|The attendees of the Taiwanese Puzzle Party|
Now to the main subject of my post this weekend - last week I noticed with huge interest when Jakub Dvorak of the New Pelikan Workshop posted some gorgeous pictures of new puzzles that he and his partner Jaroslav Švejkovský had manufactured and were about to bring out for sale. Of course I couldn't resist buying all 3 of them and this week they arrived much to the disgust of the present Mrs S. Luckily for me she had been on her own little shopping trip on the internet and couldn't really complain at me too much or deliver a Whack! Ouch! After placing my order, I was amazed that it only took 5 days for the puzzles to arrive here from the Czech Republic. As always beautifully boxed and safe from damage. If you are thinking about getting into wooden interlocking puzzles then you cannot beat Pelikan for quality and value for money.
"... an attempt at making a very small and concise co-ordinate motion puzzle with very few slanted cuts - of which there are only two in this design. The shape of a 2x2x2 cross is made of two pairs of identical pieces (which are mirror pairs). The separating motion is a little unusual but pleasant."The fun part of these sort of puzzles is 2 fold. The first issue is to work out how to start the movement off. Looking at the picture you can see a horizontal cut which looks like it goes all the way through the puzzle (obviously that's not possible) but it is not at all clear where else the cuts go. The cuts have been made so fine and so accurate that I could not for the life of me see where to push or pull. I was reduced to sitting at my dining table whilst Mrs S prepared dinner and prodded all over to no real effect. I am ashamed to say that I really am not particularly good at these and have not actually solved any in a couple of years. As has happened a few times before I started gripping in in different places and suddenly the puzzle leapt apart!! I must have squeezed the exact right parts in the perfect direction and the puzzle, being so perfectly made, just started to slide and I had 4 pieces before I could even look at what was happening. It slid apart with such ease that I actually dropped one of the pieces on the tiles and earned a glare - Mrs S is very protective of her tiles!
|Two pairs of absolutely perfect pieces|
If you have no experience of coordinate motion puzzles then this is a really good place to start - at just €19 it's too good to miss! And it looks lovely on the shelf!
|The plaque says it's the Slideways Cube|
I played with and solved the Slideways burr at the last MPP and really enjoyed seeing a 3 piece burr which opened like a coordinate motion puzzle and was beautifully simple in its idea. The Double Slideways burr was also placed in my hands at the same MPP and I am still having nightmares about it! The same premise as the single version but 6 pieces all moving in different directions before collapsing in a heap - I actually backed away from dismantling it at the party because I knew that I would never be able to get it back together! This time Ray had designed a cube with an identical mechanism using 3 pieces. This puzzle is made from Maple and Walnut and measure 6cm on each axis. It looks just like a solid block! The description says:
"The Cube, however, has no visible diagonal joints making it difficult to recognize and implement the correct motion. The puzzle is somewhat unusual because it is quite easy to put together, but difficult to take apart."He's not bloody kidding!!! I looked like an absolute crazy person trying to dismantle it! Mrs S actually laughed at me! I poked and prodded and pressed everywhere for a good half hour and got nowhere at all. I even began to think that I had one that might have humidity issues (even though that has NEVER happened before with a Pelikan puzzle). I put it down for dinner and had a go again when we sat down to watch some TV after doing the chores. Eventually I must have pressed on the right combination of places because it flew apart and landed on a sleeping cat's head - he wasn't very impressed!
|Just look at the precision of those cuts!|
|Little Box (which it isn't)|
"Little Box is a very simple assembly puzzle intended for beginners, with a small hollow inside. Serially interlocking with a single, relatively easy to find solution, this puzzle is a nice introduction to non-cubic assemblies. The shape of the pieces is inspired by the rebated joint in woodworking.."This puzzle is relatively simple to disassemble - the fit is nice and tight and it takes a bit of pushing and pulling to find and remove the key piece and then another few minutes of prodding various bits to make it come apart into 6 pieces plus a tiny multicoloured cube which fills the cavity in the centre. The bevelling of every single edge is superb and ensures that not only does it look gorgeous but everything just slides together with no catching of edges at all. When apart, the pieces all look similar but there are some crucial differences that are important to take note of.
|6 Similar shaped pieces and a cute cube!|
My next challenges will be visible some time soon on my New additions page. I hope you enjoy this post as well as the summary of the Taiwanese puzzle party on Rox's blog.