Saturday, 10 September 2011

My final two puzzles from Microcubology

Elevator Pieces
These last 2 puzzles from Richard gain's Microcubology store were actually bought pre-dyed direct from the Etsy store. They are not in stock at present but if you contact Richard direct then he can make them freshly for you (Just contact me for his email address). I requested that this group be supplied in pieces for a little "extra" challenge and it certainly made them considerably harder to solve!

Elevator was designed by Jos Bergmans and Richard says it is one of his favourites (I can see why). It consists of 6 brightly coloured pieces including one which is effectively a complete loop. I started with this and then tried to work out where to go next. This is quite a struggle when all you know is that it needs to be a cube and nothing more! Knowing it is a 4x4x4 cube tells you that 3 of the remaining larger pieces need to go through the loop and then you proceed to try to get them to fit. It is relatively easy to work out how to get the first 2 in and you then confirm that you have got it all planned out right as there are gaps for all the other pieces. The real problem is getting the 3 piece through the loop - which order does it go in? How do you make space?

I tried for about 30 minutes before a stroke of genius hit me (makes a change from the wife!) and I was able to slot them all into place. after this the final pieces are easy. This makes for a great challenge. It is a very snug fit but apparently will loosen with use.

Elevator
Elevator 1
Elevator
Elevator 2
The last of the Microcubology puzzles that I have is Angle-C named after the Isle of Anglesey where Richard was holidaying when the idea came to him. There are 6 pieces - with the main difficulty being to work out how to get the two almost complete loops to interlink. Apparently, Jos Bergmans one of the top puzzle cube designers struggled to solve this one!!! I had left it to last because I thought I might struggle!

Angle-C Pieces
Looking at the 2 loops, it was really quite difficult to work out how to place them together. there are obviously 4 ways they can be introduced to each other and 2 of those are quite obviously dead ends as no real further movement seems possible. However using the other 2 approaches there is quite a lot of movement possible and randomly rotating doesn't help. In the end I took them apart and just looked at them from multiple different angles to see how they should lie. Having found the ONLY possible final position  I then had to work out how to rotate them together to achieve this. In all it took me about 30-40 minutes to get the 2 pieces interlocked correctly. From here you need to slot in the others. It is not hard to work out where they go but you do need to get them in just the right order and they do require multiple moves to achieve it. Eventually you end up with a 4x4x4 cube with some ever-so slightly dull colours (possibly inspired by the weather usually found in Anglesey!!!)

Angle-C
Angle-C 1
Angle-C
Angle-C 2
This is a really tough puzzle and having done it several times, I still struggle to get those first pieces in place. Another one well worth a try. I can now recommend 6 of the Microcubology puzzles as worthy of a place in your collection.

I have to say I am really looking forward to more puzzles from Richard. There are at least 2 more on his site that I am interested in so far including the recent Superstrings puzzle which one Jury joint first prize in the Berlin IPP. Unfortunately when this came up for auction at Puzzleparadise recently I was off-line and missed the opportunity! Hopefully he will put up some more coloured ones on his Etsy store.

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