They came out of the packaging and posed for photos. Mrs S, quite rightly this time, said that they looked quite like several others I had and also looked like the ones I had been constructing from those 3 burrsets I had acquired earlier. Obviously Mrs S does pay some attention to my never ending stream of acquisitions. I could not do what she does when I ask if a pair of shoes or clothing is new! She always replies:
"oh no I've had this for ages - don't you remember that I bought it last year?"I can't argue with her because there is such a continual influx of girls stuff that I have ceased to pay any attention to what it is! But she has answered the door to postie with my stuff and knows whenever I get something new!
She is quite right however to say that they do look suspiciously familiar - they look remarkably like 6 piece burrs. But I said to her and I say to you:
These are something TOTALLY NEW! They might be a completely new puzzle category.The response was a snort and the comment that I always say that with every puzzle that arrives. Guilty as charged I guess - but I'm sure that I don't declare that they are a new category every time. To prove to her that there is something special - I just move a piece in Compressed and a few pieces in Round Trip and show her a hint of what is inside. There are some very odd shapes in there! I just get a blank look in return. I don't argue because the smell of burning flesh from the laser burning stare is becoming overwhelming and I don't want to risk a Whack! Ouch! until I have had a chance to play.
Now why am I calling these a possible new puzzle category? In reality I don't think they will end up as a new section in the Puzzle classification described by James Dalgetty here and the amazing Rob Stegmann here. However these puzzles are totally unique and really fascinating. I have only one other puzzle that is similar and it was designed by the same person - Gregory Benedetti. Back in 2012, I wrote about a fabulous burr that I bought from Greg which had been made by Maurice Vigouroux, the Blind burr:
|Blind Burr also by Greg|
So here we see that they are referred to as the "New Old School" puzzles and you get a hint of why I thought they might be a new category. Finally at the IPP last year Greg produced 3D printed copies of them and showed them to Eric with a view to seeing if he might just change his mind when he saw them. It would appear that Eric's first thoughts about how hard they were to make was right, but luckily for me/us he still made a couple."With the invention of the NOS (New Old School) puzzle series, Gregory took the six piece burr format and turned it on its head. The only thing more noteworthy than the uniqueness of the series was how difficult they are to make. When he sent me the plans for them a year ago, I turned him down because it just looked like a nightmare to manufacture. I wasn't wrong...BUT..."
What is so special about how they move? Well the fun thing about them is that they are a combination of coordinate motion puzzle and burr. Still no rotations are required but some very "special" moves. Here is what I showed Mrs S:
A small amount of pushing and pulling on the other pieces would not let them slide but I could see a little hint of the internals and I had a sneaky suspicion how the remainder would move and come apart. At this point the cat stretched and sat up, knocking his head on the partially exploded puzzle. Aaaargh! The partial explosion rapidly became a complete explosion and my 6 piece burr was in 6 pieces:
|Look at the accuracy of those pieces! 2 sets of 3 identical pieces.|
Not being terribly bright, I picked up the other puzzle, Round Trip (NOS3) - mainly because I still had some TV time and with the cat on my lap that was the only other puzzle I could reach (I didn't dare ask "she who is perpetually annoyed at me" to get up and hand me anything else for fear that the "anything else" I chose might end up in a body cavity! Like Liam Neeson, she has:
"a very particular set of skills. Skills she has acquired over a very long nursing career. Skills that make her a nightmare for people like me"..... Gulp!Would you dare ask her to get up? No - I didn't think so.
Round trip is truly stunning - it is the same size as the Compressed but made from Padauk and this sample is a really radiant red. Initially nothing seemed to move but once you hold the correct pair of pieces and push/pull in the right direction there's a lovely surprise as 4 pieces all move in a rather surprising way. After that it works as a more conventional burr with normal linear movements. However, the pieces are locked together by the diagonally cut ends being held in diagonally cut holes and it requires a very specific sequence to allow them to relinquish their grip on each other. It actually took me a further 20 minutes to discover a very well hidden move and I had the 6 burr pieces apart and draped over the cat. Overall this is a level 188.8.131.52 burr.
|Stunning colour wood and very confusing piece design.|
I've solved these repeatedly over the last week or 2 and absolutely love them - they even made me go back to the blind burr to play with that too. There are 7 of the NOS puzzles in the series and I do very much hope that Eric makes them all but I also hope that he does them in stages as I don't want another 5 requiring my cash all at the same time! I suspect he will spread them out because of the extreme difficulty in their manufacture.
I have to show off the Wish Cube!
I have shown off a few puzzles by Johan Heyns over the last 6 months. Today I MUST show you something that I bought from him recently and which I watched in amazement as he worked on it and posted pictures on Facebook as he went. This is the Wish Cube: