|My last Strijbos delivery|
Wil knows about my love of disentanglements and is aware that I seem to have become a bit of an expert - I still feel like a beginner but I do appear to have solved quite a lot of them now and the guys at the Midlands Puzzle Parties often give me new ones to try. Wil finds quite a few new ones during his travels and brings a few really good ones back for us to buy. One of the best I have ever tried was the 2 ring teddy which has stumped many many people - both newbies and experienced puzzlers. It was so good that it has made TWO appearances on this blog - here and here.
This was one of the first I picked up (I just cannot resist them) and quickly put it down in response to the burning sensation produced by the laser stare! It would have to wait for later.... When later came, I explored a little and got nowhere at all! It is possible to change the configuration quite a bit but topologically nothing changes and they are still all locked together. Some of the moves I tried were highly unlikely to get a solution due to the extreme contortions of the string but I had to try! Over a period of a week, I played and played and got seriously burned - the number F-bombs increased astronomically but I was getting nowhere! One evening in front of the TV I was just fiddling and not doing any really complex moves (or even watching what I was really doing) when the ring suddenly drops into my lap! Another stream of invective and the whole thing is apart! Yessssss!
|Grinning at me!|
"It is a very difficult challenge.Now of course, this is like a red rag to a bull for me! BUT, if Wil thinks it is tough then I am in serious trouble! He is a solving machine! It has a pretty long length of string and certainly is enough to make a proper knot but luckily not long enough for Mrs S to garrotte me - by the time I had gotten to this one, she was pretty pissed off with me! The string is threaded through four of the same U shapes and there is a LOT of movement possible.
I will be very surprised when you can take it apart and put together again."
During my reassembly trials with the Two-U puzzle, I picked this one up several times and managed to do some very interesting things with it and noticed some really interesting properties! But despite all I saw I began to get fairly knotted and always backed off before I went that little bit too far.
Whilst on call on Sunday night, I had it sitting in front of me whilst watching TV and just mentally made some moves in my head. There's not a lot in my head most of the time but this time I realised something very special could happen with a certain move so I reached out and did it - studying the conformation, I realised that I should have learned something from the Two-U - they are not the same but the share a feature or two and I tried a new idea. Nothing fell off, but there was a subtle change which did not appear to me straight away. I undid all the moves I had done and..... one of the U's fell off! Wha....How....? Quickly, I reversed my steps and at that point I noticed the subtlety mentioned before. I realised that I had done something very interesting and quickly worked out what it was before reversing all the way back to the beginning!
I sat and stared at it for a while before plucking up the courage to have another go. This time I was VERY careful to pay attention to the exact orientation and voila! A knot!!! Something went wrong! Backtracking led me to stare fixedly at it for a while before realising just how subtle the change had been. This time I tried my move in a different direction and there I was - another series of moves and one U was off. OK! Time to do it again but with less pieces and again with even less and finally we have:
|Another one grinning at me!|
If you get a chance when Wil releases it to the unsuspecting world - buy it! It's brilliant! If you haven't bought the Two-U yet then it is also absolutely fantastic! I will be carrying these with me for quite a while! Thanks Wil!
Just another quick notice - this weekend Wil has released onto an unsuspecting world his latest puzzle design - The Egg! Actually, it's not new - it dates back to 1986 but was not mass produced because it was too difficult. Luckily in the 21st century we have modern manufacturing techniques and it's available again! It's NOT cheap and but it will be fun - mine is on it's way to me already. Don't tell Mrs S as she doesn't need to know!