Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Trick Bolt #2

Trick Bolt #2
Continuing my sojourn through my Puzzle Master purchases we come to the Trick bolt number 2. I currently own one other trick bolt which I got from Wil Strijbos and it is a wonderful piece of work. It is not particularly tough but is just beautifully engineered and a really elegant solution. I have been hoping for a year now that Wil would produce some more in his bolt series (there are quite a few) but it never seems to happen! Come on Wil! I've been waiting for ages!!

So in the absence of any new Strijbos bolts I decided to try and find some others. Now absolutely top of my list of wants are the absolutely glorious set of bolts (I'd like the keys too!) hand made in brass by the incomparable workmanship of Rocky Chiaro. Unfortunately, they work out quite expensive at approximately $80 each and seeing as I would want the full set of 6, this would break my piggy bank at the moment. If the puzzle fairy is reading then my address is.....

So as my next choice for a trick bolt I had seen this mass produced version reviewed by Gabriel here on his blog - he had solved this one first and when he wrote it up had failed to solve number 1! I decided that I would also do them in the same order - I do have both so expect another review at a later date. My hope is, of course, that I can actually solve it myself.

It is made by Puzzle Master themselves and arrives in a nice blue box rather reminiscent of the Hanayama packaging. The puzzle is a good size (9.9 x 3 x 3 cm) and a decent weight. Puzzle Master rate it as 7 out of 10 (Challenging) on their scale of 6 to 10 and I would make it a 6 myself. I think it is pretty good quality for just $10. No solution is provided with the puzzle but if you really need it then the solution can be downloaded from here.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

I love these but maybe I shouldn't buy!

Quintet in F
I have mentioned several times over the last couple of years that the great James Dalgetty, the owner/curator/guru of the Puzzle Museum, advised me at least twice that I really should focus my collecting on just one subtype of puzzle from the great puzzle classification. As you know I have totally ignored him and become a total magpie and collected just about everything I could get my hands on with the exception of jigsaws and dexterity puzzles.

Breadbox
Unhappy childhood
I have gradually worked out that there are some things that I am absolutely rubbish at and so have started to avoid them. For example I have more or less given up on 3D packing puzzles. I started off with the most beautiful of 3D packing puzzles - Make room from Mr Puzzle was a horrendous failure for me (reviewed here) then decreasing the complexity to a puzzle with "just" 2 layers, Unhappy Childhood, made by my good friend Neil was a similar failure. I simplified further to enjoying them when they were simple trays with 2D packing puzzles and wrote a glowing report of David Litwin's Breadbox and also solved the slightly harder classic tray puzzle, Blockhead, which I bought from Brian Menold at Wood Wonders.

Blockhead - only 4 pieces but quite tough

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Cast Harmony

Cast Harmony
In my recent post on my blog about the Sidewinder puzzle I said that I was coming to the end of my batch from Puzzle Master and I might need to get some more. Well "BLUSH" I couldn't resist it and another nice big parcel arrived last week much to the disgust of the present Mrs S! I spent about half an hour unpacking and stroking and generally drooling before she got really annoyed at me and made me put them away.

This batch included 2 of the newest ones from Hanayama which I had been very keen to get hold of. This one is the Cast Harmony and I had been drooling over it for nearly 2 years! I remember seeing that having been designed by Dmitry Pevnitskiy and Kirill Grebnev it had won the Puzzler's award at the Japanese IPP (#30) in 2010 and, whilst I am not in the least bit musical, I loved the association of the musical shapes and really wanted one. But despite it being available from Kirill's site, at $100 that was just too much for me for a wire disentanglement puzzle. So I sat and drooled intermittently. I was really pleased when one of my habitual tours to the Hanayama site showed me that they were releasing a version (I presume with the designers' permission).

It consists of a nice golden coloured treble clef which is interlocked with a silver quaver and obviously the aim is to separate them. As usual, the Hanayama packaging is the immaculate black box. The puzzle is 10 x 4.5 x 3.7 cm and is a nice weight. Boy! Does this one appeal to the magpie in me (Rox will love it!) it is gorgeous. Hanayama rate this as 2 out of 6 and Puzzle Master rate it as 6 (Tricky) on their 5-10 scale and I would agree with these ratings - it is pretty easy. No solution is provided and as far as I can tell there is no downloadable version available. But don't fear you won't need one but if you do collect the solution pdf files then it can be downloaded from here. It is much more attractively priced than the original at $13.

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