Sunday 18 July 2021

Seriously Tough Challenges from Pelikan


Waffle by Osanori Yamamoto
After my week off in which I had managed to solve 5 of the 9 puzzles about to be released by Jakub and Jaroslav's New Pelikan Workshop, I had to return to work. Amidst the beginning of a third wave of Covid that seems to be hitting the UK, I got a bit of a shock at how suddenly things can change and suddenly had much less time than I wanted to play with my new toys. I am only too aware that Jakub is waiting for me to solve and write something - the pressure is on and I had left the most difficult ones until last.

Waffle by Oasnori Yamamoto was actually one of the first that I actually tried from the new arrivals but I got a bit of a shock the very first evening. This consists of 4 bright yellow mini burrsticks made from Garapa which have been arranged into an attractive cross shape on a Jatoba frame and the obvious aim is to remove them. Itis immediately clear that Burrtools is not helpful here because as soon as the pieces start to move the requirement for rotations becomes very apparent. I began moving them about and trying to make space for the required rotation to happen and quite quickly lost track of what I had done - I suddenly couldn't reset the puzzle! OMG! A lot of swearing during an episode of Grey's Anatomy had Mrs S looking at me with anger and me sweating under that gaze as well as worrying about the puzzle. After a fraught ½ hour I got it back to the beginning and drew a little diagram of the start positions. I went back to work on the others and only this last week did I start to play again. This time I actually made plans of what I needed to do and always made sure that I could reset. Still no joy - the pieces always seem to block the required rotation and I could not find a way to make space. I moved on to the next one - Camel ride.

I failed on Camel ride for a couple of days and in desperation returned. Again whilst watching TV I idly fiddled and did something without realising it. I looked down in surprise and couldn't believe it. Moving back and forth, it is apparent that the arrangement and movement on this one is critically accurate. Having found that amazingly accurate move, I quickly had the puzzle solved.

Oh boy that was tough to find!

Camel Ride

Camel Ride by Stephan Baumegger
This beautifully made 12(13) piece burr design by Stephan is yet another that belongs in Goetz' Burr zoo. I had bought this and solved it way back in 2014 after I had bought it direct from the designer. Obviously Stephan has allowed Pelikan to reproduce some of his more fun burrs. Having solved this way way back, I had absolutely no recollection of the solution. I have gotten a bit rusty with burrs over the last couple of years and this caused me quite some difficulty. The level is so not too high a level but the fun part here is that to make some of the moves the camel inside needs to be moved around to make space for the other pieces to move. I managed to remove the first two pieces after 3 days of fiddling about with my usual to and fro approach. Removing the next piece was a real challenge - finding the required moves requires looking and experimenting and is very enjoyable. Even after almost all the pieces have been removed it remains stable and does not collapse on itself at all. Fabulous! 

Stunning design and beautifully made
I have not yet reassembled it as I will definitely need Burrtools for this.


Fermat by Dr Volker Latussek
Using the usual box that we are by now all rather familiar with, Dr Latussek has branched out into the use of not rectilinear shapes. Named after the great French mathematician, this puzzle takes 3 triangular prisms of slightly different dimensions made from Maple and asks that they be "solved" into the beautiful Acacia box. I have been playing with this on and off since they all arrived and have gotten absolutely nowhere! I can get 2 pieces inside and this can be any combination of the pieces but I have not even come close to getting the third in with them. I think that just possibly, maybe, if I am not delusional that I might have worked out where they all need to go for the final solution but there is just no way that I can achieve it. I hope that maybe someone can send me a clue once others have managed to solve it.


Lutz by Dr Volker Latussek
Is there no end to Dr Latussek's talents? I have not had time to play with this at all and am awaiting being told what the challenge is. A tray packing puzzle? Probably not as there is a gap in the side of the tray. I assume that the aim is to insert all the pieces into the tray through the gap? As always, Pelikan has made it beautiful and I hope to play in the near future.

I would estimate that these will all be released quite soon - maybe early next week - keep an eye out on the Pelikan site or later this year on the PuzzleMaster site.

Take care out there people! The pandemic is far from over - don't become complacent. Just because you have been vaccinated, does not mean that you cannot catch it and infect others even if you don't get sick yourself. We also do not know whether the vaccine prevents the development of Long Covid which is an extremely debilitating condition.


  1. I can't wait for Pelikan to release these puzzles!!!

    1. You won’t be disappointed - they vary in difficulty but all are stunning and very well made.

  2. I was fortunate to get the four puzzles I wanted before they ran out of stock. Looking forward to receiving them!!!

    1. They are really good this time. You won’t be disappointed.

  3. Can anyone tell me if moves must be orthogonal? I hate rotational moves.

    1. Which puzzle are you referring to Martin? Waffle and Fermat do require rotations.