Sunday, 28 May 2017

Bounty from the Midlands


Yesterday I attended the 26th Midlands puzzle party and caught up on puzzling, gossiping and the general teasing that always occurs when the bunch of us get together. Someone actually was hoping to meet the present Mrs S which I thought was particularly brave of them! They couldn't believe that I got away with what I write about her most weeks. I informed them that she never reads my drivel and that they were welcome to take her off my hands whenever they wanted! She even comes with her own shoe and handbag collection.

Having spent so much time puzzling yesterday, I feel that I ought to spend a little time with "the frightening one" today and will postpone the post I was planning on until next weekend. Instead here is a little summary of my purchases from the MPP.

The two highlights of the meetup was getting to see Laurie Brokenshire and Ethel again who was looking rather well considering all he has been through recently and also getting to meet the most famous puzzle pusher in the world, Wil Strijbos. I did purchase a few things from him (how could I resist?) the most important of which was his newest creation, the Revenge lock aka the Wanderer. Here's what he said about it:
"Many years ago Gary Foshee came up with a creation he named the "Lunatic Lock". I was very impressed with this rather unique creation, indeed it provided a lot of inspiration for another puzzle. I came up with some new ideas and, with Gary's permission, I created a look-alike lock with a totally different internal construction. The "Revenge Lock" was born. At the time (around 1990) I produced around 20 or 30 Revenge Locks. 
Since then a number of collectors have asked me about the Revenge Lock and about 2 years ago I decided to look into producing a new version. With all the possibilities that CNC machines now bring, I was able to create an entirely new mechanism hidden inside the familiar external shape. About a year ago, after I'd already worked through a few prototypes, I thought the the Revenge Lock was ready for production. Around that time, at my annual King's Day Meeting, the Wanderer tested my Lock. The Anonymous Wanderer (A.W.) solved the Revenge Lock in an impossible way. Luckily Sherlock Holmes (S.H.) was standing close to the Wanderer at the time and reported to me how A.W. had solved the Revenge Lock. Following S.H.'s explanation of this illegal solving approach I immediately decided to redesign the mechanism. After consulting with my Approbation Manager Louis, I found a design that would force the solver to start from (only) the correct start position - with no chance of starting halfway through! [When the Lock is in the frame, it is at the starting position.] To add even more control to the available positions along the way, I have put a Wanderer inside, which is why the name of the lock has now changed:
"Revenge Lock" re-named "The Wanderer" 
Thanks To:
A.W. (Anonymous Wanderer)
S.H. (Sherlock Holmes)
Louis(Approbation Manager)
G.Fo.(Challenger) 
"Challenges & Instructions" 
First Part:
1 - Discover your Number
2 - Open the Shackle
3 - Remove the Brass Key
4 - Find the Tiny Wanderer
Second Part:
5 - Replace the Wanderer - Brass Key - Shackle
6 - Put the Lock back in the Frame.
7 - Fix the Lock back into the Frame. 
No Magnets - No Banging - No force needed - Spring-loaded
     Take care of the "Spring" and the "Wanderer".
"
How could any puzzler resist such a wonderful description and such a fabulously well-made puzzle? I struggle to resist any puzzles at all so I had to buy this one - it's not cheap at €180 but I am sure will be well worth my while!



Of course I couldn't just stop at that! Wil showed off a few others and he said that these two sequential movement puzzles are fantastic challenges. Each is nicely made and comes with a large sheet of multiple challenges. I am pretty terrible at this sort of puzzle but am definitely keen to give it a try and they will be good ones to take to work and challenge my colleagues with!

Not sure what this is called
This puzzle was one of a limited release from Jan Sturm who has produced some marvelous disentanglement puzzles over the last few years. It didn't look too difficult when I picked it up but the 2 collars on it do significantly get in the way and make life quite tough. I am not sure exactly what the aim is: should i remove the shuttle or should I remove the ring on the shuttle (or both)? If anyone knows then please contact me.

Free the pyramid
 This rather nicely made puzzle reminded me of the Cast Cubie which I reviewed many years ago. It is not really a maze puzzle but the aim is similar - try to work out how to remove the pyramid from the cube through one of the oddly shaped holes.

Ton Delsing's Clockwise puzzle
I cannot resist beautifully made puzzles and this one by Ton Delsing is stunning. The hands and the centre piece are removable and there is a single trapped diamond piece in the centre track. The aim then is to carry out many many sequential moves to try and reverse the clockface to the more conventional orientation. I have no idea whether I could do this but how could I resist? It looks very similar to the vintage Time Puzzle that Mike Desilets reviewed for us all here.

Sphere 30 from Big Steve
Finally how could I resist another creation from the genius brain of Derek Bosch and the incredible 3D printing facility of Big Steve? I had seen the first version they produced on Facebook and immediately said that I needed a copy. Big Steve was kind enough to give this as a gift and I did say that I would need to buy his enormous 90 piece sphere when he had printed a copy.

I am sure that Allard will produce a nice blog post with lots of photos in it for you to hear about all the shenanigans but it's all a haze of banter and trying to solve new puzzles. I did manage to solve a few but not being terribly bright, I failed to solve a whole lot more. At least I was of some help to Frank who had brought a scrambled skewb variant which I did manage to solve for him - I suspect that he might bring me a whole lot of scrambled twisties for the next time!!

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