|Laurie's Three Piece Block Puzzle|
Yet again, as agent 001, I was very grateful to be in receipt of one of Shane's masterpieces. It is very different from his usual work but as is usual with Shane, he was very self deprecating about the quality. There is a very good reason for his feelings about that....he compares himself to Lee Krasnow, Eric Fuller, Jakub Dvořák, Brian Menold, Brian Young and Scott Peterson! Pretty much every wood craftsman in the world looks bad next to them - these guys produce the best work most of us have ever seen and Shane doesn't stand a chance at producing stuff like that straight away at his first attempt at an interlocking solid puzzle. He knows what is required but freely states that he hasn't got time or the inclination to do that and I don't blame him. For me this puzzle is still absolutely lovely and made to fine enough tolerances that it is fun to play with and looks great on the shelf.
The puzzle is a classic from the devious design mind of Stewart Coffin and has long been the favourite of a great puzzle friend to us all, Laurie Brokenshire (one of the greatest puzzle solvers the world has ever seen). Shane wanted to make something special for Laurie but of course add his own Hales magic which of course has to be a locking mechanism of some sort - yes he looped the pieces on a chain and padlock!
Like Allard, I spent 2 whole days playing with this desperately seeking a way to remove the chain and padlock! I even emailed Shane to ask whether he had put a key inside the box and I had just missed it. He of course said yes but told me not to bother hunting through the box as I didn't need it. By the time I had spent a third days at it I was getting desperate - I poured all the packing peanuts all over the kitchen work surface and scrabbled through looking for the key. I didn't find it, of course but the cats really enjoyed the peanuts and I had to chase one of them around the house to extract one from his mouth before he ate it! Mrs S would have been seriously unhappy with me if there would have been a trip to the vet! So no key and no clue what to do!
I spent a fourth evening in my puzzle chair muttering under my breath about evil genius puzzle designers and just when "she who frightens me to death" spoke up to make me shut up, I made a really big AHA! moment. Shane, you are a very devious B.....! That aspect of the puzzle was so well hidden that two of us had singularly failed to notice it.
|Thank goodness! I can now start assembling.|
|Brian Menold's beautiful copy|
Laszlo's Spherical Packing Puzzle
|Laszlo's Spherical Packing Puzzle|
Midweek a little package arrived with 3 pairs of glued livecubes and a plastic sphere. The aim is to fit the livecubes into the sphere and click it completely shut.
|How hard can it be?|
|Looks good? Nope! It just won't quite close in this configuration!|
This has proved to be another marvelous gift from a great puzzle designer and has kept me occupied and almost out of mischief for several days. Hopefully I will manage to solve it one day! Sob!
No problem, you say? Well I am not as bright as you! I sat down one evening with it and fiddled away - the advantage of a disentanglement puzzle with string and a single piece of metal is no noise to excite the wrath of the "frightening one". I tried a number of different moves and just ended up back at the start or wound up. Just when I thought I was going to fail, I managed to achieve a promising configuration during an episode of NCIS: LA
|Obviously halfway there!|
To my eternal shame it took me another 2 days to get the puzzle back to the start position! The one advantage of going through such hell was that I did manage to gain a proper understanding of how the puzzle works and now can solve it at will:
|My goodness - that was a real struggle!|
Now it is time to try the Ring Bottle and the 4 Bague (Mike's favourite)
Puzzle gifts are such a joy! Have a great afternoon/evening/day/month/2017!!!