|Down Under with the T removed|
I have been putting off attempting the Down Under puzzle for a while - it is primarily a packing puzzle and I am notoriously awful at these. It has gotten so bad that I have more or less stopped buying them unless they are either beautiful or there is some other interesting puzzling feature to them. I said that this is primarily a packing puzzle but in this case it does have that other feature in that it is also a sliding piece puzzle (another group which I am not good at and have almost none in my collection). On top of that I suspected from the shape that it required non orthogonal moves to solve it (because it shares some features with the T for two and T for three puzzles I wrote about in July last year.
This puzzle is produced by the fantastic German puzzle company, Siebenstein Spiele (oddly they don't appear to have a website of their own) and was designed by Jürgen Reiche. It is made from acrylic and beautifully laser cut and engraved pieces of wood in several colours. In the pack, the leaflet gives the instruction to put all 6 pieces beneath the acrylic lid into the frame. It also says there are more challenges on the reverse of the paper but when I flipped it over it was blank! Luckily the Puzzle Master product page has the other challenges listed on it! Puzzle Master have rated this as level 9 (Gruelling) on their scale of 5 to 10 which is a bit higher than the manufacturer’s own rating of 5 on a scale of 1 to 7. At 11.2 cm square and 1.5cm deep this is a great puzzle to slip into a bag to use on the go and is good value at $27 (especially with the current fall in value of the Canadian dollar). No solution is provided in the package but it can be downloaded from here.
So last night, with some trepidation I took the pieces out of the tray to allow me to visualise the shape of the holes in the acrylic through which they must be placed.
|Shape of the holes revealed|
I was very suspicious that a manufacturer as good as Siebenstein would not leave such an inelegant solution as the main aim of one of their beautiful puzzles so I once again removed all the pieces and annoyed the cat again! Another 20 minutes passed before I suddenly noticed an alternative assembly which would fit in the tray with all the pieces facing the correct way. It took me a little while to work out the order to place the pieces and I had it. I downloaded the solution and confirmed that I was correct. You can see my solution if you click on the button below:
That was all that I managed to get done last night and went to bed feeling rather pleased with myself. What about the other challenges? They are nowhere near as difficult but still a fun thing to think about and stimulate the old grey matter. I managed to do them over about 10 minutes this morning. The aim in the accessory challenges is to try packing the 5 of the pieces in such a way they cannot slide around inside the frame. Then try to do the same thing with four pieces and finally repeat it with just three pieces. Sounds tough? It's not too hard if you think about the size of the frame and the shapes of the pieces you have here. Clicking on the spoiler button below will show the 3 solutions.
So if you are into packing puzzles or into sliding piece puzzles then you should definitely give this a try! Even if you are rubbish at those types of puzzles then this will not prove impossible for you and is definitely worth a try. The price is good and it is beautifully made - it will look good on display after you are done! I think I will be taking this one to work for the next few weeks to torture my colleagues with. I don't think the patients will be able to solve it as it is not particularly suitable for manipulation whilst you are lying down.