Sunday 25 December 2016

Burr Noose

Burr Noose
I did have some plans for a more detailed puzzle review for Xmas but a colleague came to work with a really bad cold and spent time discussing cases with me and coughed and spluttered all around me! As expected, the lurgy has migrated across mucus membranes and I have a delightful case of pneumonic plague just in time for Xmas. I usually tend to shrug these things off quite quickly but this time, being the plague, I am totally poleaxed by it and don't expect to survive beyond Boxing day. Mrs S has instructions on what to do with my collection so don't turn up at my door for handouts!

I have decided to publish a quickie (but a real goodie) for you. Alongside the Tricolore puzzle from Brian Menold I also received a wonderfully colourful copy of Burr Noose designed by Tom Jolly (I really couldn't order just one puzzle could I? That would be bad manners). This is beautifully made and finished by Brian using a wonderful variety of woods - Ash, Osage Orange, Iroko, Lacewood, Padauk and Tzalm with Holly rings for the noose. It is a good size at 7.6x6.7x6 cm and will look great on my shelf.

After I solved Tricolore I moved on to this and immediately started to struggle. With a level of I expected that one of the pieces would just slide straight out and allow the other pieces to move around. It's level 1 for goodness sake, how hard can that be? Well silly me couldn't find the first piece that came out! I repeat, yet again, that I am really not terribly bright, I sometimes wonder how I manage to get myself up and dressed in the morning. After about 15 minutes of swearing to myself and annoying Mrs S, I finally found the first piece that came out and it was not the one I expected. In fact, I didn't expect that move at all to be possible (I will put my solution photo behind a spoiler button to prevent you from seeing a solution hint that might ruin things for you) Brian added an extra feature to keep it so well hidden. After the first piece came out another quickly followed and the puzzle became quite loose and floppy. Some rotations were possible but I carefully avoided them and explored what was possible. 

Another 15 minutes later it was in pieces and I had a nice grin on my face. The design is not really as hard as I made it look and I could see from the piece shapes that the real challenge was going to be the reassembly. I scrambled up all the pieces and left them for about an hour before trying to put it back together. 

Now despite remembering roughly what I had done and how it had come apart, the reassembly of all the pieces within the noose proved to be a really nice fun challenge which probably took me another 30 minutes or so. This was not terribly tough but a great little challenge and very clever. I love puzzles like this, where the initial discovery puzzle is a challenge but not too complex and where the reassembly can actually be thought through in my head! Thanks to Brian for a wonderful puzzle to complete my puzzling year I'm looking forward to even more next year from you (as well as the other puzzle craftsmen). This has been a truly amazing year for puzzlers and I have no doubt that it will get better and better next year.

So from my sickbed, I wish you all a very Merry Xmas (or whatever your holy day might be) and a happy, healthy puzzling new year in 2017.


  1. Happy Holidays from Italy to Mrs S and you.

    1. Well thank you very much Sandro! Wishing you and all your family a great Christmas and a wonderful year in 2017.