Wednesday 13 July 2011


This Puzzle is the Conundrum puzzle from Puzzlemaster. I got this one primarily because I thought it looked similar to the classic Altekruse puzzles I had seen on "Puzzle will be played". I had fancied one of these ever since I saw it on Jerry Mcfarland's site (his are not available at the moment). In the end this is a completely different puzzle to the Altekruse but still interesting none-the-less. The puzzlemaster page claims that it is a level 9 (Gruelling) puzzle and I really looked forward to the challenge.

It is manufactured by Puzzle Master and comes nicely packaged in a clear plastic box. It is 7cm in each direction and being made of wood it is fairly solid if not particularly weighty. No solution is supplied but it is available direct from their website here. To be honest, I don't think you need the solution, but it is always nice to have one in your collection.

My only disappointment with it is that the finish is not particularly good - the wood is not the highest of qualities and it could be smoother in places. However the overall fit of the pieces is superb. Everything is really nice and tight - absolutely nothing rattles and there is no immediate clue about which is the starting piece. After a lot of pushing and pulling about I managed to find the key piece that moved and after looking at the "Puzzle will be played" site it was not what I expected at all. After removal of the first piece the rest of the puzzle came apart really quite easily. I was surprised to see that there were 12 pieces in all.

Conundrum Pieces
I had deliberately decided to pay almost no attention to the position of the pieces as they came out and immediately jumbled them all up in a big pile to try and increase the difficulty level - mission accomplished!!! I left it for 5 minutes whilst I did some chores around the house.

When I got back I had one big issue - I could not remember at all what the original puzzle was supposed to look like! I shouldn't have been surprised by this because I often wake up and can't remember who I am, who the strange woman is next to me or even what day it is!! As I have said on many many occasions: "I am really not very bright"!

It is fairly obvious where the longer pieces must go so I started with them and then ran into the problem that I did not know what order to go in or where the smaller pieces should go. It took me about 20 minutes of trial and error to get the puzzle back together and when the last piece slotted in I actually felt I had achieved something. I would suggest that had I painstakingly memorised the piece positions as I disassembled the puzzle then it would have been trivially easy to reassemble but just pulling it apart and recreating it makes for a rather pleasant time experimenting with the various pieces.

I think the difficulty score is more of an 8 than a 9 but at only $14 Canadian this is a bargain of a puzzle.

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