Sunday 16 December 2012

A Searious Burr!

A Searious Burr
The Searious burr is a seriously good puzzle. I bought it from Brian Young (aka MrPuzzle) several months ago and, when it arrived, immediately had to have a play. As the name suggests it's a burr puzzle and, whilst I'm pretty rubbish at them, I absolutely adore them. Like all burrs the aim is to disassemble it and then put it back together again. It is made from just 13 pieces so should be simple? Is it? Not really! You see, it has a hidden lock in it and that makes it really quite difficult - at least for me!

I managed to obtain the very last one they had in stock for $72AUD and at present there are no more available, but according to the product page they will be coming soon. Here's what Brian has to say:

"Modelled on Chicago's tallest building, the Sears Tower, Brian created this 13 piece interlocking burr.  But it's so much more than just an interlocking burr; incorporating the use of tools supplied as part of the puzzle it's biggest challenge is to open the secret lock.  It will take 13 moves to unlock the secret internal mechanism.   (The elegant solution does not involve force, or banging, or hitting against another surface).
Considering it has no gravity pins or magnets Brian considers it to be the hardest progressive move discovery puzzle he's designed so far. 

Is 13 your lucky number?"

It is part of Brian's Craftsman range which means they tend to be made out of some rather nice hardwoods rather than the usual dyed wood in the cheaper range. This puzzle is manufactured from Queensland Black Wattle - aka Australian Blackwood. It is 60mm x 60mm x 137mm tall to the top of it's communications towers and has brass antennae on top (these metal parts are one of the features that marks Brian as different from other Wood craftsmen - he can work just as well in metal). Allard is the only blogger who has reviewed it so far.

So why am I just reviewing it now? I would like to claim it's laziness because I do have a huge number of solved puzzles ready and waiting to be written about. But unfortunately whilst I'd prefer to be called lazy, I have to say it's been so long because I'm not very bright!! I only solved the thing yesterday!!

Now I haven't spent 5 months solid on it - I'm not THAT dense! When it first arrived I spent a few hours on it over the first week but got nowhere apart from making one piece move and finding that the antennae come off (that's not much of a clue). That moving piece would never move more than a centimeter! Nothing I could think of would make anything else move or allow that one piece to do anymore. So on the shelf it went - right in front of me and it has taunted me ever since. I have picked it up almost every week or so and still not got any further. Yesterday I was having a rearrangement in preparation for another collection photo and decided enough was enough and I had to win. This time I am a bit more experienced and it occurred to me what might be going on inside. After a little fiddling the lock was open and from then on it is pretty trivial to dismantle into it's components. When taking this photo, I was very careful to make sure that you can't see the mechanism (so don't try!).

Firewood? No! An unlocked burr!
Reassembly is fairly straightforward and re-locking it is easy. It can actually be put together again with a few different shapes but as the name suggests - it is supposed to look like the Sears tower. Now if you look at the picture at Puzzle Place and on Allard's blog (from whence it came) you will see that he doesn't know what the Sears tower looks like and has reassembled it with the smaller towers in the wrong position!! Go over to his blog page and leave him a comment - see it's not just me who's not terrible bright!!!

Allard's arrangement
Spot the moved medium towers!
When Brian starts making it again - it is definitely worthwhile getting a copy - for me 5 months of puzzling was very good value. It is more than a burr, it is a sequential discovery puzzle and a puzzle lock. Hopefully he will have them ready for you fairly soon.

Under the Creative commons license, I need to attribute the photo of the tower to Zach K on Flickr - his photostream is very good and I thank him for providing photos under that license!


  1. ...bows to the superior puzzle-ness...

    1. Ho ho ho!
      Well folks - will he change his original blog post? Watch and see!

    2. Nah - then you'd have to update yours .... and the world is better served by both of us adding new stuff rather than going over old ground again...

    3. True! I think we've both got loads more puzzles ready to write about!

  2. The Sears Tower has been renamed the Willis Holdings Group Tower, so I guess this burr needs to be renamed too! ;-) The Willis Group Holdings Burr doesn't roll of the tongue so well, though ...

    1. I'm certainly not renaming my blog post!

    2. Of course not! I was just giving you a hard time. :-0