So during that Christmas period I worked and worked and worked on these blasted cubes and only got about 2/3 of the way through without finally having to resort to the internet and to find the algorithms I needed to finish them off.
Shortly after I managed the 2 she bought for me - I decided to buy some higher order cubes and went to Verdes international to buy the V-cubes from them (they were supposed to have a fantastic mechanism - they certainly do!) So up until a few days ago I had a collection which looked like this:
|My small but perfectly formed collection. Up till recently!|
I wanted a fairly easy technique which required very few algorithms and more in the way of thought but did not require a degree in pure maths to understand. I bought a book on the History of the Cube by Jerry Slocum & David Singmaster - it included an approach to the basic cubes which I really liked. It still had far too many algorithms for my liking and so I adapted it. My approach is to solve one face, then the opposite face and then get the edges of the middle layer in place and oriented correctly. I can do this with only 5 algorithms plus a bit of thought to move bits as required. My approach to the higher order cubes is to reduce them to a sort of funny shaped but very large 3x3! This only really requires an extra 2 algorithms plus another 2 for parity problems. So now I can do a standard cube in under 2 minutes and manage a 7x7 monster in about 30-40 minutes! I would love to buy a 9x9 or even 11x11 but they are really expensive!!
I was really pleased with myself at this - not bad for an old fellow! Still, I had decided that I wasn't particularly good at these twisty puzzles; I certainly didn't know how to work out my own solutions and had no plan to try any of the variants. During my short puzzling career, I have met many interesting people with many talents including the lovely Roxanne Wong - who is the "Queen of twisty puzzles". She has a gigantic collection, most of which she can solve and I've even met Graham (Afkan) in person who showed me the mirror cube, an amazing shape-changer which is still a standard 3x3 cube (shudder!!!). But even reading Rox's blog and lurking in the Twisty puzzles forum did not convince me to go any further with this genre.
So what has happened? A young man called Tommy sent me a message via my contact page and we have corresponded a bit. He was very enthusiastic about many puzzle types and advised me to explore further the world of the twisty puzzle!! I tried to ignore his words but soon I could hear them in my sleep and I started to investigate further. I have to say that YouTube has a lot to answer for - I have found myself spending hours and hours on un-boxing and review videos as well as watching tutorials on various difficult puzzles. And then my mouse finger got itchy!!! Oh No!!!
If you live in the UK or Europe, I can recommend Puzl.co.uk - they have a huge, huge selection and provide fabulous service ("stuff" has arrived within 48 hours of ordering). Tony & Jas are really helpful. NO I am not an affiliate - I doubt they even know about my blog let alone this post! I have also discovered the world of Mefferts puzzles - Uwe has designed many new twisty puzzles and works with the amazing talent in the community to help bring their dreams and designs into general production.
This is what I have bought so far:
By the time they all arrive my collection will be:
|Cubes||Face||2x2 - 7x7||V-cubes &Rubik's|
The great thing about these puzzles is that they are really pretty cheap - you can buy many many hours of entertainment for very little money. So if you are after a new challenge on an old theme then remember these puzzles - the variety is staggering.
For video reviews and help I can highly recommend the following YouTube channels:
Jon ? is SuperAntonioVivaldi
Dan Fast is CrazyBadCuber
Kenneth Brandon is RedKB
These guys are awesome!!!
If you can hear some screaming from the Midlands followed by some gurgling noises, then she has murdered me. Or, if there is some hysterical cackling coming from this way then she is divorcing me and taking me to the cleaners!
And, Tommy, it will have been all your fault!