Sunday, 19 March 2017

Even More Turning Madness!

Tronc Commun 3
At the beginning of January I waxed lyrical about a wonderful design by Gregory Benedetti which had been made by Brian Menold, the Tronc Commun 4 was what I consider to be the very best "Turning Interlocking Cube" ever designed. When Brian announced a new update was imminent I had an inkling that there might be another in the series available. I spent a fair amount of time hitting the refresh button on my browser to load and reload his site. His service provider was having problems at the time and it took a while before anything was showing up. Luckily I got there pretty quickly and picked up a beautiful cube - Tronc Commun 3 made from Wenge and Zebrawood.

My parcel then got held up by British customs and I was tortured by reports from my friend Ali who had also picked up a copy and thought it was fabulous. I had actually solved it in the past when Bernhard had made me a prototype version from Maple which was fun but functional. As is usual, I have forgotten absolutely everything about it apart from that I own it and that it was good and having gotten a copy of number 4 from Brian I really did have to get the number 3 in exotic woods as well - after all it is a collection and you cannot have too much wood!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

A Twisty Candidate for My Top Ten of the Year

Oskar's Crazy Comet
Last week I wrote at the end of my post that I was working on the Crazy Comet which had been mass produced by Lan Lan. My copy had been bought from my friend Marty but is also available from the various Chinese vendors if you live closer to them. I was originally attracted to it because it had quite a similarity to the Bermuda Megaminx puzzle series that I have begun to work through. However when I got my copy I realised straight away that whilst they are dodecahedra (like the Bermudaminxes) and also have some diamond centres that is where the similarities end. The Bermudaminxes ultimately require you to find a way to carry out at least a partial Megaminx solve where possible and this requires a few pentahedral centres. The Megaminx solve is actually pretty easy as it is effectively the same process as a standard 3x3 cube.

So having realised that the puzzle was neither Bermuda like or Megaminx like, I was a bit stumped. After that I was tempted to just scramble it and throw caution to the wind but after reading on Facebook that someone had tried a simple block building approach which was what I would have to do and had failed when they got to the top half. It was time to THINK© which was not something I am particularly good at. It took a while but I had an epiphany quite early on....the temptation with this puzzle is to orient it like the picture above BUT that's not the best way to look at it:

Curvy copter (an old pic)
A better way to look at the comet
Looking at the comet each face on the top is equivalent to an edge of the copter

Sunday, 5 March 2017

More Stupendous Pelikan Success

Involute Ball
I would appear to have been extremely successful in my reviewing process! As I write, all the puzzles apart from one on the Pelikan puzzle website are sold out apart from the Trirods ball (also well worth purchasing). After my last review all the rest went very quickly - well done to Jakub and Jaroslav for such a tremendous success. I have been asked for my thoughts on the last few that I bought from their recent batch and have just now managed to find time.

Involute ball and Brian Menold's wonderful cube version
Convolution ball
Starting with the Involute ball, Stewart Coffin designed the involute cube as an improvement of the original convolution cube and it became another of my favourite puzzle designs. Of course Pelikan made a delightful spherical version of Convolution cube which I adore and keep on show in my living room – I even have permission from Mrs S because it is so beautiful. When Jakub gave me a copy of the involute ball as a Christmas gift I was absolutely delighted! The woods are beautiful and the wood turning is perfect. The disassembly is just like the original cube and a wonderful sequence which can prove to be quite a challenge if you are new to interlocking wooden puzzles due to the combined coordinate motion and rotational move that is required (I have had some correspondence from a relative newcomer who got stuck which required me to make a video to help him).

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