Sunday 16 September 2018

Allard Bites Off More Than I Can Chew!

Allard's Exchange Puzzle - The B. Dorstrum Puzzle
At the last MPP just after shaking hands with all the guys who I have not seen for a while, Allard sidled up to me and magnanimously handed me a very nice presentation box. Inside was a beautifully displayed new old puzzle which he had given away to 70 or so other puzzlers in San Diego last month. I say that it is a "new old" puzzle because it actually dates back to 1908 and has been rediscovered by the highly talented Michel van Ipenburg who seems to be making a habit of resurrecting old designs. Michel had worked with the equally talented Robrecht Louage to bring the B. Dorstrum puzzle back to reality.

Rather than just pack it up in a little ziplock bag, Allard has made a really lovely presentation box complete with a sealed leaflet:

Top face
Back/Other face
Notice that on one side Allard has his inscription and on the other is the RL of Robrecht and MVI for Michel.

Yep! DON'T open the Patent application!
Having spent a few days side-tracked by Shane's latest toys, I had completely forgotten about Allard's treat. After I got stuck completely on Haleslock #5 (and I'm still stuck!) I decided to move on to the B Dorstrum puzzle.

It is beautifully manufactured from Trespa which appears to be a high-pressure laminate suitable for cladding buildings in as well as making surfaces of various kinds for interior use. Robrecht has used this stuff for years and years now and all his creations are fabulous to play with. It consists of a rectangular ring held captive by 3 layers of asterisks (* shapes) which, initially at least seem to rotate around a central pin. The aim is to remove the ring and (of course) then to put it back again. Again, my early idle viewing revealed the obvious notches cut into the arms of the asterisk and I thought that this would be a nice little maze puzzle. Lord! Was I wrong about that!

Within just a minute of actually playing with the puzzle, I had a realisation that the notches I could see did not lead anywhere and maze! What the hell is this? I pushed and pulled at the ring and all of a sudden one of the layers moved and moved in a VERY unexpected way! And then both of the other layers moved in a similar fashion - OMG! This was completely unique and I suspected was not going to be easy! I set to last Monday evening and proceeded to explore where the movements went and what they allowed me to do. I very quickly moved to a position that I could not backtrack out of back to the start position - this is always a bad sign for me! Ten minutes after starting I had a huge Aha! moment:

Solved it! Hell NO! I am nowhere near solving it!
Yes, the ring was off and I felt sort of great. Only sort of? Yep! Only sort of! I could hear Allard and Michel whispering with glee in my ears:
"Now put it back...we dare you!"
These voices I keep hearing are becoming a cause for concern - it's bad enough hearing Mrs S chattering at me (Whack! Ouch!) but Allard and Michel too? Now I'm totally crackers!
With the ring removed, I was able to explore the movements of the plates a bit more and was able to reveal this - don't worry about seeing the photo below - it doesn't help you solve it and if you've played with the puzzle for more than a few seconds then you have discovered the nasty little secret:

There's a whole lotta movement possible!
Having listened to those nasty little voices - Whack! Ouch! Not you dear, I meant THEM, I set to the reassembly. Of course, I had absolutely no idea what I had done before and have spent most of the week alternating between this and the Haleslock #5. It is actually pretty easy to get the ring back on and interlocked at the correct place on the asterisks but something tells me that I have gone wrong somewhere:

Lord help me! I keep getting to this point but it's just not right - the central disk is offset.
Today after 6 days at it I cut the seal on the leaflet hoping for a little clue and was greeted by a copy of the original patent diagrams which were horrifically complex and impossible to understand - I'm impressed that Michel and Robrecht could interpret them. Inside that page was a big warning from Allard - a whole page showing this:

Very off-putting!
This put me off for another hour or so and then in abject failure, I opened the leaflet completely. My Jaw dropped! He's an absolute swine! Inside is the text of the patent which (at least to my feeble mind) is of no help whatsoever! My B. Dorstrum puzzle remains like this...probably forevermore!

Never to be solved?
I will keep at it...probably for years like many of my other toys! I know better than to ask Allard for help! In the meantime, I will carry on with the Haleslock #5 in the hope that it will not also be more than I can chew! Thanks, Allard, Michel.......and Shane! 😱😱😜


  1. �������������������������������� thanks, man, that's just hilarious! ��������������������������������
    Definitely one to remember!

    1. My pleasure! I'm glad you enjoyed my tale of woe and defeat!
      I am very impressed that you were able to use those almost incomprehensible patent drawings to make a usable puzzle!

  2. Glad you're still "enjoying" it, mate! :-)

  3. Just unscrew the axle to reset. I did it using my fingernail so it is not cheating! ;-)

    1. George! That’s an awful thing to do!
      I actually managed to solve it for the first time that evening so no fingernail use required.