Thursday 20 September 2012

Burrtastic & an apology!

First of all, let me please apologise to you all for not having posted for a while! I haven't lost interest (blog-fade), but I have been very busy at work and the present Mrs S has gotten rather worn out by constantly having to open the door to the postman to accept puzzle deliveries! At one point she fired up the laser stare and burnt me very badly!! So much so that I couldn't type (and even went temporarily deaf - I'm obviously wired up wrong!!) - this has meant that I have had to read about puzzles, play with puzzles (ocasionally solving puzzles), buy puzzles, photograph puzzles but I haven't dared actually sit down in front of the computer to write about puzzles!!! You can tell from this paragraph why she might have been a very teeny tiny touch miffed at me????

I've promised to improve my ways (and to do some DIY around the house!) and in exchange she will let me carry on my puzzle obsession! Oh yes, and she's out just now so I can write a blog post too! Let me know if you hear her coming back soon!!! I did figure that with the huge swathe of blog posts coming from Rox, NeilAllard, Scott, Jerry, Jeff and Brian (forgive me if I forgot anyone!!) all about exciting occurrences and puzzles discovered at the IPP then you might forgive me my small lapse!

Over the last 2 years, I initially became known for being a bit of a savant for the wire puzzles and whilst I do enjoy these (especially those by Dick Hess), they are never attractive enough to leave on display - PLUS they jingle, which puts my life at risk from Mrs S! More recently I have ventured into twisties because there is so much variety and they are so logical - all that is required is to use a few techniques and gradually you can expand them to solve almost any new puzzle - PLUS they are relatively cheap. Again, however, they are not attractive!!

I have an absolute love affair (please don't tell her!) with beautiful wooden interlocking puzzles - both burrs and cubes! They look fabulous on display and can have a real "Aha!" moment! Some can be incredibly difficult as well as beautiful - see my review here. So here we go! I think I will introduce a few new puzzles of this type that I have acquired recently.

Piston Burr

Thursday 6 September 2012

Houston! I have a problem!!

Iwahiro cylinder - firmly shut!
I am truly terrible at opening the aluminium puzzles from Wil Strijbos! It took me weeks to open the cylinders. I spent 2 months on the Opening bat from Mr Puzzle. Maybe I shouldn't have bought the Alcyl designed by Iwahiro because on arrival it was almost open and I quickly just tightened it shut and now cannot open it at all! Absolutely no movement whatsoever!!!

In my desperation! Look what I did:

Vertical view
Horizontal view
The problem? Even with these Xrays, I still can't open the damn thing!! Maybe I need to stop puzzling!!!

Sunday 2 September 2012

Hanayama Cast Square

Cast Square
Today it's time for a review of another from my last rather extensive Puzzle Master delivery! This time it is yet another of the Hanayama Cast Puzzles the Cast Square. I chose this one because being really shiny, it appealed to my inner Magpie again and also because it had been rated as a maximum difficulty - a level 6 on the Hanayama scale! Or level 10 (Mind Boggling) on the Puzzle Master scale. At maximum difficulty, I thought this would keep me going for quite some time! It was designed by Finland's Vesa Timonen who is very prolific and has designed several of my previous puzzles - see here and here.

As with all of these puzzles it arrived absolutely beautifully packaged with just the instructions to take it apart and reassemble it. Cryptically it said that putting it back together in a different way leads to a different disassembly strategy being required. This was another feature which appealed to me - more than one puzzle in a single package. It consists of 4 pieces of metal interestingly interlocked, 2 are silver chrome and 2 are gold. The only downside (as you can see from my photo is that fingerprints and dust seem to easily mark the surface. Together it makes a very attractive shape (even Mrs S admitted that), dimensions are 4.8 x 4.8 x 1.3 cm and it is a pretty decent weight. No solution is provided and as I will tell later, you WILL solve it but not in the way intended so I seriously suggest downloading the solution from here. I found it gave me a real insight into the idea behind the puzzle.

Previous reviews can be found by Brian on his blog and by Gabriel on his.