The puzzle pictured above is the Fourfold puzzle which I bought from Tomas Linden's Sloyd puzzle store. It was designed by Ad van der Schagt who seems to have been reasonably prolific in several puzzle areas. Puzzle Master have some of his burr designs and Sloyd have quite a few disentanglement designs. I picked this because it looked horrific with a very long string intertwining everything and because it was rated as 4 stars out of a possible 4 in difficulty by the producers - Eureka puzzles. I have had quite a few new disentanglement puzzles recently and have singularly failed to solve most of them. Either I have lost my mojo or I have picked out some seriously tough puzzles to work on! I took the Fourfold to work one day in the hope of finding a moment to have a play. Several of my colleagues were fairly horrified at the complexity of it and I expressed the fear that a very large knot may ensue which I might not be able to undo. But these challenges are sent to try us!
The aim of this one is to remove all the rings from the shuttle and then, of course, put them back again. The length of the string is usually an indicator of the complexity of the moves that you are expected to carry out so with some trepidation I started pulling the rings off the end of the shuttle to see what would happen. OMG! that wasn't a good idea - the string bundle gets very thick and very complex by the time the 3rd ring is off - backtrack quickly! Maybe they come off the other end? Hmmm.. more horrible tangles. Time to take a word of advice from my good friend and "piss taker", Allard - I needed to THINK! The rusted little grey cells slowly started into electrical activity and I remembered a long way back solving a puzzle with a similar topology. It required a rather fancy sequence - I should try that with this one.....bingo! I had a new configuration which seemed to be closer to a solution. Try it again? Why not! BINGO! First ring off and "clatter" second ring just fell off too. That was unexpected! Keeping going along those lines and I had:
|My! That's a VERY long string! Plenty to hang yourself with?|
After leaving the pieces for half an hour or so, I began the reassembly. It is certainly much harder to put back together because most people don't notice the exact alignment of the string during the disassembly. Getting 1st and 3rd rings on is trivial but the 2nd and 4th rings a real challenge and took me several attempts. A few times I carried out what I thought was the correct sequence but had a tangle of string in and out of the ring. Luckily it is obvious immediately that it is wrong and backtracking possible before you wander too far down that line.
This is definitely a puzzle for any enthusiast to own - at €12.10 it is a bargain - get it here. Well made with quality string and wood parts. This is a hallmark of the Eureka puzzles - they are simply beautifully made. If you are a beginner then good luck! I'd start with something easier but it is certainly doable by anyone with a little experience.
A little MPP fun
|My MPP table - back right my latest acquisition|
Pinburr by Jerry McFarlandYesterday (6th Feb) was the 21st Midlands Puzzle Party organised as usually by the Maestro himself, Allard. It was a great day which I am sure he will blog about in due course. I don't plan on giving a full write up here because my age makes my memory very poor these days! We had a good turnout and I brought along a selection of my most recent acquisitions that I thought might be of interest to the guys. One of the first things I did after arrival and making a coffee (it's quite a long drive from Sheffield in the pouring rain) was to hand over a large wad of euros to the puzzle pusher himself! Mr Strijbos had joined us (along with Mr Coolen aka the puzzle solving machine) and had brought with him several copies of Rainer Popp's latest design:
Pincube by Jerry McFarland
Power Tower by jack Krijnen
Wish Cube by Johan Heyns
Racktangle by Tom Lensch
Convolution Ball by Pelikan
Little Portico by Pelikan
69 Puzzle by Frederic Boucher
Portico J by Pelikan
Mochalov ball by Pelikan
Rhombic triacontahedron twisty by Kickflip1993 on TP
Insanity cube by David Pitcher
Castle by Pelikan
3x4x5 iCube by Nathan Wilson
Halfminx by Rex Rosano Perez
Dual direction Chinese 99 rings by Mr. Wu Jianjang
Assorted wire puzzles from Mr Wang Yulong
The Wish cube that I gushed about last week received some deserved attention - Jamie went as far as to carry out the initial part of the solution to take out the tray. He didn't really have the time to do the rest and was distracted by other toys nearby. Everyone who saw it (mine or Allard's copy) appreciated the beauty, complexity and skill that went into it's production.
Another friend who shall remain nameless attempted what I consider a relatively easy disentanglement puzzle and really struggled:
|He had pushed the ring over the end of the shuttle!|
I had a fantastic day solving a few puzzles that I know I will never get a chance to own (thanks Allard for bring your copy of the amazing Fairies Door Puzzle box by Mike Toulouzas which won the Puzzler's award at the 2014 IPP). I even managed to solve a burr with a difference - I am sure you will hear about that when Allard writes his review - I wish I had managed to nab a copy of that puzzle!
Right! I'd better get back a to paying some attention to "she who must be flinched from". I do want to stand a chance of going to another MPP in the future so had better behave myself and continue the chores she has set!