Sunday 26 June 2016

A Prickly Subject?

Just beautifully made hedgehogs and obviously different from standard designs
A short one today after a Midlands puzzle party yesterday and having to spend some time today with Mrs S. After the last few days with great upheaval in the UK, I have to bring up a prickly subject.....NO! Not Brexit! For better or worse the British people have made a decision and we will have to live with that but my subject matter here is not spiky politics. I want to discuss hedgehogs....the caged variety.

A very long time ago I wrote about the Canary in cageOwl in cage and various other caged shapes and critters. Wil Strijbos at one time also had for sale a number of other cartoon-like Japanese characters in cages but I passed on these.

Dragon AND a japanese box
Recently some pictures posted by Radek Micopulos of Rademic Puzzles showed up on Facebook - they were beautifully crafted in metal and definitely of interest. After Oli got a couple to play with and raved about them I also had to have a try. A quick email and a bit of back and forth ending in PayPal, led to me receiving a package on Wednesday.

There were 2 that looked fun - neither were the classic hedgehog in which the trapped animal needs to be manipulated between the bars of the cage so I chose them. The first one that I tried is the Gen:

Gen is made of anodised aluminium and weighs 90g. It is 49mm diameter and 75mm tall. The Hedgehog has 6 different length spines and is rated with a difficulty level of 3 out of 5. On the product page Radek describes it like this:
Hedgehog in a cage GEN: Puzzle, which could be also called puzzle of a new generation, because it uses a totally new and a unique way of solution. It's got incorporated a new principle, which involves about 10 correct moves. The task is to remove the hedgehog with the hole in a shape of keyhole! you don't believe it? Try it! It's surprisingly easier to get a hedgehog out of the cage than inside. Hedgehog has a medium difficulty, but even after you solve it, you will come back and try it again its playful principle. The puzzle is inspired by the design of the human gene!
The description is quite correct - the solution is very new compared to what I have seen before. It is actually not terribly difficult but is definitely a fun one. It clanks about and I received my first laser stare shortly after opening the packet. It takes a few minutes of exploration to realise the mechanism and even then the removal is not an automatic find. There are quite a few possible variations for entry into the sequence and many of them end in blockage. Finding the correct sequence is just a matter of exploration and stumbling across the answer. After about 15 minutes I had the puzzle in pieces:

Didn't take long but good fun
Putting it back is possibly just a matter of reversing the process....except I could not visualise which part was popped out first or last and couldn't work out how to put it back. I just fiddled for a while and suddenly it went back - I did need to try a few entry positions but even now cannot tell whether there is just a single solution or not.

It has taken me about 7 or 8 solves to now work out exactly which spike to begin with and how to move it towards the solution and I still cannot tell whether there is a single solution! It is great fun and a really nice worry bead to play with - I cannot wait to play with the other one. A word of warning about the Axis puzzle. The movement of the top and bottom of the puzzle is very well lubricated and the puzzle does feel quite oily. Once I have wiped it down I intend to have a good play. Oli was really VERY enthusiastic about this one!

These are high quality puzzles for a very reasonable price - You really should drop Radek an email and ask to buy some - he's great to deal with and the prices are very reasonable.


  1. To add a completely different hedgehog puzzle: I recently have been playing with Yavuz' Hedgehog Burr lately, which is still available on his site and also shown on Puzzlewillbeplayed. A confusing burr and a new design. Fun to play with. :)

    1. I saw him advertise it but I have spent more (MUCH more) than I should have over the last few weeks and so had to let them go! It's a shame but I can't have everything!

  2. Nice review Kevin! I like Radek's designs. Very well engineered. He has an all brass version to die for...

    1. I did see the brass one but......I!