Sunday 23 December 2018

Is it a Burr? Is it a Box?

No! It's Super... A Sequential Discovery Puzzle!

Sequential Discovery Burred Box
In mid-November, Juno and Yukari announced the release of the last of 2018's production from their Pluredro store. This was to be a rather special puzzle with a very odd name...the Sequential Discovery Burred Box. It looked just like a large 6 piece burr but was a moderately high price for a simple 6 piece burr. BUT, ⅔ of the batch of 70 sold out within 24 hours and they were all gone within a week! This must be one hell of a special burr! Yes, of course, I bought one! I was eating my lunch when the email came in and I had made the purchase within 10 minutes. I'm a sucker for Burrs, especially ones designed and made by Junichi Yananose.

So what was so special about this 6 piece burr? The clue is in the's also a box. I really don't collect boxes unless there is something special about them (many puzzlers around the world have been receiving their Karakuri Christmas presents this week but not me - I realised that membership of that club might well end up with me divorced and destitute and I have so far resisted all these years). Now if I don't do boxes and it's just a simple (if rather chunky) 6 piece burr then the reason it is special is those wonderful words..."sequential discovery". These puzzles are the rarest of the puzzle classification and, due to the complexity, are often the most expensive. I was helpless to resist.

When it arrived it looked like a pretty straightforward burr - it was really pretty big for a 6 piece burr at 101mm cubed and made of PNG Rosewood, Jarrah and Ironbark (small piece) with small metal parts inside. The colours in the wood need to be seen to be properly appreciated.

I cannot show any of the intermediate steps here without giving far too much away to people who have not yet received or solved their copies but let us just say the burr functions are very strange - no pushing or pulling on any of the sticks does any of the usual things until suddenly a very unusual thing occurs. Immediately the discovery is underway as a tool is available for all to see and some of those metal parts are now on show. There is an obvious place to use that tool but that just puts it out of reach and nothing happens. A quick inversion and the tool drops back into your hand and you need to search for another tool to use alongside the first. Pushing and pulling quickly reveals a potential tool but now what? Think© and you will have a brainwave before trying something intuitively rather wrong. Even though it screams the wrong thing to do, you have no other option and suddenly the tools are returned to you and there appears to be another few places where tools can go.

Yep! You guessed doesn't work! Try looking around a bit more! The next move took me a whole day to work out! I got fixated on the obvious 2 things and could not seem to see the next step even though it was staring right at me! Eventually, my rather dim noggin saw what was required and... it wouldn't work! Was I wrong? No. I was doing it wrong! Look carefully at what you have and you will notice minute differences in size and shape and orientation. Use that and success will be yours.

Aha! I had another rather odd looking tool. This opened another whole realm of possible uses of tools in combination and again I got fixated on the wrong thing. Another day went by before a particular feature of one of the tools hit me between the eyes.

Aha! Again! Now that is a VERY unexpected thing to do and it reveals a rather unusually shaped puzzle piece or two. NOW it was time to do what I had been trying to do all along. After a very satisfying use of 2 tools together I managed to reveal the cavity of the puzzle:

Aha! A cavity!
It's not much of a cavity - at only 39mm long, 13mm wide and 19mm deep. It barely classifies as a box at all. In fact, for me, the cavity is totally incidental. At least this time Juno had not put anything inside which was aimed at winding me up! like he had in previous puzzles here and here. Reassembly is pretty easy but it is nice to work out the most efficient way to put it all back together without having to redo too many steps.

Yep! It's not much of a burr and not much of a box but it's a lovely sequential discovery puzzle. Thanks, Juno and Yukari! I cannot wait for next years designs to come through - actually I am still coveting a couple of the designs from this year which I have not got around to buying yet. Don't tell Mrs S as she won't be happy! Whack! Ouch!

Have a great Christmas all you puzzlers and poor significant others of puzzlers out there! Have a great time...try to relax and not eat and drink more than is good for you. Actually, try to stop before you burst or get admitted to the emergency room - if you are admitted on Xmas day then you may find me looking down on you on your trolley! I have a certain set of skills! Ho! Ho! Ho!


  1. Merry Christmas: may your stack of puzzles get higher and higher.

    1. That is very kind of you Sandro! Merry Christmas to you too. This time I’ve not got any new puzzles I think but I’m spoiling Mrs S.

  2. it's a box you don't need it haha. I am so badly looking for it, I missed it ;-(

    1. Nope! It's a burr with a cavity! It's mine!

  3. ...Cracking puzzle - definitely one of my favourites at the moment! Intra-seasons Greetings to you and Sandra.