What's New

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


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
Thanks!
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:

Including:
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

Hiatus.

 


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

Hiatus.

 


November 2019

Hiatus.

 


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

Hiatus.

 


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!

Pieces:


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 25.2.3.3.

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 András Végh, 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

Hiatus.


October 2018

Hiatus.


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...


Including:
  • 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’Brien
Made by Pelikan, from Dark Oak, Acacia and Wenge

Knot on My Watch - designed by Alexander Haydon O’Brien
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
escaperoominabox.com

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 Cimetičre de Neuilly ŕ 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
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
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
Level 15.18.14.4
Burrbox 1 - Jolly - Menold
Burrbox 1 - designed by Tom Jolly, made by Brian Menold
from Spalted Beech and Holly
Level 8.6.10.3
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
Level 3.11.2.3.4

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!

? ?
? ?

 

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
Level 29.11.7.3
Tower - Damstra - Pelikan Tower - Damstra - Pelikan
Tower - designed by Klaas Jan Damstra,
made by Pelikan from Bubinga and Walnut
Level 29.2.9.6.3

 

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
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
Level 31.2.4.4

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
Level 3.15.11.2

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


Clamp
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.

Gravity
designed by Tim Alkema
Beautifully made by Pelikan
from Cherry, Wenge, Purpleheart, Acacia, and Padouk
Extract four pieces plus a cube from the sleeve.
Level 14.2.2.2


ACDC
designed by Laszlo Molnar
Made by Brian Menold
Sequentially pack the 8 pieces
into the box through the opening.
Two differently patterned solutions.

BDSM
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 9.15.1.6.

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 12.2.3.2.

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)

7-4-2
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)

Aggravater
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 7.2.2.2
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

Mandorla

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):