|Breath-takingly gorgeous - Delirium 13|
Of course, there has to be an exception that proves my rule and above is that exception! It is the Delirium 13 puzzle designed by Stéphane Chomine and then altered slightly and beautifully crafted by my good friend from South Africa, Johan Heyns. This fabulous construction in African Rosewood, Pau Marfim, Cedrella and Burmuru for the frame with Rosewood and Cherry for the burr pieces even came with a tool to allow me to dismantle the frame and reset if needed. With 5461 moves for the first piece I might just need that there tool! So why did I buy it and go against my edict that high level burrs are not something I should be collecting? Well as well as wanting to support Johan, it should be noted that this is not just any old burr.... it is an N-ary puzzle and is very similar in process to Bill Cutler's Binary Burr. The upshot of this is that once the logical sequence is fathomed, then it is just a matter of stamina and getting through to the end without getting lost. Despite such complexity this puzzle moves beautifully and so far has been great fun to play with. Of course, I have NOT finished it - I have attempted it twice now and each time managed probably about 2500 moves and miraculously found myself back at the beginning. Doh! I have absolutely no idea at what point I got turned around but it seems to be easily done and I never recognise it until I am right back to the start. Definitely NOT terribly bright!
Hopefully I will shout with delight soon - I know that my friends Goetz (the king of the N-ary puzzle) and Professor Jim Strayer have managed it so it must be possible! If you are not going to aim for the biggest longest burr solve then how do you choose? You could use fancy woods but I either take advice from my good friend from the Far East who has massive experience or I read the craftsman/salesman's description and take their word for it! Eric Fuller almost never manufactures super high level burrs - he aims for things that look nice and are interesting to solve. Often many of his puzzles actually have quite low level solutions but are still great fun to play with.
|2 Burrs in a basket|
It's been three years since Logan's excellent Constrained Burr series and his baffling Two Burrs in a Corner, but he wasn't resting on his success. He was plotting, working, scheming...to surpass his previous achievements. And boy did he succeed! Two Burrs in a Basket is a major accomplishment, with a level 2.25 just to get the pieces out of the basket!The constrained burrs were fabulous (I still occasionally get them out to play) and so I just HAD to buy this "better" challenge. On top of that, there are multiple challenges - firstly getting the pieces out of the basket is tough but then you need to make 2 six piece burrs out of the 12 pieces - 6 sticks and 6 boards and finally you need to find a way to display the 2 burrs in the basket. Obviously after that the aim would be to return to the start position. I cannot believe that Eric did not sell out - there are currently 7 in stock as of writing this post.
Disassembling the Carolina Ash cuboid that was in the rather beautiful Peruvian Walnut basket is no mean feat! There are quite a lot of confusing moves and some that require gravity to get the pieces into the correct positions. I took several days of back and forth movements before I made my very unexpected discovery and was very careful to learn what I was doing. My surgeon one evening was very surprised when I let out a whoop of delight having achieved this:
|Keeping track of pieces|
|It's vital to keep track of the order!|
|Whew! That alone was a hell of a challenge!|
With huge shame, I have to admit that making the second burr was done by that wonderful computer program and seeing the moves required there is no way I would ever have done it from scratch myself! I can now assemble and disassemble the burrs at will - either of them would make very nice disassembly puzzles on their own.
Next up in my "interesting but not high level burr" purchases was another from Eric. This one was designed by Tim Alkema who has also spent some time specialising in burrs with unusual shapes. It is the Padlock Burr (obviously designed to look like one) and is also still available for sale - there are 5 left as I write.
I've seen several designs lately with burr puzzles conspiring to look like other objects...a sword, an elephant...some weirdo even made one that looked like a chicken! But in my mind, none is as apropos as a padlock, so I jumped on the chance to make the Padlock Burr when it came around. Six mostly standard looking pieces interlock within the lock base for a unique and quite tricky level 24.2.8 solution. Lots of fun, and it looks cool too. I also came up with an antire new joint to make the padlock base out of twelve solid pieces instead of gluing up a bunch of sticks. It was tricky but totally worth it (this is how I have my fun these days).
Construction of this puzzle is absolutely kickass. Fit is dead-onHow can I resist? I spent 3 days going around and around in circles! I just could not find any more than 3 moves and nothing beyond that! In desperation I went to Ishino's site and made myself a BT file from the pictures of the pieces. The third move in from the file just wouldn't happen for me! I could not get it to go despite Eric's claim of dead on fit. I whinged to Derek about the lack of bevels and cursed Eric for a bit and then pushed harder than I thought I should and managed to get that move to go. I was then back on my own without the computer program and discovered a whole lot of very fun moves and a piece came out. At level 188.8.131.52.2 that was a huge challenge. Once that piece had come out and I had much more free movement of the rest I was able to see why I had had such difficulty! Eric may be a master craftsman and a designer of fancy new wood joints but his choice of little pieces of polystyrene to pack the puzzles in was a pain in MY ASS! A tiny fragment of a peanut had worked its way inside during transport and effectively blocked the critical move. It had required me to crush it absolutely flat to allow my critical move to occur! Subsequent solves without that peanut have proved to be smooth as butter. he second piece was easily removed but the third was another lovely challenge - despite being able to see everything inside the frame, it took quite a bit of work to finish off:
|An unlocked padlock|
|Pieces of Janus made from the Fight Cube set|
|Not as beautiful in metal but still impressive|
|Stunning wood and fun to disassemble.|
Mrs S is getting fed up! What do you think?
|Is this too much for a dining room sideboard?|
She's also rather unimpressed with my presence in the living room:
|Fabulous wood and craftsmanship|
|Puzzles currently being or about to be played with!|