|OMG! That's a lotta twisty puzzles!|
"Does that make me craaaazy?"
Several correspondents were reassuring in an underhand manner - they said:
"I think you're craaaazy!
Just like me" (???)
During my email conversations with Jon (SuperAntoniovivaldi), Rline and Burgo, it quickly became clear that I have developed a new and extremely rare medical condition! This new condition is quite contagious (judging from the responses of a few nearby puzzlers) and is called "Twisty fever"!
I started off in the 80s (yes! I am that old!) having solved the standard 3x3 and 4x4 cubes but that is as far as it went. Now, in my "middle years", and supposedly having grown out of all that nonsense, having rediscovered puzzles via the revomaze forums (world renowned blogger Allard always says that I should blame Oli (another internationally famous puzzle writer) but we all know that all of this is his fault really!!) I decided that I should at least be able to do 1 or 2 basic cubes and so quite early on in my collection I bought a few basic cubes and quickly rediscovered a few techniques. I then decided that I should try a few more and managed to solve those as well! "I'm a genius!" I thought! So I bought even more and hit a wall. At this point I found the Twisty Puzzles forum (this forum is more aimed at solvers of difficult puzzles and new designs rather than speed cubers) and YouTube and at this point the virus really hit! I'm now the proud owner of more than 70 twisty puzzles including a few which have been handmade at, let's just say, slightly painful expense! This sudden massive expansion of the collection is a cardinal symptom of twisty fever and I'm afraid that there is no cure!!
The only good thing about it is that, by and large, these puzzles tend to be reasonably priced (until you end up buying bespoke or Shapeways puzzles) and even more importantly these puzzles don't jingle and annoy the present Mrs S! At least until they become so numerous that they erupt out of my study and contaminate the rest of the house!!!
So why the title of this blog? It's true that twisty fever makes you go crazy but that is actually not the reason. Speaking to my puzzle friends they all really extolled the virtues of a particular group of puzzles - these are the Crazy 3x3 planet cubes and the Crazy 4x4 II. They apparently provide the challenge of several puzzles in one and also are a series of very similar looking puzzles with hugely varying solution strategies! In my twisty fever haze - I was hooked!
I had to get them!!!
|Crazy 4x4 II|
|Circle turns with 2nd layer|
|Beautiful when scrambled!|
Buy it! - Now!!
Next up we have the Crazy 3x3 plus planet series.
|The crazy 3x3 planets|
What is the difference between them all? They do look identical The websites provide a nice little diagram:
|Crazy 3x3 plus cubes|
Next I tried the Mercury cube (all but one face unbandaged) and got a hell of a shock! I had absolutely no idea what to do! Nothing I had previously done would work. Eventually, after reading around a bit I had a few new ideas to play with and gradually worked it out. This was a real challenge and very enjoyable. During this working out period I discovered that there were a number of general approaches. Most people and originally solved them by solving the internal cross, then the external cube and finally pairing up the little circle corner pieces. It was a real challenge to work out sequences which would move the relevant pieces around without destroying the rest of the cube and I used almost a whole pad of paper writing down various algorithms I tried out before settling on the one I liked. Whilst this circle corner last technique is fun to work out, it is not a fun solve - I find it quite laborious! The most enjoyable way to approach these is to try to reduce the cube back to something simpler (either a circle cube or a Rubik cube) - I can do this with all of them now - and it has taken some work!
The last of them for me was the Saturn - it has 2 unbandaged faces opposite each other and this one almost killed me! I struggled for a week before finally working it out - I couldn't even get all the crosses let alone a reduction technique! Having finished the series - I almost feel a sense of loss! Another symptom of my being craaaazy? Maybe, but I have already found a few more to occupy me!!!
I have summarised how to approach this magnificent series of puzzles in a table - if you would like a copy of this table than just contact me.
Should you buy these? Oh yes most definitely - I would buy these in a heartbeat! If money is tight then it is possible to buy 2 of the series that are mirrors of each other (i.e. have the same number of bandaged and unbandaged faces) and using them you can create any of the series. However, you will soon get hooked and want to actually own the rest of them!!!
So, as Gnarls sang:
"Maybe I'm crazy
Maybe you're crazy
Maybe we're crazy