Sunday 12 January 2020

Juno's Ring Case

But Why Is The Ring Outside?

Ring Case by Junichi Yananose
Yukari announced that there was going to be a couple of new puzzles released on Boxing Day and with the description of the puzzles posted I knew that I would be spending my money and hopefully Mrs S wouldn't be watching me! Quite a few puzzlers that I had been in touch with were eagerly awaiting the day and several of them failed to realise that Juno lives in Australia and is thus 12 hours ahead of the UK and 17 hours ahead of the US. So whilst watching TV on Xmas day and idly surfing on my iPad, I suddenly noticed that the new releases had gone live and BAM! I had 2 new puzzles on the way - Mrs S had not even noticed me move my fingers...I blame the champagne for that!

A nice big box cleared customs quite quickly (after a ransom was paid) and the lovely little beauty above was revealed. It is apparently designed to hold a ring - hence the name Ring Case. I showed it to Mrs S and suggested that we put one of her nice rings inside for safe-keeping and to give her a nice fun challenge if she wanted to wear the ring. She stared at me for a few seconds and suddenly I lost consciousness! A few hours later when I woke up she told me never to blaspheme like that again - she suggested that certain pieces of my anatomy could be put in the case - she would be happy to put it/them through a mincer to help with any "fit" issues! Gulp! I decided against going any further with my foolhardy idea. I also had a nice look at the other puzzle in the box, the Unbalanced 6 board burr which I could not resist at the same time:

Unbalanced 6 board burr
A ring found in the packaging
During quite a bit of 2019, "She who frightens me to death" has frequently complained about me not collapsing down the boxes I receive and leaving a pile of them (with packing peanuts or bubble wrap) in our dining room/storage area. At one point she got quite annoyed and after a series of Whack! Ouch!s I took them to the recycling and vowed to keep everything tidy in the future. Thus I took Juno's box and emptied out all the bubble wrap and dismantled the box and put it somewhere to be disposed of. Whilst flattening the bubble wrap I found a small bubble wrap envelope which looked and felt odd. I unfolded it to find a very nice looking (but probably fake) pink sapphire ring - it was probably a lot cheaper than the lovely ring with a similar stone that Mrs S received when my mum died. I was perplexed! Why is there a ring outside the ring case? Very odd indeed.

The lovely puzzle is made from Victorian Ash (main body) with side panels of Jarrah and the lid a combination of American Rock Maple and Jarrah (apparently inside there are more pieces made from Burmese Teak, Jarrah and metal. It really is a very attractive thing and a nice size at 81 x 81 x 53mm. It actually would be perfectly at home in a woman's jewellery collection.

On Facebook, a few people who had already received their copies had enjoyed opening the case but were struggling to remove the ring (which I already had) so I set to exploring. I realised that the lid would eventually slide off revealing a, dare I say it...cavity. But it is a case and NOT a box! There is almost no movement in the lid but some interesting things happen to the feet. In fact, the things that happen to the feet depend on the orientation of the puzzle when you manipulate them.

Over about 30 minutes I played with my feet and made some lovely fun discoveries. It is absolutely beautifully made - everything works well with the clever use of magnet in places and I suddenly managed to slide the lid back part way only to have it stop dead. Finding the move to remove the lid completely was what I thought might be the final step. It certainly stopped me dead in my tracks!!! I suddenly realised why the ring had been on the outside. Juno has had another laugh at my expense! Apparently, the Ring case IS a box - how do I know? Because there was a loaf of bread in there!

Aaaargh! Juno made me a bread ring!
I roared with laughter at this! The joke that was started by George Bell has continued for 2 years now and is a fantastic little source of fun between Juno and me! He has actually created a little loaf of bread and stuck it to a ring shank - even Mrs S found it funny!

Despite having gotten this far, I could see that the ring was still held captive by a steel rod. I needed to find a way to shift that rod to retrieve my precious ring. This step took me a good 20 minutes extra and was very unexpected and exceptionally clever. It involves a mathematical object which I particularly like. Eventually, I had my box/case fully solved:

Which should I put back inside?
The sequence of moves that are required is very lovely - it is not a really difficult sequential discovery puzzle, taking only about an hour in total but it is great fun and very nicely made. It genuinely could be used to hold some jewellery even though Mrs S declined - I put both rings back inside:

Both held nicely by the rod
I have enjoyed solving and unsolving the puzzle many times over the week. At £95 it is a bargain and I think that those of you who have not bought it should do so quickly - there are 14 left as I write. This is a sequential discovery case/box (grrrr!) with anything from 172 to 348 steps to completely solve and made from beautiful woods. Once finished, you will have 8 separate pieces plus several held captive in the case. Below is a photo of all the pieces - it is hidden behind a spoiler button - DON'T click the button if you don't want to see all the parts - you have been warned!


  1. Thank you for your write up. I really love to punish one of my customer who has been collecting puzzle boxes.

    1. Aaargh! But Juno, it’s a case, NOT a box!
      Thank you for such a brilliant puzzle! The loaf of bread was a wonderful touch!

  2. I'm conflicted! Is it a case or a box? I still do not collect puzzle boxes. But it might squeak by as a case. Hmm ... The size of that bread makes me think it might be a box to a mouse, and a case to a human.

    1. Note that is thinking much deeper than me! According to your very first definition, there was no qualification about the size of the loaf compared to the size of the recipient. As far as Juno is concerned, there’s a loaf so it MUST be a box!

    2. I've ordered a copy for further study ... ;-)