Vinco One Minute Cube - Vinco

Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box - designed by Rod Bogart,
produced by Craighill
I joined the Kickstarter
Reminds me of Oskar van Deventer's Fragmented Cube,
which has the same two alternative packings
but did not include the "Jack" piece.
Body of Evidence
Body of Evidence - a tabletop murder mystery
produced by The Mysterious Package Company
I joined the Kickstarter
Folding 2x2x2 Cube
Folding 2x2x2 Cube - a gift from a Treehouse Puzzle Party
A couple of 3D-printed puzzle Locks, DiniLock 1 and DiniLock 2, by Diniar Namdarian:

DiniLock 1 DiniLock 2

Yuxin 2x2 Multi Pyraminx Yuxin 2x2 Multi Pyraminx Yuxin 5x5 Pyraminx Yuxin 5x5 Pyraminx
Lanlan Eitan's ETO Lanlan Eitan's ETO Rubik's Slide
Yuxin 2x2 Multi Pyraminx, Yuxin 5x5 Pyraminx, Lanlan Eitan's ETO, Rubik's Slide
Plug n Play - SmartGames Plug n Play - SmartGames
Plug n Play - SmartGames
A frame, 8 hard rubber pieces, and a booklet of challenges -
given a starting subset, fit all the pieces onto the cube surface.
4 Piece Rectangle Puzzle - Can You Solve Me
4 Piece Rectangle Puzzle - Can You Solve Me
I really like puzzles like this - only a few pieces, and simple enough
to bring to a puzzle gathering and entertain newcomers.
Onietoiy burr set Onietoiy burr set Onietoiy burr set
Onietoiy 20pcs DIY Puzzle - a burr set from Onietoiy
Decent enough, if a bit imprecise and tight in places.
I enjoyed playing with this.

The set includes 16 traditional burr pieces of length 8, and four special pieces of length 16 which are used to assemble multi-burr constructs.
The instructions give 19 traditional 6-piece burrs which use the key piece, and 4 which use 52 rather than the key piece,
as well as several interesting larger structures to be made with the special long pieces.

The pieces are identified with a strange numbering scheme - I map to my IDs in the table below:

Onietoiy IDMy ID
003352 half tray
3033188 can opener
1133208 (half tray with wall on left) vs 64 (right) not incl
3333256 full tray
3053670 (L in middle, open right) vs 412
3373768 (tray w/ gap tooth on right)
0335792 wall left gap
0375824 left offset
0775888 club left gap (no right club 1007)
033A911 wall right gap
3553928 tongue
03BA975 right offset
1573976 pc from G4/Marseille
Onietoiy 671 Step Burr
Onietoiy 671 Step Burr - Onietoiy


Keychain puzzle finds:

Keychain Jaguar D-Type - Japan Keychain Jaguar D-Type - Japan Keychain Jaguar D-Type - Japan
Keychain PuzzleCorner Lock - Japan Keychain PuzzleCorner Lock - Japan
Keychain PuzzleCorner Lock - Japan Keychain PuzzleCorner Lock - Japan
Keychain Honda - Japan Keychain KL Kun sphere (inverse) - Japan


So, I am sure the idea is not original, but I have put together several iterations of a "Puzzle Go Bag" that I can grab and bring to the odd get-together if I suspect there will be some puzzle fun to be had. Sure, us jaded collectors always want to bring and show off our, or get to play with someone else's, latest cool puzzle of the moment, but I think we overlook that even avid puzzlers who are nonetheless new to the community might not have experienced many of the "classics" firsthand. And certainly you want puzzle-curious muggles to be able to try out interesting and approachable designs without risking anything invaluable. I want to stock it with puzzles that represent many different categories - but all should be fairly inexpensive and easy to replace, robust, solvable within a reasonable period of time, and fun.

I've bought the examples below to include - can you recommend others?

The Cannon of Malta
The Cannon of Malta - Logica Giochi
Arguably the best inexpensive intro to Sequential Discovery.
Not quite as devious as the Bits and Pieces original (which I also have),
but at least here the barrel doesn't droop.
Impossible Dovetail
Impossible Dovetail - by Shop of Many Things
The reason why so many puzzles nowadays say "no hitting required."
Dualock - NOB Hikimi
The reason why so many puzzles nowadays say "no spinning required."
The T The T
The T - Puzzland Hikimi
A nice example of the classic T dissection,
with the bonus of other tangrammatic shapes to be made.
The Fifth Chair
The Fifth Chair - Thinkfun
3L Puzzle
3L Puzzle - purchased from Premier 1 Supplies
Splitting Headache
Splitting Headache - designed by Bill Cutler, purchased from Creative Crafthouse
To me, a quintessential "a-ha" moment puzzle, BUT it might be a little too bulky, and a little too lengthy a solve.
A selection of Bent Nail type puzzles, in a drawstring bag...

Hanayama Knight
Knight - Hanayama
Of course there are many other Hanayamas that would make great additions...



I thought I'd mention a fairly recent new website called PuzzBuzz, which provides puzzle collectors with a way to create an inventory of their collection. Folks have contributed photos of and information about many puzzles, forming an impressive database from which to reference items.


In late August, my wife and I visited Brattleboro Vermont and had a pleasant stroll around the town.
Near where we parked the car, I noticed a plaque on the side of a building, tucked away in an alley.
I snapped the photo shown here.

Brattleboro Code Plaque

It was many weeks after I returned home that I remembered to investigate it, starting with asking, "What is the University of Brattleboro?"
I found a news article in the Brattleboro Reformer covering the unveiling of the plaque.

I believe I successfully decoded the message - it is not a difficult cipher - and also figured out roughly where the "treasure" is supposed to be - which took a bit more effort. However, I have not returned to verify my solution or claim the treasure, so it may still be out there for those of you more intrepid than I. Just remember, the rule is to leave a new treasure behind!


In late September, fellow puzzler Bud contacted me, telling me of his attempts to find a second solution to a puzzle illustrated in the book Crafting Wood Logic Puzzles by Charlie Self and Tom Lensch. One solution to the puzzle in question, referred to as the "Notched Packing Puzzle," was shown on their page 122, where the reader is informed that it is one of 12 solutions. Bud had been struggling in vain to find any of the other twelve.

Lensch book packing

I don't own a copy of the puzzle, but I determined that the puzzle was designed by Loren Larson and is also known as the "Eighteen Burr Pieces Packing Puzzle" or "Eighteen Pieces Burr Packing Puzzle." You can see an example at John Rausch's web site - here is his photo:

Larson 18 pc Packing

I used BurrTools to find the 12 solutions, but it took some investigation to determine exactly how those solutions differ. I thought the results were interesting, giving insight into how BurrTools decides that one solution is different from another, and I thought I'd share my findings here.

If you'd prefer not to see a spoiler for this puzzle, look away now!

As others have noted, there are really only four fundamentally distinct solutions. Two of those entail utilizing pairs of pieces arranged in a "plus sign" configuration - and you can form this plus sign by laying one piece notch up in a north-south orientation then covering it with an east-west piece notch down, OR by laying the notch up piece east-west and covering it with a north-south notch down. Now, you and I might call these basically the same, but BurrTools treats them as distinct. Six of the twelve solutions contain three such plus signs, arranged asymmetrically. In the table below, the first row shows these six variations and isolates the halves of the three plus signs, in situ within the solved block (irrelevant pieces hidden), to highlight the different permutations.

Four more of the twelve solutions contain three such plus signs stacked across the middle of the packing - these variations are the four shown next in the second row of the table.

The remaining two solutions have at their core a three-dimensional structure composed of four pieces - two back-to-back, notches out, with two others in a "belt" around them notches inwards but grabbing two pieces each edge-on. The two solutions differ in the orientation of this structure within the packing - in one, the belt is oriented along the length of the block, in the other it is oriented across the width.

The diagrams below, captured from BurrTools, illustrate these twelve arrangements.

Larson 18 pc Packing Larson 18 pc Packing Larson 18 pc Packing Larson 18 pc Packing Larson 18 pc Packing Larson 18 pc Packing
Larson 18 pc Packing Larson 18 pc Packing Larson 18 pc Packing Larson 18 pc Packing Larson 18 pc Packing Larson 18 pc Packing


Back in February, Blair of Saskatoon emailed me seeking help to solve an interesting tanglement puzzle received as a gift several Christmases gone by. I didn't own an example of the puzzle but based on a photo Blair supplied, I thought it might yield to some techniques I had learned by solving other tanglement puzzles. I made myself a rough-and-ready copy using scrounged materials, and was able to validate my thoughts about a solution, and help Blair finally resolve the long-standing mystery.

I thought I'd provide my analysis here in case it might be of use to other puzzlers.

Here is Blair's photo, which I have annotated with letters to help in the solution procedure, and also a photo of my home-made copy (yeah, that's a chainring nut wrench):

Blair's Barbell Rob's Barbell

The objective is to free the ring, R. The plate, P, has four holes: A, B, C, and D. The string, S, passes through the holes and is affixed by loops (F and G) around its bar to the barbell with ends E and H.

See where the string comes up through hole D and loops around itself at N? I will call N the "nose." Imagine if N were *below* the two string strands currently passing under it, rather than above it where it begins. It would then be a simple matter to pull it down through D and up through C, freeing the ring. So we have to accomplish that - get N below the two strands emerging from A and B.

We'll do one at a time, and we'll make use of two kinds of maneuver: passing the string's nose down through each hole A and B in turn, and then circumventing the barbell by making use of the holes G and F in turn.

Begin by gathering a lot of slack at N - pull the string up through holes A and B, down through C, and up through D so you can pull N up away from the plate. Now take the nose N and push it down through hole A, keeping it "on top of" the string that is already passing through A. Once it is through, pull N to the right and push it through the loop at G, around the barbell end H, then pull it back through G and back around end E. Pull it back up through the hole at A. Notice the nose loop is now "behind" the strand passing through A. Halfway there! Now we just have to perform a similar set of moves on the B side, using F and E. Push the nose down through hole B, pull left and go through hole F, around end E, back through F, around H, and pull back up through B. You should now have freed the nose so it can simply be pulled through D and C.

Reset the puzzle by reversing the steps. Keep straight in your head whether the nose is on top of or behind the A and B strands at various points, otherwise you'll end up with a knotted twisted mess. For example, the first reset step is to push the nose down through hole B, but *behind* strand B. Then loop it over H, and come at hole F from "underneath" - go through F, over E, back through F - now the nose is *in front* of strand B - pull it back up through hole B. Etc.

October 2023


September 2023


August 2023

A look at 2023 so far...


Dial Case - an SD puzzle by Juno at Pluredro

Bara-Bara Box: Philosopher - a Japanese puzzle box by Osamu Kasho
with collaboration from Kobo Alp (who made the small figure).
More info at karakuri.gr.jp
I like how this one has several interesting moves.

Window Lock II - by Dick Hensel

Onietoiy Box - similar to Kagen Sound's Block Box idea,
but a sufficiently different poor man's version.
Fun and not bad quality.
Can be found on a popular online shopping site for around $40.

Art Deco Puzzle Box Clock - a secret-opening box
(and functioning clock, if you can find a way to put in a battery!) by Bill Sheckels

Half Hour Variant - Stewart Coffin (STC-29B)
Building it within the restricted-opening box limits the Half Hour Cube to one solution.
From CubicDissection


From a few of their recent drops, several beautiful wooden puzzles made by Pelikan:

Connecting Cubes - Lucie Pauwels

Ode to the Bevel - Dr. Volker Latussek

Pin Up Box - Lucie Pauwels
Pack the pieces in the box such that when the pin is inserted none can fall out.

Shutout - Osanori Yamamoto
Fit six T-tetracubes into the box to make an apparent cube.
Among the Top Ten Vote Getters in the 2022 IPP Design Competition

Tetra Flop - Dr. Volker Latussek
Fit the eight pieces into the restricted-opening box. You'd better believe rotations are required!

Umbrella - Tamas Vanyo
Fit the seven pieces into the simple box. Each piece can be reconfigured.


To The Moon - a 3D printed SD puzzle by Leisure Luke
I have a Founders Edition #034/200.

Al Bus - a 3D printed SD puzzle by Jordi Gallen, purchased direct.
The bus and trunk each contain several varied challenges and secrets and must be solved together.

Pocket Change Purple - a 3D printed free-the-coin puzzle
by Brian Kren, purchased direct.
See his Etsy shop PuzzledByPiker.

Burrbank and Burrbot - Andrew Crowell

Dial It In - an intermediate difficulty puzzle in the Locksmith series by Coremods

Alfons Eyckmans made 3D printed examples for me of Maxton's Labyrinth Cube and Conundrum II.

A new puzzle friend 3D printed Diamond Vacancy by Albert Joe for me. Thanks Z!
Entered in the 2022 IPP Design Competition.

A nice enhanced version of the Rhombic Maze Burr originally by Derek Bosch, from Two Brass Monkeys.
Mine is in the proper color, orange, not green.
A selection of Lego SD boxes by Roz at Crayonland:

including (L to R, T to B): Tegami X, Seven, Koneko Forest, Cookie, Sokoban, Tegami, 3 Sushi House, Tuna Sushi, and Mini Sokoban

A vintage plastic puzzle figure, made in England, called Bulbo, with its original box.
Similar to the Shackman wooden figures.

Logifaces Beginner's set
My only puzzle made of concrete!
I did manage to build the triangle myself.

Trapped Bird by Koichi Miura, made by MINE
Entered in the 2023 IPP Design Competition

Echo 4 by Yuu Asaka

Temple Connection - SmartGames, and Mouse Pocket Puzzle - Bepuzzled
Thanks Chelsea!

IQ Mini and IQ Mini Hexpert by SmartGames
Both puzzles require you to fit six pieces (conjoined spheres) into a tray of receptacles.
In both puzzles there are three movable pins that will block various receptacles.
The beauty is that no matter how you position the blockers, there will be a solution!
Compact, entertaining, and approachable even by puzzle novices, these are great for sharing at get-togethers.

A couple of recent twisty puzzles: DaYan Gem 10 and LimCube Hexagram Octahedron

Cluster by Andriy Bruns

Cogas an SD puzzle by Garrett Mathias,
purchased from Puzzlemaster.ca

Stella an SD puzzle by Rademic

USB Puzzle an SD puzzle by Luke Weier,
purchased from Puzzlemaster.ca

New Hanayamas:

Hanayama Cast Hex designed by Masui Ohno. Level 3.

Hanayamas Cast Tube designed by Vesa Timonen. Level 5.

Hanayama Zelda set - Master Sword, Triforce, and Hyrule Crest

Lost in the Shuffle - a puzzle game card deck by Spencer Beebe
See the Kickstarter.

Keychain puzzle finds:

July 2023


June 2023

It will be apparent to fans of this website that my frequency of posting has dramatically waned over the course of many months. It feels like I ought to say something. If you have been at all concerned, please be assured I remain in good health (knock wood). I simply have devoted less time here, with late night coding sessions devolving into the exception rather than the rule.

I've been documenting my puzzle journey on this website since 2003, for more than twenty years! During that span I've seen other puzzle sites, forums, and blogs come and go. I've never really celebrated any site milestones of my own.

I am pleased to have witnessed the broader international mechanical puzzle community grow ever larger over the lifetime of this website and the surge in awareness of our hobby facilitated by Discord, YouTube, and other online forums. While we've inevitably, and sometimes with devastating shock, lost cherished members and makers of our community along the way, we've also gained many new enthusiasts and creators. Puzzle people, from my experience, are more likely than not to be intelligent, interesting, principled, friendly, and well-balanced (although the last may be debatable) - and it seems to me the world needs more such folk, so I say "Huzzah!" to all the newcomers though I suspect many of them may never run across this relic.

I started this website sometime around Y2K as a "personal web page" under the auspices of my ISP of the time - they imposed a disk space limit I struggled to stay within, which is why my earliest images are so small. I wrote it then and still do today using nothing more than Notepad (well, Notepad++). When I started this website, YouTube did not exist (it was launched in 2005). When I started this, 3D printed puzzles were not a thing - Shapeways started in 2007, and the cost of a 3D printer at that time was around $10,000. Discord started in 2015. Heck, though I don't count myself among the real veterans, I was collecting puzzles prior to eBay (1995), prior to the birth of the Internet itself (1983), back when puzzle people were finding each other on Usenet. And I walked uphill to and from school.

This website has been a labor of love and it took an enormous amount of time and effort to build. For sure, modern web devs can run rings around my code, but I know full well how much a site like this would cost to renovate, let alone build from scratch, and that the value of content far outweighs flash. I have never tried to monetize it. I have enjoyed every minute I have invested in it and the puzzles and all the learning afforded me thereby. I am gratified and humbled by the many messages and kind words from friends and perfect strangers I have received over the years, the fascinating conversations to which I have been privy, the wonderful acquaintances I've made, and the privilege of having become a part of this community, all because I decided to monologue about my love of mechanical puzzles into the void.

I do not intend to abandon this website nor do I anticipate ever completely renouncing my mechanical puzzle addiction. I hope you will excuse my absences and will nevertheless continue to find this website to be a useful resource. Thank you to Brett for hosting it.


May 2023


April 2023


March 2023


February 2023


January 2023

Hiatus. Happy New Year!

December 2022

Acquisitions from the last four months, to wrap up 2022.

Casey and Sean at Pocket Pulp [Etsy shop] kindly sent me a selection of their puzzles, including Pig Pen, dotris, and Monster Dedux. Thanks, Casey!

I really like Pig Pen - only six pieces but a clever challenge! And dotris has a nice range of challenges from easy to difficult.

Centrale - Jean Claude Constantin
Thanks, Claire!

Stecker - Roger
via Wil Strijbos.

Ziggy - Doog Menzies from New Zealand and Radek Micopulos
at Rademic

Amulet - James Stanley from Great Britain and Radek Micopulos at Rademic
Navigate the puck out of the cage.
The puck is lanced through by two rods
each of which can be moved to extend
on one side or the other of the puck
to engage sections of the cage.
I find this similar in concept to the Cooksey Maze,
developed by Richard Cooksey in the 1970's.
For reference, Oskar van Deventer has made some Cooksey type puzzles.

Mondrian's Square - designed by Tom Jolly
made by CubicDissection

Fast Maze 1, 2, and 3 - designed by Dan Fast
made by CubicDissection

Monoblock - from Lockpuzzle

Loophole - from Puzzlocks

Bomb Destroyer - Andriy Bruns at Bruns.engineer

lib-ORB-rate - Matthew Williams at MW Puzzles
Great customer service!

Penny Pincher - Matthew Williams at MW Puzzles

Wavelinks - by Rod Bogart, made by Craighill
via Kickstarter

Hanayama Cast Cross - designed by Edi Nagata

Tau - by Dr. Volker Latussek, made by Pelikan

Broken Box - by Lucie Pauwels, made by Pelikan
Two designs from Goh Pit Khiam, made by Tom Lensch. Both are restricted-opening sequential packing puzzles - Airlock and Bottleneck:

Record 6 - by Yuu Asaka
Fit the concentric rings into the tray - but beware the various notches and tabs.

Pocket Change Set - from PuzzledByPiker

Cola Conundrum - from Fortunate Son Puzzles

Mini Lego Puzzle Box - by Dustin Spain at Shiftbrick
An enjoyable, compact challenge!

Magic Lock - from the French Magazine Pif-Gadget
issue 302, Sep 1974.
Recent Twisty puzzles, including the Ecube Yongjun Tianyuan set and the Sengso Column Cube:

A vintage cardboard advertising puzzle - the 5-piece square - in its original envelope, issued by Olympene:

Keychain puzzle finds:

Let me start with a big Thank you! to Debra M. who kindly sent me her dup of the Diamond playing card puzzle.

November 2022


October 2022


September 2022


August 2022

Fort Knox Box - Esc Welt
Thanks, Susan!
It was great seeing you.

Dice, a secret opening box designed by Akio Kamei.
This is an absolute classic Karakuri Box
and I don't know why I hadn't obtained one sooner.

Free the One, a sequential discovery (SD) puzzle
from Brian Kren at PuzzledByPiker.

Tetrahedrane - designed by Oskar van Deventer,
Produced by Two Brass Monkeys.

The Monkeys 3D printed and also sent along Mrs. Butler, a four-piece cube puzzle,
and Dodekastar, a six piece burr designed by Yavuz Demirhan.

I long admired and have now found an example of the Japanese Wood Joint Burr, designed by Frans de Vreugd and exchanged by Frans at IPP19 in London.

Design X-3 - designed by Stewart Coffin,
Produced by SolitudeSummitWoodWorks
in Canary and Cocobolo woods.

The Park (#207) - designed by Stewart Coffin,
Produced by SolitudeSummitWoodWorks
in Shedua wood.

Grizzly Gears - a multi-level challenge puzzle by SmartGames.

Invasion of the Cow Snatchers - a multi-level challenge puzzle by Thinkfun.

I found a Mobile Suit Gundam Rubik's Cube RX-78-2 from Japan.

Charaction Cube - Skeleton from Japan.

Nob Gem puzzle - one of a series of tangram-type puzzles, from Japan, copyright 1994.

Mando's Treasure Lock - from LockPuzzle

SDTV - a burr / SD hybrid, from James Fortune at Fortunate Son Puzzles

Teddy and the Lion - a reproduction of a vintage vanish puzzle designed by Sam Loyd.

6 More T - by George Bell at PolyPuzzles

George also sent his new Trap Door Octahedron -
a three-piece coordinate motion puzzle.
Very tricky! Thanks!

Unstable Eggs Series 3 - CoreMods

SmartEgg - from Japan
Not sure if I already have this one, but I
didn't recognize the shell pattern.
Three "Escape Room" style Boxes, from GetOutsideClub - Excalibur, The Last Dragon, and The Upside Down Cube.

I finally played through my example of Martin Raynsford's Antikythera Tablets, with some hints, and I enjoyed it! Great puzzling value IMHO.
You may be able to find it at PuzzleMaster.ca.

Now I've started on his Loki's Box of Tricks and have managed to unthread the lock and get inside the box...

I also played through The Light in the Mist - A Tarot Puzzletale by Rita Orlov.

New keychain puzzle finds:

Especially happy to have found examples of the rare Skull and Jaguar D-Type puzzles!

July 2022

This is Oliver the Pig, a sequential discovery box designed by Michael Owens ("mowens995"),
printed for me by Brett, who hid a coin in each of its five compartments. Thanks!
I really enjoyed this one, since it was not overly difficult and it functions perfectly.
See plans for Oliver at Printables.com.

Flatbox - an SD puzzle from "DURSS" - see his page for Flatbox.

Os Cube - a clever 2x2x2 variant designed by Ilya Osipov, produced by QiYi.
A face turn causes internal magnetic components to either retract or extrude some facelets on the cubies.
The goal is either to achieve the state where all facelets are retracted, or where all are extruded.
A novel mechanism that secured this puzzle a "Top Ten Vote Getters" award
in the 2021 IPP Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition.

AJ Clover Icosahedron Black 20 colors

A mass-produced order-3 HMT from Sengso / Shengshou -
they call it the Seventh Magic Tower

IQ Stixx - SmartGames
A set of sticks (2 feature type) along with a booklet of challenges.
Raf told me the challenge in creating this was to select a set of sticks
that could have many solutions, not just one or a few.

A huge kumiki Motorcycle, with stand.

Oreo Soma - designed by Oskar van Deventer, produced by pghpuzzles
Build the cube so the white is all hidden inside.

50 Years of Text Games - by Aaron A. Reed
See his Kickstarter.

The Rhino puzzle by Theo Geerinck and Symen Hovinga at No Problem Puzzle Shop.
They were inspired by Kumiki. Note the tiny baby rhino hidden inside!
I got this printed by SEA Manufacturing on Treatstock.
I chose to get a black rhino.

Traffic Light - an SD puzzle box from CreativeWorkshopCA.

The Puzzler - by A.J. Jacobs
I talked with A.J. a few times while
he was researching for this book,
and my website gets a plug on page 292!

Super Slide - by GiiKER
An electronic sliding piece puzzle with 500+ levels.

Balloon Boggler - by William Waite at Puzzlemist
Thanks, Chels!

Five Cubes - by Kohno Ichiro, from CubicDissection
Thanks, Chels!

Hanayama Cast Planet - designed by Masumi Ohno.

H2 - PuzzleAtomic
Find the best way to ease the rings off of (and back on to) the barbell.

The Emerald Flame - by Rita Orlov at PostCurious.

Lockpick Puzzle - by Devin Montes.
A while ago Brett printed me the entire set of ten. Thanks!

I was inspired to revisit my Pyrigan 360 number 91 of 100, by John Partridge.
Not long ago, an example sold for over $2500!

Keychain puzzle finds:

I obtained a few additional members of the "Patchman" series, and updated my Patchman reference table.

Very happy to have found a large number (still missing a few) of the 40 Japanese Kabaya Leaf Kun Puzzles issued in 1981-82,
some still on their original sprues, along with one of the original red set boxes:

I now have a complete set of the 20 black and white puzzles, along with some inversions:


And all but eight of the color puzzles:

I have updated my Kun showcase accordingly.

June 2022


May 2022


April 2022

Take a look at the 2021 IPP Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competiton results.

A long overdue Thank You to Gus, who sent me a copy of his 3D-printed
and improved re-creation of the vintage Tower of Babble puzzle
(Gus's pieces are closed and so don't clue orientation
as much as the original design which has open bottoms).
Tower of Babble is mentioned in Kevin's Puzzlemad blog post Top Ten(ish) of 2021.

Box of the Celts by Matthew Magee (FroodLoops on Discord & Reddit) at Numbskull Puzzles.
Winner of a Jury Honorable Mention in the 2021 IPP Puzzle Design Competition.
See reviews by Boxes and Booze and fivesinatras.
Two beautiful wooden puzzles made by Solitude Summit Woodworks on Etsy,
both designed by Stewart Coffin: All Star #95, and Cluster Buster #47

Both are substantial and playable, and made of beautiful hardwoods, though fit is loose.

Bison - designed by Jack Krijnen, made by Pelikan.

Christmas Tree - designed by Stephan Baumegger, made by Pelikan.

A nice, colorful, vintage edgematching puzzle advertising BP.

Another vintage advertising puzzle, from the Chicago Evening Post -
form a letter Z from the six pieces.

Square the Circle - a vintage cardboard gear puzzle
Came in a plain brown cardboard box with no markings.
The card itself only says "The Circular Square" and "Patent Allowed Elizabeth NJ."
The instructions read "Start from the circle - Form the square by turning only with gears A and B."

A metal vintage advertising puzzle, in the ring-in-plate maze category - two entangled keys to be separated, from the Waterbury Watch Company.

Hanayama Cast Valve - designed by Vesa Timonen

Heavy Oden and Nail Quartet - two original bent-nail tanglement designs by Noboru Hayashi.
Entered in the 2021 IPP Puzzle Design Competition.

A metal four-piece coordinate-motion Tetrahdron puzzle,
from a popular online shopping site.
This is a (probably unlicensed) copy of a design by Dr. Bruce Patterson.

Brian Young's re-release,
this time in metal, of his famous
Houdini's Torture Cell puzzle.
Thanks, Brett!

Mind the Gap - the latest puzzle lock from Andrew Coles.

369 - a 3D-printed magnetic puzzle box from CreativeWorkshopCA on Etsy.

Coin Maze - a 3D-printed double-sided maze designed by Oskar van Deventer

Turning Quarter Hole - designed by Hajime Katsumoto, produced by MINE

Croissant - designed by Koichi Miura, produced by MINE
Among the Top Ten Vote-Getters in the 2021 IPP Puzzle Design Competition.

Triqueta Octahedron - a custom 3D-printed twisty puzzle from Lycharmodpuzzles on Etsy.
Four solid faces turn, scrambling segments on the remaining four faces,
including those teeny tiny face centers.
I've scrambled mine and have not yet managed to solve it.
New mass-produced twisty puzzles:

Meffert's Flat Jing's Pyraminx (HMT), QiYi Ivy Mastermorphix,
Shensghou 10-layer Mastermorphix, Mf8 Master Icosamate, Limcube Fission Skewb,
Limcube Morpho Aureola, Meilong Double Skewb, Yuxin Little Magic M Square 1

"Bokeless" - a quirky, weird set of press-fit plastic assembly puzzles from Japan.

Some more symmetry puzzles from NothingYetDesigns, all designed by Oleg Smol'Yakov:

Fetter, Merger, Pince Nez, Runes, Shack, and Staples.

A beautiful vintage Kumiki Jeep.

Mind Boggler - A religious-themed five-piece dissection puzzle, from 1983.
Lots of new Keychain Puzzle finds:

I have also added new sub-sections for more convenient navigation, including:
Robots, Trains/Locomotives, and subdivisions within the Animals section:
Dogs & Cats, Elephants, Pigs, Beasts of Burden, Birds & Fish, Wild Animals, and Reptiles.

March 2022


February 2022


January 2022

Happy New Year!


Flippe Ball - a trick-opening 3D-printed puzzle from
George Bell at PolyPuzzles on Etsy

Ice Box - a fun sequential discovery 3D-printed puzzle
from Jared at CoreMods on Etsy

Two In One Box - by Constantin
from BrilliantPuzzles

Stellation Set - by Lee Krasnow, purchased at PuzzleMaster.ca

Dictionary Case - designed by Koichi Miura, issued by Chronos Co., Ltd., purchased at tocoo.com
Fit the five pieces into the box. I think I solved it...

TUTU - designed by Dr. Volker Latussek, purchased at Pelikan (out of stock)
Pack the four pieces into the box through a T-shaped opening.
I really enjoyed this one - I quickly formed a mental hypothesis as to how the pieces might go in, and it worked,
but then I struggled a bit to learn the trick for extracting them.
Now I can do it pretty smoothly - but lately the low winter humidity here (about 21%) is causing a U piece to bind.

All Tetra Pod - designed by Osanori Yamamoto, purchased at Pelikan
Made from Wenge and Padauk.
Fit the eight pieces into the box.
I found a Kumiki Cow design I didn't have:

I found a Kumiki Pig much larger than those I had:

In this group photo it's the huge one in the back.
The piglet is in the foreground, followed by the large pig and the "regular" pig.

I found a large Kumiki Alligator, shown with the small one I had:

I purchased three puzzles designed and 3D-printed by Ken Irvine: 6T, Soma Licious, and Moitié.

I really enjoyed solving the 6T puzzle - it was my first solve of the new year!
The Soma Licious is a new way of forcing a sequential packing of
the Soma pieces with dimples into a box with internal spikes.
I've only managed to extract one piece from the Moitié cube so far...

The Bandai Ultimagear Yu-Gi-Oh Millennium Puzzle I had purchased arrives in its largish box packed like a model - its ABS parts are on a set of sprues. The parts must all be cut free from the sprues, carefully trimmed, and then each puzzle piece can be assembled from its constituents according to included instructions. Each of the puzzle's pieces comprises two or more parts. Fortunately no glue is required - the parts press together, albeit with some firmness needed, and I found all the fits to be satisfyingly precise and snug - the parts are very unlikely to ever be unintentionally (or even intentionally) separated. The resulting puzzle pieces are all robust and none seem prone to break during normal play while respecting the typical mechanical puzzling prohibition against use of undue force.

Only 13 pieces left to fit in!

No instructions are included for how to assemble the puzzle from its pieces. I attempted assembly guided only by images of the finished puzzle - many times I had made some headway when I realized that I had to unwind several steps to insert a new piece, and furthermore that rotations were required! This is most definitely a sequential interlocking puzzle with rotations along the way, and I am very pleased with its overall quality. It is a bit like a plastic Berrocal - the pieces are not simply polycubes - their shapes are intricate and the placement of each is not necessarily obvious, but with patience can be deduced. Tricky and non-orthogonal movements are needed to sequentially interlock and unlock the pieces during the solve. Cutting free the parts and construction of the pieces took me about three hours, and solving (assembling the puzzle) about a further two hours - there were a couple of moments where three hands would have been helpful during the solve, and I only required one hint.

December 2021

Happy Holidays!


Karakuri Test Tube Box Type 2 -
Purchased from Karakuri Museum.

OurGlass - a brass trick opening puzzle from Mojo Manufacturing.
It's nicely machined and a good size, but the mechanism seems a bit arbitrary.
Several new symmetry puzzles from NothingYetDesigns:

Symmetrain by Choongmyoung Lee, 111, Amulett, Coherence, Cuneiform, all four by Oleg Smol'yakov

Several twisty puzzles all purchased from Cubezz.com:

LanLan Gear Lucky Clover Heart Cube (supposedly an easy solve), YongJun Yeet Ball (this is a spherical version of the Ivy Cube / Eye Skewb),
LanLan Curvy Clover Pyraminx (supposedly a difficult solve), SengSo Fourth Magic Tower, SengSo Sixth Magic Tower

I added a section on solving the Rex Cube / Super Ivy Cube.

New keychain puzzle finds:

Pitcher in Puzzleman box, Toby the French keychain puzzle elephant, Czech keychain puzzle lantern on a pole, Pif Gadget Hand, Margnat Truck, Japanese Superhero, Kabaya Leaf Stegosaurus, Keychain Burr puzzle from Taiwan, From Japan various airplanes on sprues.


November 2021

In 2017, twisty puzzle designer James Li [Twitter] [FB] created a usable commercially-offered version of the 24 Cube he called the "Chromium Cube." The same internal gravity-pin-based mechanism can be shaped to make a 24-Tetrahedron and a 24-Octahedron.

James made the examples below for me. I really like them!

24 Tetrahedron - by James Li

24 Octahedron by James Li

Professor Trajber's (Curvy 5x5 Octahedron) - by "TwistyTurtle"
Purchased from and custom made by Chewie's Custom Stickers
Some mass-produced twisty puzzles:

Mf8 4-layer FTO (Master FTO), Moyu Unicorn Cube, Sengso Void Pyramid (Void HMT), Sengso Mirror Pyramid (Bump HMT), Yuxin Round Pyraminx, Sengso Crazy Megaminx, Sengso Fifth Magic Tower (Master HMT), Yuxin 2x2 Magic Eye, Lanlan Clover Octahedron, Lanlan Butterflower, MoYu RS3M 2021 Maglev 3x3x3

Sweeney Todd - a 4-piece helical burr by Derek Bosch
43 moves to remove the first piece.
Printed in PLA by The Two Brass Monkeys.
I ordered the Jigsaw Broken Heart from Jigsawholic

Yu Gi Oh Millennium Puzzle - from Bandai Hobby / Ultimagear


Some heavy metal:

Brass Monkey Five - from Two Brass Monkeys

Nuts 'N' Bolts - from MetalPuzzlesUK

Loki - by Boaz Feldman at Puzzlocks
I pre-ordered the brass Piston Puzzle by Felix Ure, from JP Games UK


Some wood:

Quadro - by Yavuz Demirhan at CubozoneTR

Four Cubes - by Yavuz Demirhan at CubozoneTR

Arko - by Yavuz Demirhan at CubozoneTR


Spike Burr - vintage Kumiki

Step Burr - vintage Kumiki

"Bambi" - vintage Kumiki

Lion - vintage Kumiki

Piglet - vintage Kumiki

Pickup Truck - vintage Kumiki

Nautilus - Cluebox
I pledged the House of the Dragon Kickstarter and chose the additional Space Box

House of the Dragon - Escapewelt


Enter If You Can - a book about puzzle boxes, by Peter Hajek


Very happy to have obtained this rare keychain puzzle Giraffe by Kabaya Leaf of Japan:

October 2021

The Zoozzler - by La Rose Mfg
A vintage classic six-piece burr in its original box.
Some time ago I had been contacted by a surviving member of the La Rose family who shared with me some of its history,
and now I am very happy to have finally found an original example of this puzzle.


Video game recommendation: Connected! - FREE on Steam. An excellent time waster!


Many thanks to fellow Wellingtons Puzzle collector Colin James, who kindly sent me several additions to my collection!

Brainstorm (Onsworld), Bananas II, Bunkered, Computer Challenge, Computer Word Challenge

A set of Akaki's Picnic Basket puzzles, 3D printed for me by Brett - Thanks!

Barrel Cooper's Puzzle Box - by Joseph Kovell
Purchased from PuzzleMaster.ca.

Free the Five - by PuzzledByPiker
Free five "coins" in total from the three related objects.

ElfTIC - by Andrew Crowell
3D printed for me by Brett - Thanks!

Pandemic Puzzle and Cylinder Maze - by Bad Astronaut.

Poseidon's Vault - by ElamitePrints.

Mighty Pin - by Alan Lunsford.

Tennessee Jed - a vintage card tanglement puzzle advertising Tip Top Bread.

Foldology - by Brain Ltd..
A set of vintage tanglement puzzles from Japan:

Kumiki Paddlewheeler - Yamanaka Kumiki Works

Octahedral Toru - by Vladi Delimollov
This is an example of the edge-turning order-2 octahedron GB 4.3.2.
3D printed by and purchased from Chewie's Custom Puzzles.
YouTube video - shows jumbling.
It catches a little but it is nice and solid. I really like it!

Sequential Discovery Cubed Box (SDCB) - by Pluredro.
I backed the Kickstarter campaign for The Light in the Mist - A Tarot Puzzletale by Rita Orlov.

I backed the Kickstarter campaign for Loki's Box of Tricks by Martin Raynsford.

I purchased the first three chapters (the Initiation Collection) of Curious Correspondence.

My latest Keychain Puzzle finds:

White and Yellow Crossburr and Pylon - Kabaya Leaf Japan,
Ladybug - Kabaya Leaf Japan,
5 Piece Ball - Japan,
Russian "Robot 8" in package with card

September 2021


August 2021

Below are some links you may enjoy. I usually run videos at 2x playback speed and have now become impatient watching at normal speed.

Robrecht 02 - a burr designed by Robrecht Louage, from PuzzleWood.de.
Six pieces, one solution, at level 14.4.2.
Thanks, Chelsea!

Reconfigurable Puzzle Box - by "A26"
A 3D printed maze box similar in principle to Kagen's Rune Box.
Thanks, Brett!

Abraham's Well - a sequential discovery puzzle by
Brian Young at Mr. Puzzle Australia.

Juno's Arrow - a restricted-path sliding piece puzzle from Pluredro.
Grooves and pins along the sides of the pieces restrict moves.

Diagonal Cube - designed by Andrew Crowell
Pack the four pieces into the box which has
two diametrically opposed restrictive openings.
No gaps should be visible.
Thanks, Brett!

Free Me 7 - a sequential discovery puzzle by Joe Turner

Spirit Box - a secret opening box by Dee Dixon at DEDWood Crafts.

Nemo - designed and made by Radek Micopulos.

Quest Pyramide - from EscapeWelt.de.

Kumiki Space Needle - a souvenir of the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle.
An iconic piece I had been after for a while.
Unfortunately while it looks great, its interlocking architecture is underwhelming
in comparison to the usual better-engineered Kumikis.
But I do love the box art.

Kumiki small Tank
This small Tank puzzle along with the Gun Truck, have acquired a rich patina.
I've shown the markings on the bottom in two orientations since I don't know which is correct.

Kumiki Gun Truck
This "Gun Truck" along with the small Tank, have acquired a rich patina.
Unfortunately my example is missing a few pieces.

Kumiki Panda - from the Yamanaka Kumiki Works,
in its original package with instruction sheet.

Boxing Glove - a tanglement
designed by Aaron Wang,
from PuzzleMaster.ca.

Grenade II - a tanglement
designed by Aaron Wang,
from PuzzleMaster.ca.

Roller Coaster - a tanglement
from PuzzleMaster.ca,
in their house-branded series.

Polar Burr - another helical burr designed by Derek Bosch.

8-layer Mastermorphix - Shengshou
My latest Keychain Puzzle finds:

Rhino - Kabaya Leaf Japan, Mystic Jet Plane card.

July 2021


June 2021

Combominx - a custom 3D-printed twisty puzzle designed and made by Ben Streeter. [T]
It is a tetrahedral puzzle similar in appearance to the traditional Pyraminx -
it allows vertex turns but the trivial tips do not turn. It also allows edge turns!
Successive edge turns allow shapeshifting, and Pyraminx/vertex turns work in the shapeshifted form.
This puzzle is fairly large, but needs to be in order to accommodate the necessary mechanism -
even at this scale, the arms anchoring the tips are very thin.
It turns well and smoothly, without lockups, and is very stable - I love it!
Ben posts as benpuzzles - check out the benpuzzles YouTube channel, and Ben's i.materialise shop.
Having some time ago acquired a custom edge-turning (only) Pyraminx, called the Mastermorphynx,
made for me by Traiphum Prungtaengkit, of Thailand,
I knew I had to add Ben's hybrid to my twisty zoo!

Fanxin Dinosaur Cube set - a set of six whimsical dinosaur-themed twisty puzzles.

Super Ivy Cube - from Qiyi. Equivalent to the Rex Cube.

Brass Monkey Four - from Two Brass Monkeys.

Bolted - from MetalPuzzlesUK.

Trick Bolt #3 - from PuzzleMaster.ca.

YES - a symmetric shape puzzle by Vladimir Krasnoukhov,
produced by Recent Toys
and purchased from my friends at PuzzleMaster.
Very tricky but doable - I like this one.

Hanayama Cast Dice - designed by Timothy Collins, level 3.

Hanayama Cast Cyclone - designed by Kyoo Wong, level 5.
Assorted tanglement puzzles from my friends at PuzzleMaster.ca:

Eagle 2, Glückspiel, Roof Nut, Silkworm, Weigh Anchor
The "Roof Nut" is not a tanglement - it is merely a (not very good) burr with a trapped bolt.
Oh, well, they can't all be winners.

New Kumiki Ship - this example is a modern offering, made from monkeypod rather than Ho wood, including (poorly) photocopied instructions rather than rice paper.

Large Kumiki Battleship - I found another very nice vintage kumiki ship -
this seems to be one of the more rare types. It included a box and instructions, both in good shape.
Here are some updated group shots:

Pepper Castor - designed by Alexander Magyarics and made by Pelikan from Zebrano and Padauk.
Fit the three pieces into the container so all the windows are filled.
So beautiful, even if I haven't solved it!

Bubble - designed by Dr. Volker Latussek and made by Pelikan from Pear wood.
Create two different free-standing structures from the four pieces
such that the hemispherical divots form four internally hidden bubbles.

Bugs - designed by Alexander Magyarics and made by Pelikan from Pink Oak and other hardwoods.
Fit the four bugs flat in the obstructed frame. Has a nice acrylic cover for display.

Rectangle Block (II B Flat) - designed by Christophe Lohe
and made by Brian Menold.
Sipo box with Olivewood/Makore pieces.
Extract the four pieces from the frame, then reinsert.

Alpacka #1 - designed by Alexander Magyarics and made by Brian Menold.
Wenge box with Olivewood/Wenge pieces.
Maneuver the six pieces U-side down into the box.

Two Packing Puzzle - from Jeff Baz.

Three Packing Puzzle - from Jeff Baz.

Davy Jones' Locker - another Cluebox from iDventure.
Purchased via Kickstarter.

4L Bin - designed by Goh Pit Khiam and made by Tom Lensch.
Fit the four L-shaped pieces into the container.

One-Hand Puzzlebox (#35) - designed and made by Robert Yarger (Stickman).

Bolt Action - from Alan Lunsford.

Minima 1 - designed by Frederic Boucher,
3D printed by Tom Burns at Operating Machinery.
Pack the three pieces into the container. I really like this one.

Union Squares - designed by Rod Bogart,
3D printed by Tom Burns at Operating Machinery.
[Dis]assemble the six pieces.

Machu Picchu Mystery - from Finders Seekers.
I got this one on sale without a subscription.
Experienced puzzlers will find it fairly easy.
Production quality was good but I had seen similar puzzles before.

Through the Cocktail Glass - a book from Stephen Canfield,
briefly showing the secret opening puzzle boxes created by
various craftsmen as part of a larger Alice-themed project.
I wish there were more detailed puzzle pix.

Blockistry - from blockistry.com - use the four identical pieces
to produce each of the silhouette challenges.
Some proved surprisingly difficult -
you have to properly account for simplified perspective.

Splitting Image - from Fatbrain.
Only 30 challenges. Intended for kids - very easy.
It's not a puzzle, but I am pleased to have acquired this vintage Atomix desktop objet d'art
designed by Francois Dallegret
and produced in Canada in 1972 for the Museum of Modern Art New York.

"Originally made in 1966 as a teaching tool for physics classes -
a single layer of 6000 1mm stainless steel ball bearings sandwiched between two acrylic slabs.
Crystallographic defects such as vacancies and planar discontinuities can be created.
Some spheres float at the top due to static charge."
There seems to have been a later Chinese remake by Areaware (see out of stock ref. on Amazon).

New keychain puzzle finds:

Kabaya Leaf Kun Cylinder, Pussy Germany Kreuzknoten, 2-piece Bull, 4-piece Penguin, Heart and Robot on All-Stars cards

May 2021


April 2021


March 2021

The Piano Box sequential discovery lite puzzle, by Jean Claude Constantin
OK but not great. The description is misleading - the keys do not move individually.
Don't overpay - I got a pretty good deal at Brilliant Puzzles.
With this example of the Tank keychain puzzle and original card by Peter Pan UK, I have completed my set of ten Peter Pan puzzles! Woot!

I got a subset of the Picnic Basket puzzles 3D printed from the Etsy shop of Akaki Kuumeri

I chose three-piece puzzles including Cake (pink, easy), Hamburger (brown, medium), and Subway (gray, hard). The baskets are optional so you can get just one. I really like these! Tricky but tractable, each one requires some thought and planning and might not at first seem solvable.

Box of Nails - originally by Professor Puzzle, rebranded by RecentToys.
Found on auction - may be discontinued.
This set includes five puzzles: Nail Biter, Nail Jail, S-Nail, The Last Nail in the Coffin, and Bed of Nails.

Wet Hair - Friendly Works
Extract a token.
Nicely made, colorful and cute.
Appropriately themed! I like it. But not really a sequential discovery puzzle
as they claim - more of a secret opening box.

Nuts - Metal Puzzles UK
Remove the nuts from the bolt.
Very nicely made and presented, if unoriginal.
Three vintage cardboard advertising tanglement puzzles:

Pilsbury Flour, Worcester Salt, and Van Houten's Cocoa

Cube Ball - by George Bell at PolyPuzzles
Form a cube from three 3D printed pieces.

Rosebud - designed by Stewart Coffin, 3D printed by George Bell at PolyPuzzles
The individual pieces can be dis- and re-assembled, making overall assembly much easier if desired.
On May 1, 1906, Benjamin Dorstrom of Rhode Island received US Patent number 819345
for a tanglement puzzle which came to be known as the Dorstrom Hub.
It comprises three rotating pieces held by a riveted hub, and a removable loop.

I am very happy to have found an original example, albeit missing the loop. Thanks, Dario!

One can see from the patent drawing that the vanes of the pieces are notched,
and they ride the hub axis along an S-shaped channel.
Those features allow the pieces to be offset from each other and maneuvered to free the loop.

I had earlier acquired an example of a related puzzle called the Tango Shoe, which is inscribed "PAT 1906."

At the 2018 IPP, Allard Walker used a recreation of the Dorstrom Hub as his exchange puzzle.
The reproduction, larger than the original and made from lasercut plywood rather than metal,
was envisioned by Michel van Ipenburg and executed by Robrecht Louage.

When I received my example of "Group Hex" it mistakenly included an extra BC rod
instead of the required ABC rod. Brass Monkey Steve very kindly and promptly sent me the missing part,
and then named an assembly that would utilize the extra BC rod after me - I am honored, probably...

Schachbox / Chessbox - Jean Claude Constantin (JCC) -
purchased from PuzzleMaster.ca
Maneuver the pawns within the maze on top, open the drawer.
Not difficult, but a nice looking imposing piece.

Treasure Chest Box - designed by Joseph Kovell - purchased from
and 3D printed for PuzzleMaster.ca
Inspired by the Legend of Zelda.

Oleo 10 and Bird 11 - designed by Yuu Asaka

5L Basket - designed by Koichi Miura, purchased from MINE
Fit 5 L-tricubes into the box.

I also received Chiral 2&2, and several tray packing puzzles from MINE, including:
Z1*8, Z2*5a, Five Fennec Foxes, 5 MONONOKE, and 6 AYAKASHI.

Two Lego puzzle boxes, Mouse House and GROWL Box - designed and made by Andrew Parr
Purchased from Andrew's Etsy shop LegoNerdPuzzles.
Neither are too difficult, but both are pleasant - they are sturdy and function reliably.

Edge Corner Cube Variation (green) and Non-Void Cube Variation (blue) -
both designed by Christoph Lohe,
3D printed by and purchased from Andrew Crowell
See Andrew's Etsy shop arcWood Puzzles.

Quoting Lohe from Andrew's page:

ECC Var - I was always fascinated by Markus Goetz' Edge-Corner Cube.
It looks like a simple 3x3x3 cube but the pieces connect cubies
not only side by side, but also through some edge and corner connections.
My take on Markus' idea has a slightly higher level 1.13
for the removal of the second piece than Markus' original (level 1.9).

NVC Var - Markus Goetz' ECC had motivated Andreas Roever to [create] his Non-Void Cube.
It requires more than one move for the first piece. How is a level higher than 1 possible,
if the 3x3x3 volume is completely filled? The magic is in the cubies' bevels!
The bevels create channels which are partly empty, so it is not just a simple 3x3x3 puzzle.
My take on Andreas' idea has a slightly higher level than Andreas' original.

You can see the originals to which Lohe refers on my pages here: Diagonally Joined Polycubes.

I found this keychain Penguin similar to the Kabaya Leaf Penguin, but having a loop on the head,
a sharp beak rather than the KL's rounded beak, and only four pieces. It arrived in a plastic gumball machine capsule.
I found my small 2-stack Kumiki Ship and took an updated photo of the fleet:

You can see each puzzle's details in my Kumiki section.

There were many more ship variants produced than I have managed to find - here is a group photo excerpted from a
1999 paper by Jerry Slocum and Rik van Grol entitled "Early Japanese Export Puzzles 1860s to 1960s" ...

Additional ship variants can be seen at the website of fellow Kumiki puzzle collector Frank Potts.

February 2021

The Pygmy and Marmoset Burrs from Two Brass Monkeys
Much smaller than the earlier Kong puzzle, but having the same
target shape and numbers of pieces, though each with different notchings.

I found an individual puzzle card for the
Kentucky Derby vintage keychain puzzle.

Longer Kumiki Cruiser - note the lack of side panels.

Here is a group shot of some kumiki ships:

Happiness Cubes - designed by Yukiyasu Sekoguchi, made by Alfons Eyckmans from Padauk.
Each cube is 6x6x6 and comprises six pieces.
The pieces are (with few exceptions) based on traditional burr pieces, augmented with additional cubies.
A book called Happiness Cube was published in 2006 (now out of print) showing 35 such designs.
Sekoguchi's website (defunct? Here is a Wayback Machine link Feb 2019 but missing images) showed 160 designs.
Alfons made three for me, including numbers 127, 135, and 151.2.
The burr pieces at the heart of each are:
127 { 58, 104, 926, 975, 1024x2 } - 1 solution 5.4.
135 { 736, 877, 940, 957, 1007, 1016 } - 2 solutions 3.2.
151.2 { 256 (with an extra notch), 704, 943, 960, 992, 1008 } - 61 solutions.
With the cube-filling add-ons to their pieces, the solution for each cube is unique.

Quite some time ago, I got a 3D print of Happiness Cube #20, from Richard Gain.

Tom Jolly has also designed "Cubed Burrs" - such as Cubed Burr II (2004) which I obtained in English Brown Oak.


Video game suggestion: Heal by Jesse Makkonen. $3.49 at Steam's Lunar New Year Sale until the 15th, also slightly cheaper at the Humble Store, and a few more cents off if you have a monthly subscription. Don't be put off by Steam's jarring sound effect in their demo video - that's not in the game - its soundtrack is much nicer. Basically a puzzle game with a touching storyline - I found only two of the puzzles to be a little troublesome, but both at least were original mechanics. Persistence paid off and I never felt frustrated enough to quit. I completed Heal in under two hours.

Turtle Trip - by Gerard Hudson
Available from time to time at Gerard's online shop Bayou Puzzles.
A "sequential discovery" (secret-opening box/disassembly) puzzle,
with various implements to discover and use along the way.
A cool use of electronics, which may bother some mechanical puzzle purists.
I finally solved my example. I only needed one, OK maybe two, real hints, and it was lots of fun!

Slide Swipe - designed by Haym Hirsh, made by Brian Menold at Wood Wonders, from Lacewood.
This example has a piece storage compartment on the bottom, accessed via a magnetic lid.
Fit different prescribed subsets of pieces (all flat polyominoes)
into a single 5x5 layer in the tray, through a centered 3x3 opening.

Somama - designed by Haym Hirsh, made by Brian Menold at Wood Wonders, from Macacauba.
Make a cube from the altered Soma pieces. Has a unique solution.
The pieces are made from units each of whose sides are one of two similar but different lengths.
Haym says: "Somaa (2018) is a Soma Cube where I tweaked the length of one
of the layers in each dimension by a small amount,
so I tweaked one of the letters in Soma to mirror that.
Somama tweaks more than one layer in each direction,
so I wanted a name that similarly reflected that.
With Somaa you still have cutting planes that extend through the entire the cube,
but for Somama that's no longer the case."

Lost Setko - designed by Calvin O. Brown
produced by Mike Desilets
Mike has lovingly created a faithful rendition
of the Setko puzzle that never was, complete with instruction card,
metal pegs, and an original vintage Setko box.
Thanks, Mike!
Mike wrote an article about the Lost Setko for the Puzzlemad blog.

17 Move Puzzle Box - from MediterraneanCarver on Etsy.
A bit rough, but functional.
Has several tricky moves.

Stacker - from Coremods
A compact, fidget-worthy implementation of a variant of the Towers of Hanoi -
a so-called "n-ary" type puzzle.
Using the short middle stack and the horizontal sliding shuttle piece,
transfer the graduated set of bearings from one long stack to the other,
always ending with the bearings in size order.
The receptacle at each level of a stack will only accomodate
a bearing of its own size or smaller.
Unlike as in the Hanoi puzzle, here you can temporarily
put a large bearing over a smaller and vice versa,
but that does not make Stacker a pushover!

Kumiki Cruiser - a classic vintage puzzle from Japan.

Burr Lock E - designed by Christoph Lohe,
produced by Andrew Crowell

Moai's Tomb - produced by Andrew Crowell

Hive Mind - by Alan Lunsford at layerbylayerpuzzles on Etsy.

Krinx Tiger - a vintage advertising giveaway

2x3x5 - a custom fully functional cuboid twisty, by MattStudiosPuzzles on Etsy.

Heart & Heart - an original tanglement by Noboru Hayashi
Entered in the 2020 IPP Design Competition.
A pair of cleverly entangled twisted nails.

Mobius Triangle Junior - an original tanglement by Noboru Hayashi
Entered in the 2020 IPP Design Competition.
A set of symmetric shape puzzles by Vladimir Krasnoukhov, produced by Recent Toys
and purchased from my friends at PuzzleMaster.

(I got the first three; YES was out of stock.)

The Chimera, Chichen Itza, Broken Twig, and YES

Most puzzles should be revisited rather than stay in a cabinet - I spent some quality time with my
Portrait de Michele - by Berrocal.
I love the intricate structure, and it's shiny!

January 2021

Happy New Year!


December 2020

3 Piece Burr Key-o - designed by Osanori Yamamoto
produced by Puzzlewood

Thanks Chelsea!

Kei Cube 1-1c, 1-4c, and 2-4c - designed by Hidekuni Tamura, produced by Puzzlewood

Thanks, Chelsea!

Combination Lock - STC #128 - designed by Stewart Coffin,
made by Nedeljko Woodworks

Stephenson's Rocket Bolt - a hard-to-find discontinued puzzle in the Professor Puzzle Great Minds series
Using the Internet Archive, I was able to locate a solution PDF for the Stephenson's Rocket Bolt puzzle.

Unsafe Deposit - a 3D-printed sequential discovery box,
designed and made by Alan Lunsford.

Box One - Neil Patrick Harris, Theory11

Thanks, Hon!

Aztec Ghost Tower - True Genius

Thanks, Hon!

Pair O' Dice - designed and 3D-printed
by Tye Stahly at NothingYetDesigns on Etsy.

Joy of Hex - by Two Brass Monkeys
in collaboration with Derek Bosch
I got the complete set.

Magical Pyramid Puzzle Series - MoYu
MoYu produced this set of six variations on the vertex/face-turning tetrahedron.

Three additional tetrahedral twisty puzzles: Coin Tetrahedron by QiYi, Duomo designed by Justin Eplett and produced by Qiyi, and Gemini Pyraminx by Lefun.

Hanayama Cast Love - designed by Scott Elliott

Another puzzle from Alexander Beresford (Dual Brain Games),
Queijinho - form a square slice of cheese from the pieces.

Thanks, Alex!

November 2020

Just in time for Holiday gift-giving, Creative Crafthouse has produced three puzzles by Alexander Beresford (also see Alex's site Dual Brain Games where he offers even more puzzles): two clever tray-packing puzzles Paulo's Enigma and Here Comes the Sun, and a fun tile-arranging (pattern) puzzle called The Elusive Spy including eight 1x2 tiles wherein one must position the Spy tile such that no arrow anywhere on the grid points to the Spy, each arrow points to at least one blank on the grid, and no arrow points to any other arrow anywhere on the grid (all diagonals included in both cases).

Thanks, Alex!

Ugly4 - a perplexing jigsaw puzzle from Jigsawholic

Turn Them In - pack four pieces in the box and screw closed the lid, designed by
Theo Geerinck and Symen Hovinga
I purchased a 3D printed instance using Treatstock

Impossible Cubes - a set of three 3D-printed interlocking 5x5x5 cubes,
from Benno de Grote

Angle Cube - from Andrew Crowell

Acorn 1 & 2 - from Andrew Crowell

DDD Burr Set - in brass, selection by Darryl Adams,
burrs machined by Bryan Turner, produced by and purchased from CubicDissection

Bryan has machined a set of all 59 notchable pieces and posted a photo I really like
where they are arranged as in my burr piece tables:

Reversible Maze Large - designed by Masumi Ohno, from CubicDissection

Maze in a Sphere - Japan
I now have the Sphere, Pyramid, and Cube. Happy happy joy joy.

A J Curvy Dino Megaminx - designed by AJ Lu, produced by Mf8
Purchased from Cubezz

Hanayama - Chris Ramsay - 1st.shop

Mondrian Blocks - red set - mondrianblocks.com
Manufacturer: Smart Egg Production & Licensing

Nothing to do with this puzzle, but check out the Mondrian Puzzle on the YouTube channel Numberphile

The Language Lover's Puzzle Book - Alex Bellos


Butterfly Box - Kagen Sound

Escape The Room: The Cursed Dollhouse - Thinkfun

The Antikythera Tablets - Martin Raynsford

Gelo 1288 - designed by Oleg Smolyakov, made by Nedeljko Woodworks

Inelegant Fake - designed by Haym Hirsh, made by Brian Menold

Wedlock - designed by Laszlo Molnar, made by Brian Menold

7 layer Mastermorphix - Shengshou

Her Key to the Treasure - LockPuzzle

I finally solved my Lockpick 2 by Montes
Some keychain puzzle finds:

Helicopter on original card - Lido, Old Fashioned Car on original card - Lional, Alarm Clock - Japan, Mini Robot in capsule, 2 piece Bull, translucent trio - Japan

October 2020

At long last, I received a Codex Silenda by Brady Whitney.

From the time of my backing the original Kickstarter campaign in August 2016 to the delivery on October 13th 2020, it has been over four years. Brady had in excess of 2500 backers and I was number 177. Brady had kept up a good stream of communication - we had many updates and I knew of other backers receiving theirs, so I admit I have been miffed about having to wait so long, given my relatively early subscription. I must say I have to applaud Brady for persevering in order to fulfill the original orders despite seemingly unceasing tribulations (some self-inflicted as with many naive enterpreneurs learning things the hard way), in definite contrast to other campaigns that simply take one's money and disappear (but then that is among the risks of Kickstarter campaigns and you have no business subscribing to any unless you can come to grips with that up front).

Was the Codex worth the wait?

If you're still awaiting or have not yet solved yours, I suggest you skip reading the below so you may form your own opinion without spoilers.

The basic Codex consists of five 1.25" thick pages made of laser-cut plywood, each containing a different integral puzzle which must be solved in order to unlock the ability to turn to the next page, culminating with a secret panel engraved with mirror writing characteristic of Da Vinci (shown above with its more easily legible reflection). It's a great concept, and Brady's visual design for the Codex is eye-catching and attention-getting - the Codex actually featured in an episode of the U.S. television crime drama "NCIS New Orleans." The appeal speaks for itself - Brady's travails and delays with the original campaign stem in large part from attracting an unexpected number of subscribers. The design was even cloned in Asia! It's proven popular enough that Brady set up a successful follow-up campaign - but he has learned from some of his past mistakes and is now charging more for the product.

I selected the option of two additional pages. The resulting Codex is quite substantial and bulky, but the pages are "bound" together robustly and I never worried that they would break apart. The Codex comes with a faux antiqued sheet that introduces a storyline about Leonardo Da Vinci's apprentice (you) who decides to investigate Leonardo's secret Codex Silenda puzzle book. Each new page of the book reveals more of the storyline, recapping and confirming the solution steps so far. This is fortunate because (a) often I was able to solve a page by a method other than the intended one, and (b) the book is decorated with many puzzling symbols that by rights should play a part in the ultimate solution, but the availability of shortcuts eliminates the need to understand anything about the symbols, so later reading about them at least provides some appreciation for what was intended by their inclusion.
Overall, the Codex seems well made and functions well enough - there were no broken puzzles in the copy I received, and nothing hung up beyond a bit of friction that could be overcome without undue force. The book does have various small scuffs and chips, but nothing that is out of keeping with the "distressed" antique aesthetic. Others have reported that a puzzle or two were "solved" in transit and also that over time some glue joints fail or wooden panels warp.

As a veteran mechanical puzzle collector and solver, I find it difficult to offer a "review" of the Codex. Clearly Brady has put thought into his design, but the puzzles here violate some of the accepted principles of what makes a good mechanical puzzle - perhaps the puzzles are appropriate for the broader non-enthusiast community that Brady probably had in mind. For example, one such principle is that no outside tools should be required beyond what is given with or can be discovered within the puzzle itself - yet the very first challenge here requires an outside tool - albeit you are obliquely hinted this via the instructions. Nevertheless, I found that disappointing. My other chief complaint relates to the "shortcuts" I spoke of earlier - several page mechanisms required no real technique beyond simple lock-picking - there were missed opportunities to include substantially better puzzles at almost every turn.

In the end, I have mixed feelings about the Codex. The long wait has been frustrating. But, Brady gave backers plenty of chances to get a refund along the way - it was my choice to stick it out. The imposing elaborate-seeming puzzle I waited so long to receive I solved pretty rapidly due to the shortcut-admitting mechanism designs. You can see Chris Ramsay attack a copy in his usual style on YouTube - Chris concludes by almost apologizing for his inability to comprehend and make use of the symbols. Really though, a mechanical puzzle that so easily allows circumvention of its intent is just plain badly designed.
I am happy I finally got my copy but I am feeling underwhelmed. As petty as it may seem, Brady's rationale of order fulfillment eludes me completely and I know it left a bad taste in the mouths of other puzzlers as well. I did have some fun moving through the pages and admiring their visual design. Yet I will always prefer a well-designed mechanical puzzle over a pretty prop.

The Kong Puzzle has arrived!
"Four pounds of metal mayhem" - an interlocking burr with cylindrical brass pieces,
from The Kong Puzzle Kickstarter campaign, by Two Brass Monkeys.
Packed in its own aluminum briefcase.

Quite proud of having solved Coles' Lock Out on my own.
A very pleasing trick I had not seen before.

Vintage Kumiki Aeroplane - Japan

A pair of deceptively look-alike custom-3D-printed twisty puzzles:
an Edges-Only Trajber's Octahedron, and a Rainbow Octahedron -
designed and made by Kevin and Jenna Uhrik.
I had wanted examples of these two puzzles for a while,
and asked Kevin to design "twins" for me - he iterated over the last few months
and in the end produced this beautiful and satisfying pair.
They have inlaid tiles, and turn very well.
Kevin posted a video of the puzzles. They have worn in nicely and turning is much less "scratchy" than it sounds in the video.

The Rainbow Octahedron (on the right) is so-named because in the past it was made by building up a Rainbow Cube,
which used to be common but is now fairly rare in its own right.
The Rainbow Octahedron seems to have been invented by Jürgen Brandt circa 2003.
In 2008 Geert Hellings had the idea for extensions that could be glued on to Rainbow Cube faces - I remember saving the STLs in the hopes of someday printing them myself so I could make a Rainbow Octahedron - but in the end getting this nice puzzle from Kevin proved easier.
The Rainbow Octahedron is face-turning and is very easy to solve without algorithms.
An inexpensive version has been mass produced and is called the Fangshi Limcube 2x2 Transform Pyraminx BaMianTi II - Octahedron II.

The EO Trajber's is vertex-turning and solves like a 3x3x3 but can end up in parity states.
Super-center algorithms may be needed to resolve the parity and are needed for corners on the full Trajber's Octa.
An EO Trajber's was made by John Lin in 2008 and this was my inspiration.
In 2009 Tom van der Zanden made a true Edges-Only variant he calls the Dino Octahedron,
hiding the centers.
I have a similar true Edges-Only example, the Jewel Octahedron by Evgeniy Grigoriev (Grigorusha), which I picked up in June 2018.
Evgeniy modeled his JO after an Alexander's Star, but it is isomorphic to Tom's version.

In 2009 Tom also created a "holey" Trajber's.
In 2012 David Pitcher created the Octadot, which is also equivalent to a Trajber's.
Evgeniy offers both a mini Holey Trajber's / Void Octahedron, and Pitcher's Octadot.

Witeden makes their Octahedral Mix-up II, which looks like a Trajber's. I've seen videos and reviews saying it turns poorly and pops.
Along with the II, the I Plus, III, IV, and Mike Armbrust Octahedral Mixups are also shown below, for reference.
I don't have these.

I have a Witeden Octahedral Mixup I shown below, but it is more like the traditional 3x3x3 octahedron shapemod.

Below is a Trajber's Octahedron family shot including a hand-made (cast, not 3D-printed) Trajber's Octahedron (right foreground) made for me several years ago by David Calzone of the Twisty Forums, and the Pyraminx Diamond (left background) (aka Rob's Octahedron) designed by Oskar van Deventer and issued by Meffert - which is a Corners-Only Trajber's Octahedron.

Note that, while the Edges-Only form can have faces as with Kevin's (Lin's) version shown here, or can omit the faces as in Evgeniy's Jewel Octahedron or Tom's Dino Octahedron, the Corners-Only form - the Pyraminx Diamond / Rob's Octahedron - needs the faces, which permute during vertex turns, otherwise the puzzle becomes a trivial set of six turning but non-permuting vertices.

Master (Magic) Octahedron - by Kevin and Jenna Uhrik.
I had obtained a Master Octa in a trade with Kevin some time ago, and since then he has refined his design, so he sent me an updated puzzle which is very stable and turns and looks great.
Thanks, Kevin!

Here is a comparison of Kevin's Order-4 vertex-turning Master (Magic) Octahedron (left), with Timur Evbatyrov's Order-3 face-turning Master FTO (Face-Turning Octahedron) of 2010/2011.

And below is a family shot of the original Magic Octahedron (left foreground) and FTO (right foreground) with their higher-order siblings.

7 Segment Pyraminx (pillowed Halpern-Meier Tetrahedron) and Qiyi Clover Pyraminx - both mass produced, purchased from HKNOWStore.
The Clover Pyraminx is a flat-sided version of the custom 3D-printed Reuleaux Leaf Tetrahedron I had previously purchased from Kevin Uhrik.

September 2020

Convolution Cousin - designed by Stewart Coffin,
made by and purchased from Nedeljko Woodworks.

Lock Out - by Andrew Coles.

Magic Puzzles Jigsaw set - obtained via the Magic Puzzle Company Kickstarter.

Expansion (New) - by the Karakuri Creation Group.

Rainbow Road - a Lego puzzle box designed by cheat3.
See a full assembly tutorial video.
Surprisingly, you can still have fun solving even after building the box yourself!
I purchased mine as a kit of pieces from Vonado but honestly I cannot recommend them -
the pieces are not true Lego, and because of this tolerances are poor and
some pieces don't function correctly without hand-modification of them and/or the build.
That said, they are much cheaper than Lego, and I did get the puzzle to function with some changes.

Make Anything Mystery Puzzle Box - designed by Devin Montes,
made by and purchased on sale from the Etsy shop PrintsAndPlastics.
Reminds me of a camera.
Has conflicting reviews but I was pleasantly surprised.
Ran into a wall but after an A-Ha moment was able to solve fairly quickly.
Had to follow my own advice: Observe and Reflect.
Not overly difficult in the end, but employs some clever mechanics I had not encountered before.

Pyradox - by George Bell.
A nice set of challenges using five planar pieces and three boards.
George's exchange gift at IPP38 San Diego.
The roof shapes kicked my butt!

Sapphire - in the Priceless Puzzles Series by Coremods.


Video game recommendation for early September 2020: the Indie Gems Bundle 2 at Fanatical includes several great games for only $2.49, such as the multiple award winning Old Man's Journey - I enjoyed this playthrough - a touching story with some imaginative sequences and some novel mechanics. Kelvin and the Infamous Machine, Wrongworld, and Lethe: Episode One are also among the eight games included and are all rated "Very Positive" on Steam.

If you'd prefer DRM-free games, GOG currently has The First Tree on sale for $2.99. It is more of an emotional story than a game, but the graphics and movement are both very nice. For a little more money at $6.49, check out The Darkside Detective, a smart and satirical supernatural mystery using well-done pixel graphics. I can't wait for its sequel, featuring the ghost of Nikola Tesla!


TripleTIC, NeuroTIC, and TriadTIC - designed by, made by, and
purchased from Andrew Crowell.
A trio of Andrew's three-piece turning interlocking cube (TIC) puzzles.
(I also have TriumvariTIC and ThreeTIC in wood made by Brian Menold.)
Of these three 3D printed puzzles, NeuroTIC is my favorite.
You can reason backwards about the necessary maneuvers.
Shipped unsolved.

Cop Out 1, 2, and 3 - designed and 3D printed by Alan Lunsford.
In each puzzle, navigate the "copper" from behind its little window
out of the box via a slot in the side of the box, using the sliders and tilting.
Purchased on an auction site at a fairly inflated price from another
collector, because I am impatient.
See a review at Ken Irvine's blog Zen Puzzler.
A video review by Puzzling Time, on YouTube.

August 2020

Video game recommendation for this month: Gorogoa, available DRM-free for download at GOG for $7.49, less than $1.50 above its historic low price.
I thoroughly enjoyed Gorogoa - it offers a unique, almost magical, mode of gameplay and puzzle solving.

A couple of Kickstarter campaigns that may be of interest:


Edge Cube - designed by, made by, and purchased from Andrew Crowell
in his "ARCparent Cube Series"
A restricted-opening sequential packing puzzle, similar to Osanori Yamamoto's designs -
one must fill the opening - but Crowell of course requires rotations!

X-Box Cube - designed by Dave Pitcher, made by Chewie's Custom Puzzles
A variant of the vertex-turning Dino Cube, where corners are prominent but as usual do not permute.
Simple but I like it.

Proper Dino Dodecahedron - designed by Vladi Delimollov, made by Chewie's Custom Puzzles

N-Closed - designed by Haym Hirsh, made by Brian Menold
from Marblewood and Wenge for the frame, and other exotic woods for the pieces.

Haym has this to say about the origins of this puzzle:
"... N-Closed ... was designed as a tip of the hat to Rob Stegmann, of Rob's Puzzle Page. It's not really a tip of the hat if I'm the only one who knows it, and since it's not mentioned in the puzzle description I figured this was a good venue [the Puzzle Friends Facebook group and the Mechanical Puzzles Discord] to get out the word. 15-20 years ago Rob designed a series of 5 puzzles called Two-Ns Cubes, each of them made from pieces that were two N-tetracubes glued together. They were intended as a reminder that his name has two Ns. Each puzzle used 8 pieces with a goal of making a 4x4x4 cube. Not long ago I realized that if you took just 6 of the pieces some combinations make a 4x4x3 block. So I messed around with them for a while and N-Closed is the product. [It uses] two copies of pieces 7, 30, and the mirror version of 0 from his catalog of Two-N pieces. Along the way the puzzle gained a frame. And lost the two Ns in the name (for a rather embarrassing reason - I had not made the connection between the Two-Ns and his name, I was just playing around with some puzzle pieces that Rob had dreamed up)."

Haym's cage forces an interesting sequential assembly, and Brian has crafted a beautiful puzzle object.

Jabs - designed by Ken Irvine, made by Brian Menold
Ken split the Soma tricube piece into six half cubes distributed among the remaining six pieces.
I found this clever design a bit easier than Ken's Broken Soma.
(I wonder - could "Jabs" be an acronym for "Just another broken soma?")

TriumviraTIC - another three piece turning interlocking cube (TIC) designed by Andrew Crowell, made by Brian Menold
I love how Andrew can create a challenge using only three pieces!
It is very easy to visualize where the pieces must go in the completed puzzle,
but maneuvering them into position is non-trivial!
I did manage to assemble TriumviraTIC from scratch, but ThreeTIC still has me stumped.

Opposite 1 & 2 - designed by Alexander Magyarics, made by Brian Menold
Two sets of three pieces, each set in a different wood type.
Use each set individually to pack the box such that all its external openings are filled.
Each puzzle has a unique solution and in both cases getting the last piece in takes nine moves!

Icosamate - by Mf8
Also known as the Mf8 Icosahedron V4.
A mass-produced version of the order-1 vertex-turning icosahedron.
Originally made by Jason Smith back in 2010.
This puzzle fills an important slot in my twisty zoo, so I couldn't resist,
and ordered the pearl-colored limited edition rather than wait for a black version.
Turning seems fine to me.
I need to decide on a stickering arrangement.

Free Me 8 - by Joe Turner
Comes with a warning that the small lizards are decorative only and don't move.
Well then, what does that imply about the larger lizards?


May be of interest (informational only - no endorsements necessarily implied - I have not personally used all of these):

July 2020

Game recommendation: Discolored by Jason Godbey. I managed to finish it with a hint or two, and even re-played to find additional Easter eggs (achievements).


Ansel - a secret opening puzzle "box" by Brandon Wolf at Puzzled Wolf.
Modeled loosely on the camera of the famous photographer Ansel Adams.

RIPtide - a 6-plate burr requiring rotations
designed by Andrew Crowell,
made by Brian Menold

Reuleaux Leaf Tetrahedron and Leaf Octahedron - designed and 3D printed by Kevin and Jenna Uhrik
See their Etsy shop The Puzzle Artists.

Wish You Were Here - five postcards laden with codes and riddles
by Khiara Foss and Logan Giannini at The Enigma Emporium.

Cube Maze - a vintage puzzle by Pantheon - Japan

PackTIC #2 - by Andrew Crowell
Check Andrew's Etsy shop arcWoodPuzzles.

PackTIC #3 - by Andrew Crowell
I was able to assemble this one without hints.
You may be tempted to force a piece but it is NOT NECESSARY!
Check Andrew's Etsy shop arcWoodPuzzles.

Corner Cube - by Andrew Crowell
Sequentially pack the pieces into the box
through the restricted opening (which is a weird size)
such that the open corner will be filled.
Of course rotations will be required!
Check Andrew's Etsy shop arcWoodPuzzles.

Rotothorpe - by Andrew Crowell
Check Andrew's Etsy shop arcWoodPuzzles.

Squary Pack 6 (2x2 sized tiles) and Squary Pack 3 (2x3 sized tiles) - by Yavuz Demirhan
Sequentially pack/slide the four 2-layer pieces into the tray through the restricted opening.
A nice novel mechanism by Yavuz.
Check Yavuz' Etsy shop Cubozone.

Victorian Trade Cards: Historical Reference & Value Guide - by Dave Cheadle
ISBN-10: 0891457062

Kamelle Box - designed by Christoph Lohe, made by Brian Menold March 2018
Sequentially pack the three pieces into the 2x3x3 box through the restricted opening.
The bottom is acrylic and has a useful opening.

Soma Tube - designed by Laszlo Molnar, made by Brian Menold, purchased at RPP in 2018
Sequentially pack the Soma pieces into the Kingwood box through the restricted opening.
The box contains one fixed cubie.

Caramel Box - designed by Yasuhiro Hashimoto and MINE Uyematsu 2013-2014
Pack either the three lighter colored pieces or the three darker colored pieces into the box.
A very nice puzzle with a unique 2x3x3 metal container having one unit baffle.
This puzzle was among the top ten vote-getters
in the 2014 IPP34 London Design Competition.

4L Basket - designed by Koichi Miura, purchased from MINE
Pack the four identical pieces into the box through the restricted opening.
This puzzle won the Puzzler's Award/Jury First Prize
in the 2019 IPP39 Kanazawa Design Competition.

5L Box - designed by Hajime Katsumoto, purchased from MINE
(Mineyuki Uyematsu)
Pack the five identical pieces into the box through the restricted opening,
and close the lid completely.
This puzzle won Jury First Prize
in the 2018 IPP38 San Diego Design Competition.

Packing Puzzle 4P, Problems 1 & 2 - designed by Hajime Katsumoto 2017, purchased from MINE
Pack the four identical flat acrylic P pentomino pieces into the box
through the restricted openings, then flip the frame over
and do the same on the other side.

Legal Packing - designed by Koichi Miura, purchased from MINE
Exchanged at IPP39 by Ryuhei Uehara.
Pack the six acrylic pieces into the tray through the restricted opening with no force.
The pictured packing is illegal because it uses force.

Pocket - designed by Koichi Miura and Mineyuki Uyematsu, purchased from MINE
Separately pack each set of four acrylic pieces into the tray through the restricted opening.

Tetra Spinner - designed by Yasuhiro Hashimoto and Mineyuki Uyematsu, purchased from MINE
Pack the five acrylic tetromino pieces into the frame through the restricted opening.
The white frame is free to move about between the clear plates trapped only by the central pillar.
Keychain puzzle finds:

Monkey King (green elf), two different versions of the Monster Kun kid, a complete example of the Japanese Jumbo Jet, a Mole Tank, an Invisible Flying Submarine, a pair of Robot 2 puzzles with 1-piece heads, and a Walkie Talkie.

June 2020

Video game recommendation for this month - without a doubt has to be itch.io's Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality - you get 1000 items (some video games, some tabletop game rules, etc.) for a minimum donation of $5. All proceeds will be donated to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Community Bail Fund split 50/50. They've raised almost $5 million so far. As of this posting on June 10th you have 5 days left to participate. A slew of great games are included, as both PC or Mac (even sometimes Linux) direct downloads. For example, Night in the Woods, the winner of IGN's 2017 Best Adventure Game of the Year award. Others you might like: Overland, A Short Hike, A Mortician's Tale, Walden: A Game, Minit, 2064: Read Only Memories, Islands: Non-Places, Milkmaid of the Milky Way, Vignettes, Sagebrush, The Fall of Lazarus, Quadrilateral Cowboy, The White Door, The Stillness of the Wind, GNOG, Astrologaster, A Normal Lost Phone, Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story, Dreaming Sarah, The Search, Windosill, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, The Novelist, All You Can Eat, Oxenfree, J.U.L.I.A. Among the Stars - you get the idea, and that's only highlights from less than half the 51 pages of listings!


Puzzle Sculpture - a book by Rocky Chiaro, documenting his wonderful array of hand-made brass puzzles, beginning with Perplexity made in 1950.
I am fortunate to own several of Rocky's beautiful puzzles, including a Perplexity. Thanks again, Rocky!!
Puzzlist Aaron Siegel has created several wonderful resources for the mechanical puzzle community, including Puzzlecad - An OpenSCAD library for interlocking puzzles, the Printable Puzzle Project, the Starter Burr Set, and the Extensible Burr Set.

I received this 3D printed set of 24 pieces (Starter + Expansion):

Aaron also kindly printed a special set of pieces to construct Rob's Burr No. 1. The puzzle has one Level-3 solution and two Level-9 solutions. Aaron has devised a coloring scheme such that in one Level-9 solution each pair of like-colored pieces are parallel, in the other Level-9 solution one pair of colors are swapped, and in the Level-3 solution a different pair is swapped.

Thanks, Aaron!


In Keychain Puzzle news, I obtained an example of a very rare puzzle Poodle, from Poland:


May 2020

a-maze-ing - a vintage hybrid edge-matching / Greco-Latin Square puzzle, copyright 1975 by H. A. Peterson.
Arrange the 16 tiles in a 4x4 grid, first such that the paths match at tile edges, then such that no central shape is repeated in any row, column, or main diagonal, then such that every row, column, and main diagonal contains ten dots, and finally satisfy all constraints simultaneously. If you want to try it yourself, print the solution and cut it into 16 tiles and mix them up. I am pretty sure most folks won't remember the solution offhand! (Right-clicking on an image and opening it in a new tab shows it at enhanced resolution in most cases.)

Grooved Three Piece Burr - designed by Kouki Kusumi, made by Eric Fuller from Leopardwood.

ThreeTIC - designed by Andrew Crowell, made by Brian Menold
A 3 piece TIC - 18 moves with 5 rotations
Here is one of Crowell's takes on the six piece board burr -
this one is called RIPley and in usual Crowell fashion, requires rotations!

Made by Brian Menold from curly maple with paduak splines.

Son of Esker - the sequel to Doctor Esker's Notebook - designed by David Dobson
from Plankton Games
I liked this one better than the first, possibly because I am now more accustomed to the style.

A simple two-piece Owl Keychain "puzzle" - I found one in brown.

Some video adventure game recommendations:

What have I been playing, you ask? I just finished Sagebrush, a lo-rez but stylish game about survivor's guilt after a cult mass suicide. Not subject matter for the faint of heart, but not a horror game. And I have been playing Heaven's Vault, about an archaeologist / xenolinguist on an interplanetary quest to track down a missing scholar and to unravel the mystery of her universe's fate.

Phoenix Family Burr Set - designed by Jack Krijnen and Alfons Eyckmans and hand made by Jack Krijnen
from Zebrano, birch and amouk for the pieces, with Mahogany, hornbeam, and cedar for the box.
45 pieces can be assembled into at least 12 different but related high-level "traditional" 18-piece burrs,
including Supernova, Excelsior, Barones, Burrly Sane for Extreme Puzzlers, and Tiros.

Orion Box - designed by, made by, and purchased from Patrick on Etsy at InfiniteLoopGames.
Not too difficult, but a decent value.

Dodec Puzzle - designed by, made by, and purchased from Simon on Etsy at SimonDSolidGeometry.
A 3-dimensional edge-matching puzzle in the form of a hollow dodecahedron.
Somewhat difficult to disassemble but comes with two wedges to help.

Calibron 12 Block Puzzle - made by and purchased from Pyrigan.
Another example of the vintage Calibron puzzle designed by Theodore Edison.
The vintage originals were distributed in three different batches distinguished by
the particular spacer used to pack the pieces in the box for storage.
This acrylic version includes all three different spacers so you have the added
challenge of finding the three different rectangular storage packings.

Euklid for Kids - designed by Dr. Volker Latussek, made by Pelikan.
Fit the three pieces into the restricted-opening box.
How hard could it be?

Rota # - designed by Lucie Pauwels, made by Pelikan.
Keychain puzzle finds:

including an example of the Sailboat issued by Kabaya Leaf of Japan, and a Ganesha puzzle in the Patchy Man series.

April 2020

Fraternal Twins - designed by George Sicherman and made by Brian Menold,
from Spalted Alder and Benji.
Assemble the two identical pieces such that they form a shape having mirror symmetry.

Unstable Eggs - Series 2 - designed and 3D printed by Coremods

Wishing Well - designed by Alexander Magyarics and made by Pelikan from Mahogany, Wenge, and Maple.
Fit the three pieces within the 3x3x3 cube under the 'timber' (the T-shaped captured moving obstacle) such that
the timber ends up pushed back and horizontally centered as shown
(it has a cubie that protrudes down into the 3x3x3 space).
The 3x3x3 space need not be completely filled. Moves: 21 (7.6.8)

Pincers - designed by Alexander Magyarics and made by Pelikan from Cherry and Ovangkol.
Fit the three pieces below the top layer. There is only one solution and the disassembly level is 9.4.3.

Feed the Monkey - designed and made by TwoBrassMonkeys
Get the monkey to swallow all the bananas including the last long one.

Buddy Blocks - a vintage "Magnetic Block Puzzle" copyrighted by Norstar Toys Inc. in 1970.
Abut the four blocks in a 2x2 square such that no repulsion occurs.
Keychain puzzle finds:

Motorcyclist issued by Bell UK, and an example of the mini version of the Good Luck Horseshoe with Horsehead - shown in comparison to the normal larger version.

Almost There - designed by Goh Pit Khiam, issued at IPP35 in Ottawa.
Fit the pieces in the tray.

Heat Wave - designed by Goh Pit Khiam, issued at IPP35 in Ottawa.
Fit the pieces in the tray, through the restricted opening.

H Slider - designed and made by Diniar Namdarian, issued at IPP35 in Ottawa.
Exchange the digit pieces from arrows-in to arrows-out.

Irresistable - designed and made by Jürgen Reiche, issued at IPP35 in Ottawa.
Assemble the pieces so that the two halves display identical patterns.

Slide X - designed by Yasuhiro Hashimoto, issued at IPP35 in Ottawa.
Slide the pieces so the gap changes from a plus to a T.

March 2020

More puzzles...

Venus 4 - designed and made by Alfons Eyckmans.
I've managed a partial disassembly - shown in the background is
an original Venus also from Alfons.

Lockpick Puzzle 2 - designed by Devin Montes.
An internal maze.
Montes posted the files on MyMiniFactory - number 2 in a series of 10.
3D printed by and a gift from Brett Kuehner - thanks!

Bootlegger - a vintage plate metal tanglement puzzle,
patented in the U.S. in 1924 by Preuss, No. 1519702.
But also see the earlier US295665 - Mount 1884.

9-Square Edge-Matching Puzzle - nine wooden tiles with enamel pips - unknown provenance
I don't have this - an auction seller offered it as perhaps issued by Naef,
but I was skeptical of the rough quality of the wooden tiles.
Nonetheless, a cut-up printout allowed me to try the puzzle - here is the solution.
If you recognize this puzzle, please let me know!

Interlock - a vintage puzzle from Crestline
No year on the box.
This is a large example of the Yamato Block set of pieces { 1, 188, 824/975, 2x 1024 }.

Heartbreaker - issued by Norstar, 1970
A vintage plastic 3D assembly puzzle in the venerable "wavy cuts" family.
New keychain puzzle finds...

including: Pig (with rectangular ears), Race Car from Japan, Small blue Bibendum, Comet Tank from Japan


Well, 2020 is not off to a great start, as the world deals with the current pandemic and its social and economic fallout. I wish all my readers a safe transit through these trying times! Some of us may end up in quarantine (happily not in effect in my location at this time, though we are practicing social distancing) and benefit from a puzzling pasttime. Like me, you may be a puzzler who enjoys not only mechanical puzzles but puzzle-oriented video games as well. I like Adventure games in particular - including "walking simulators" but also some games that are more puzzly rather than explorationy or storytellingy- although I find the perfect blend of the three especially appealing. I do not care for horror or fighting games, though there will be standouts in any genre, and I don't much relish platformers that force you to repeat sequences over and over in the hopes of finally getting them right. Going forwards, I will recommend games here for my readers who share similar interests. While some may prefer to patronize only sites (such as GOG, or itch.io) from which one can purchase DRM-free games, I don't mind buying on the Steam platform. This is not an endorsement of any particular platform however, just games I've enjoyed. You can often find a game on multiple platforms, and should buy from your favorite. Also, I do not intend to endorse any particular viewpoint or sociological messages that might be embedded in a game, or espoused by its authors. Your mileage may vary.

That said, this month I'd like to draw your attention to the game Krystopia by Antler Interactive released on Steam in October 2019. As of this writing it is on sale for $1 and at that price I think it is a tremendous bargain - I enjoyed playing it through. And that is saying something, because I collect video games, too (I have well over 1000) but rarely finish a game, setting it aside as soon as it starts to become tedious to me. I hope some of you enjoy this game like I did!

Bonus recommendation: La Rana - Free!

On another note - have any of you heard of The Golden Owl? I hadn't before.
On to physical puzzles...

Reticulated Cubes - designed by Lee Sallows, made by Eric Fuller
from a variety of exotic woods including Black Limba, Walnut, Mahogany, Leopardwood, Wenge, Spalted Tamarind, Canarywood, Quilted Maple, Padauk, and Red Grandis (the box).
A very nice execution of Sallows' puzzle - subsets of the nine pieces (three each of 8, 9, and 10 cubies) can be combined three at a time to form solid 3x3x3 cubes. Arrange the pieces in the 3x3 grid in the box so that every row, column, and main diagonal of three pieces can make a 3x3x3 cube.
Sallows wrote a book about this puzzle called Geometric Magic Squares, published in 2013 by Dover.
Eric has crafted a beautiful conversation piece here, and I enjoyed the logical process of solving this one.

Blinded II - a puzzle box designed and made by Dee Dixon

Stable Boy - designed by George Sicherman, made by Brian Menold
An anti-slide puzzle - arrange the five pieces in the tray such that none can move.
(I found a "solution" using only four of the pieces.)
Purchased from Brian at this year's New York Puzzle Party (NYPP 2020) in February.
George and Brian both attended and met in person there for the first time.

Hanayama Snow - designed by Kyoo Wong - Level 2

Doctor Esker's Notebook - designed by David Dobson
from Plankton Games
Some new twisty puzzles:

LimCube BaMianTi I - a mass-produced implementation of the Lolo's Octahedron, LimCube BaMianTi II - a mass-produced implementation of the Rainbow Octahedron, Spinzillion - like the classic Ten Billion Barrel, TrueChallenge - a dihedral puzzle where one must match the magnetic segments, and Jewel Tetrahedron - an edges-only Pryaminx custom 3D-printed by Grigorusha.

I have added some new photos of my example of the Boomdas puzzle.

Keychain puzzle finds:

Very pleased to have obtained this rare Heart puzzle with heart-shaped card issued by Peter Pan UK!

Several examples of each of two different-sized bell puzzles - the larger version from Pussycat of Germany, the smaller version from Kabaya-Leaf of Japan.

"Coin Box" puzzle from Japan


February 2020



January 2020

Wishing all my puzzle friends and site visitors good fortune in this new decade!
(Or is it the last year of the old decade? No matter - it feels like a new decade!)

Ring Case - a sequential-discovery secret opening box by Junichi Yananose at Pluredro

Loopy L Cube 1 - Pluredro
A trio of new puzzles from Brainwright:

Interlox, Twinspin, Bananacus - Brainwright
Thanks, Alison!

Unstable Eggs series 1 - Coremods
A pair of new small puzzle boxes from Eric Fuller at CubicDissection:

Nope Box (No. 3), Paradox Box (No. 4) - Fuller

A pair of Sherlock Holmes-themed puzzles issued by Professor Puzzle:

The Case of the Smoking Pipe, The Case of the Priceless Coin - Professor Puzzle
The Smoking Pipe contains a set of matchstick puzzles and a pipe - remove the ash from the pipe without touching either.
The Priceless Coin is a hidden maze - navigate the coin disk in and out.

Arokah - Steve Brazier
Use subsets of the (one-sided) tiles to cover a series of graduated challenge shapes.
I found a review of Arokah on YouTube

Lock'd In - IPP39 exchange puzzle from Bryan Turner


Funlock - from Boaz Feldman's Etsy shop Puzzlocks
A one-trick lock, and if you have DanLock,
you've seen this trick. Nice for beginners.

B-Lock II - Boaz Feldman
May be available at his Etsy shop Puzzlocks
Speaking of locks, I solved my
Titan's Treasure lock,
not without hints, pain, and anguish.

Titan's Treasure Lock solved.


Two clever tray-packing puzzles -
purchased from my friends at PuzzleMaster.ca:

Wave 5 - designed by Yuu Asaka

Ice 9 - designed by Yuu Asaka

Two recent releases made by Brian Menold at Wood Wonders,
a pair of turning interlocking cubes (TICs) by Andrew Crowell -
PedanTIC and FantasTIC:

So many TICs, so little time - these were still in their packaging -
Andrew has created some 50 designs so far and it is hard to keep pace!

Four recent releases from Pelikan, including three designs by Osanori Yamamoto and one by Volker Latussek:

Belt Cube 3 (I got the version with a Purpleheart cage) - Yamamoto

W Windows - Yamamoto

Tulip 1 - Yamamoto

Euklid - designed by Volker Latussek
Note that the photo of the packed puzzle is not a solution - the pieces must not stand proud of the box.

Dominola - created by Eric Everett ca. 1930's, issued by Traydac
A set 28 of standard dominoes and a two-challenge board.
See a nice writeup of Dominola by Mike Desilets at Kevin Sadler's blog
Check my section on Domino Puzzles for some additional types I have collected.

Hanayama Cast Rotor - Designed by Kyoo Wong. Level 6 (very difficult)

Inside 3 Legend - The Castle - one in a series of 2-layer hand-held
rolling-ball mazes having different themes -
I received three including The Castle, The Ninja, and The Crypts.
They were available via a Kickstarter-like campaign at the French site Ulele.
New releases from Mefferts:

50th Anniversary Crystal Pyraminx, Tony Fisher's Golden Dodecahedron


Some recent vintage keychain puzzle finds:

Shinkansen (Bullet Train), Kabaya Leaf Sailboat, Kabaya Leaf Kun Cross Burr, Atomic Bomber store card, Countach


December 2019



November 2019



October 2019

Playing catch-up again - I skipped the September update, but if you look below, you'll see some August info.

Some old and new puzzles I have been playing with recently.


CONTROVERSY in Puzzleland!!!

See, I can do clickbait, too :-) (Even though technically it's not clickbait since I am not benefiting from getting you to click the link...)

Chris Ramsay is a Canadian magician and YouTuber. Since his first video on the topic, posted in October 2017 - "Solving the IMPOSSIBLE Lock Puzzle!!" and having over 10M views - Chris regularly posts videos chronicling his attempts to solve various mechanical puzzles, ranging from easy to difficult and from affordable to very expensive. That first video was about the Dan-Lock, which Chris says he noticed at the store The Art of Play. (Spoiler Alert! Don't watch the Dan-Lock video, or any video if you want to try to solve the puzzles on your own!) Of course, posting solutions to mechanical puzzles is frowned upon (with various levels of vitriol) by many members of the puzzle community, since the temptation to look, and as a result spoil the fun of discovering a solution on one's own, is often too great to resist. For my part, I find I can resist peeking when I want to - and at this point I've acquired so many puzzles and so many remain unsolved that asking for hints or the occasional spoiler no longer bothers me in the least. I do enjoy Chris' videos of puzzles I have no plans to acquire myself - for example, of the Méchanigma from NKD Puzzle. Evidently lots of other people enjoy them as well - Chris has amassed over 3 million subscribers.

I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this controversial topic.

In the meantime, here are some additional puzzle solvers on YouTube:

Based on seeing one of German Mr. Puzzle's videos, I ordered the Cluebox from the German site ID-Venture.

Shipping costs almost as much as the puzzle, however, and the transit time from Germany to the US has on past occasions
proven to be disappointingly lengthy. Oh, well.


In other puzzle news, here are some items that may be of interest...

In September, Saul and Paulette Bobroff hosted a fun puzzle get-together at their home in Massachusetts. Puzzle-friend Jim Strayer and his wife Susan came out from Pennsylvania to stay over at my place and we drove up together to the Bobroff's, where we mingled with a crowd of interesting people including John and Jane Kostick, David Pitcher, Alison Yada, and even Stewart Coffin!

I had a great time visiting with Jim and Susan, and at the Bobroff's party chatting with an assortment of folks - the time went by way too quickly. Thanks much, Saul and Paulette!

Tetra Twist - designed by Marcel Gillen, and Curve Ball - designed by Eric Harshbarger - two new puzzles by Brainwright.
Tetra Twist comprises four two-layer, four-sided tiles. The layers of a tile rotate relative to each other. Each side posesses a protruding shape - a triangle, semicircle, half-square, or half-hexagon, or a correspondingly-shaped indent. There are several challenges where you must abut corresponding shapes at both levels of tiles simultaneously, including the task of making a 2x2 arrangement where all four bi-layer matings are correct, which has a unique solution. A handy enclosure is included. I really like this one!
Curve Ball is a much simpler puzzle/toy - the hemispheres of the nodes can be rotated to constrained positions and one must make given shapes from the chain, including a 2x2x2 cubic arrangement.
Thanks, Alison!


Back in July, Ray Swinney, a friend of the late puzzle designer Robert Rose, contacted me - Ray's son had been able to fabricate a limited edition of nice metal coordinate motion burr puzzles. Ray kindly sent me an example - thanks, Ray!

Ray may put some up for sale on a well-known auction site. If you're interested, contact me and I can connect you to Ray.


Puzzle Galleries and Puzzle Fields - two new books by Serhiy Grabarchuk.
Serhiy kindly sent me copies - Thanks, Serhiy!


Dave Janelle at Creative Crafthouse occasionally finds interesting historic puzzles on my website
and creates modern versions, making them available to the puzzling public.
Recently he created the 60 Alpha puzzle, based on a design patented in the 1800s.

60 Alpha - Creative Crafthouse
Thanks, Dave!


Other acquisitions...

New mass-produced twisty puzzles:

Ghost Pyraminx, Egg Pig 3x3x3, and Shengshou 6 layer Mastermorphyx


Where's My Hammer - an aptly-named puzzle box designed and hand-made by Dee Dixon of Idaho.
Check Dee's Etsy site DEDWoodCrafts.
Reviewed by Steven Canfield on his blog Boxes and Booze.
I enjoyed the WMH box - Dee's woodwork is of good quality and the materials are very nice. The box incorporates several well-hidden (though some might say a bit unfair) steps, and functions reliably - which is a very important criterion for me. Unlike many of the puzzle boxes you'll find on Etsy which rely on old uninspiring mechanisms, Dee's box has worthy tricks up its sleeve.


Hanayama Cast Slider - designed by Vesa Timonen
Separate and then re-assemble the three pieces. Satisfying and not too difficult.


Sequential Discovery Board Burred Box (SDBBB) - Pluredro (sold out)
A nice, hefty, and well-crafted puzzle - I enjoyed solving it and it was not frustratingly difficult.


Nova Plexus - designed by Geoff Wyvill, made by and purchased from TwoBrassMonkeys
I had been after a Nova Plexus puzzle ever since reading about it in Slocum's 1994 The Book of Ingenious and Diabolical Puzzles -
but they were only produced in very limited quantity and had been impossible to find until now.
Check Steve and Ali's Etsy shop TwoBrassMonkeys to snag one of the remaining limited edition versions.
Wyvill's site has a page giving the history of the Nova Plexus puzzle.


Hexic - by Kevin Uhrik at The Puzzle Artists on Etsy
A Dogic-themed Lolo's Octahedron. [T]
Substantial and very nicely made, in beautiful colors.
I have an older Lolo's Octahedron hand-made by Kevin - Kevin and puzzle-making technology have come a long way since then!


136/205 Minutes Cube, a.k.a. Sequence Cube - by Aleksandr Leontev
Only one piece can be removed from the puzzle - as supplied this is a quinary puzzle which requires 8189 moves!
An extra piece is included - substituting in this piece (after you've solved the 8189-step challenge)
increases the number of moves to a whopping 12282!
Makoto Miyamoto posted a YouTube video explaining the puzzle.


Split Maze Burr (2nd Ed.) - designed by Derek Bosch, made by Eric Fuller at CubicDissection
from Purpleheart, Ash, and Acrylic.
Many challenges depending on the plate arrangement, ranging from 30+ to 300+ moves.


Titan's Treasure Puzzle Lock - from the Etsy shop LockPuzzle of Sashko Peshevski of Sweden.
A sequential-discovery puzzle - find the hidden marble.
I tore the key-head off the pamphlet before realizing it is not intended to be used in the solution
and should have remained affixed to the sheet. Oh, well.
The designer posted a YouTube video about the Titan's Treasure Puzzle Lock.
The lock has been reviewed by Allard on his blog.


Cover Up - designed by George Sicherman, made by Brian Menold at Wood Wonders.
Put the light piece on the table and cover it with the dark pieces (the table surface counts as covering).
An entry in the IPP39 Design Competition.


Ages - designed and made by Brian Young at Mr. Puzzle Australia.
A difficult sequential discovery puzzle combined with a difficult burr. Yikes!


Hoffman JR - designed by Haym Hirsh, made by Tom Lensch
Haym started with the 27-piece Hoffman's Packing Problem a.k.a Sugar Lump Puzzle, and combined the individual blocks from one of the 21 solutions into six composite pieces that form a cube obeying the same planar face with interstices format. Tom Lensch crafted the puzzle from 27 blocks of different exotic woods, each engraved with the wood's name, and included a nice box with a lid. Tom offered me one of a very limited edition at RPP 2019 and I snapped it up!


Wooden Universal Puzzle Set - a vintage set of three space-themed Kumiki puzzles
Complete with box and instruction sheets.


MysTIC - designed by Andrew Crowell, made by Brian Menold
In Andrew's series of Turning Interlocking Cubes (TICs).

X-TIC - designed by Andrew Crowell, made by Brian Menold
In Andrew's series of Turning Interlocking Cubes (TICs).

PenTIC - designed by Andrew Crowell, made by Eric Fuller
In Andrew's series of Turning Interlocking Cubes (TICs).
I really like this one - I managed to put it together from scratch myself without clues!

BioTIC - designed by Andrew Crowell, made by Eric Fuller
In Andrew's series of Turning Interlocking Cubes (TICs).

Small Box 1 - Window Box - designed and made by Eric Fuller
A small but beautiful little puzzle!


Broken Soma - designed by Ken Irvine, made by Brian Menold at WoodWonders
from Redheart and Holly.
Ken brought his prototype of this puzzle to RPP 2019 where it stumped nearly everyone -
I was very happy to solve it after much pondering.
It's a very clever take on the Soma design, using half-cubes, and I really like it.


20 Minute Cube - designed by Brandon Spring
Purchased from the Etsy shop Precision Puzzles
Six Soma-like pieces, but using some half-cubes, form a cube.
Tricky and nicely made from exotic woods! I like it.
I had played with and very much enjoyed Ken Irvine's difficult Broken Soma at RPP 2019 -
when I saw this I thought it might be similar - but this has a pleasantly different trick.


September 2019



August 2019

For a decade, Jeff Aurand has hosted the annual Rochester Puzzle Party (RPP) at his home in upstate New York, and I have been fortunate to be able to attend many of them, including this year's tenth gathering. Over the years there have been anywhere from a dozen to three or four times that many guests, and we've always had a great time sharing puzzles, enjoying Jeff's hospitality and great food and drink, and most importantly having interesting discussions with fine company, usually late into the evening. The rise of the internet and puzzle websites and blogs have opened the stimulating world of mechanical puzzling to an expanding audience, and many regional puzzle parties have become established. Such get-togethers are truly great fun and a wonderful way to meet interesting and friendly people who share a fascinating passion. If you have not yet been able to attend one local to you, why not start your own?

Thanks, Jeff, for all the fun through ten years of RPP!

A few of my favorite puzzle designers and craftsmen were at RPP this year - I managed to play with or solve some new prototypes, and take home several new items:

Jeff was one of the puzzle box craftsmen who contributed a box to the Apothecary Chest, assembled by Robert Yarger, a.k.a. Stickman. Jeff's box is called "Reversal of Fortune." Unfortunately, mid-way through fabrication, Jeff discovered he had mis-calculated a critical dimension and ended up with several unusable partly-finished boxes. Jeff was showing them to us, intending to finally clean house and dispose of them, and I suggested that a slight modification, while sacrificing perfect symmetry of the box, would allow the mechanism to function after all. Jeff duly made some slices and voila, now the cast-offs would open! Jeff kindly distributed several to lucky attendees.

Thanks, Jeff!

3-in-1 - designed by Goh Pit Khiam and made by Tom Lensch
Three different sets, each of five identical pieces, can be fit separately into the tray.

Missing Tile - designed by Goh Pit Khiam and made by Tom Lensch
The two shorter edges of the tray have inside bevels, with three of the pieces having matching bevels along one of their edges. First, fit all of the pieces except the smallest block into the tray, filling the opening. Then, re-arrange the tiles to fit in the smallest piece, too. This challenge works differently than the traditional "Melting Block" design, and you'll have to exploit those beveled edges...

Hat Trick - designed by Laszlo Molnar and made by Brian Menold from Maple and Katalox.
Fit the six identical L-shaped pieces into the box using the T-shaped slot.
Hat Trick was among the top ten vote getters in the 2019 IPP Design Competition.
The Katalox pieces are surprisingly dense!

Rules of Attraction - designed by Laszlo Molnar and made by Brian Menold
Assemble a stable 3x3x3 cube from the seven pieces, each of which contains hidden magnets which of course
frustrate all but the correct juxtapositions of pieces.
I had to buy one after hearing Brian's tale of how difficult these were to make in his workshop!

Mouse Pack 3 - designed by Haym Hirsh
Pack the three pieces into the sphere.
A kind gift - Thanks, Haym!

Popinjay - designed by Haym Hirsh
Pack the J-shaped pieces into the tray.
Exchanged by Haym at IPP39.
A kind gift - Thanks, Haym!
Fellow puzzler John Rausch attends RPP and has several times
very generously held a round-robin puzzle give-away.
I scored one of Lee Krasnow's 3D printed examples of
Stewart Coffin's Twelve-Piece Separation puzzle.
Thanks, John!


Guillotine (aka Harun) - designed by Volker Latussek
Six 'C' pieces and six 1x2x3 blocks can be packed into the box in two different ways so that the lid closes.
Exchanged at IPP39 by Allard Walker
A very kind gift - Thanks, Allard!
Two keychain puzzle finds, both from the series of 40 Kun issued by Kabaya Leaf of Japan:

a largish black Die with white pips:

and a side-4 Pagoda Burr:


July 2019

The IPP37 Paris Souvenir Book has arrived!
Thanks, Frans and team - it looks great.


Logical Progression Interlocking Cube - designed by Rick Eason, made by Rick, and Eric Fuller
from Walnut and Oak. Lots of holes and dowels.
A single sequential-assembly solution.
The puzzle is supposedly solvable by analysis rather than guesswork.
Rick describes the puzzle at his website and gives a link to a page with detailed logical analysis.

Kaon - designed by Duane Einfeld, made by Eric Fuller
from Sapele and Padauk
Six pieces form the shape of the classic OCC burr.


MindBlocks - issued by Play With Your Mind, Inc. of Long Beach California
Copyright 1989 by Jeff Merrill and Myron Nickerson
One of the puzzles, called "Conceptual Block" calls for you to make a 2x2x2 cube such that each side has four matching shapes.


Several keychain puzzle finds...

and this "Head Sports" set from Japan:



June 2019

The Karakuri Club has a new Karakuri Box Web Shop.

The new puzzle brand Project Genius has a lineup comprising various puzzles from several sources (e.g. Mefferts, Constantin, Recent Toys), including some new items as well as puzzles you've probably seen before.

As of this writing, Pluredro still has in stock a few (out of a run of 100) of their latest sequential discovery puzzle Slammed Car, at about $400 USD.

You may wish to check out the puzzles at NKD Puzzle.

Super stoked to have acquired the very rare vintage Blackpool Tower puzzle issued by Merit.

Chroma Cube - issued by Project Genius
Zcube Twisty keychain puzzle set of 6
Zcube Twisty keychain puzzle set of 6


Dovetail and a Half - R. Sandfield
Dovetail and a Half - exchanged by R. Sandfield at the 1995 IPP15 in Tokyo.
One of a few Sandfield Dovetail puzzles I had been missing.
Skewby Copter Plus - Mf8
Skewby Copter Plus - Mf8
Burrcell - Demirhan Burrcell - Demirhan
Burrcell - designed and made by Yavuz Demirhan
from Sapelle and Wenge
Six burr pieces and 12 identical exterior pieces.
Regola 4 - Demirhan Regola 4 - Demirhan
Regola 4 - designed and made by Yavuz Demirhan
from Sapelle and Ash


May 2019

A trio of puzzles made by Tom Lensch, from Walnut and Yellowheart:
(L to R) Petit Ring by Osanori Yamamoto - pack three pieces into the cage so no gaps show;
Box Rebellion by Stewart Coffin - pack four L-tricubes in the box which is gated by a slightly-movable baffle; and
Pack 3 by Osanori Yamamoto - pack 3 pieces into the cage so no gaps show.
Sent unsolved - I managed to solve them all.

A trio of Andrew Crowell's Turning Interlocking Cubes (TICs) made by Brian Menold from various exotic woods:
(L to R) PackTIC #5, GalacTIC, and FanaTIC.
For me easiest to hardest: FanaTIC, PackTIC #5, and GalacTIC -
separating GalacTIC's last two pieces kicked my butt for a while!


Maple Maze Box - Kagen Sound
I finally solved mine, after discovering its sneaky trick.

Brass Monkey 3 - Steve Nicholls and Ali Morris
Third in a series - look carefully at the piece ends -
the number is indicated by the dot plus number of engraved rings.

Wavelinks - designed by Rod Bogart
A 3D print from Rod's Shapeways shop RGB Puzzles.
Four pieces - two each of two slightly different types - all identical.
Fit them together to form two complete interlinked rings.
One of the top-ten vote getters in the IPP 2018 Design Competition.
I wouldn't be surprised to see this one eventually join the Hanayama lineup.


Two new puzzles on the way from the latest drop at CubicDissection...

Penultimate Burr Set - with a trick opening box, made by Eric Fuller
from Ash and Cherry woods.
It isn't as if I need another burr set...

Stand By Cube 4 - designed by Greg Benedetti, made by Eric Fuller
from Leopardwood and Maple.
10 pieces assemble sequentially into the frame to form a 4x4x4 cube.


Philos IQ Fit 3507 Rectangle (Rechteck)
10 pieces - all the ways two 1x2x2 blocks can be joined along at minimum a 1x1 overlap.
This piece set has been employed in the Gemini puzzle
designed by Toshiaki Betsumiya and issued by Naef.
In Gemini the target shape is a 4x4x5 block.
Stewart Coffin's Patio Block (STC #82) also uses these pieces,
but omits the 2x2x2 and 1x2x4 and one other, substituting a duplicate
of the "stairstep" piece to form a 4x4x4 cube. You can find a 3D print of Patio Block at Thingiverse.

Philos gives multiple objectives:
Make a brick using from 3 up to 9 of the pieces (each target shape is 2x4xN where N runs from 3 to 9).
Note that the tray is 2x4x12 so the pieces will not fill it.
Build a 2x-scale model of each piece using some subset of the 10 pieces.
This is similar to the Pentomino modeling problem -
I wouldn't have expected these pieces to be able to satisfy this challenge!


Six new single-layer Smart Egg puzzles.

Biotech, Shark, Wolf, Data, Dragon, Lion

None of these seemed to me harder than the previous Zig Zag and Mummy.
If I had to chooose, I'd say Biotech is the most challenging of this batch.


Back from a week's vacation on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Had a wonderful time with great friends and lovely weather to match the beautiful location, atop a small hill providing panoramic views and only a four minute stroll to the beach! Even got in some puzzling.

Pack012 - designed by Osanori Yamamoto, made by Tom Lensch.
Yamamoto-san always seems to come up with designs I like and this one does not disappoint!
A restricted-opening sequential-packing using only three pieces.
This puzzle was among the top 10 vote-getters in the IPP38 Design Competition.
Picture taken on vacation in May 2019 from a deck overlooking the Atlantic.


Two new single-layer Smart Egg puzzles, Zig Zag and Mummy. These two seem to me to be more difficult than any of the single-layer puzzles issued so far, and there are several more new models on the way.

Smart Egg Zig Zag

Smart Egg Mummy 

Rubik's Junior Bunny

Rediminx - a vertex-turing dodecahedron by Moyu

Keychain Gear Egg

Gold Bar Puzzle - Japan
Assemble the bar in a supplied flimsy flocked plastic tray, from 30 pieces.
Each of 15 different pieces are duplicated, and the rounding of the bar at its corners and along its top edge, as well as its sloping sides, conspire to make this assembly much easier than having 30 pieces would suggest.
I don't know how Indiana Jones may tie in to the puzzle, but his cross-eyed expression here is entertaining.


I found two fairly rare keychain puzzles I had been missing in the Japanese Kabaya Leaf series - the Soccer Ball and the Kokugikan Sumo Stadium. Both have novel internal architectures. I also obtained a vintage Salesman's card displaying nine puzzles.

Soccer Ball, Kokugikan Stadium - Kabaya Leaf Japan

Salesman's card


April 2019

Bitcoin Puzzle Project - Bitcoin themed Playing Cards embodying a slew of arcane details,
inside an acrylic puzzle box designed by Oskar van Deventer.
Offered via Kickstarter.

Grooved 6 Board Burr No. 2 - Pluredro. Made from Bubinga and Beech woods. Level

Hanayama Cast UFO - designed by Vesa Timonen. Level 4.

Hanayama Cast Arrows - designed by Andrei Ivanov. Level 3.

Kep Korong - a rare vintage twisty puzzle invented by Andr疽 V馮h, a Hungarian physicist.
Patent HU 184418, filed on 01 April 1981, granted on 30 June 1987.

Logi Toli - a vintage sliding piece puzzle from Hungary
With original instruction sheet.
Peter Gal posted a nice blog entry about Logi Toli, including a state map.

Hershey Kiss Puzzle - a vintage assembly puzzle from Synergistics

Grilles II - Mf8

2x2x7 - Witeden

Bai Niao Chao Feng - ShengShou

Elite Skewb - Mf8

Rubik's Cat

Rubik's Dog

Yongjun 2x2x2 Round

Evil Seed - designed by Vladi Delimollov -
mass-produced by Calvin's Puzzles
I've added several vintage Kumiki puzzles...

including a Cat, Monkey, Elephant, Ladybug, Totem Pole, 3 Ball Cage, and Saturn.

And of course several exciting keychain puzzle finds!


March 2019

Printable Interlocking Puzzle (PIP) #4 - by Richard Gain
Check Richard's Etsy shop Microcubology and Richard's Shapeways shop Microcubology.
A very nice, difficult, six piece interlocking cube.
I got this back in May 2018 but hadn't posted it.

Key & Ring - Shackman

Lucky Horseshoe keychain puzzle on alternative card - Pal Plastics

Jailbreak - by Siebenstein Spiele
Looks like a large Alcatraz, but it's different.

Marble Circuit - by MindWare
Invented by Sjaak Griffioen, prototype by Oskar van Deventer, challenges by Wei-Hwa Huang

Cash 22 - Wellingtons 1992

Witchy Kitty - Brainwright
Thanks, Alison!

The Librarian's Almanaq - Roy Leban - Almanaq 2015
ISBN-10: 0996256806

Dubious Documents - Nick Bantock - Chronicle Books 2018
ISBN-10: 9781452166032

Maze Cube - by Yavuz Demirhan


Kubikub 2 - by Yavuz Demirhan

Podium - by Yavuz Demirhan

From Lee Krasnow, expansion piece sets for the Barcode Burr - CrossCode Burr (XCB) Master Set (white, 4 puzzles),
GreenCode Burr (GCB) Master Set (green, 4 puzzles), PurpleCode Burr (PCB) Master Set (purple).
I skipped the GoldCode Burr Master Set based on its description - "Additional sections of maze path on the insert pieces necessitated decreasing the size of the dowel pin hardware and corresponding maze path width. Much patience and dexterity is required to successfully manipulate these puzzle pieces through their solution sequence without jamming up the pieces." I doubt I'd have the patience.
Of the PurpleCode Burr (PCB), Lee says, "My goal in designing the PCB was to have a good mix of coordinate motion moves and linear moves, with a long and complicated solution path, yet with as much symmetry as possible, and having a somewhat logical progression of piece movement. If the SuperCode Burr (SCB) and ExtremeTortureCode Burr (ETCB) were too much chaos for your taste, then hopefully the PCB will be just the right amount of challenge."

Delivrez Mon Coeur - a vintage French boxed tanglement puzzle issued by NK Atlas

Adams' Patriotic Pyramid - a vintage four-piece tetrahedron
A selection of vintage keychain puzzles with original cards, including:
Goose - Bell UK, Tank - Bell UK, Fire Engine - Bell UK, Rocket - Peter Pan UK

New adventure/escape card games from Asmodee -
In addition to the original "Escape Adventure" trilogy, there are three new trilogies.
  • Escape Adventures
    • The Formula
    • Squeek & Sausage
    • The Island of Doctor Goorse
  • Exotic Adventures
    • Expedition: Challenger
    • Scheherazade's Last Tale
    • The Night of the Boogeymen
  • Mystery Adventures
    • The Nautilus' Traps
    • The House on the Hill
    • The Tonipals Treasure
  • Secret Adventures
    • A Noside Story
    • Tombstone Express
    • The Adventurers of Oz

A group of Free-the-Coin puzzles by Rex Rossano Perez, including:
Barasoain, Walang Galang, and Rizal. (Kusing 25 is on the way.)


February 2019

Here are some interesting links you may wish to check out:

Barasoain - by Rex Rossano Perez
A sequential-discovery secret-opening free-the-coin puzzle by Rex.
One in a series (I've also purchased Rizal and Walang Galang, on the way...)
Jerry Loo blogs about some of Rex's coin puzzles.

Cassiopeia (Small) - by Akio Kamei / Karakuri Creation Group
A wonderful mechanism that still works despite the recent peregrinations of the pole.
(PSA: mnn.com is rated left-center but has never failed a fact-check.)
An affordable version, available from my friends at PuzzleMaster.ca
(though it was out of stock when I bought mine, paying more elsewhere).

The Wilson Wolfe Affair (Platinum version) - by George G. Fox / Simulacra Games 2017
Solve a mystery using an elaborate collection of clue-ridden paraphernalia.
A Kickstarter project that actually delivered!
There was quite an online backstory.
A guide to the types of puzzles included can be found on YouTube.
For folks who frequently play this type of code-heavy puzzle,
it is great to have an app that conveniently puts all manner of cryptological tools close to hand -
one such (for Android) is Puzzlehunt Assistant.


Over the weekend of February 16th 2019, I was able to attend the annual New York Puzzle Party (NYPP) hosted by Tom Cutrofello. Thanks for hosting, Tom! It was great catching up with puzzle friends old and new, and I particularly enjoyed Bill Cutler's lecture/demo about his symmetry puzzle solver. After the party, a group of puzzle friends and I attended a performance of The Enigmatist by David Kwong at the Highline Hotel. David's engaging presentation was a mixture of magic and puzzles - if you go, do pay attention to the stage set - the background contains examples of all manner of encodings, and an app like Puzzlehunt Assitant will be invaluable. See how many you can spot before they're highlighted at the end of the show. I missed several! Thanks for organizing, Nick!

We also played and won (establishing second-best times for both) two escape-the-rooms, Prison Break and The Haunted Hotel at BrainXcape in Manhattan. Thanks to Brett for sorting the logistics and as usual a fun stay at his puzzle den.

One Arm Trapper II - by Frost
A folding knife with two blades - you may have trouble closing one if you don't know the trick.
Obtained from a fellow collector at last year's 2018 NYPP.

Maple Maze Box - by Kagen Sound
Another beautiful creation by Kagen - the Maple version avers to be
the penultimate in difficulty in a series of four built on this theme.

The Art of Point+Click Adventure Games - from Bitmap Books
For fellow adventure game lovers.

Le Quart d'Heure de Rabelais - a vintage French boxed puzzle
This is a version of the Josephus Problem
I've always liked the graphics for this puzzle and am happy to have finally obtained a nice example.

Roller Coaster - designed by Laszlo Molnar, made by Brian Menold
from Brian's "Pajamawood" laminate.
Put the pieces fully inside the box, without touching them inside the box.
An entry in the IPP 2018 Design Competition.

Kendama Puzzle - a boxed version, still on sprues - Japan

T-Box - by Haym Hirsh
Pack the six identical T pieces into the box so the lid shuts properly. Thanks, Haym!

Slideways Cube - designed by Ray Stanton, made by and purchased from Lee Krasnow.
The quality of Lee's 3D prints are outstanding!

Russian Balls (6-color set) - a Matryoshka nesting of Stewart Coffin's Pennyhedron,
made by and purchased from Lee Krasnow.

Blocage - designed by Stéphane Chomine,
made by and purchased from Pelikan.
Merbau and Apple woods.


January 2019

Happy New Year!

Getting this update out just under the wire.

Murbiter's Pseudo-Burr - by Primitivo Familiar Ramos, made by Vinco.
Four identical pieces and a unit cube combine to form the familiar 6-piece burr shape.
A kind gift - thanks, Primitivo!

Engaños a Ojos Vistas - by Pablo Minguet E Irol
An 18th century book containing among other puzzles an early depiction of a six-piece burr.
A kind gift - thanks, Primitivo!

Gillen Bolt - two un-numbered prototypes produced by Marcel Gillen.
These two have different mechanisms.
Allard and Neil have written about their experiences with Gillen Bolts.

Jigsaw 29, Jigsaw 19, and Wave 7 - A group of novel tray packing puzzles designed by Yuu Asaka from Japan.
Jigsaw 29 has been very favorably reviewed and won a Jury Honorable Mention at the IPP 2018 Design Competition.

Cannonball Pyramid 5x5x5 - designed by Mike Reilly, available at Creative Crafthouse. Thanks, Chelsea!

Bonbon - Jean Claude Constantin. Thanks, Chelsea!

Diamond Snake - designed and exchanged at IPP38 by Andreas Röver
A novel take on the traditional "cube snake" puzzle, using linked spheres and with an octahedral target shape.

Question Romaine - a vintage French boxed tanglement puzzle

San Diego Zoo Pandas - a packing puzzle from Brian Young, exchanged at IPP38 by Rosemary Howbrigg

Just 3 - designed by Noah Prettyman, made by Eric Fuller
from Zebrawood. Three pieces, level 8.4.

Bramble Box - designed by Noah Prettyman, made by Eric Fuller
from Black Limba with pieces from Maple, Cherry, Sapele and Wenge.
Four pieces in a box, level 19.4.

Gift Burr - designer unknown, made by Eric Fuller
from White Oak. Six unconventional pieces form a conventional diagonal star.

Star Cluster Puzzle Set - designer unknown, made and exchanged at IPP38 by Allen Rolfs.
This copy purchased from Allen has a Walnut box and updated puzzle list.
The set contains all possible (seven) different piece types that can be used to construct a traditional diagonal star puzzle, labeled A through G.
Based on analysis by Bill Cutler, there are 52 possible puzzles.
Sadly, there is no construction that uses six different piece types.
Interestingly, the "Gift Burr" from CubicDissection is number 41 - it uses pieces { C, D, D, E, F, G }.

The Old Anchor Puzzle - Allen Rolfs IPP38

Large 2-Key Lock - India
Purchased via online auction site - hefty and shiny but not really worth your while IMHO.

Free Me 6 - Joe Turner
Entered in the 2018 Design Competition but no award.
Nonetheless, a very enjoyable secret opening / sequential discovery puzzle.

Jitter Soma - designed by Haym Hirsh, made by Brian Menold
from Walnut with an Olivewood base.
A Soma cube using unusual pieces made from offset units.

Summer - designed by Klaas Jan Damstra, made by Brian Menold
from Curly Maple, East Indian Rosewood, and Padauk.
Level 14.4.2.

Case in Point - a secret opening box, designed and made by Perry McDaniel, exchanged by Norman Sandfield

Hexahog and Hexacage - from Radek Micopulos at Rademic Puzzles.
An unusual take on the Hedgehog puzzle, with a secondary external put-together cage.

Container Cube - originally a custom Skewb mod by Tony Fisher, now mass-produced by Moyu

Pandora Cube - a 3x3x3 variant by Moyu

Modular Maze - Collier Products
A vintage maze construction kit.


December 2018

A second update in a single month!

L'Embarras du Geometre - a vintage French boxed tanglement puzzle

Stepping Burr - designed by Junichi Yananose, made by Brian Young at Mr. Puzzle Australia.
Level 10.
Thanks, Chelsea!

CaTSuP - designed by Braden [T], 3D printed by Jason Gavril (Chewie)
A Corner-Turning Square Pyramid
Konrad posted solving tips on the TP Forums.

Susie Qube - designed and made by Yavuz Demirhan at Cubozone

Fenced Burr - designed and made by Yavuz Demirhan at Cubozone

Ship in a Bottle - designed by Goh Pit Khiam, made by Tom Lensch
Get the pieces out, then reinsert them so the ship faces the other way.

GiganTIC - designed by Andrew Crowell, made by Brian Menold

Somaa - designed by Haym Hirsh, made by Brian Menold from Ipe
Haym's clever re-imagining of the Soma cube, using distorted dimensions to permit only a single solution.

TrickLock - 3D printed set including 2015 (IPP35), 2016, 2017, and 2018 versions.
Designed by Louis Coolen

Mariner's Mate - a peg solitaire variant from Venture Puzzles & Games 1989

3 Cubes - designed by Ichiro Kohno, made by Ken Irvine
Arrange the 3 pieces to make 3 identically sized cubes simultaneously.
Among the top 10 vote-getters in the IPP38 Design Competition.
Gift from Ken at RPP2018 - Thanks!
This seemingly simple puzzle had me stumped for *way* too long!
Some folks get it readily, but not I!

Unicum - designed by Norbert Galla, made by Brian Menold
A gift from Brian at RPP2018 - Thanks!
Arrange the three pieces to make a symmetric shape.

Find Your P's Q's and T's - designed by Michael Dowle
A gift from Allard at RPP2018 - Thanks!
Arrange the three pieces to make several different triangles, quadrilaterals, and Pentagons.

Spir ala rips - designed by Vesa Timonen, made by Tomas Linden for IPP37
A gift from John Rausch at RPP2018 - Thanks!
Arrange the two pieces flat on the table so the resulting shape can be bisected into two identical shapes.


Preparing this update on the 1st of December. This year seems to have spun by so quickly! Thank you to those of you who have written. I continue to much enjoy all the puzzling dialogues I have the opportunity to hold with mechanical puzzle enthusiasts worldwide - in an era when it can seem so much divides humanity, it is wonderful to be fortunate to focus on things we share!

While of late I have taken blocks of time off from posting, I still have been collecting and puzzling over fantastic designs old and new. The challenge has been finding the time to document those additions.

Here are some finds from the past few months.

Edison Mazda Lamp tanglement puzzle - a vintage advertising puzzle issued by the General Electric Company of Harrison NJ.
It is made of celluloid - an interesting material that feels like plastic, but is more fragile.
I had been after one of these since seeing it in Slocum and Botermans' 1994 book The Book of Ingenious and Diabolical Puzzles (page 94) and I finally found one in great shape!
The book says this was issued circa 1912-13.

I obtained an original White Sewing Machine Sixty Puzzle - it says "Copyrighted by A. L. Vandyke 1890."
Many puzzles rely on a large combinatorial space to be explored in search of desired configurations.
Some are simpler than others - a fun and colorful example on the simpler side is this vintage Little Giant Puzzle from the Rogers Novelty Co. of Illinois.
My instance includes four (single-sided) cards, each containing four variations on one quadrant of a caricature of a head - the description says more card sets were offered.

The prototypical example of this type of "puzzle" (or toy) is Ole' Million Face, created by Carey Orr, a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune. It was patented Feb. 3 1925, and was produced in 1925 by the Face Corporation of Philadelphia. The derivative Changeable Charlie was produced in the 1940's (copyright 1948) and onwards. There was also a Changeable Charlie's Aunt.

Starburst - a twelve-piece version of the Diagonal Star puzzle, 3D printed by Lee Krasnow.
Check out Lee's Etsy shop Pacific Puzzleworks.

Barcode Burr - a beautifully produced 3D printed version
of Lee Krasnow's famous puzzle.
Check out Lee's Etsy shop Pacific Puzzleworks.

I also purchased the Barcode Burr Master Expansion Set.

The Master Set includes:

  • (6) piece bodies (enough for one full assembled cube puzzle)
  • (18) insert attachment screws (6 extras in case you lose any)
  • (1) hex wrench
  • (12) TCB orange maze inserts (ternCode Burr)
  • (12) QCB yellow maze inserts (quadCode Burr)
  • (12) SCB red maze inserts (superCode Burr)
  • (12) CCB blue maze inserts (coordiCode Burr)
  • (2) white maze inserts (ExtremeTortureCode Burr)


New Secret Box IV - issued by the Karakuri Creation Group
Level 32.

Pyrigan 360 - designed by John Partridge at Pyrigan - (blog post about the 360).
See also the Pyrigan Etsy shop.
Machined from T6061 Aluminum, plated with Nickel, with a turquoise marble trapped inside.


Haleslock 5 - Firestarter - Shane Hales

Hokey Cokey Lock - Ali Morris
Exchanged at IPP38 by Steve Nicholls


As usual, I proved unable to resist a few puzzles from this year's periodic releases by master craftsman Eric Fuller...

Pin Block Case - designed by Hajime Katsumoto, made by Eric Fuller
from Maple and Walnut.
Fit the four pieces into the box such that no pins or slots show. Very satisfying!

Cubyful 2 - designed by Lucie Pauwels, made by Eric Fuller
from Leopardwood, Wenge, and White Oak.
Fit the seven loose pieces into the box, working around a movable but captive piece.

Half Lid Box - designed by Hajime Katsumoto, made by Eric Fuller
from Sepele, Yellowheart, and Bird's Eye Maple.
Fit the five loose pieces into the box, working around a movable but captive half lid.

Coniburr - designed by Tim Alkema, made by Eric Fuller
from Ash and Padauk.
Four outer pieces and four inner burr-like sticks. Level 16.

Box With Two Balls - designed by Christoph Lohe, made by Eric Fuller
from Ash, Zebrawood, Purpleheart, and Padauk.

X Cage - designed by Frederic Boucher, made by Eric Fuller
from Walnut and Yellowheart.
Fit five pieces into the cage via the opening in the acrylic top.

Marble Cake Plus - designed by Christoph Lohe, made by Eric Fuller
from Cherry and Padauk.

4L - designed by Yasuhiro Hashimoto, made by Eric Fuller
from Ash and Padauk.
Just fit the four L-shaped pieces into the box, through the opening in the acrylic lid. What could be simpler?
This puzzle received a Jury Honorable Mention
at the IPP35 Puzzle Design Competition (the IPP hosted in 2015 in Ottawa by Brett and me)!


Also unable to resist various offerings from Pelikan...

Casino - designed by Volker Latussek, made by Pelikan
from Oak and Maple.
Fit the six disks into the box, no forcing!
This puzzle received the Puzzle of the Year, Jury Grand Prize, and Puzzler's Award
at the IPP38 Puzzle Design Competition in 2018 in San Diego.

Mini Lock - designed by Christoph Lohe, made by Pelikan
from Ash and Purpleheart.

Spiral Lock - designed by Christoph Lohe, made by Pelikan
from Purpleheart, Acacia, Wenge, Padouk, Mahogany, Maple and Cherry.

Recede - designed by Alexander Haydon O'Brien, made by Pelikan
from Wenge and Cherry.

Top - designed by Osanori Yamamoto, made by Pelikan
from Ash and Bubinga.

Coriolis - designed by Lucie Pauwels, made by Pelikan
My copy is made from Maple and Walnut.


Gundam Seed Haro Ball - a vintage collectible 2x2x2 twisty puzzle, made in China and issued circa 2003 by PALBOX of Japan. [T]
This is the pink version, though it looks orange on the front because of exposure to sunlight over time.

Azig - a vintage sequential movement puzzle, from Japan.
I had wanted to find one of these since I saw it on Jaap's Puzzle Page years ago, and finally have!

Brass Monkey 2 - a fresh and difficult (and hefty) take on the Diagonal Burr with cylindrical pieces,
machined from brass and obtained from the Etsy shop Two Brass Monkeys of Ali Morris and Steve Nicholls.
I finally did get it apart, after I remembered who I was dealing with.

Dorstrom Puzzle - Allard Walker's IPP38 San Diego Exchange puzzle.
A generous gift from Allard at the 2018 RPP during this past August. Thanks!
This is based on a vintage tanglement design patented in the US in 1906 by Benjamin Dorstrom, number 819345.
Fellow mechanical puzzle enthusiast Michel van Ipenburg brought this vintage puzzle back to life. Michel reports, "I stumbled on it while browsing Rob Stegmann's website some five years or so ago. Having teamed up with Robrecht [Louage] provided the much needed tools to actually see this puzzle being made. After the prototyping in 2016 I offered this to Allard as a possible future IPP exchange puzzle. I'm very happy he took the opportunity and am delighted another vintage puzzle has gotten a new audience! The object of the puzzle is to remove the ring from the gears. Some delicate movement of the pieces is needed to succeed... once off the second challenge is to get the puzzle to its original state again... and that might even be harder."

I have a related vintage puzzle called the Tango Shoe. I don't have an original Dorstrom Hub puzzle, though I show a photo of one I ran across.

XXL Gear Cube - a large twisty puzzle newly issued by Recent Toys. Thanks, Jaap!
The original Gear Cube was designed by Oskar van Deventer and issued by Meffert.
Recent Toys has issued a series of puzzles by Constantin, and puzzle-friend Jaap G. very kindly sent me a set. Thanks!

Included are: Tough Measures, Hidden Corridor, Flower Maze, Waiter's Tray, and Double Trouble.


Pushbutton Burr - designed by Ken Irvine and made by Tom Lensch
from Canarywood with Indian Rosewood button pieces.
Another great design by Ken. I played with a prototype at RPP a year ago, trying to put the pieces together from scratch. I assembled almost the whole puzzle but could not figure out how to get the last pushbutton piece in! The puzzle is easier if you start by taking it apart, so I recommend having someone do that for you out of sight and handing you the pieces!

Ordinary Burr - designed by Goh Pit Khiam and made by Tom Lensch
from Yellowheart wood with Baltic Birch plywood mazes for strength.

Partitions - designed by Goh Pit Khiam, made to order from stainless steel and purchashed from Jerry Loo at JL Puzzles.

Spade Case - Pluredro.
The fourth of the card suit secret opening box puzzles.

Hourglass - designed by JinHoo Ahn and issued by Hanayama.
Two each of two different pieces.


Rotten Apple - Lakeside.
I found an example in its original package.
No date on the package, though.

Tower of Babble - Leonard J. Gordon, Fair Oaks CA.
I found an example in its original package.
No date on the package.


While this 1971 Enigma edgematching puzzle issued by Reiss isn't a new addition, in the fall of this year I was contacted by a curator of the Syracuse University Plastics Collection who was seeking information about the puzzle. It took some time to hunt down the puzzle in storage, but I eventually found it and I created some much better photos, which I have incorporated into my Pattern section.

Back in September I posted about a nice vintage logic puzzle I had found, called Who Owns the Octopus, issued in 1972.
Puzzle-friend Michel van Ipenburg wrote to inform me about several more recent examples of logic puzzles of that style.

One such puzzle is called Murder in Greenrock Village Theatre and was issued by Koninklijke Jumbo B.V., a Jumbo Diset company.
I was able to find an English version on a prime online shopping site.
The puzzle comes in a nice little case including 25 tiles - 5 each of victims, locations, weapons, suspects, and times -
and 50 scenario cards where you must deduce the proper matchups based on a set of clues.

Michel also mentioned Crazy Office and Monster Brunch both by Huch! and Friends, also distributed by FoxMind Games.
I haven't got those (they're listed in the UK).

Coincidentally, even before Michel's email arrived, I had been out shopping at Time Machine Hobby,
a wonderful local toy store and found Einstein's House Riddle issued by Professor Puzzle.

It is an updated and more politically correct version of the Octopus puzzle,
with wooden pieces and only a single scenario to solve.
Overall I found it simpler than the Octopus puzzle.


Some of you may be disappointed, but most of you will probably be relieved to know that I will forego including here the many images of new keychain puzzles I have found during the past few months. Frankly, however, though I have not been updating other sections of this website, I have been diligently expanding the Keychain Puzzles section. It now shows over 1200 puzzles and over 500 unique types, and I have added "Showcases" with complete (AFAIK) lists of puzzles issued by various brands in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan including Mechanical Servants, Lional, Plas-Trix, Lido, Peter Pan, Merit, Bell, Pussycat, and Kabaya Leaf. I am particularly pleased with the KL list, since AFAIK there is no other available reference as complete.

OK, I lied - I have to show this one keychain puzzle with original card that I was able to nab, since it is so special...

According to Slocum and Waite, this Mystery Ball Puzzle is the first keychain puzzle, issued by the Helenhart Novelty Company of New York City.
I am very stoked to now have an original card!


November 2018


October 2018


September 2018

Aaaand - here comes fall! Had a great summer, but they just seem so short here in New England - though I do love living in this area of the country, and the change of seasons.

Who Owns the Octopus? - Copyright 1972 by A. Freed Novelty Inc. New York NY
A great vintage logic puzzle, with 25 cardboard pieces provided to help you think about the solution.
I hadn't before seen a logic puzzle of this type produced as a physical puzzle.

The 25 pieces comprise five each of:
  • People (Englishman, Frenchman, Mexican, Russian, Spaniard)
  • Pets (Dog, Monkey, Octopus, Owl, Zebra)
  • Houses (red, white, blue, yellow, green)
  • Beverages (Cider, Coffee, Milk, Orange Juice, Tea)
  • Cigarette Brands (Camel, Kent, Kool, Old Gold, Salem) - vintage indeed!

One must determine five groupings of house/person/pet/beverage/cigarette brand based on fourteen clues given inside the box cover, and answer the two questions, "Who owns the octopus?" and "Who drinks the Cider?" Here are the clues, so you can try this vintage puzzle for yourself:

  1. The Englishman lives in the red house.
  2. The Spaniard owns a dog.
  3. Coffee is drunk in the green house.
  4. The Russian drinks tea.
  5. The green house is immediately to the right of the white house.
  6. The Old Gold smoker owns an owl.
  7. Kools are smoked in the yellow house.
  8. Milk is drunk in the middle house.
  9. The Mexican lives in the first house on the right.
  10. The man who smokes Kents lives in the house next to the man who has the monkey.
  11. Kools are smoked in the house next to where the zebra is kept.
  12. The Salem smoker drinks orange juice.
  13. The Frenchman smokes Camels.
  14. The Mexican lives next to the blue house.

Dickinson's Ten Card Puzzle - Vintage cardboard advertising puzzle
Ten pieces with nice colorful graphics (blank on the reverse)
must be arranged picture side up to form a square.

Wrench Packing Puzzle - A Steam-Punk packing puzzle
made by hand from used industrial tools,
from the Etsy shop of Václav Skopek, Shokcz.

Anchor Tangram Set No. 30

3D Printed Nested Cylinder Maze Set - from an online auction seller

8 Blocks in a Tray - from the Etsy shop of Bill Sheckels

Outback - designed by Stewart Coffin, produced by Creative Crafthouse
Fit the pieces flat in the tray.

Buried Blueprints - The Wild West - Copyright 2012 Al Lorenz
produced by Masterpieces Puzzle Co. (Seems to be out of print, but it is available elsewhere online.)
A jigsaw puzzle crammed with historical factoids.

Cubeit - a vintage polycube assembly puzzle from Peter Pan Playthings
In its original package.

Two different Tessellating Teaser - tile puzzles from Lagoon Group

Pair Puzzle - from Epoch's Mini Games series (Japan)
A sliding piece type puzzle.

Century of Progress Puzzle - a vintage sliding piece puzzle,
issued at the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago.
Start as shown, move either the "East" or "West" block to the lower left corner.
In Hordern, as C60 (37 moves) and C61 (42 moves) respectively.

3 Wise Bolts - a secret-opening sequential discovery puzzle
designed and made by Brian Young at Mr. Puzzle Australia

Cubic Octahedron - designed by Christoph Lohe, made by Brian Menold from Koa wood.
More than it appears at first glance, this is a four piece
octahedral polycube construction that requires sequential movement.


August 2018

Had a wonderful time with fellow puzzlers at Jeff Aurand's annual Rochester Puzzle Party (RPP) over the weekend of August 18th - thanks, Jeff! Picked up several puzzles there, and got the opportunity to try many others brought by the attendees.

Heart Case - Junichi Yananose, from Pluredro
One in a series of four card-suit themed secret opening puzzles.
This one was a hit at RPP, so I ordered one online while there,
and I wasn't the only person to do so.

Diamond Case - also from Pluredro
One in a series of four card-suit themed secret opening puzzles.
This one has an unusual and well-disguised opening mechanism.


July 2018

On hiatus.

June 2018

Ah, summer! It's finally here. Took another extended break from updating. Lots of interesting puzzle acquisitions to catch you up on - will post some highlights...


Caterpillar Box - designed and made by Kagen Sound
from European Walnut (frame), Birdseye Maple (sides), Birch, Madrone, Wenge (top).
The second box in Kagen's "Lotus Trilogy."

Pi Box - designed and made by Jesse Born
from Mahogany, Walnut, Curly Maple, Purpleheart

A bevy of new custom twisty puzzles...

  • Slim Gigaminx (center foreground) and Jewel Octahedron (center) by Evgeniy Grigoriev
  • FDM (ABS) tiled version of FTRD (Rua) by David Pitcher, from Chewie's (left)
  • Toru replica by Sam (right)
  • Globe-stickered Cuboctahedron modded from Skewb (back right)
  • Globe-stickered Icosahedron modded from Kilominx (back left)

Toaster - by William Waite - one of his original run, not a Pelikan remake

Vintage Puzzle Snuff Box

Mixbox Italia '90

Hanayama Cast Trinity - designed by Kyoo Wong. Hanayama Level 6.

SNECX Tan IFS-20 replica
Like a Berrocal, but lethal - this replica of the SNECX Tan IFS-20 folding knife is made from Titanium and Steel,
and without screws of any kind. Like an interlocking puzzle, it can be completely disassembled.


May 2018

On hiatus.


April 2018

On hiatus.


March 2018

On hiatus.


February 2018

On hiatus.


January 2018

Happy New Year, puzzlers!

Making up for a hiatus in posting - December was a great month for puzzles but I've been busy with other things. Trying to catch up...

A Three Balls Conundrum - hand-turned by John Berkeley
This puzzle appears in Hoffmann in Chapter II as No. XXIV - The Ball and Three Strings.
I've wanted one for some time and finally obtained this beautiful instance
from the master wood-turner John Berkeley.
John offers hand-made items at his Etsy Store Jaybeeseturnery.

WOW5 (Wrap O-round Weave 5) - designed by Carl Hoff
Made from cast silver by Jeff Bell ("puzzleringmaker")
(Also available from Carl's Shapeways shop.)
Unique amongst puzzle rings because in the solved configuration the five bands weave around
each other all the way around the band rather than just along the top.
WOW5 won a Jury Honorable Mention in the IPP36 Design Competition.
WOW5 solution video on YouTube.

Galette - designed by Osanori Yamamoto
Made by Tom Lensch
Fit the five pieces into the case using the available openings.
Galette was among the top 10 vote-getters in the IPP37 Design Competition.

Smart Egg Dragon Green
The latest version of the more complex SmartEgg puzzles.
Found this at Barnes & Noble.

Tasmania Ring-in-Plate Maze - 1970 Products of the Behavioral Sciences Inc.
I have diagrammed the paths and solutions.
Some vintage Japanese Keychain-style puzzles, from a collector in the Netherlands...

Pleased to have found the alternate card for the Happo keychain puzzle - it's smaller than I expected...

The Titan Cube - designed by Steve Winter
Discussed on the Twisty Puzzles Forum.
3D printed instance purchased from Shapeways.

Vintage Treen Puzzle Snuff Box - from England

Twister in the IQ Buster series
This is a large robust version of F017
I wanted a copy that would rule out any forcing/bending!
Each ring is about 65mm in outer diameter, and 8mm thick.

Gear Shift - Bepuzzled
Purchased online off Amazon.


December 2017

This month's keychain puzzle finds:


A "holiday haul" of beautiful wooden puzzles from a sextet of artisans including:
Eric Fuller at CubicDissection, Brian Menold at WoodWonders, Andrew Crowell at arcWoodPuzzles, Yavuz Demirhan at Cubozone, Jakub Dvorak and team at Pelikan, and Junichi Yananose at Pluredro.

Pinco - designed by Erhan Cubukcuoglu
Made by Eric Fuller, from Walnut, Leopardwood, Paduak, Canarywood, Maple, Tamarind, Cherry

Knotted Burr - designed by Noah Prettyman
Made by Eric Fuller, from Black Limba

Liliput - designed by Christoph Lohe
Made by Brian Menold, from lacewood, purpleheart

Silene - designed by Alfons Eyckmans
Made by Brian Menold, from redheart, katalox

The Procrastinator Puzzle - designed and made by Andrew Crowell
20 Different Puzzles in One Set - Based on Stewart Coffin's Half Hour Puzzle

Split Cube III - designed and made by Andrew Crowell

Transenna (improved) - designed and made by Yavuz Demirhan
Allows an alternate assembly, also shown.

Oramagomaburamago - designed and made by Yavuz Demirhan

Snapped Burr - designed and made by Yavuz Demirhan

Looped Nine - designed and made by Yavuz Demirhan

Tortoise - designed by Alexander Haydon O達rien
Made by Pelikan, from Dark Oak, Acacia and Wenge

Knot on My Watch - designed by Alexander Haydon O達rien
Made by Pelikan, from Wenge, Maple, Cherry and American Walnut

Club Case Secret Box - designed by Junichi Yananose

Pisa #2 + Cubin Burr - designed by Junichi Yananose

A Mazing Burr - designed by Junichi Yananose


Some new twisties...


I'll start with the V-Cubes V-Sphere I received as a gift. Thanks, Jack!

The V-Sphere was invented by George Xronopoulos and released in mid 2017. It is a sliding piece type puzzle encircled by three mutually orthogonal pairs of rings in which square sliding tiles ride, fitting the surface of the sphere. There are eight colors - each tile is molded of one color, and there are eight triangular sections fixed around the sphere between the rings. The colors of these triangular regions define the goal state - move the tiles so they surround their correspondingly colored triangle.

In its default configuration the puzzle contains a single empty space - it is a member of the class I call "moving gap, rigid frame" or MGRF. However, one can obtain an extra (dark blue) tile and fill in this space - the puzzle then becomes a "no gap, rigid frame (interlocking orbits)" NGRF type - and most puzzlers agree this is the preferred configuration as it increases the difficulty. This latter category contains the spherical forebears the Equator, the Hungarian Globe, and the Arancia Meccanica - but each has only a single row of tiles in each orthogonal direction. Perhaps the earliest example of an interlocking orbits type puzzle - albeit non-spherical - is the "Race War Between Gold & Silver" puzzle of 1893.

The V-Sphere is a nicely packaged, well-made and colorful example of an established puzzle category, and ups the complexity ante with its side-by-side rows of tiles. (This innovation is not unique, however, as a Russian puzzle dating from 1986 or earlier implemented dual rows of tiles - see this entry at the TwistyPuzzles Museum.) I find the selection of colors attractive, and the size and weight fit my hands well. The sliding action of the tiles is smooth, and the "clickiness" serves to prevent overshoots. The ability to easily convert it from a relatively easy MGRF to a more difficult NGRF type is an added bonus. According to sources, the puzzle was originally designed without the gap, but was released with the gap in order to reduce the difficulty level. Inserting the missing tile is simple, and the rotations of full rings of tiles works well.

Multi Skewb - designed by Gregoire Pfennig, produced by YuXin
I got a limited edition purple.

QiYi Mofangge Pentacle Cube (stickerless)

QiYi Mofangge Clover Cube (stickerless)

FangShi Lim 2x2 Octahedron (stickerless)

FangShi Lim 2x2 Pyraminx (stickerless)

FangShi Lim Twin Towers (stickerless)

Rubik's Crew Optimus Prime


UGEARS Treasure Box
Laser-cut wooden pieces to assemble without glue into a novel puzzle box.

Le Noeud Mysterieux - a vintage wooden French boxed puzzle

Star Brush Cube - a vintage wooden advertising pattern puzzle

Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment

Thinking Crow - designed by Osanori Yamamoto
purchased from Jerry Loo's online store.
Fit the four pieces in the tray.

Octa - Hikimi NOB series

Euclid - Hikimi NOB series

Cross - Hikimi NOB series

Crystal Maze - Japan

Triangle Pyramid Maze - Japan

Kumiki Shrine - Yamanaka Kumiki Works Japan

Kumiki Golden Gate Bridge - Smith Novelty Co.

Derby - Uncle's Puzzles

Studio Mercantile tanglement puzzles set

Four sets of "Baffling" tanglement puzzles:


November 2017

Finally found a Kumiki Giraffe - this one from the Yamanaka Kumiki Works...

Also very happy with this Kumiki Hippopotamus by the Yamanaka Kumiki Works...

Some keychain finds...


Yosegi Pattern Box - Jesse Born
I solved it! (With a small hint.) A nice first move, tricky to find.
I deduced the rest. A good, reliable mechanism - I value that a lot!

Hand-made Custom 2x6x6 Cuboid Twisty Puzzle - Traiphum Prungtaengkit [FB]

Kumiki Cigar-Smoking Man - may have been made in Germany
You can see further examples of different figures at Frank Potts' website.

Kumiki Palace

Kumiki Rocking Dragon Bank

Hikimi Cross Puzzle

Hanayama Animals Tangle Set

Disney Horseshoes Tangle


Several additions on my Keychain Puzzles page, plus a minor re-organization to split out a new section devoted to "Gray Area and Non-Puzzle Keychains."

Keychain Puzzle finds...


October 2017

Here is a wooden "traditional" 18-piece burr from France. It is a fairly simple construction, and it is not a copy of van der Poel's Grandfather Burr. It is from a company called Grandjouan (Great Toys) and according to various sources, including the solution sheet that came with my example, the burr is called Damier. Unfortunately no source I found has identified the designer or its date of production. In addition, the name "Damier" has been applied to several different puzzles.

2x2x6 - WitEden
A beautiful, hefty, fully functional puzzle.

2x2x5 - WitEden (offset center)

Void Pentultimate - Mf8

2x6x6 - hand-made custom build by Traiphum
I am very pleased to have obtained (in a private transaction) several keychain puzzle cards I had been after.

Here is yet another Cryptex variant that caught my eye - this one, according to the seller,
is an official Sony Pictures replica of the Cryptex from the Da Vinci Code movie.
The five-letter code can be changed. It is about four inches long. Overall I think it is of satisfactory quality -
it is pretty loose but it is hefty and seems decently made though an end cap is too easy to unscrew.

I found an online reference at www.noblecollection.com
(a website listed on the back of the included instruction card).
The $195 price there is about four times what this can be found for at a popular
auction website, though I believe their version is larger (6 inches) and may be a bit better quality.
The auction version does not include a screwdriver.
The auction version may be the "Mini Cryptex."

The website on the scroll shown in the photo (found inside the Cryptex) is defunct.
See the Wikipedia entry for Da Vinci Code WebQuests for more information.


Some very nice wooden puzzles from the two most recent offerings at CubicDissection:

Pox Box - designed by Yavuz Demirhan, made by Eric Fuller
from Sapele and Birdseye Maple

Five Duo Cubes - designed by Brendan Perez, made by Eric Fuller
from Sapele and Walnut

Spherical Packing Puzzle - designed by Laszlo Molnar, made by Eric Fuller
from Walnut and Birdseye Maple

Migraine - designed by Ken Irvine, made by Eric Fuller
from Purpleheart

Quattro Cube - designed by Peter Gal, made by Eric Fuller
from Walnut and Ash
The five pieces contain 26 units, so they can form a 3x3x3 with one void.
There is a unique solution for the void at each position.
The box can be packed only with the void in one particular position.

Repair the Cube - designed by Andrey Ustjuzhanin, made by Eric Fuller
from Wenge and White Oak - Level 11.10


September 2017

Some heavy metal from Russia...

Arrows - Metallofactura

Lattice Xi 2 - Metallofactura

Tripla - Metallofactura
Designed by Andrei Ivanov
Among the Top Ten Vote Getters in the 2017 IPP Design Competition

Battlecruiser - a hard (brittle) plastic kumiki-style puzzle from Bell of England

Kumiki Pickup Truck

Pyrigan #808 - from Pyrigan
An aluminum dovetail secret-opening puzzle.

Free Me 5 - by Joe Turner
Secret opening / sequential discovery puzzle
Winner of a Jury Honorable Mention in the 2017 IPP Design Competition

Accessory Box (KW-29-2) - Kawashima

Fang Duet - designed by Noboru Hayashi
Thanks, Nick!!

Adam & Eve - by Alan Rolfs, Tom Sun, George Miller
Join the heads together, leaving the apple around Adam's legs.

Moyu Fisher Yileng
Time Wheel stickerless

QiYi Mofangge Twisty Skewb

YongJun Ghost Cube Irregular

FangShi Limcube
Deformed Centrosphere

A Crystal-shaped puzzle from Kabaya of Japan. Hard plastic.
With original box.
#548 "Octahedron" in Compendium 2nd Ed.
Four vintage French boxed wire puzzles:

La Croix du Sahara

Les Anneaux Diaboliques

Paul et Virginie

L' Embarras du Marin


Here are some puzzling websites you may wish to visit:

Identical Twins - Yamamoto - Pelikan Identical Twins - Yamamoto - Pelikan
Identical Twins - designed by Osanori Yamamoto -
made by Pelikan from Wenge and Apple
Winner of the Puzzlers' Award at the IPP37 Design Competition
Puzzometry Jr.
Puzzometry Jr. - Jim Fox at Puzzometry


Some new twisty puzzles:

Royal Pyraminx
Royal Pyraminx - Timur Evbatyrov -
Calvin's Puzzle (blue)
Flower Copter Flower Copter Flower Copter
Flower Copter - LanLan

Honey Copter Honey Copter
Honey Copter - LanLan


Hanayama is offering some new Ultraman-themed puzzles (I ordered these two from a seller on a popular auction site):

Hanayama Ultra 7 Ultra Eye Hanayama Ultra 7 Ultra Eye
Ultra 7 Ultra Eye - Hanayama
Hanayama Ultraman Emblem Hanayama Ultraman Emblem
Ultraman Emblem - Hanayama


Two other Hanayama Ultraman-themed puzzles, including a Meteor Medal based on Scott Elliott's Diamond mechanism, aren't out yet (I haven't ordered them):

Hanayama Ultraman Meteor Hanayama Ultraman Meteor
Ultraman Meteor - Hanayama
Hanayama Ultraman Capsule Hanayama Ultraman Capsule
Ultraman Capsule - Hanayama


August 2017

From the evening of Friday August 18th through Sunday August 20th I was able to attend Jeff Aurand's Rochester Puzzle Party (RPP) - a get-together of puzzle people Jeff hosts at his home. I had a wonderful time talking with interesting folks and got to play with a variety of fascinating puzzles. Thanks, Jeff!

Brian Pletcher has been blogging again after a long hiatus - you can read Brian's notes about some of the goings-on at RPP in his latest posts.

While at RPP, I added a couple of puzzles to my collection - a prototype of an improved Melting Block design from Johnn Rausch and Tom Lensch, which John was kind enough to give away in a drawing he hosted (thanks, John!); and a new Lucida puzzle designed by Osanori Yamamoto and made by Tom Lensch I bought from Tom.

Improved Melting Block Proto - Rausch - Lensch
Improved Melting Block Proto - Rausch - Lensch Improved Melting Block Proto - Rausch - Lensch
Improved Melting Block (prototype) - John Rausch, made by Tom Lensch
Based on an idea by Thomas O'Beirne - the original Melting Block puzzle uses
nine pieces (including a duplicate of the smallest)
and is described in Creative Puzzles of the World on page 81.
John's version uses eight pieces - there are two copies of the smallest block,
which measures 35 x 23 x 15mm.
The box can apparently be filled either with only one, or both of them.
John's improved design has only two solutions each for the 7- and 8-piece fillings.

Note that at the 2016 NYPP, Bill Cutler gave a presentation on
a new Melting Block design that uses 11 and 12 pieces.

The Trickpack puzzle from HABA is an implementation of the original O'Beirne design.
In O'Beirne's design, eight pieces are constructed by taking a block and making
a horizontal cut 1/3 down from the top, a vertical cut across 1/3 in from the front,
and a vertical cut depthwise 1/3 from the side.
These eight pieces when arranged as shown apparently fill the box.
Unfortunately the Trickpack's box is overly large and will actually allow
a third small block to be packed in

HABA Trickpack

Another example of this style of "geometric paradox" 3D packing puzzle
is the "3D Geometrex" puzzle designed by Gianni Sarcone.
You can read about the 3D Geometrex puzzle (aka the Paradoxopiped puzzle)
at the Archimedes' Laboratory website
This one uses 9 and 10 pieces.

Lucida - Yamamoto - Lensch
Lucida - designed by Osanori Yamamoto and made by Tom Lensch
from Walnut and Canarywood
10.3 moves with rotation.


Someone brought a copy of Andrey Ustjuzhanin's puzzle Slot Machine to RPP and I got to spend some time solving it - I really liked it so when I got home I found a copy still for sale at Cubicdissection and purchased one.

Slot Machine - Ustjuzhanin - Fuller Slot Machine - Ustjuzhanin - Fuller
Slot Machine - designed by Andrey Ustjuzhanin and made by Eric Fuller
from Leopardwood and Ash


Someone also brought a copy of the book Meanwhile by Jason Shiga. It's a form of "choose your own adventure" book, but with a complex design and interesting mechanical implementation using tabbed pages. I just had to order one!

Meanwhile - Shiga
Meanwhile - a book by Jason Shiga
Featuring ice cream, time travel, and various mishaps.


From the latest over at WoodWonders:

Three Locked Cubes - Chein - Menold Three Locked Cubes - Chein - Menold Three Locked Cubes - Chein - Menold
Three Locked Cubes - designed by Tzy Hung Chein and made by Brian Menold
from Bocote
A great little three-piece puzzle to bring to get-togethers. Finally picked one up in this round.

Colonel's Bouquet - Sicherman - Menold
The Colonel's Bouquet - designed by George Sicherman and made by Brian Menold
from Honduras Rosewood
Four hexacubes - combine any pair to make a symmetrical shape
(each pair has a unique solution). Also, all four pieces make a 2x3x4 block.
An entry in the 2017 Design Competition.


Andrew Crowell kindly agreed to make me a set of his Exolution Cubes, versions I, II, III, and IV. He has evolved his design over these iterations but each contains a marble that complicates the solution. Check out Andrew Crowell's Etsy site arcWoodPuzzles.

Exolution I - Crowell
Exolution I - designed and made by Andrew Crowell
Exolution II - Crowell
Exolution II - designed and made by Andrew Crowell

Exolution III - Crowell
Exolution III - designed and made by Andrew Crowell
Exolution IV - Crowell
Exolution IV - designed and made by Andrew Crowell

Exolution group - Crowell
Exolution I, II, III, IV - designed and made by Andrew Crowell

Locked Cube I - Crowell
Locked Cube I - designed and made by Andrew Crowell
from Wenge, Yellowheart, and Zebrawood


In August 2017, I found the following on auction - it appeared to me to be a set of burr pieces, but the seller had assumed that the entire set would be used to construct one large puzzle - no documentation was included. The pieces bear hand-pencilled numbers on their ends, ranging from 1 to 38, and there are 90 pieces. Once I received the set, took inventory, and examined the piece shapes and numbering, it became evident that this is in fact a set of Filipiak's pieces, using his numbering scheme. I wonder who made them, following Filipiak's instructions? Whoever it was did a pretty accurate job.

There are only a few discrepancies:

The seller obtained the set at a flea market in Virginia but unfortunately could say nothing else of its provenance. They were supplied in a crude oblong cardboard box, shown first above - I fashioned a slightly less crude and more convenient cardboard container for the set, with internal separators, shown next. The pieces appear to be made from walnut. Each piece has a 1/2" square cross section and is 3" long, and notches are 1/4" so these are length-12.

I am able to construct many burrs using this set, including the complexly-notched Tenyo Brother, since in effect a 463 is supplied. Sadly, however, due to the flaws mentioned above, there are several among Filipiak's 73 burrs that cannot be constructed using this set.

Still, it is cool to have come into possession of some past puzzler's treasure - it must have taken quite some effort to craft all these pieces - chisel marks can be seen in the finely carved notches. I wonder how many other readers of Filipiak's book actually went to the trouble to make the set of burr pieces for which he evinced so much enthusiasm?


American Flag - soft plastic - Kabaya

The compendium identifies this as a Walker Bulldog Tank - Japan
Here is a photo I saved of an example of this in its package (I don't have this - shown for reference). It is the "M-41" tank, by ODK.

I learned from Peter Hajek of the existence of a variant of the largest Bibendum keychain puzzle - whose key piece is wider than that of the usual version, with a correspondingly smaller left hand piece. At IPP37 in Paris I discovered a copy of this wide-key variant, shown below with its accompanying card and in comparison with the narrow-key version.

Narrow-key variant on the left in all comparison pictures. Note that there are other minor internal differences, including internal grooves on the shoulder and hip pieces, and circular tabs on the sliding pieces of the wide-key version, and different tabs on the right hand piece.

At IPP37 I also found this unusual version of a dog keychain puzzle, from Druopta.
Note the "uni-ear" and the wide nose.

Keychain Druopta dog Keychain Druopta dog Keychain Druopta dog Keychain Druopta dog Keychain Druopta dog Keychain Druopta dog
Keychain Druopta Dog

Keychain dog - DDR Keychain dog - DDR Keychain dog - DDR Keychain dog - DDR Keychain dog - DDR Keychain dog - DDR
Keychain Dog - DDR - obtained in a lot from Germany
Here is a keychain puzzle dog made in the DDR -
Note the shapes of the insides of the pieces - they are blockily hollowed out and contain no lettering.

There are several versions of this type of dog with subtle differences in appearance - here are some examples...

Keychain dog examples

In general, I have found that the keychain dog puzzles of this outward appearance fall
into two classes based on the internal shapes of their pieces
and whether they contain lettering - this blocky hollowed type, versus the type where
the hollowed areas are more rounded and contain lettering.
Examples shown below.

Blocky, no lettering:
Keychain dog - blocky internals Keychain dog - blocky internals

Rounded, with lettering:
Keychain dog - letter internals Keychain dog - letter internals Keychain dog - letter internals

Of course, the Druopta Czech dog isn't hollowed out...
Keychain Druopta dog

Keychain Tank in package
Keychain Tank - in package

Keychain Devil's Knot - Franco Keychain Devil's Knot - Franco
Keychain Devil's Knot - Franco


Kumiki Flying Saucer Kumiki Flying Saucer Kumiki Flying Saucer
Kumiki Flying Saucer - a simple but elegant design


Each year in early August the by-invitation-only International Puzzle Party takes place and is held in some interesting city in the Americas, Europe, or Asia/Oceania. This year the 37th annual IPP took place in Paris, France for the first time. Many new puzzlers were invited to join and it was great to be able to meet up with puzzle friends both old and new! I'd like to herewith thank our host, Frans de Vreugd, for conducting a wonderful event! I know firsthand the work that goes in to running this, and from the outside looking in, it was seamless, Frans. Kudos! There is so much to see and do in Paris, it was impossible to do it all in just one visit - I tried to at least do some of the "greatest hits" (all photos original, copyright 2017 Robert Stegmann)...

IPP37 Paris sights - Champs Elysee IPP37 Paris sights - Champs Elysee IPP37 Paris sights - Arc de Triomphe IPP37 Paris sights - Eiffel Tower IPP37 Paris sights - Eiffel Tower IPP37 Paris sights - Eiffel Tower IPP37 Paris sights - Notre Dame IPP37 Paris sights - Notre Dame on the Seine IPP37 Paris sights - Notre Dame on the Seine IPP37 Paris sights - Place de la Concorde IPP37 Paris sights - Moulin Rouge IPP37 Paris sights - The Louvre IPP37 Paris sights - The Louvre IPP37 Paris sights - Venus de Milo IPP37 Paris sights - Mona Lisa IPP37 Paris sights - Nike IPP37 Paris sights - Liberty Leading the People IPP37 Paris sights - Opera House IPP37 Paris sights - Pont Neuf IPP37 Paris sights - Sacre Coeur from Centre Pompidou IPP37 Paris sights - Marianne at Place de la Republique IPP37 Paris sights - View from Eiffel Tower towards Montparnasse Tower IPP37 Paris sights - Grand Palais

My maternal grandfather served in World War II and died in Paris after the War.
He is buried in the Nouveau Cimeti鑽e de Neuilly Puteaux,
also known as Neuilly-sur-Seine,
in the American Legion Vault, and I was fortunate to be able to visit.
From the cemetery, I was able to view the Grande Arche de la Defense.

IPP37 Paris sights - American Legion Vault IPP37 Paris sights - La Grande Arche de la Defense

A group of us, organized by Brett Kuehner, played the room escape called "The Metro" at The Game France. All agreed, top marks for the quality of the set design and several novel puzzles, with only a couple of duds. We escaped with only 28 seconds left on the clock. Lots of fun!

Of course, there were many mechanical puzzles on offer...

Flooring - Yamamoto - Lensch Flooring - Yamamoto - Lensch Flooring - Yamamoto - Lensch
Flooring - designed by Osanori Yamamoto, made by Tom Lensch
Fit all five pieces into each well, always creating a flat solid "floor."

Hales Lock #3 Hales Lock #4
Hales Lock #3 and Hales Lock #4 - by Shane Hales
A big Thank you to Allard for his unfailing kindness!
B-Lock - Feldman
B-Lock by Boaz Feldman

Stand By Cube No. 2 - Benedetti Stand By Cube No. 2 - Benedetti
Stand By Cube No. 3 - Benedetti Stand By Cube No. 3 - Benedetti
Stand By Cube No. 2 and Stand By Cube No. 3 - by Greg Benedetti
In each cube, one piece is affixed to the base,
and along with strategically placed openings in the base,
constrain how you must build the cube.
Halve a Heart - Elliott Halve a Heart - Elliott
S'Paid in Full - Elliott S'Paid in Full - Elliott
Halve a Heart and S'Paid in Full - designed and made by Scott Elliott
Completing his set of four card suit "screw type" dissections.
I think Halve a Heart is the best of the set!
Cubemaker - Latussek - Pelikan
Cubemaker - designed by Volker Latussek, made by Pelikan
Exchange puzzle of Marty Reis, entered in the Design Competition
Arrange the five pieces so that you form five dark cubes.
Didn't win anything, but I like this one.
Axis Hedgehog - Rademic
Axis Hedgehog - Rademic
Eccentric's Dream - Curtis
Eccentric's Dream - designed and made by Pavel Curtis
Kumiki Penguin Kumiki Penguin
Kumiki Penguin - purchased at the Puzzle Party from premier Kumiki collector Frank Potts
I am told the Penguin is a fairly rare piece.

IPP Airports - Granskas IPP Airports - Granskas IPP Airports - Granskas
International Puzzle Party Airports - designed by Juozas Granskas
Sadly, Juozas explained to me how, try as he might,
he could not fit in our IPP35 Ottawa airport YOW.
Very disappointed, Jouzas! But still a fun puzzle :-) Thank you!

Kenal Cube Kenal Cube
Kenal Cube - designed by Alfons Eyckmans and Ken Johnson, made by Alfons Eyckmans from Padauk and Oak.
A hollow cube with six sliding panels - depending on the setting of one panel, it requires either 135 or 257 moves to open.
See information on Goetz Schwandtner's website

Non-Void Cube - Rover Non-Void Cube - Rover
Non-Void Cube - designed by Andreas Röver
No internal voids, yet still manages to achieve level 4.3.3!

Double Feature - Coffin - Bobroff
Double Feature - designed by Stewart Coffin, made by Saul Bobroff
Pack in six pieces through the occluded aperture.
Thanks, Saul! And very glad to see you up and about at IPP37!
4 Huts 8 Huts - Kotani
4 Huts 8 Huts - designed by Yoshiyuki Kotani
Make the same shape from the 4 large huts, and from the 8 small huts.

The 12th Tile - Watanabe
The 12th Tile - designed by Masaki Watanabe
Hearts - Grebnev
A new tanglement (I am not sure of its name) designed by Kirill Grebnev
It was great talking with you, Kirill!

Cornucopia - Gal Cornucopia - Gal
Cornucopia - designed by Peter Gal
Thanks, Peter!

Icosa - Brainwright
Icosa - issued by Brainwright
Several challenges, including to twist the balls so that none of the same color touch,
or to twist them so that there are all groups of three like-colored balls touching in triangles.
Thanks, Alison!

Pocky 1x2x5 Pocky 1x2x5 Pocky 1x2x5
Pocky 1x2x5

Secret Tricky Twins 1-3
Secret Tricky Twins 1-3 - designed by Tadao Kitazawa, Vesa Timonen, Mineyuki Uyematsu
Arrange each pair of like-colored pieces to make a polygon that can be divided into two identical polygons.
I find these more difficult to approach and validate than symmetric-shape challenges.
Four Ts
Pack the four T-shaped pieces into the tray -
I obtained this from George and Roxanne Miller
but I don't know its name.
Sliding Tetris - Namdarian
Sliding Tetris - Diniar Namdarian
Tilt the cage to move the pieces and open up pathways so you can move the ball out.
I got the collector's edition with extra pieces (not shown).
Romano-Celtic Mask Puzzle Padlocks - Slocum Sonneveld
Romano-Celtic Mask Puzzle Padlocks -
by Jerry Slocum and Dic Sonneveld
My World of Mechanical Puzzles - Krasnoukhov
My World of Mechanical Puzzles -
by Vladimir Krasnoukhov
ARMJ English Newsletter July 2017
ARMJ English Newsletter July 2017 -
issued by the Academy of Recreational Mathematics, Japan

Knotty 6 - Demirhan
Knotty 6 - designed by Yavuz Demirhan
Simple Sharp - Chomine
Simple Sharp - designed by Stéphane Chomine
Tetradyma 5x5 - Demirhan
Tetradyma 5x5 - designed by Yavuz Demirhan

Slide Packing - Katsumoto
Slide Packing - designed by Hajime Katsumoto,
produced by Mineyuki Uyematsu
This one took the Puzzlers Award in the 2016 Design Competition
Penta in a Box - Katsumoto
Penta in a Box - designed by Hajime Katsumoto,
produced by Mineyuki Uyematsu

Ligne Pyramide Pei Ligne Pyramide Pei Ligne Pyramide Pei
Ligne Pyramide Pei -
This special edition Pyraminx designed by Sam Baron for the Louvre
is decorated to evoke the famous and controversial glass Pyramid
installed in the courtyard of the Louvre by the architect I. M. Pei.
Purchased in the Louvre gift shop.
Here is the view from inside the Pei Pyramide looking out...

Inside Pyramide Pei


July 2017

I have been asked to act as a consultant on mechanical puzzles for a new publication sponsored by the Rubik's brand - a series of magazine plus puzzle devoted to mechanical and logic puzzles. The first issue is piloting in France.

Puzzle Magazine Puzzle Magazine Puzzle Magazine Puzzle Magazine

The Bow - Sheckels The Bow - Sheckels
The Bow - A beautiful coordinate motion puzzle, made by Bill Sheckels
from red zebrawood. Expertly contoured and finished!
Check out Bill's Etsy shop Black Dog PuzzleWorks.
Greek Cross - Sheckels
Greek Cross Puzzle - made by Bill Sheckels

New Secret Box III New Secret Box III
New Secret Box III - produced by the Karakuri Creation Group
All six panels move, 18 moves to open.
A nice neo-classic mechanism, not difficult, not too unusual.
Based on Kamei's M-38-3.
Sold out on the Karakuri site, but I found it at an Etsy site called "weartrip."

Pyraminx Deluxe Pyraminx Deluxe
Pyraminx Deluxe Limited Edition - issued by Recent Toys
This version has wood-grain tiles.
Thanks, Jaap!

Tvan - Askerli - Heyns Tvan - Askerli - Heyns
Tvan - designed by Émil Áskerli, made by Johan Heyns
from rubberwood (maze plates), pink ivory (end blocks),
partridgewood (bars), and wild olive (pins).

Diagonal Cube - Coffin - Crowell Diagonal Cube - Coffin - Crowell Diagonal Cube - Coffin - Crowell
Diagonal Cube - designed by Stewart Coffin, made by Andrew Crowell
Check out Andrew's Etsy Shop arcWoodPuzzles

Exolution III - Crowell Exolution III - Crowell Exolution III - Crowell Exolution III - Crowell
Exolution III - designed and made by Andrew Crowell
Check out Andrew's Etsy Shop arcWoodPuzzles
This design has six pieces and a marble inside, requiring careful orientation.

Hanayama Cast Dot Hanayama Cast Dot
Hanayama Cast Dot - designed by Akio Yamamoto
Level 2

Butterflies - SmartGames
Butterflies - issued by SmartGames
SmartEgg Spider
SmartEgg Spider
Kalamazoo K
Kalamazoo K - produced by Mike Tanoff
based on a vintage design called the "Dad's Boy Puzzle"
Mike's exchange puzzle at IPP29 in San Francisco.
Form the letter 'K' from the four pieces.

Curvy Chop - Smaz Curvy Chop - Smaz
Curvy Chop - designed by Smaz
Half of a Curvy Copter.

Great Burglar Puzzle Great Burglar Puzzle
I obtained an example of the vintage Great Burglar Puzzle that is based on
U.S. patent 993581 issued to H. Davidson in 1911.
See my section devoted to similar Combination Puzzles.

Six Piece Cube - Pussy Six Piece Cube - Pussy
I found this interesting small Six Piece Cube Puzzle purportedly from Pussy of Germany
though it has no markings or provenance.

Cracker Jack Square and Cross
Square and Cross - a tiny vintage Cracker Jack prize
Cracker Jack Lock
Lock - a tiny vintage Cracker Jack prize

Mind Block Mind Block
Mind Block - by t.c. timber, crafted by Habermaass Corp. of Skaneateles NY
Eight cubes, each with three holes.
Use twelve dowels to connect the cubes and build a 2x2x2 structure.
Journal 29
Journal 29 - an intriguing puzzle book
Solve various puzzles and submit answers online
to get keys in order to further progress.

Labritation - by Mag-Nif 1975
A vintage dexterity puzzle - guide the ball through the maze
without dropping into a pitfall.

Rounding out my collection of Uncle's Puzzles disentanglements, with a few I didn't have: Double Image, Ring, and Rope

Double Image - Uncle's Puzzles Ring - Uncle's Puzzles Rope - Uncle's Puzzles

Two different series of "Escape the Room" card games -
Exit - Exit: The Secret Lab, Exit: The Pharaoh's Tomb;
and Unlock - Unlock! The Formula, Unlock! Squeek & Sausage, Unlock! The Island of Doctor Goorse:

Exit: The Secret Lab Exit: The Pharaoh's Tomb Unlock! The Formula Unlock! Squeek & Sausage Unlock! The Island of Doctor Goorse


June 2017

Revenge Lock / The Wanderer - Strijbos
Revenge Lock / The Wanderer - (re-)designed by Wil Strijbos
Beautiful, hefty, and daunting!
Wil's response to Gary Foshee's Lunatic Lock.
Originally called the Revenge Lock, now re-designed to eliminate
a false solution, and renamed "The Wanderer."
According to Wil: No magnets, no banging, no force.

Straight4ward - Molnar - Menold
Straight4ward - designed by Laszlo Molnar, made by Brian Menold
from Spalted Sycamore and Redheart
Trenta - Lohe - Menold
Trenta - designed by Christoph Lohe, made by Brian Menold
from Ash and Mahogany

Tom's Turnstile - Cutrofello - Brainwright
Tom's Turnstile - designed by Tom Cutrofello, issued by Brainwright
A nice, substantial brass sliding-piece puzzle -
I categorize as of the "No Gap, Movable Frame" type.
Thanks, Alison!

Hungarian Rock
Hungarian Rock - a vintage 3D edgematching twisty puzzle
Arancia Meccanica
Arancia Meccanica - a vintage 3D sliding piece puzzle [T]
I categorize this as of the "No Gap, Rigid Frame (Interlocking Orbits)" type.
Clover Octahedron Fragmentation Clover Octahedron Fragmentation
Clover Octahedron Fragmentation - by Verypuzzle
Hanayama Cast Shift Hanayama Cast Shift
Hanayama Cast Shift - designed by Kirill Grebnev
Level 3/6
Chain Reaction - Invermark 1987
Chain Reaction - a vintage interlocking puzzle/toy, invented by David Brown.
Invenmark Ltd. 1987
I found the relevant patent WO1988008320 A1 by searching for Invenmark 1987.
For some reason Google Patents does not show the diagrams, but Espacenet does.
(Although that link may get you into a weird "prove you're a human" loop...)
Kind of a tensegrity/dexterity hybrid. I use the term "tensegrity" but it's not really correct to apply to this construction -
I'm getting at the "push-pull" going on - the patent describes it like this:
"A first pair of limbs of the first frame holds captive therebetween a second pair of limbs of the second frame;
a first pair of limbs of the second frame holds captive therebetween the second pair of limbs of the third frame;
and a first pair of limbs of the third frame hold captive therebetween the second pair of limbs of the first frame."
Race War Puzzle Between Gold & Silver
Race War Puzzle Between Gold & Silver - a vintage sliding piece puzzle
of the "No Gap, Rigid Frame (Interlocking Orbits)" type.
See U.S. Patent 507215 - Churchill 1893.
The "war between gold and silver" referred to here was a major political issue regarding currency in late 19th-century America.
See the Wikipedia article on Free Silver.
(Another puzzle named after the same issue is the "16-to-1" shuttle maze.)
I found only the board - no pieces (the patent shows 22 pieces in each ring, with two shared between the rings at the crossing points),
but I had some time ago saved internet photos showing a cover and some pieces...

Amazers - 1986 Tilton Toys Ltd.
New keychain puzzle finds, including a nice store card and several Japanese puzzles...


May 2017

The Campaign was successfully funded! Cube Index Kickstarter Campaign

Wheel Lock - Tzy Hung Chein - Menold
Wheel Lock - designed by Tzy Hung Chein, made by Brian Menold
from Tambodi sapwood, Redheart, and Maple
Burrbox 1 - Jolly - Menold
Burrbox 1 - designed by Tom Jolly, made by Brian Menold
from Spalted Beech and Holly
Triaxe - Chomine - Menold
Triaxe - designed by Stéphane Chomine, made by Brian Menold
from Maple and Wenge
Level 24.2
L-I-Vator I - Molnar - Menold
L-I-Vator I - designed by Laszlo Molnar, made by Brian Menold
from Canarywood, Walnut, and Mahogany
Y6BB1 - Demirhan - Menold
Y6BB1 - designed by Yavuz Demirhan, made by Brian Menold
from Tzalam, Okoume, and Mulberry

Light in the Lantern - Shokcz
Light in the Lantern - designed and made by Czech craftsman Vaclav Skopek
See his Etsy store SHOKCZ
A very steampunk instance of the Hedgehog - the Czech national puzzle
Board 231 - Shokcz
Board 231 - designed and made by Czech craftsman Vaclav Skopek
See his Etsy store SHOKCZ
A very steampunk instance of a ring-in-plate maze

Metal Mayhem Difficult Range Metal Mayhem Difficult Range
Metal Mayhem Difficult Range - issued by Professor Puzzle (in the UK), Recent Toys (in the US)
A set of four robust tanglement puzzles, including Boomerang, Last Nail in the Coffin, Dead Ringer, and Claws.
Betcha Can't - Skor Mor 1970
Betcha Can't - issued by Skor Mor in 1970
An instance of the Wit's End design.
Packaging matches the Betcha Won't instance of the Ox-yoke design I obtained earlier.
My latest keychain puzzle aquisitions...

Keychain Puzzles Keychain Puzzles Keychain Puzzles


April 2017

Twisty fans may want to consider pledging the Cube Index Kickstarter Campaign. I've backed the project and am hoping the product will be a beautiful addition to my library of puzzle books! As of this posting there are still early bird pricing slots available.


I received several novel tanglement puzzles designed by Mr. Wang Yulong of China, ordered from Felix Puzzle Company.

Mr. Wang Yulong also very kindly sent me four additional puzzles as gifts. Thanks!

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I ordered three good-looking new designs from Pelikan:

Tribord - Chomine - Pelikan Tribord - Chomine - Pelikan
Tribord - designed by Stéphane Chomine,
made by Pelikan from Mahogany and Wenge
Level 17.3.4
Big Quadrox - Chomine - Pelikan Big Quadrox - Chomine - Pelikan
Big Quadrox - designed by Stéphane Chomine,
made by Pelikan from Wenge, Padouk, Acacia, Purpleheart, and Cherry
Tower - Damstra - Pelikan Tower - Damstra - Pelikan
Tower - designed by Klaas Jan Damstra,
made by Pelikan from Bubinga and Walnut


The price finally came down on the two new Star Wars themed 2x2x2 puzzles, R2D2 and BB8...

R2-D2 - Megahouse R2-D2 - Megahouse
R2-D2 - 2x2x2 twisty puzzle by Megahouse of Japan
BB-8 - Megahouse BB-8 - Megahouse
BB-8 - 2x2x2 twisty puzzle by Megahouse of Japan


Orchard - Dr. Wood
Orchard - by Dr. Wood
See my analysis of this puzzle in my Pattern section.
Helix 3 Maze Fury - Wedgits
Helix 3 Maze Fury - by Wedgits
Three solution goals and paths -
shown at wedgits.com.
Here is a Chuck burr in plastic, from Hungary.

miQube - Mindware
miQube - Mindware
Copyright 1993-2006 IQideas, New Zealand - designed by Andrew Baker
Discontinued by Mindware, but available direct from IQideas.
Four multi-player games and a solitaire puzzle -
assemble the 13 unique pieces (each is a four or five-unit polycube)
into a 4x4x4 cube such that every side is a single (different) color.
Here is a review at Boardgamegeek.
The puzzle solution is available at IQideas.
Thread the Maze: The Riddle of the Sphinx
Thread the Maze: The Riddle of the Sphinx - by Blue Opal
Copyright 1999 Dugald Keith; invented by Shane Murphy and Dugald Keith
Thread the cord through every hole just once from start
to finish but never leave the tunnels on either side of the card.
Check out a nice writeup on Thread the Maze prototyping.
Mike Desilets is a fellow puzzle collector - he specializes in the Setko line and is working on a book about the history of the puzzles. We've never found an instance of this particular design by Calvin O. Brown, so we refer to it as the "Lost Setko." U.S. Patent 2778641 2778641 - Calvin O. Brown 1957. Mike made an example and kindly sent me a copy. Thanks, Mike!
Start with the silver peg in either of the two circled holes. Place two black pegs to either side of the silver peg. Now, using only jumps of one peg over one other peg into a vacant spot, with no removal, get the silver peg to the other circled spot, again with two black pegs on either side.
I discovered a sequence that moves the whole "train" one spot along - so the solution entails repeating this sequence until the whole train arrives in the proper positions - it's lengthy!

The Mystery Key issued by Peter Pan UK
See my section on the Boomhower patent. Does the Mystery Key predate him?

A Kumiki Pyramid.

Charpente Diabolique - A vintage French boxed burr puzzle.
Several Keychain puzzle finds...


March 2017

Vega Mate by Raphaël Mouflin Vega Mate by Raphaël Mouflin Vega Mate by Raphaël Mouflin Vega Mate by Raphaël Mouflin
Vega Mate - by Raphaël Mouflin [T]
The Vega Mate is a compound of five tetrahedrons; the base puzzle is a Pentultimate.
Keychain Ultimate Skewb group
A nice group of keychain twisty puzzles issued by RecentToys
- including the Ultimate Skewb. Thanks, Jaap!
Calibron Twelve Block Puzzle Calibron Twelve Block Puzzle
Calibron Twelve Block Puzzle Calibron Twelve Block Puzzle
I obtained an original instance of the Calibron Twelve Block Puzzle, produced by Theodore Edison,
son of the famous Thomas Edison.
All twelve puzzle pieces are present and intact, but the spacer piece is missing.
George Miller and Nick Baxter wrote an article The Mystery of the Calibron Twelve Block Puzzle
published in the 100th issue of the CFF newsletter, in which they explore the confusion surrounding the piece dimensions.
They say reportedly less than 200 units of this puzzle were sold, so it is fairly rare.
Betcha Won't Betcha Won't Betcha Won't
Betcha Won't - "The 'Togetherness' puzzle made by C. B. Enterprises exclusively for Skor-Mor." Copyright 1971 by C. Schieber.
A version of the Ox Yoke - move the beads so they are side by side on the same loop of the cord.
Heavy Metal Tangles group Puzzlers Tangles group
Some tanglement puzzles, purchased from Calendars.com
The group of five bronze-colored Heavy Metal puzzles come with stands and are produced by Go! Games of Texas and made in China -
(clockwise from back left) Cowboy, Bullets, Saddle Up, Big Slick, and Aces Up.
The three chrome puzzles are lighter gauge and were also produced by Go! Games - Vertigo, Bad Trip, and Sink or Swim.
1936 Zimmerhackel Sliding Piece Puzzle 1936 Zimmerhackel Sliding Piece Puzzle
A vintage 1936 sliding piece puzzle, urging folks to vote for Harry Zimmerhackel
My copy is missing two rectangular blocks that belong where the quarter is.
Recently acquired keychain puzzles and cards!

Keychain Pig DDR Keychain Atomic Jet Plane Card Keychain Cum-A-Part Football Card Keychain Jig Toy Liner

Timothy Hall wants me to let you know he has re-created the Rhoma wooden assembly puzzle originally designed by Marvin Solit and has copies for sale along with a variant Tim designed. Check them out at his website Hallcastle.com.

I'm posting about it late, but I had a great time in Manhattan on the 18th of February at the annual New York Puzzle Party Symposium hosted by Tom Cutrofello. It was well attended this year, featuring presentations on a variety of topics, puzzle buying, selling, and trading, and plenty of socializing with interesting people. The weather was very mild this year - almost 70F!

After we got back to Brett's on Saturday evening, we played the first two episodes of the tabletop "Escape Room The Game" - "Prison Break" and "Virus." Our team of four was able to crack both and each was enjoyable. On Sunday the 19th we were back in Manhattan to play a couple of real life "Escape the Room" events - four of us attacked and beat "Submarine" at Escape the Room NYC, and with only three we won "BioTech Labs" at Mystery Room NYC. Both were fun with novel elements and we beat both with plenty of time to spare. You can check out reviews of such puzzling experiences at RoomEscapeArtist run by co-founders Lisa and David Spira.

I picked up a couple of Escape-the-room-in-a-box offerings produced by Thinkfun: "Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor" and "Secret of Dr. Gravely's Retreat."

Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor Secret of Dr. Gravely's Retreat

At NYPP I picked up a KA-LOK trick knife, a dissected A, and a Bram's Magic (thanks, Brett).

KA-LOK trick knife KA-LOK trick knife
KA-LOK Trick Knife - issued by Ka-Bar ca. 1981
Easily opened - but how does it close?
Patented in May 1981 by Merwyn Reinschreiber - US4268960 A
Dissected A
Dissected A
Bram's Magic Bram's Magic Bram's Magic Bram's Magic
Bram's Magic - designed by Bram Cohen and Oskar van Deventer


Marbles the Brain Store is closing and has been having sales, so I ordered a few discounted items.

Marbology - created by Dan, Jon, and Keiran Barvenik, with Tyler Somer.
Circuit Maze - Thinkfun
Circuit Maze - produced by Thinkfun
created by David Yakos, with Wei-Hwa Huang and Tyler Somer.
Little Bits Arduino Coding Kit
Little Bits Arduino Coding Kit


I received several novel tanglement puzzles designed by Wang Yulong, ordered from Felix Puzzle Company.

Wormhole I Wormhole I
Wormhole I - Wang Yulong
Wormhole II Wormhole II
Wormhole II - Wang Yulong
The Leo The Leo
The Leo - Wang Yulong
Doraemon Doraemon
Doraemon - Aaron Wang
Sandwich Sandwich
Sandwich - Wang Yulong


Additional tanglements I found - a set of three "Palm Puzzles" issued by MindWare a while back and now discontinued, and a box of three wire puzzles from Taiwan:

Palm Puzzles - MindWare Palm Puzzles - MindWare Palm Puzzles - MindWare
Palm Puzzles - Hand, Dog, Duck - MindWare
Tangle Set - Green Box - Taiwan Tangle Set - Green Box - Taiwan
Tangle Set - Green Box - Taiwan Tangle Set - Green Box - Taiwan Tangle Set - Green Box - Taiwan
Tangle Set - Green Box - Taiwan


More puzzling finds...

Coloured Triangles Puzzles Coloured Triangles Puzzles Coloured Triangles Puzzles
Coloured Triangles Puzzles - British Caledonian Airways
Magnetic pieces.
Similar to Jinxed a vintage edgematching puzzle from Tryne.
Puzzles using triangular tiles are discussed by MacMahon in New Mathematical Pastimes on pages 2-22.
The Suitcase Puzzle The Suitcase Puzzle The Suitcase Puzzle
The Suitcase Puzzle - made in China for Bear, Bear, & Bear Ltd. England 1996
Hanayama Cast Dial Hanayama Cast Dial
Cast Dial - Hanayama
Level 4
designed by Vesa Timonen
Antivirus Mutation - SmartGames Antivirus Mutation - SmartGames
Antivirus Mutation - SmartGames


And, surprise, I found some keychain puzzles to add to my collection - including a baker's dozen from Japan and a few from France and elsewhere!

Keychain puzzle Keychain puzzle


February 2017

I have put up revised, easier-to-memorize instructions on solving the 2x3x3 Domino twisty.

A group of new Megaminx speed-cube type twisties, including:
a Lim Cube Fangshi Megaminx, a QiYi Galaxy Sculptured stickerless Megaminx,
and the YJ Moyu YuHu R Megaminx, which is my favorite (be sure to get the 'R' version).

I put up what I believe to be fairly straight-forward instructions on solving the Megaminx.

A group of new Skewb speed-cube type twisties, including:
a Shengshou Skewb, a QiYi QiCheng stickerless Skewb, a Cong's Design MeiCheng stickerless Skewb,
and the Moyu Magnetic stickerless Skewb.

I put up what I believe to be very easy-to-memorize instructions on solving the Skewb.

A group of twisties including:
a DaYan Master F-Skewb (black), a DaYan Tangram Cube (black), a Moyu Aosu Axis 4x4 (blue),
a QiYi stickerless Pyraminx, and a Shengshou 2x2 Mastermorphix (Babymorphix).

Le Fer a Cheval - a vintage French boxed tanglement puzzle
I received two slightly different boxes and an instruction sheet with the puzzle.

A keychain push-fit Jalopy, from Germany.
Not really interlocking, but I've seen it accompany other keychain puzzles.

Keychain Cowboy Straight Shooter, with card
This puzzle gun has also been offered as the "Roy Rogers Straight Shooter."

Keychain Terramycine Bottle (yellow)

Wandering Cubes - designed by Peter Gal
Made by Eric Fuller from Carolina Ash and Canarywood

ODD - designed by Hirokazu Iwasawa
Made by Eric Fuller from Bird's Eye Maple and Walnut

Seizaine - NOS #7 - designed by Gregory Benedetti
Made by Eric Fuller from Ambrosia Maple


January 2017

I came across a fascinating article by Arthur L. Smith in the March 1926 issue of Popular Science, describing a set of traditional six-piece burr puzzle pieces and puzzles, which I believe sheds light on errors in Wyatt's list of burr puzzles. I have added material to my Catalog of Burr Puzzles.

PM Whiskey Puzzle
A nice large vintage cardboard advertising version of the square dissection devised in 1873 by Henri Perigal.

Japanese Rocket Puzzle Set

Lanlan Crazy Comet - designed by Oskar van Deventer

Clover Cube - Verypuzzle

Kumiki Geta - a pair of Japanese wooden sandals

Kumiki Tyrannosaur

Kumiki Locomotive

Setko Scramble
Arrange the pegs so that no row, column, or main diagonal contains a duplicate letter, and so that "SETKO" is not spelled in any line.

Here are some interesting puzzle websites:

Plywood Puzzles Compendium - a vintage kit from Dolphin Games & Toys of Britain -
including pieces to try six different sliding block puzzles A-F.
Appears in Hordern - C55 on p.94 is A (48 moves), C58 on p.95 (aka Tit Bits Teaser No.5 or the Train Puzzle) is equivalent to C (59 moves),
C59 on p.96 is B (61 moves), D9 on p.109 is F (63 moves), D10 on p.110 is E (76 moves). Hordern omits D.
Slocum dates this to 1890! It is feasible, since plywood was introduced prior to 1865, and the cardboard box in 1890.


I took advantage of a 20% off sale at Shapeways and picked up several puzzles - here are some I particularly like:

White Design Four Piece Pyramid - Bill Darrah
Purchased from Bill's Shapeways shop.
A nice compact challenging puzzle!

Dodecafé - Rik Brouwer
Purchased from Rik's Shapeways shop.
Difficult to assemble and even more difficult to take apart.


The past year brought around 55,000 visitors to this site and added 77,000 sessions and 115,000 page views. The traffic definitely took a dip in late 2015 when free hosting of personal web pages by my ISP ended, but it has been slowly recovering. I'd like to thank my friend Brett for continuing to host this site. My website isn't the busiest site on the internet by any means - but it's still among the first results for many puzzle-related searches. Almost 10% of visitors stay for 10-30 minutes or more. The visitor gender distribution is about 54/46 M/F - it's not 50/50, but it's nice to see that my content seems to have general appeal. The most popular pages are Tanglement and Interlocking, followed by the Home page, What's New, Pattern, Disassembly, Assembly, Rearrangement, Jumping, Allother, Links, Sliding, Keychain, Routefinding, Dexterity, and Books. Folks who come in via the Home page often then visit What's New, the Main Menu, Links, or the Classification page.

More than 50% of visitors use Chrome, about 25% Safari, 12% Firefox, 10% IE/Edge, 1% Android browser, and 1% Opera. Almost 30% of users come in via mobile devices (Apple and Samsung phones and tablets) - I have spent a lot of time re-vamping several of the pages - most recently Tanglement - to be responsive and mobile-friendly. The biggest challenges have been converting all the images from fixed-height to relative width with appropriate maximums, reducing my layout densities, and finding and breaking up long strings within table cells so they don't throw off the layout.

For those of you who recall my 2014 summary - now I have had one visitor each from the Congo (DRC) and the Solomon Islands - leaving only the holdouts Western Sahara and Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands.

Welcome to my new guests! I hope you find this website entertaining and informative.

I don't know what the new year may bring - but I wish my readers health, happiness, and the joys of intellectual challenge and achievement!

To kick off the New Year, here are three beautiful puzzles I won in auction:

Six Piece Tetrahedron - designed and made by Wayne Daniel
I had been after this one for a while, to round out my set of tetrahedrons by Wayne Daniel -
and it does not disappoint! Beautifully made and quite a challenge. I love it!
Just look at those intricate pieces! How did Wayne manage this??

Zulu Box - a vintage turned puzzle
Boxwood - appears in Hoffmann's classic volume

Corollary Dovetail - designed by Norman Sandfield
made by Perry McDaniel from Mahogany and Padauk
Exchanged by Norman at IPP15 in Tokyo


December 2016

Here's wishing all my puzzle friends around the globe Happy Holidays, whatever your persuasion. And if it fits, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Lightbox3 - designed by Eric Clough
Lightbox3 Kickstarter campaign (over)

Dispersion - designed by Tzy Hung Chein,
made by Brian Menold
from Redheart, Box Elder, and Ziricote

Marin - designed by Jos Bergmans,
made by Brian Menold from various woods

Blue Planks - designed by Jos Bergmans,
made by Brian Menold
from Padauk and Osage Orange

Little Bruce - designed by Ken Irvine,
made by Eric Fuller
from Canarywood

Mensa's 8 Square Puzzle
Made by China Industrial Ltd. Wow!Stuff.
Starting with four of the eleven pieces, make a square.
Then make squares with five of the pieces, six, etc. up to all eleven.

Roddy Square Puzzle
A nice vintage item from England.

An example of the Cowboy keychain puzzle produced in the UK.

An example of the Goose keychain puzzle produced by Bell in the UK.

Amazing Cube #1 - ThinkIQ, Mi Toys

Amazing Cube #2 - ThinkIQ, Mi Toys


Amazing Cube #3 - ThinkIQ, Mi Toys


A selection of the latest puzzles from Brainwright. Thanks, Alison!

Dog Pile - Brainwright

By the Book - Brainwright

Cross the Line - Brainwright

Loyd's 15 - Brainwright

QBoid - Brainwright


I bought this aluminum Russian 1980 Olympics Bear Puzzle from a seller located in Belarus.
I do not know who made it.
It stands about 14cm tall and is an interlocking sculpture of 16 pieces.
Like much Soviet architecture, it is blocky and brutalist - but I like it a lot!
I call it a "Russian Bear-o-cal." Ha, ha! I crack myself up.

Oliver - Derek Bosch's latest helical burr puzzle, printed by Steve Nicholls.

Triple Triads - designed by D. Goodman and Abraham Jacob
This was Abraham's exchange at IPP35.
I really like this one - 3 copies each of simple tetracube pieces.
Use the three copies of a given shape to construct a form,
but construct the same form with each of the three triples!


Make My Day - by Markus Götz
This hefty version was Markus' exchange at IPP34 in London.
A gift from Markus - thanks!
Now mass-produced in a lighter form by PuzzleMaster.

Simplexity - by Markus Götz - his exchange at IPP35 in Ottawa.
Move the cord to lie along the opposite branch.


This tanglement puzzle was Wil Strijbos' exchange at IPP35.
Free the metal U.

Smiley - designed by Kunio Saeki and Frederic Boucher -
Frederic's exchange at IPP35.
A 3x3 edgematching puzzle. Each piece is basically a 45mm square
where each side has one of four types of triangular notches or corresponding tabs.
Each piece has a smiley face on only one side, so the pieces cannot be flipped,
though they may be rotated. Any piece may be placed in the center.

An oblong 2x2x2 twisty in the rough shape of a bus, complete with wheels.


If you are near Burlington Wisconsin, be sure to visit the Logic Puzzle Museum run by Judith Schulz.


Here are some of the latest puzzles by SmartGames from Raf Peeters - Thanks, Raf!

IQ XOXO - SmartGames

IQ Puzzler Pro - SmartGames

Parking Puzzler - SmartGames
A tray-packing puzzle with graduated challenges.
(Not a sliding-piece puzzle.)

Penguins Pool Party - SmartGames
Tray packing on a hexagonal grid - graduated challenges using
four "ice floe" pieces and up to four single-hex penguins. Charming!

Dinosaurs Mystic Islands - SmartGames
Arrange the six 1x2 rectangular pieces in the 3x4 grid such that
the red and green dinosaurs are on separate islands.
Graduated challenges, becoming surprisingly difficult. A favorite!

Deducktion - SmartGames


From Lee Krasnow at Pacific Puzzle Works, a machined stainless frame for Lee's
Sonneveld Four Piece Cube, making it a keychain puzzle!


Kumiki Empire State Building
A simple one but I really like it!


Space Plane - Bell (UK)


This is a custom commissioned metal version of the Bell Atom Gun


Here is a version of the Jet Fighter in hard plastic that features a pilot!


Ivy Cube by QiYi - licensed from and designed by Eitan Cher -
originally called the "Eye Skewb" [T]
a form of the Cubominx designed by Tony Fisher [Y] which was based on a Pyraminx.


November 2016


Kumiki City Hall, with instruction sheet.

Small Kumiki Pagoda

Super Stumpa - a vintage plastic six-piece burr from Executive Games.
The pieces are { 1, 188, 512, 832, 975, 1024 } - the "Cross of Marseille" set.
The instruction sheet mentions other interesting puzzles, including the
"Barry Pitt Original Third Dimension Stumpa" that resembles a Paracelsus Puzzle.

Peter Pan Speed Cop
Same architecture as Hi-Way Patrol, but smaller - see comparison photo.
Speed cop is on bottom.

The Mini Ferryboat or Mini Showboat -
I found one in a capsule, with instruction sheet.


Papa Chuck - by Pentangle

7 Nut Puzzler - by Shackman
I believe this wooden version predates the Milton Bradley plastic version of "Drive Ya Nuts" (copyright 1987)
but this has the same set of nut configurations and the same solution.


Butagaz Bear Keychain puzzle
Very rare! Mine is slightly damaged - the piece in the lower right should
have a tab projecting forward and up to lodge between the legs.
Still very happy to have found it.

Sedan keychain puzzle by Pussy of Germany
The chassis piece has "DBGM" and a logo.

Mushroom keychain puzzle by Pussy of Germany

Rhinocerous Beetle keychain puzzle

Indian on Horseback keychain puzzle
Tomahawk in right hand.


Hales Lock 2 - designed and made by Shane Hales


Starting November with an appropriately themed puzzle...

The Presidential Muddle Puzzle
See U.S. Patent 524703 - Carter Aug. 1894


Followed by some items manufactured in China...

Shengshou 4-layer Pyraminx

Verypuzzle Void Tuttminx

Witeden 3x3x7


More products of the global economy...

Hug - designed and made by Alfons Eyckmans
from Vitex and Padauk
Level 19

Venus - designed and made by Alfons Eyckmans
from Ash and Purpleheart
Level 16

Infinity - designed and made by Alfons Eyckmans
from Ipe, Oak, Okan
Level 25

Lolly Box 2 - designed and made by Alfons Eyckmans
from Walnut and various woods
Level 5.29

Lolly Box, Lolly Box 2, and Four in a Box - all designed by Alfons Eyckmans

Heart Tangram by Pussy Puzzles of Germany

Avenger Puzzler


And finally some items hand made by craftsmen right here in the U.S.A. ...

Triangular Prism - designed by Stewart T. Coffin
made by Wayne Daniel

Stumbling Blocks - designed by Goh Pit Khiam,
made by Tom Lensch from Maple and Jatoba

Burr Noose - designed by Tom Jolly
made by Brian Menold from Ash, Osage Orange, Iroko,
Lacewood, Padauk, Tzalm, and Holly rings

Tricolore - designed by Frans de Vreugd
made by Brian Menold from Padauk, Holly, and Katalox

LooZ Fit - designed by Laszlo Molnar
made by Brian Menold from Koa (tray) and mixed woods


October 2016

Hanayama Cast Cake - designed by Bram Cohen

Hanayama Cast Diamond - designed by Scott Elliott

Hanayama Cast Infinity - designed by Vesa Timonen

Artefacts - designed by Frederic Boucher
made by Eric Fuller, from Walnut, Baltic Birch, Chechen, Maple, and Steel.
The five wooden pieces pack flat in the tray with the steel dowel three ways,
but with the dowel in the hole the pieces pack only one way.

Small Button Puzzle Box - designed and made by Eric Fuller
from Zebrawood and Padauk

Carni Chaak 3x3x3 Puzzle - in time for Halloween!

Shengshou Master Kilominx

Verypuzzle Lovebird

Happy to have found this type of Keychain Dog puzzle!
Check out my comparison of ten different keychain dog puzzles.

Another nice find - a Berlin Bear, with claws and crown.


September 2016

Fellow puzzle collector Colin James kindly sent me a care package
containing several puzzles, including three in the "Instant Insanity Family." Thanks, Colin!

I purchased four new acrylic laser-cut tray-packing puzzles from Jerry Loo -
clockwise from top left: Tick-Pack-Toe, Fish Tank (designed by Pit Khiam Goh), Fly in My Pumpkin Soup, Hash Pack

I found an interesting sliding piece puzzle crossed with an edgematching puzzle -
a Roalex Numb Skull puzzle on its original card:

I found a vintage metal Liberty Thrift Bank Puzzle - how does it open?

From the Liberty Thrift Bank Co. of Rochester NY.
In great shape, with no rust.
I have seen instances of this marked "Patent Pending"
but mine says "PATD APRIL 26 1921."
After some searching, I found the relevant patent -
it is 1376036 awarded to inventor James Pearsall in 1921 and filed in 1918.
Jerry Slocum's collection at the Lilly Library
contains a copy of the Liberty Thrift Bank.
The notes say it was made in 1892 by Baumgardner & Co.
for the 1893 Columbian Exposition,
but not sold there - the Columbus Egg by Baumgardner was sold instead.
I am surprised by this, given the almost 30 year discrepancy in dates.

I was happy to acquire Pyro Puzzles' Nutty Bolt No. 1
and Nutty Bolt No. 2 from designer Stephen Miller:

With this instance of Berrocal's Micro Maria, I have completed the trio of Berrocal's Micro puzzles (the fourth Micro is not a puzzle).

The trio:

Micro Maria with Mini Maria:

Here is Mini Maria disassembled:

Lional Speedway Racer keychain puzzle with original card

Puzzler Duck in Cannon Package

Mini 2-Piece Owl Keychain Puzzles


August 2016

designed by Tim Alkema
Made by Eric Fuller
from Sapele, Maple, and magnets

B-Box and Reactor
designed by Pit Khiam Goh (B-Box) and Eric Fuller (Reactor)
Made by Eric Fuller
from Maple, Walnut, Mahogany, and Padauk
B-Box is level 135.9.2.
Once you get that out of the way, inside is Eric's
Reactor Box puzzle.

designed by Tim Alkema
Beautifully made by Pelikan
from Cherry, Wenge, Purpleheart, Acacia, and Padouk
Extract four pieces plus a cube from the sleeve.

designed by Laszlo Molnar
Made by Brian Menold
Sequentially pack the 8 pieces
into the box through the opening.
Two differently patterned solutions.

designed by Laszlo Molnar
Made by Brian Menold
Sequentially pack the 6 pieces
into the cage through the openings.

A set of the latest tanglement puzzles,
via Wil Strijbos
They are (top photo): 4 et 4 U, Zauberschlüssel, OUU Metal, OUU Wood
(bottom photo): 8U8 Large, U-Twins, 8U8 Small, U-Sockel, Und+Kugel, U-Loop

iQube set with Communist theme

Lional Hi-Way Patrol Keychain puzzle

Puzzle Puss Keychain puzzle

Bowling Pin with Ball Keychain puzzle

Merit Covered Wagon Keychain puzzle

Merit Stagecoach Keychain puzzle

Merit Racing Car Keychain puzzle

Merit Space Pistol Keychain puzzle

Renault Floride miniature puzzle
Robot Keychain Puzzle
I found a robot puzzle with an unusual chain mount embedded in its left shoulder.
The head piece has bejeweled eyes and the marking DGBM.
Comparison with other similar robots shown.
Usually the left shoulder either has an external eyelet, or no provision for a chain.

I scanned the instructions that came with the black and white Russian Robot.

I found an unusual version of the Spunky Dog - marked Made in Hong Kong in a circle on its head, and "WY No. 50" on its left rear flank. In size it is comparable to a normal Spunky (maybe a tad larger) but definitely less accurately made.

Other Keychain Puzzle finds:

Viking, Atalanta, and Viscount Airplane puzzles
U.K. cereal-box prizes


Esso Oil Drop Man interlocking keychain puzzle
Hard plastic, 8 pieces. The chest is a front and back fixed together.
(Seems permanent to me and I didn't try to pry it apart -
the legs and arms have flanges and slide into it in grooves.)
Very happy to have found this extremely rare keychain puzzle!
In pristine condition, to boot!

Since this one is so rare, I have taken photos of the [dis]assembly steps.

July 2016

Mekaniko, Mekano, and Gaveta Cross
designed, made by, and purchased from Yavuz Demirhan.
Cleverly designed, beautifully made, substantially sized, and reasonably priced.
Check out Yavuz' Etsy site Cubozone.

Try Nine - Copyright 1981 Reiss Games
Arrange the nine octagons in a 3x3 grid such that abutting edges match.
You must simultaneously match edges diagonally across the small void squares!

Bognar's Brainteaser Smile
produced by Huch!

Qiyi Ciyuan 3x3x3
I actually got this a while ago
thinking it would just be another novelty 3x3x3,
but it has a great mechanism that cuts well,
doesn't pop, and is very smooth without overshooting.
It has become my main 3x3x3!
It is translucent gray and its color outlines
are actual plastic pieces countersunk into the cubie faces.

Bubbloid 4x4x5 - designed by Carl Hoff,
produced by Calvin's Puzzles
I got a limited edition blue.

Bubbloid 4x5x5 - designed by Carl Hoff,
produced by Calvin's Puzzles
I got a limited edition blue.

Megaminx 2x2
produced by Shengshou

Ghost Cube 2x2x2
produced by Lim Cube

Elephant 2x2x2
produced by Yongjun

House 2x2x2
produced by Yongjun

Renault Dauphine - Blue
I found a rare blue version -
Unfortunately the top was cracked in half down the center, but I superglued it.

Keychain "Lucky Dice" by Pussycat of Germany

Keychain Czech Robot

Keychain Czech Dog
This is the interesting dog with the two-piece "inverted" head.

Keychain "TECNOA" advertising cube

Keychain Pig
This one got damaged in transit due to poor packaging.
I superglued it.

Keychain Sombrero
Not a puzzle, but sometimes seen
with the Mule Train (Mule Rider)

Kumiki Kangaroo - and that's baby Joey in her pouch!

Richter Stone Puzzle No. 26

Richter Stone Puzzle No. 28

Richter Stone Puzzle No. 29

Pointed Scorpius - six identical pieces - each in turn made from 4 sticks

I found a group of miscellaneous keychain puzzles - a few intact examples mixed with several broken or incomplete specimens.
Among them was a wonderful surprise - a complete example of the Mini Space Gun, including an instruction sheet!

It's got only five pieces compared to six for the full-sized Space Gun - the nose is a single piece rather than two.
The nose holds on only via friction so I imagine it is easily lost.

This is an alternative body piece for a keychain Atomic Jet puzzle -
incorporating the usually separate vertical rudder into the main central body piece.

Edelweiss Puzzlebox - by Stickman (Robert Yarger) and William Waite

Jurassic Pack (V2) - by Jerry Loo

Sherlock - designed by Taylor Pabst, Tyler Somer, produced by Marbles the Brain Store

The 3 Times and Out Puzzle - a vintage route-finding puzzle

The Rungsted Puzzler - two instances of a small brass burr
with instruction sheet. Made in Denmark.
The Yamato Block pieces { 1, 188, 824/975, 1024x2 }
The same small brass burr was sold by Chadwick Miller as the Ultimate Puzzle,
and they used a similar question mark symbol.

Mystic - a vintage sliding piece puzzle

The Phony Fort - 1975 Peterson Games
a "magic square" type number arrangement puzzle

Vess Billion Bubble Beverages Mystery Puzzle - a vintage 9-card advertising edgematching puzzle

Grip - designed by Tim Alkema, made by Eric Fuller
from Mahogany and Ash woods. Maneuver three pieces out of the box (then back in). Level 15.4.

Rar - designed by Tamas Vanyo, made by Eric Fuller
from Maple and Chakte-Kok woods. Level

Camouflaged Burr - designed by Emil Askerli, made by Eric Fuller
from Cherry and Walnut woods. Level 4.7.

Disguised Burr - designed by Emil Askerli, made by Eric Fuller
from Cherry and Walnut woods. Level 7.2.2.

Hedgehog Burr - designed and made by Yavuz Demirhan
from Sapelli and Maple woods. Level 16.4.

Fossil Burr - designed and made by Yavuz Demirhan
from Wenge and Ash woods. Level

Fossil Burr II - designed and made by Yavuz Demirhan
from Maple, Wenge, and Padauk woods. Level 9.
Keychain Sedan - Russian, pink - I found a nice instance of the Sedan puzzle, made in Russia.

June 2016

3x5x7 Cuboid - made by Traiphumi Prungtaengkit
Solid, smooth, and beautiful - as usual!
See a nice article on cuboids by Kevin Sadler at Kevin's Puzzlemad blog.
Kevin calls the 3x5x7 the ULTIMATE cuboid.

Num3er Cruncher - Mick Guy
Mick is Vice President of the British Origami Society, and he
kindly sent me a copy of his "Num3er Cruncher" puzzle. Thanks, Mick!
Packing digits in a tray (or box) has been done before, but Mick's design is a bit different.

L-I-Vator II - designed by Laszlo Molnar,
made by Brian Menold, from Redheart, Tree of Heaven, and Wenge.

Kumiki Stemmed Group - a group of three Kumiki puzzles,
each with a "stem" - Saturn, Barrel, and Strawberry.

New H Puzzle - a vintage advertising letter dissection

Sorcerer's Apprentice - a novel burr designed and made by Stephan Baumegger


May 2016

Collaborative Effort - Tucker-Jones House 2016
I always enjoy picking up the latest tanglement puzzle by the Sucilskys.
This isn't one of their most difficult offerings, but it still has subtleties.

Nine Blocks Box - designed by Jerry Loo, made by Eric Fuller
from Holly, Zebrawood, and Macassar Ebony
Pack the nine blocks in the box.
Thoughtful magnetic closure and extra compartment for transporting unsolved.
A fun little design I was able to solve with a bit of logic!

Attis - designed by Terry Smart, made by Eric Fuller
from Purpleheart and Yellowheart
A six-piece burr in a cage, at level 15.14.4.

Padlock Burr - designed by Tim Alkema, made by Eric Fuller
from Sappy Cherry and Marblewood
Level 24.2.8.

Two Burrs in a Basket - designed by Logan Kleinwaks, made by Eric Fuller
from Peruvian Walnut and Carolina Ash
Some interlocking keychain puzzles...

April 2016

Old Man Winter had one more blast for us in early April here in Connecticut...

All the more reason to stay warm inside and do some puzzling!

Superpagoda - an edge-8 (99 piece) Pagoda Burr made by Henry Troyer.
It is quite large and made from attractive woods.
Check out Henry's Etsy Shop.

Great Pagoda - an edge-9 (129 piece) Pagoda Burr.
Fairly compact given its complexity, but very nicely made.
Purchased from Cleverwood.
Shown with edge-6, edge-5, and edge-8 examples.
I don't know of anywhere else to get a 129 piece pagoda (or larger).

Lotus Box - a secret-opening box designed and made by Kagen Sound.
Eight circular birch rings on the lid, intricately inlaid with madrone and wenge, rotate
and form various patterns, some of which allow four drawers to be unlocked.
Clues to the necessary patterns can be found on and within the box.
A beautiful and fascinating work of art!

Triple 4 - designed by Osanori Yamamoto and made by Yvon Pelletier,
from teak and padauk. Not-a-solution shown :-)

Checkbox - designed by Goh Pit Khiam and made by Brian Menold,
from granadillo, ash, and east Indian rosewood.

Acomodo - designed and made by Yavuz Demirhan
from wenge and purpleheart. Level 10.2.2.
Visit Yavuz' Etsy Shop Cubozone.

Kumiki Bomber

Michelin X - a vintage French advertising puzzle.
Form an X from the pieces. Fit is imprecise.

Michelin Tire - a vintage French advertising puzzle.
Make a tire from the pieces. Fit is imprecise.

Keychain Mini Racecar

Keychain Wagon with Horses
Happy to have found the horse team that occasionally accompanies the Wagon.

Keychain Mini Indian on Horseback
I finally found a few examples of this fairly rare puzzle.

Norton Abrasives - a vintage 9-piece edgematching advertising puzzle.


More metal - Lee Krasnow, after a long hiatus, has announced his return to puzzle-making. Lee has opened an Etsy Shop PacificPuzzleWorks.

Four Piece Cube - designed by Dic Sonneveld,
made by Lee Krasnow from various metals. It's tiny!


And some plastic...

Rubik's Junior Bear
The Ozo bear (a 1x2x3) has been licensed and mass-produced by Rubik.
The original facial features are simplified.


March 2016

One more heavy metal puzzle:

Haleslock 1 - designed, made by,
and purchased from Shane Hales.


A couple of beauties on the way from Pelikan:

Arrow - designed by William Hu
made by and purchased from Pelikan.
Zebrano, Wenge, Maple.
Level 23.14.7

Crosscut - designed by Dan Fast
made by and purchased from Pelikan.
Cherry and Wenge.
Level 13.2


There are an increasing number of puzzle makers offering their wares on Etsy. Here are a few I have found:

The Nine
A laser-cut acrylic 3x3 edgematching challenge.
From The CraftySmiths (Jeff and Kate Smith)

Make 2 crosses.
From 1002 Puzzles (Lucie Pauwels)

River Crossing Puzzle
A nice wooden implementation with instructions for several challenges.
See the Wikipedia entry about River Crossing Puzzles,
and my section on my Sequential Movement page.
From Forest Park Crafts (David Rikert)

Scissors Puzzle (incorrectly translated as "Chisel")
From Jeux Manitou (François Vachon)
Daniel Deschamps gave an interesting lecture about
this line of puzzles at IPP35 in Ottawa.

Packed Pyramid - Next Generation
From Black Dog Puzzleworks (Bill Sheckels)

The Hive
Pack four honeycomb pieces in the tray,
and capture the bees. Many ways to capture 3, only one way
to capture all four.
From Puzzleguy (Dan Diehl)

Four piece tray packing.
From Puzzleguy (Dan Diehl)


Kumiki small Jeep


As promised, some metal puzzles...

Morris Bolt - a trick-opening bolt
designed by Alistair Morris.

Hanayama Cast Padlock - designed by Jinhoo Ahn.

Mini Line Cube - from Metal Art
A metal folding puzzle - make a cube.
I got a blue and a red. Identical other than color.

Chess Pieces - a set of trick-opening puzzles adapted by Hanayama from designs by Marcel Gillen.
This gold-plated limited edition produced especially to commemorate IPP35 in Ottawa, Canada, purchased from PuzzleMaster.


Other puzzles...

Little Kenny - designed by Ken Irvine
Made by Tom Lensch
I fiddled with this for a while at NYPP 2016 but could not assemble it,
so I knew I'd have to get my own copy.
I had Tom send it to me disassembled - I finally succeeded.
Only four pieces but a nice challenge.

Chain Store - designed by Goh Pit Khiam
Made by Tom Lensch
John Rausch brought this to Brett's house for NYPP 2016 -
I loved the way he introduced it as a "one piece packing puzzle."
Fit the links inside the box below the rim.
Another fail - I haven't assembled it yet.

Hex - a vintage puzzle from Binary Arts.

Jungle Bungle Beetles - an edge-matching puzzle by Dan Gilbert.
A kind gift from fellow collector Joe Konrath. Thanks!

Space Gun - an interlocking keychain puzzle by Pal Plastics.

Red Goose Shoes tangle - a group of vintage advertising puzzles.

Six Piece Open Drawers - real name and designer unknown to me.


February 2016

I received several puzzles during February - posting them belatedly...

I found another Berrocal Micro - and then there were two!

Micro David-Off - Berrocal 1971
Won at auction. Brass version.
Shown: images of the front and back, pieces, and comparisons with Micheline-X and Mini David.


Other auction finds...

Kumiki Ball and Bat and Kumiki Bowling Pin -
vintage interlocking puzzles from Japan.

Zig Zag - a vintage dexterity puzzle.


I have received several fine hand-crafted wooden puzzles from a variety of craftsmen from different parts of the globe including Turkey, South Africa, and Austria.

Volantis - designed, made by, and purchased from Yavuz Demirhan of Turkey.
Check out what's available at Yavuz' Etsy shop Creacubes.

Forma - designed, made by, and purchased from Yavuz Demirhan of Turkey.

Queen Sixteen - designed, made by, and purchased from Yavuz Demirhan of Turkey.

Really Bent Board Burr - designed by Derek Bosch,
made by and purchased from Johan Heyns of South Africa.
Made from Pau Marfim (light) and Mansonia woods with black Ebony feathers.
Johan supplies a lovely stand as well.
You can contact Johan on Facebook with your requests.

Block - designed, made by, and purchased from Stephan Baumegger of Austria.
Made from Wenge, Bubinga, and Maple. Level
See more of Stephan's designs at his Facebook page Puzzleisure.

No Holes Barred - designed by Laszlo Molnar of Hungary,
made by, and purchased from Brian Menold at Wood Wonders of New Jersey.
Made from Koa and Iroko.

Klaas Jan 23 - designed by Klaas Jan Damstra,
made by, and purchased from Brian Menold of New Jersey.
Made from Redheart and Yellowheart.

Simple Puzzle - designed by Klaas Jan Damstra,
made by, and purchased from Brian Menold of New Jersey.
Made from Maple and Wenge.

Crenal - one in a series of "New Old Style" burrs designed by Greg Benedetti,
made by, and purchased from Eric Fuller.
Made from Purpleheart.


Had a great time at the 2016 New York Puzzle Party / Symposium (NYPP) hosted on 2/13 by Tom Cutrofello.
Turnout was very good this year, with plenty of old friends and new faces. Several interesting presentations, including by Bill Cutler on his variant of the Melting Block Puzzle, and by newcomer Eric Marx on classic and modern trick locks. In the evening I participated with Brett and some friends in two back-to-back escape the room adventures, The Dungeon of Elements, and The Davinci Obsession, both run by Mission Escape Games at their Flushing, Queens location. Our experienced team solved both rooms with plenty of time to spare! Both rooms were enjoyable, with puzzles and mechanics I hadn't seen before.

Several NYPP attendees brought puzzles to sell, trade, or give away - I managed to sell a few myself. The folks from The Puzzle & Craft Factory were there this year as well. I picked up several puzzles at NYPP:

Fulcrum - CRKT - designed by Charles Kain and Russ Kommer
A knife with what will appear to the uninitiated as a trick-opening
as well as trick-closing mechanism. Purchased from trick knife collector Tim Udall.

E-Box - Vinco
A nice little 3-piece coordinate motion puzzle.

It's a Twister - Tim Udall
Tim was giving away some of his G4G tanglement puzzles. Thanks, Tim!

Triple Play Plus - STC #194-A - designed by
Stewart Coffin, made by Henry Strout.

Tetraball - designed by John Conway and Richard Esterle
You can read about this puzzle at ludus-opuscula.org.
You may notice the label on mine is mirror-written.
That's intentional - I bought a rarer version.

Monkey Fist Puzzle - (small metal version)
from the Puzzle & Craft Factory.
See U.S. patent 5988639 - Seldin 1999.

Coils II - from the Puzzle & Craft Factory.


January 2016

Some puzzles...

Here are a few I received in a random lot:

Pine Six-Piece Cube
Provenance unknown.

Mummy in Coffin - Bits and Pieces
A wooden version of the "King Tut Magic Mummy" puzzle,
which was patented in 1949 by Jack Wilson - 2458970.

Zwirbel - HABA
A colorful sliding piece puzzle

Beetle - designed by Serhiy Grabarchuk in 1995
Start as shown - exchange the red and yellow body pieces.


A vintage version of a classic puzzle that came to me from France...

Les Crochets du Diable - a vintage boxed French wire puzzle


Another import from Europe...

Sweta Cross - designed by William Strijbos
A two-piece secret-opening cross, sitting in a wooden base to
give the impression of the Swiss flag.


Here are some puzzles I received at IPP35...

Exploding Apple (aka 1 Pinko Ringo) - made by and purchased from Stephen Chin
One of Chinny's signature pieces. He packs it in a sock :-)
This was one of the top ten vote getters in the 2010 Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition

Restricted Soma - designed, made,
and exchanged at IPP35 by Brian Young.
Build a Soma cube within the box. Using no rotations
there is only one solution.

Triburrlism - designed, 3D printed,
and exchanged at IPP35 by Steve Nicholls.
Assemble the three pieces so the result fits in the container.

Tetrahexed - designed by Stewart Coffin,
made by Wayne Daniel, exchanged at IPP35 by Stan Isaacs
A nice wooden version of Coffin's 1971 Cetus issued by Skor-Mor

Ze Balancing Egg - designed, made,
and exchanged at IPP35 by Stephen Chin

Eurofalle 03 - designed by Jürgen Reiche
exchanged at IPP35 by Allan Stein

Restricted Area - designed by Stewart Coffin,
made and exchanged at IPP35 by Saul Bobroff.

Quadrant 1 - designed by Yavuz Demirhan
made and exchanged at IPP35 by Eric Fuller

Road Blocks - designed by Goh Pit Khiam
made by and purchased from Tom Lensch.
Fit the four pieces in the tray. Not easy, of course!
Road Blocks received a Jury Honorable Mention
in the 2015 Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition


Diamond Engagement - designed,
3D printed, and exchanged at IPP35 by Scott Elliott

Matchless - designed by Ken Stevens
made by Buttonius
exchanged at IPP35 by Peter Hajek.
Remove the match from the case via
either small passage in the rim.

Cubic Burr - designed by Tom Jolly
made from Red Meranti and exchanged at IPP35
by Tim Udall

Trick Lock IPP35 - Louis Coolen

Pinwheel Burr - designed by Oskar van Deventer
made and exchanged at IPP35 by Dave Rossetti

Moose Ball - designed and
exchanged at IPP35 by Simon Bexfield

Twelve Bowties 2 - designed and made by Wayne Daniel
exchanged at IPP35 by Marti Reis

Multigrain (275AS) - designed by Stewart Coffin
made by Brian Young
exchanged at IPP35 by Jerry Slocum

Tower of Torment - designed by Simon Bexfield
exchanged at IPP35 by Chris Dalgety
a 3D maze - "Search inside for Simon and Chris,
two puzzles, four architectural features, and three
animals not forgetting the rat."

Outfox the Box (245A) - designed and made by Stewart Coffin
exchanged at IPP35 by Abel Garcia
Fit the four pieces in the box with the lid closed.

Forgotten Piece - designed and made by Marcel Gillen
exchanged at IPP35 by Tania Gillen
Disassemble the burr and reassemble with the extra piece inside.

Twins - designed, made,
and exchanged at IPP35 by Gary Foshee
Assemble the three pieces so that each
light or dark cube touches a like colored cube on at least one face,
and the light and dark shapes are identical (mirror images OK).

Lockdown (271A) - designed and made by Stewart Coffin
exchanged at IPP35 by Rob Jones
Build a pyramid from the three pieces,
within the tray - no force required.

Happy New Year!

A bit of reflection...

2016 begins the 14th year of this website. I put up an early version starting in 2003 when I moved to Connecticut. The earliest capture at the Internet Archive is dated August 3rd 2004. After the site was wiped out by my ISP during one of their maintenance snafus, I rebuilt it, with analytics, in November of 2007. Even missing several years' worth of data, this website has had over 870,000 unique visitors, over 1,116,000 sessions, and over 1,595,000 page views. As of October 2015, my ISP discontinued personal web sites, so since then Rob's Puzzle Page is being hosted privately (thanks, Brett!).

Last time I checked, even though I don't do any SEO, and despite the loss of the original ISP-based URL, robspuzzlepage.com appears pretty high (usually on the first page) in Google search results for various mechanical puzzle topics - for example: interlocking puzzles, tanglement puzzles, french wire puzzles, disassembly puzzles, keychain puzzles, and peg and jumping puzzles.

I have never solicited donations nor resorted to advertising. (Though I do greatly enjoy receiving puzzle gifts and surprises from puzzle friends!)

The past couple of years held some fun puzzle milestones for me:

In the coming year I hope to be able to keep bringing you interesting puzzle discoveries, and that you will continue to find this website useful and enjoyable. I really appreciate hearing from you puzzle enthusiasts out there - your puzzle stories and questions, and all your kind words! Please do keep writing - you can reach me at .

Some puzzles:

Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum
A new pair in a continuing series of fiendish helical burrs
designed by Derek Bosch
3D printed for me by Steve Nicholls
I asked Steve to make them "opposite" each other.
(Also, Dee has two slots in the end, Dum only one.)
Dee is rated the more difficult of the pair, with 10 more moves and many extra dead ends.
The colors seem to be a perfect match to Yellowheart and Redheart woods -
Here is a group photo with some beautiful wooden puzzles I recently received.

Pro No. 1
A metal trick-opening Dovetail puzzle, designed in Switzerland.
#127 in a limited edition of 300.
From PuzzleMaster.

Make My Day
A new and difficult tanglement puzzle
designed by Markus Goetz
From PuzzleMaster.

Hanayama Wire Puzzles Set 2
From PuzzleMaster.

Bon Voyage Tangle Set
From PuzzleMaster.

Double Take
From LiveWire.
Frank informs me he will be retiring and closing down,
so if there are still LiveWire puzzles you'd like,
better get them while you can!

Kumiki Cow
A butcher's version marked with cuts of beef.

Kumiki Trolley
A smaller, narrower version.

Arjeu CT109

Five-Piece K Dissection
This one I consider not quite fair -
the solution K is alright, but
the cover and guide pictures are
misrepresentative of the final shape.

Perilous Pipes
designed by Ferdinand Lammertink
Computer Analysis by George Miller
Issued by Popular Playthings 2011

This is a commercialized graduated-challenge style version of
the Devil's Gate puzzle offered by George Miller at IPP29 in 2009 -
a 3D version of the Langford Problem

3D Jigsaw Teacup, Wine Glass, and Wine Bottle
These were included in a group of puzzles I purchased on auction.
Each has a removable pin lock, and directional cuts.


Here are two classic burrs folks have asked me about - I realized I didn't have good pix of them:

Classic Six Plank Burr
Four identical pieces, and two special -
note the notched piece, and the piece above it
which has a short "tray."
The holes are optional decoration.

Classic Twelve Piece Burr
Eleven identical pieces and one with a notch.

Surface (aka Parquet)
An eight - piece weave type puzzle - each piece has three cubes
affixed to a notched plank (all planks are the same).
I received this in a group of puzzles with no provenance -
it seems like a Bits and Pieces product but I have seen this puzzle
offered from various places, including a Constantin version.
I have another one with metal planks and colored cubes.


I found a nice photographic catalogue of someone's extensive collection of metal puzzles, on flickr.


Truncated this file to improve load time.

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