Sunday 12 October 2014

Traiphum's Tetrahedral Terror plus Torturing the Mother-in-law!

Three tetrahedra from Traiphum
This will need to be a fairly short blog post this week - my in-laws arrived on Thursday and I have had very little time to myself for writing or puzzling and if I try then I get the evil eye/laser-burning stare from the present ogre erm wife! The girls have just gone out for coffee and shopping (God help me!!) and left the boys at home. The "old boy" has felt the need for a lie down in the afternoon so I have some time for a quickee!

This post is another post about a special twisty puzzle which I have owned for quite a few months and as yet have singularly failed to solve since receiving it in March this year! Traiphum is a master twisty puzzle modder (probably the best in the world) and I have bought quite a few puzzles from him over the last few years and love them all! They are not cheap but the quality is truly amazing - if you do choose to buy from him then you will not be disappointed. He can be easily contacted via his Facebook page or through the Twisty Puzzles forum private messaging service. His specialty is to convert one particular shape of puzzle into another. In the picture at the top of the post are 3 cubes which he has carved and smoothed into perfectly formed Reuleaux tetrahedra. On the left is a 4x4 cube (Megamorphinx) and on the right is a 5x5 (Ultramorphinx) and I hope one day to be able to get a Hexamorphinx too. In the middle is my nemesis!

Hexaminx crystal
Hexaminx crystal converted to a mess!
Other shape transformations have included the Hexaminx which is a Dodecahedron/Megaminx converted to cube shape - this was so good that it was eventually mass produced - buy it!!! You should have it in your collection! Even more challenging was the Pyraminx crystal converted to a cube - the Hexaminx crystal. This truly was a great challenge. Unfortunately it was so difficult to make that Traiphum won't be making any more!

So far all the shape mods that I have tried (from Traiphum or elsewhere) have been a challenge but I have beaten them all. I fully expected that the middle one of that trio at the top would be the same! One of my favourite cubic twisties and one that every collector should own is the Master skewb - it looks horrific but in reality is great fun and can be solved using just one very simple algorithm. Maybe it's not quite as simple as I say..... you do need to plan and work out how to use that algorithm in creative ways. But if you can remember "up up down down" then it is solvable by anyone! So when Traiphum made his tetrahedral modification available, I couldn't resist!

They are functionally identical!
I immediately played with the Master skewb again and fairly easily solved it a few times and so felt safe enough to scramble the shape mod. Oh boy what a mistake! It has accompanied me to work, on holidays, to the IPP, to conferences and on weekends away and has nearly killed me!

How hard can it be? OMG!!!
I have singularly failed at it! I even try to solve the cube and mod side by side to ensure that my approach and knowledge of what are equivalent pieces are correct but every single time I find myslef with a parity! There are no parities with the original puzzle so why with this one? In my previous two discussions of parity here and here I have discussed all the possible causes of parities and why they are to be enjoyed and not feared. With my knowledge of those puzzles behind me I know why the Master skewb tetrahedron has a parity..... it is the same reason that one appears in the Fisher cube (which I discussed 2 years ago) - there are many pieces on the shape mod which are identical but on the original puzzle they had very specific positions. So during my solve process, I have placed the piece types appropriately but managed to get the similar pieces mixed up and cannot tell which ones are in the wrong place because they all look the same.

I have tried many many times to exchange these similar pieces with many different algorithms but have only succeeded in moving others too! At no point have I managed to make my puzzle solvable! Very recently SuperAntoniVivaldi posted a pair of videos on how to solve this puzzle but I have so far managed to stay away from it but I'm not sure for how much longer - it's killing me!

I need to get this one solved so I can move on and buy the Rex cube tetrahedron and F-Skewb tetrahedron which Traiphum also makes! I've been rather low on funds recently and so not managed to buy anything at all in the last 6 weeks - the withdrawal symptoms are killing me!

She keeps on trying!
Now - what's this about torturing the Mother-in-law?
Whilst the present Mrs S absolutely refuses to attempt any of my puzzles at all, her mother is absolutely fascinated by them! Whenever she visits she immediately asks for a toy to play with and is quite content to admire them and attempt to solve them for many hours! As soon as she arrived and I got home from work she immediately wanted me to show her all the new additions to my collection and how they worked and was itching to play with them! I really am going to have to keep the present wife even if it is just because her mother likes my puzzle collection! The last 3 visits I have tortured her with one puzzle in particular - I think she is a bit of a magpie because she likes the shiny ones. A couple of years ago my good friend Louis gave me a gift of a magnetic jigsaw globe. This was in return for a long term loan of the Dick Hess animal puzzles. I solved it once and put it on the shelf but a cat knocked it over and scattered all the pieces! I couldn't face it and never touched it again! The mother-in-law went straight for it thinking that it would be easily within her grasp!

Ho ho ho! Little did she know how tough it was and I did not let on! She has singularly failed to solve it in three long visits to our house! Just before I wrote this post my wife had some "serious words" with me and said basically that I had better help out if I knew what was good for me!! Gulp!!!! So I have a nice surprise for them both when they return home - we have a completed globe in all it's glory - it only took me an hour and I plan on rubbing that in very vigorously! If you never hear from me again then I've been murdered by my Mother-in-law!!!

It's never being taken apart again!!!


  1. Nice puzzle I with some day I could get some traiphum puzzle. For that hard puzzle if I was to trykk it I would get a master skewb with super stikker and learn to solve that first.

    1. Save up to buy one - you won't be disappointed!