|It's the Elizabeth tower!|
I first saw this puzzle at the last Midlands Puzzle Party the week before IPP. I sidled over to Brian's table to have a quick look at his warez (illicit stash??) but had no intention of buying anything as I had to save my cash for the following week. The Big Ben immediately caught my eye because of the incredible detail work that had been done. Whilst Brian was chatting to someone else I had a quick glance at his price list and recoiled in horror at the price of this prize puzzle! I wandered away and played with other toys.
|Beautifully inscribed - Brian's laser put to good use|
Toward the end of the MPP I again faced up to Brian and asked him to "sell it to me" - I wanted to be convinced to put a significant part of my IPP funds down before I even got there! Brian said simply that it's a multi part sequential discovery puzzle with pieces to find, tools to use and mazes to navigate and then dropped the bombshell that he thought it was as good as the Opening Bat which I had rated as my favourite puzzle of my first 2 years of blogging. I was lost! My signature went down and I had a little secret which I could not tell Mrs S!! That MrPuzzle will end up taking most of my bank balance - but having met his fantastic wife, I sort of forgive him!
I picked up my copy the day after the exchange (in fact I picked up two - Shane had bought one at the MPP and it was my job to fetch it for him and post it - VERY well packed up) and managed to take my photos and then just savour the look of it for a while. I am trying very hard not to zoom through all the puzzles I picked up in one go! It's very tough but I am sort of pacing myself - needless to say, I only managed to resist the lure of this particular puzzle for a few days and I was off!
From here on there might be a couple of very tiny spoilers but not enough to ruin your enjoyment of this puzzle if you manage to obtain it. Whilst watch TV one evening, with a cat purring and kneading on my lap, I picked up Big Ben and looked for my first clue - the aim of the entire puzzle is to dismantle the Elizabeth Tower and find inside the Big Ben bell and in the process also find Queen Elizabeth's misplaced crown. There's actually not a lot to play with at first - a few bits have a small amount of movement in them but don't go far and the clock faces wiggle about. I very quickly dropped a clock face on the sleeping cat who didn't move at all! I could see inside a bit but nothing else would happen and the opposite face was stuck! Infuriating and I loved it!
|It took a while to get any further|
|It's a-maze-ing - this is not much of a clue!|
In fact I was not the only one to suffer from this - a few days after I had solved it, Goetz contacted me to ask what my method had been. He also had solved it using an inelegant method and instinctively knew it couldn't be correct - he had not received the solution with his exchange version - so I emailed him a crucial picture from it. No! I had not cheated! I had spent a couple of hours looking at all the tools that I had accumulated and made a discovery about one of them that was absolutely crucial. This combined with a very close look at the construction of the inner tower gave me all I needed and I made a sort of mega-tool which worked beautifully to get me one step forward and then the top of the tower started to slide. But it only slid so far! Hmmmm!
Even after all that it wasn't going to reveal it's innards that easily - a little more thought and manipulation was required and Big Ben was dumped unceremoniously on the cat on my lap! I cannot sit down for more than a few minutes without being joined by a furry puzzler!
|Crown and Bell revealed!|
You didn't think I would show all the tools did you?
This is probably one of the most awesome exchange puzzles ever given and those who participated in the exchange have really gotten themselves something truly special! Brian does plan on making some more of them available when he gets home from his extended holiday - so contact Sue and order one. Don't hesitate at the price - you get a lot of puzzling for your money!
Thank you to John, Brian and Juno for a truly great experience worthy of my first IPP and to commemorate my home town!
IPP blog post that he had given me a gift of a bottle of wine caught up in a bottle disentanglement as a gift for my work on my blog and presumably keeping him entertained when he is really really bored (I just cannot understand why anyone would read my drivel!) I finally managed to disentangle the bottle and on taking it out was absolutely delighted to see that it was not wine but a half bottle of pure nectar! It is Black Blood of the Earth - a fabulous cold brewed and vacuum extracted coffee! I recall having a discussion with Brett about it on Facebook and then forgot about it entirely. I am totally addicted to really nice coffee and had wanted to try this for a long time (ever since I heard about it from Leo Laporte) but the huge cost of importing it had put me off. I can report that it is absolutely delicious and is responsible for a couple of episodes of palpitations - Lord it's strong stuff! Thanks so much Brett!