Sunday 2 July 2017


A couple of weeks ago whilst bemoaning my falling behind, I showed of a lovely little toy from Eric Fuller's Cubic Dissection called Rift. It was designed by Tim Alkema and consisted of a "mere" 3 piece burr entrapped in a split cubic frame. I liked the puzzle a lot, not for its' complexity, as it wasn't terribly tough but for its' interesting and enjoyable dance of pieces. I also chose it because I am a sucker for a set (I have absolutely adored the NOS puzzles for a similar reason). When Eric released the Rift puzzle he also promised a bigger brother by Tim, the Schism.

In the last update, there were quite a few new toys to choose from and despite everyone thinking that I always buy the lot, I actually can only afford to purchase a few at a time and, of course, Schism was on my list as a "must have". Eric's new packaging is great and this beauty in Ash and Granadillo arrived looking very like it's little brother. This time we have a 6 piece burr in a split frame. They will look absolutely spectacular side by side on display.

Eric said this about it:
Schism is the bigger brother to the popular Rift puzzle released in the last update. The elegantly simple cage interacts with a standard six piece burr in this instance, resulting in a difficult level solution. Again with the unconventional moves...disassembly alone is a challenge. This pair of designs has been super worthwhile and is a must have for any serious puzzler.
I have to say that I do agree with him. It is again, not a hugely tough disassembly (just nicely challenging) but it is a really nice fun sequence with the frame interacting with the pieces during the disassembly.  The puzzle remains stable and does not fall to bits once a couple of pieces are removed and this allows for the possibility of a reassembly by a non genius like me.

Simple pieces - signed and dated as is customary
I am not one of those burr geniuses who can dismantle a puzzle and then scramble the pieces before reassembling from scratch several hours later and I certainly am not a Laurie Brokenshire who has poor Ethel disassemble everything for him so that he just manages the assembly without prior knowledge of the pieces, moves or order. When I take a burr apart, I carefully place the pieces around me (often on the sleeping cat) and am very careful to keep them oriented as they came out and in the correct order. After that I can often carry out the assembly immediately with that help. Lord help me if the cat moves and the pieces fall off! I will then take it apart and put it together again several times until I have learned which pieces go where and can then risk a scramble. This sounds like a bit of an ordeal but to me this is all part of the fun. It gives me several extra hours of fun with a new toy and then I can make the Burrtools file to finish the play off.

The Schism is pretty logical and it only took me 3 or 4 dis/assembly routines before I had it learned and I love it. At the moment I can now quickly take it apart, leave the pieces in a pile for a few hours and come back to it and put it together again with a little bit of deduction. When I finally manage to clear up the shithole that is my study then I hope to put the doo puzzles by Tim together on display.

I am very surprised that it did not sell out immediately as it is quite delightful. I suspect that all you serious puzzlers prefer the much harder puzzlers and are leaving us boys of "very little brain who think of things" to get on and enjoy the simpler more beautiful puzzles like this. If you are thinking of buying a nice little caged burr which is fun for beginners and experienced puzzlers alike then there are quite a few left for sale.

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