|Hemi-spheres puzzle - looks simple doesn't it?|
I know that at least 3 of the puzzle bloggers are out there just now and so the reading matter for those of you who are also unable to attend will have been a bit sparse. So today, I am giving you a “twofer” to make up for it! Yes it’s going to be two blog posts today instead of my usual one. The first (this one) will be my usual regular affordable and easy to obtain puzzle and the next will be a really special puzzle which is more expensive and much harder to come by. The second puzzle is actually an entrant in the 2015 IPP design competition and I don't want to spoil the entrant's chances of winning by publishing my own review too early. The judging should all be done by 18:00 Ottawa time which will be 23:00 here in the UK (BST) and so the second part of the "two fer" will be published at that time.
This is one of my alternate weeks so I have to start with an affordable puzzle for you. Again I am dipping in to my disentanglements from Tomas Linden’s Sloyd webstore. This puzzle is a real treat which I enjoyed immensely. The Hemi-spheres puzzle from Eureka puzzles in their Mini string range is very affordable at €5.04 and nicely packaged in a small dark green box. It was designed by Bernhard Wiezorke (whom I have never heard of before but I plan to keep my eye out for him in future). The difficulty rating on the box is 3 stars out of 4 (although as far as I can see there are no 4 star puzzles in this range) and I actually think it might be a bit simpler than that rating - maybe a 2½. Removing it from the box reveals a complete loop of a good quality string, a wooden ring on one end which has a strange loop of the string through it - I guessed that this odd looping must be important in the solve process. In the middle is a brown wooden sphere with the string entirely passed through the centre and at the other end to the loop is a nice pair of maple hemispheres pointing away from each other.
Stretched out lengthways the puzzle is 29cm long and 3.5cm wide but it rolls up nice and compact into a pocket or into the small green box. I did think initially that they had provided a solution leaflet but it is just an advert showing other puzzles made by Eureka. I doubt whether you will need a solution unless you are an absolute beginner but if you want one then it can be downloaded from Puzzle Master here.
The aim of this puzzle is not to remove anything from the string (in fact a basic knowledge of topology tells you that total removal is impossible) - the task diagrammed on the box is to rearrange the pieces such that the hemispheres are turned around and facing each other to make a complete sphere. Initially you would think that one hemisphere would need to just be pushed over the length of the string and over to the other side but obviously this is completely impossible. The string is completely free and able to rotate through all the pieces and loops can be pulled through and manipulated as you see fit. I am always petrified with these puzzles that I will just end up with a huge knot and then be unable to return it to the beginning let alone to solve it. I hesitantly made some moves and realised that there is actually very little that you can actually do. I suspect that it might be quite difficult to make it badly knotted without doing something really silly.
My eye and thoughts were obviously drawn to the loops around the ring - they must be like that for a reason and MUST have a use. Within about 10 minutes I was very surprised to have this:
|Look! Hemi-spheres forming a complete sphere!|
I think that this puzzle is a lovely cheap little diversion which will not take any experienced disentanglers long but will really stump a child or a newbie for a while. It is very cheap and well worth a play. Go over to Tomas at Sloyd and see whether there is anything else you fancy.
The second part of the "two fer" will be published later this evening - I'll see you then!