"Never!" I shout, "I can never have too much torture!" Blush!!!
|Unhappy Childhood STC#41|
When I heard that Neil was making one of these, I immediately contacted him to ask him to save one for me. Not long after Christmas 2011 he emailed to let me know that they were ready and after waiting a while to try and get over the Christmas spend, I bought it from him. All the rest sold very quickly on the Puzzle Paradise auction site. My puzzle arrived in mid January and having opted (stupidly) to receive it entirely unsolved, I looked at it with great trepidation and put it on my shelf for later. Every time I thought about doing it, my packing puzzle dread built up and I shied away! Finally, a week ago, at the time I played with the Make room puzzle, I decided to give it a shot. I was also rather frightened because another puzzle pal, Allard, who is a puzzle solving savant has tried to do this and singularly failed! Allard's review is here. Scott Peterson has also made a version previously and you can see pictures of his one at the Puzzle Place wiki.
For other reviews of this puzzle check out Allard's blog - he really loved it. Roxanne did a video review of it on her YouTube channel.
|Myrtle burl tray - with signature|
The pentominoes can be fitted into a 5x5x2 tray in 19,264 different ways (according to a computer analysis by Beeler) - although excluding mirrors and rotations brings this down to 2408 possible solutions. So the first challenge for me was to put the pieces into the tray without paying any attention to the colouring of the pieces. The nice laminated information card that Neil provided said that solving the 5x5x2 puzzle in random colours was "Easy"!!! If that is the case then why did it take me nearly 3 hours to put the pieces together into the tray?? Am I truly that crap? Yes!!!
|2x3x5 is an "easy" problem!|
|2x4x5 is supposed to be "fairly hard"!|
The final problem was to get the pieces into the 5x5x2 checkerboard pattern in the tray. Again, I did have a quick try, but my patience was wearing rather thin at this stage and I gave up in favour of Burrtools. At least I have a truly beautiful and unique puzzle made by someone I consider a friend in my collection and it takes pride of place on my shelf. These have all sold out now - but if you see one come up in a puzzle auction then go for it - it will be a really lovely addition to any collection.
|Unhappy Childhood in it's tray - Beautiful isn't it?|
PS If anyone has actually managed to solve this unaided then please contact me and let me know what approach you took. I really am trying to improve at these but haven't a clue! I am relieved to know that the puzzle solving machine that is Allard Walker also couldn't solve this one!!!