Sunday 28 February 2021

Alfons Proves I'm Improving...

Very Slowly!!!

6T Burr
Over the last year, I watched as Alfons Eyckmans published photos of quite a few more of his "cubes" on his Facebook page. He has branched out into 3D printing recently and seems to be having amazing success with that but I am particularly impressed by his interlocking cubes and even have a few named after 3 of my cats. I have been saying to him that I will buy some of his more recent designs for ages and just never gotten around to it. But...New year, new leaf and all that crap. Mrs S isn't paying much attention to all the deliveries so I'll just slip an extra one in.

I went back through the last year of photos and picked a few (that would be 5) that I particularly like the look of and asked if he either had them in stock or could make them for me and in his usual manner he said he would need some time. I do have a bit of a backlog and of course waiting would not be a problem. I expected to wait a couple of months and was very surprised that a month later I was shown some photos and requested for some PayPal. Belgian post was very fast and I was soon found admiring my new toys and muttering about "my preciousssss cubes". As usual Mrs S just rolled her eyes at me and continued looking at shoes and handbags to buy.

More cubes - Yay!
Even though I had received a few new toys the previous week from a new source of Haym Hirsch puzzles as well as a bunch of puzzles from Mine, I could not stop myself and had to start on one of these. I picked the 6T burr because it was slightly less intimidating than the others (solution level is I think it is made from Oak, Mahogany and Zebrano and is stunning. It has been made in Europe and so is perfectly appropriate that it has been made to Metric dimensions (6 x 6 x 14cm) making it a very nice size to work through the solution.

The humidity has been really quite high here and I have found that a few of the pieces are a little tight but not so tight as to prevent me finding my path. On Thursday afternoon, I had no work to do and Mrs S allowed me time to play. There are several options during the solution and a few blind ends to travel down but never too far and never too many choices to be made. To be honest, I know this makes me a lightweight, but I find that puzzles with too wide a decision tree are just too difficult and not much fun to solve with the risk of me being left with an unsolvable mess. Over a couple of hours I worked my way through and removed the first piece:

22 moves completed
As with all his puzzles Alfons has signed it and with his more recent productions, he has laser etched the year and number produced on it. As I always do I backtracked to the beginning and went back and forth several times to try and imprint a path on my limited consciousness. Time to put it down and talk to the first wife and make some dinner.

I next got to play yesterday and was gratified that I still remembered the path to that first piece removal (I hate to think what other crucial piece of knowledge has been dislodged by learning the solution to this puzzle). I proceeded with the removal of the other 3 long burr sticks and then the 6 T-shaped pieces that give the puzzle its name and am careful to keep them arranged and oriented properly in the hope that I can reassemble without having to make a Burrtools file. At this point one of my pussy boys gets very interested in what I am up to and runs across the table. Aaaargh nooooo! Pieces are scattered everywhere and I have no idea what goes where - oh well, photo time:

What goes where?
There are only 10 pieces and a frame...can I possibly manage to work out the assembly with just that and my memory of the movements? I figure it's worth a try because creating a BT file will take me quite a while.

Mrs S watches me shaking her head as I mutter vague imprecations about murdering pussies and try desperately to find the correct positions for all the pieces before putting them in the frame. I got stuck for about an hour and could not make progress but I thunk© it through and worked out my error. After another few hours I had a huge Aha! moment. I had actually managed to assemble a relatively complex burr from scratch. I MUST be improving. In retrospect, I have been puzzling for about a decade now and I should bloody hope I have improved just a little bit in that time - Allard has shown himself to be absolutely terrific over 10 years so maybe I should too!

Thank you Alfons - you have made me yet more gorgeous puzzles for my collection and also proved beyond doubt that I am ever so slightly better a puzzler than I was all those years ago. Not much better...just a little bit. Who knows, maybe I will even be able to assemble the latest brass stunners from the Two Brass Monkeys? The Kong puzzle nearly broke me. Mrs S has told me I must wait a while before I buy any more toys (there has been a bit of a spurge recently) and so they will have to wait for a month or so before I buy. The reports on FB have been very good though.

Take care out there guys! The numbers really are improving (in Europe and the UK at least) but this is not the time to drop your guard. If we abandon the rules now then another wave will ensue and hospitals will be in trouble again. We are just about to start increasing our elective surgery to start to catch up with the gigantic backlog and we don't want to scupper that. A lot of people out there are really suffering having to wait for all sorts of elective surgery which our over-stretched hospitals have been unable to safely perform for the last 6 months.


  1. Daar geraak ik nooit aan uit, ttz, ik heb het geduld niet; Iets dat van de eerste keer niet lukt, zal ik misschien een tweede keer proberen, maar nooit een derde keer!

  2. If it does'nt succeed the firt time, may be i'll try a second time, but niver a third!

    1. That’s a shame! If you won’t keep trying then you are depriving yourself of the chance for a huge AHA! moment. If you solve something after 3, 4, 5 or more attempts then you feel fantastic afterwards. It also makes for a great value for money.

      Dat is jammer! Als je het niet blijft proberen, mis je jezelf de kans op een enorme AHA! moment. Als je iets oplost na 3, 4, 5 of meer pogingen dan voel je je achteraf fantastisch. Het biedt ook veel waar voor uw geld.

  3. We have 2 puzzles of Alphons, since ???? tryed already 365 days, 3 or 4 years in a row, but, we're too silly perhaps?

    1. Keep trying! The years make them very good value for money!