Sunday, 19 November 2017

A New Designer Stuns Me - Or is it the Meds?

Knot on my Watch designed by Alexander Haydon O'Brien
Today's post will be even less coherent than my usual babble! How can that be? I had to undergo some abdominal surgery last Thursday. It went well and provided me with a very good sleep for a couple of hours but has left me on some VERY strong painkillers and just a little bit "off my face" right now. Luckily Mrs S is looking after me and has put all future Whack! Ouch!'s on hold until later - I think she doesn't want the painkillers to decrease the full effectiveness of her punishment for me! I will be off work for a minimum of 6 weeks which will allow me to catch up on some puzzling and reading and hopefully leave me refreshed and raring to go next year. I have even had a little spending splurge to provide me with some new toys to play with - I thought I should make the most of the punishment free period!!!

A few weeks ago I bought the full set of new puzzles from Jakub and Jaroslav's New Pelikan Workshop and have taken a while to solve them. Let me first say that these are all absolutely fabulous and well worth your pocket money. Today's shorter, drug-hazed, blog post is about a newer designer who I have not heard of before but whose designs are wonderful and brilliantly executed by Jakub and Jaroslav. Alexander Haydon O'Brien (possibly Irish but it doesn't say on Puzzlewillbeplayed) has just 4 designs published by Ishino and all since August this year. Jakub has just produced 2 of them and I must say that they are really something special and very well priced for the quality of the workmanship.

The first and most unusual design is "Knot on my Watch" made from Wenge, Maple, Cherry and American Walnut. It is an absolutely delightful idea. It has been made to look just like a wristwatch (I do have a bit of a "thing" for nice watches as well as puzzles) and, unlike most watches, has been designed with disassembly in mind. There are a few very smooth moves possible at the beginning which just show off how beautifully made this puzzle is. The disassembly is not too tough with only a couple of blind ends and not too far down a path. The final movements are particularly delightful and the pieces wonderfully simple.

Not many pieces but just look at the accuracy/detailing!
The workmanship here is very reminiscent of the recent Camera Conundrum which I reviewed here. The accuracy is stupendous and the sharp edges just slide over each other smoothly. With only a few pieces, this puzzle is definitely a good one for practicing your reassembly techniques. I scrambled all the pieces on my sleeping lapcat and left them for a while. I had enough memory to ensure that this was not too much of a problem but I think that even as a primary assembly puzzle this might still be possible. It was greatly enjoyed by Johan and Daniel, a couple of the new boys who attended the last MPP. As I write this article there are just 5 left so go and pick one up quickly.

Tortoise - complete with head, eyes and feet
and a nuisance tail!
The Tortoise puzzle is another fantastic design by Alexander. It has been beautifully produced by Jakub in Dark Oak, Acacia and Wenge and the detail on it is a joy to behold. Even the scales on the shell are added to the burr sticks that pass vertically through the puzzle. Again, there is a lot of possible movement at first but everything seems to stop you in your tracks. The design has been altered to keep you working at it for a bit and after an hour of fiddling I made a delightful and unexpected discovery which allowed further progress. Unfortunately it didn't allow very much extra progress and I got stuck for well over a week. I took it to the MPP without having fully solved it and was selfishly quite pleased that no one else solved it there. It was only the evening before my operation this week that I actually completed the disassembly (I took this as a good omen) and the full beauty of the design finally was revealed to me. There is actually a really nice logical progress to the disassembly but my dense brain was unable to find the critical move. It was great to finally manage it and have a bit less blog pressure for now.

Tremendous detail and accuracy in this puzzle.
 At this moment there are another 4 of these in stock so I would hurry over and get one quickly. You won't be disappointed!

Now I think I'll have a little lie down! I'm pretty spaced out just now which Mrs S says is a great improvement on my usual "witty" self! Rule number one - NEVER marry a nurse! Hopefully the new purchases will arrive soon and I can show them off to you having triumphantly solved them and without receiving a beating from "she who can catch me easily just now"!



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