|I didn't know what it was!|
last post (focussing on memory) that a few puzzles had been given away. Dick gave everyone a small copy of his 5 keys disentanglement puzzle which I actually did recall how to solve and Big Steve gave me a pile of pieces which he couldn't remember how to assemble into Stewart Coffin's 12 piece separation puzzle.
Half way through the day Dick sidled up to me with another bag of puzzle pieces and asked me (as the only significant twisty solver present) whether I could make this pile of pieces into a working puzzle. He didn't remember what it was. I sat on Allard's sofa and proceded to work on the assembly which is something I find oddly soothing. I managed to produce an almost working puzzle before finding a piece that was broken with the tiny screw having ripped out of the connecting core piece. I handed the partially completed puzzle back to Dick and informed him of the issue that he might be able to fix with glue and some wadding and also said that I could not identify the puzzle. Dick was very generous and gave away his broken puzzle with instructions that if I could fix it then I could keep it! Gee! Thanks!
After a few days at home with the broken puzzle on my desk, I had a brainwave! It's not often that happens to me! I took a tiny strip of paper and rolled it into the screw hole and filled it with a tiny blob of glue and quickly screwed the screw into the hole. Miraculously it worked and I had a functioning puzzle which I photographed and promptly scrambled:
|I couldn't even work out the geometry of it!|
Later that evening I was chatting with my mate Derek and sent him the photo that had flustered me. Like the puzzle genius he is, he immediately informed me that the puzzle is a skewb based puzzle called the Skewb Ultimate and sent me a link to Jaap's site for a description. I had suspected that it was skeb based but just couldn't seem to see the wood for the trees. I stared at it for a while and noticed that there are 8 of those small corners that are the centre of rotation. It was a head-slap moment and suddenly I could see the geometry.
I couldn't remember the method so got a little notepad out (I lurve pens and paper!!!) and after a few minutes of fiddling with puzzle and taking notes, I had enough knowledge. 5 minutes later I received a burn from the laser stare of Mrs S and a cat shot off my lap because a shout came out! To prove that I really understood it, I have solved it a few more times and was very happy that I understood it.....until it wouldnt work anymore! Very odd! I seemed to have made as configuration that was impossible - the edges wouldn't match up with the corners. Hmmm! It hadn't occurred to me that this broken gift had even more to it than I expected. The puzzle has 12 faces and my version only has 6 colours (there were two versions 12 and 6 colour versions). After a little thought I realised that the effect of the 6 colours was that I could position the corners around an edge at the very beginning and get two of them positioned in what looks like the correct place but it makes the rest of the puzzle impossible. Having realised this, it was a matter of finding the correct corners for the correct edges and off we go - down, down, up, up again and again and I had a fully understood puzzle. It's brilliant and you should get one if you like twisties - certainly not too hard and a lot of fun. It has taught me not to look askance at a broken puzzle gift. Thanks Dick!
Looking at the design I am really surprised that he could actually make it and that it would be robust enough to stand up to puzzling but the Galaktika beautifully made from Walnut and Oak is very nice and stable. It did cause a Whack! Ouch! to land on the back of my head because this was just one puzzle to many on the "to solve" pile on the tray in my living room! I resolved that I had better try and solve a few and put them away before she turns the laser to full power!
There are lots of possible moves at the beginning and each one looks like a great start but quickly you find yourself blocked in. I moved sequentially through a lot of starts and managed to get nowhere because every onward move was blocked. I had to sit back and look at it and plan - it was very similar to solving a maze as well as a burr. After doing that I had the pieces separating into a new conformation before it all got stuck again. Every piece is full visible so it is possible to try something and see where it fails and then try something else in a calculated manner. Last night I got another Whack! Ouch! when I stupidly shouted again. I really must learn to keep my big mouth shut and solve them quietly! I had this:
|Just look at the complexity of those pieces|
Like all the pennyhedron puzzles, it is just a matter of working out where to put your fingers and which direction to push/pull in and you have some pieces - Steve's version is a little easier that Chinny's because the printed plastic doesn't quite come together as seamlessly as the wooden ones. But after a few minutes I was delighted to have this:
|I really must get a 3D printer sometime!|
So never look a gift puzzle in the mouth (I have no idea where the original expression came from) - if someone gives you a puzzle then accept and be grateful - even broken puzzles can be fixed and can be fun! Now I need to rejoin Mrs S and watch the men's final of Wimbledon and hopefully see a Brit gain the trophy! Have a nice day!