Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Silent E

The Silent E
Hi everyone! This blog post may well be a little less than my usual coherent standard. This is for 3 reasons: Firstly, I have been working my arse off (for you US citizens that would be ass!) and have spent all day at the hospital today and got home really quite late having worked for over 11 hours without any kind of break at all (My goodness, I needed the loo when I finished!) Secondly, one of my cats has just had a steroid injection and is now quite whizzy! He spent most of last night howling around the house keeping me awake with his zooming! At one point he ran across the pillows during the night and ran into my open mouth - yes I was on my back snoring my head off! I could swear that he had just been in the litter tray!!! Blech! But to really ensure that I am not coherent, the present Mrs S has served me an extremely strong Margarita when I got home and I am pissed as a fart as I write this. Luckily for you, some of the puzzling details have been jotted down in advance! So I do apologise!

Tonight I am going to review the Silent E puzzle from Puzzle Master's Wire puzzle collection. This is one of the few of their collection remaining that is a reasonable difficulty level and does not have string. It is a level 8 (Demanding) on their 5 - 10 scale. I initially thought that this rating was a little high but having watched others try it, I suspect it is correct. It arrived in the usual very nice clamshell packaging with the card insert saying just that the aim is to remove the brass ring from the puzzle. The actual description says:
"Are you going to spin or show some spine and solve this puzzle? Use the "E" to get it done. Easy for some; not for others. Where do you fit?"
his, as usual, is not in the least bit helpful! The picture says it all - remove the brass ring!! This is a pretty decent size of puzzle - 17.1 x 8 x 5.1 cm depending on which way you arrange the pieces. It is well anodised and very nicely made. All of these seem to have the same problem that the brass ring gets quite discoloured but that doesn't interfere with the puzzling. Gabriel enjoyed it, having reviewed it here. No solution is provided and if you need one it can be downloaded from here.
Now, I was immediately drawn to this one because half of it looked very like the classic horseshoe puzzle that we all remember from our childhood. I found this one very easy and sort of wondered whether a similar technique would be needed for the Silent E. Be reassured that it has a totally different solution and may keep you busy for a while.

Picking it up, whilst I was staying at my mother's house in London, I very quickly picked up a double sided burn from both wife and mother at the same time. Damn! I didn't know that they could coordinate their attacks! I put it down for a while and picked it up again when they had both gone to bed. Having worked out that the Horseshoe techniques were not going to work, I had a look to find the exit point. This one has very limited movements of the brass ring and it quickly became clear where the exit had to be. But it is blocked - so how to get passed, around or over the blockage? It actually only took me about 10 minutes to work it out - probably because I had seen something similar elsewhere. I very quickly had the puzzle in pieces:

Brass ring removed
I was a little disappointed that I had solved it so quickly but am aware that I have and more than an average amount of experience with this type of puzzle. I therefore, kept it with me for several weeks and began to hand it out to some experienced and newbie puzzlers. I was surprised that despite playing with it for several hours each, not a single person managed to solve it! One newbie girl almost managed it - she verbally described what needed to be done but could not manage to actually do it. Even the most experienced of the guys that I have been torturing with these things for several years failed to even come vaguely close to solving it. In fact I showed the solution to a couple of people and they were unable to repeat it! This really did surprise me and reinforces that for anyone other than a really experienced wire puzzler, this is quite a nice puzzle. In fact Gabriel, One of the most experienced puzzlers out there, took about 2 weeks to solve it which makes me feel much better that I managed it in about 10 minutes. I just realised that I commented on his review page very early on in my blogging career.

Is it worth buying? For a collector it has something unusual in its' mechanism, for an expert it might be a bit too easy but is a good one to hand out to friends. If you are a puzzler who enjoys wire puzzles but doesn't have a huge experience yet then this is perfect. At $11, you really cannot go wrong.

5 comments:

  1. Oh Kevin, I haven't laughed so hard in ages!!! What an awesome 1st paragraph. You should have ended it there! I'm still having disturbing visions of your cat entering your mouth, and I'm now scared of my own cats. I also have an idea: conduct all your surgeries in the toilets while sitting on a urinal. In Australia it's "don't drink and drive". In the UK it should be "don't drink and type".

    Great stuff!

    http://youtube.com/chareaves
    http://www.facebook.com/thetwistypuzzler
    http://twistypuzzling.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm very glad you enjoyed it Rline! Over the last few years I have learned how important humour is in everything we do and I like to include it in my puzzling life too. Let's face it, this is a rather unusual hobby for a 40something year old man! Plus, in my work life I get to deal with a lot of things that are extremely unpleasant, disturbing and even quite frightening so humour helps alleviate the stress for me and for my colleagues.

      Kevin

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  2. Thanks for the kind compliments Kevin, but I reckon I'm not as good as you paint me.
    In my defense, it took me 2 weeks to solve it with on and off puzzling. Still, added up might have been a few hours. You're just too good with wire puzzles, can't compete with that ;-)

    How about a packing puzzle next time to balance things out? ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Don't discount your skills Gabriel! You ARE one of he most prolific puzzlers I know!

      As for packing puzzles? You go straight for my true weakness!

      Kevin

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  3. Maybe at writing reviews, but I still have a lot to learn in puzzle solving.

    Haha, c'mon, a Constantin packing puzzle? It'll look gorgeous on your desk ;-)

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