Sunday 12 September 2021

I'm Rubbish at Puzzles!

A Week of Failure

Res Q
Over the last couple of weeks I might just have annoyed the hell out of Mrs S by taking ownership of a rather large number of additional beauties. I have photographed them all, catalogued them using Airtable and put them onto my dining room table for future play. This is because my study has turned into a shithole and there is literally no room to put more until I find time and energy to tidy up:

This is out of date - it's even worse than this now
Also my living room pile o' puzzles to play with has reached the point where it might fall over and Mrs S has threatened to commit mayhem upon my person if I muck up the living room any further. Unfortunately, with my work commitments (clinical and administrative) I seem to have very little time to actually play with my precioussss beauties. When I get home I either have to talk to "she who is so ferocious that I have been known to hide under the bed from her" or do various chores or cook. I do also like to read some sci-fi occasionally and am trying to keep to my year challenge of 15 books. 

After a small chat with Andrew (he who designed and created the fabulous Lock Out puzzle, I decided that I should try again to solve the ResQ that he had lent me. This wondrous creation was made by Eric Fuller (and design in collaboration with Frederic Boucher). I had wanted to buy my own copy but whilst logging in to PayPal and choosing a postal method it sold out from my cart and I missed out. A few weeks after Andrew had solved his copy (lucky bastard!) he offered to lend it to me because he felt it was something I should be reviewing on my site and he seemed not to want to write his own review and post it as a guest post here. He sent it to me way back in June and I set right to it and found something straight away (Yay!) and then hit a brick wall.

I played with it every evening for 3 weeks or so and never found anything else (shaking it gently certainly revealed that there probably was more than just a bunch of wooden blocks inside). In the end I put it down for a while to have a rest from it and to play with other toys - I desperately needed to solve things for the blog! True to my usual modus operandi, I would pick it up every week or so and play, get nowhere and put it down again. Recently Andrew nudged me and so did Derek so I tried again. The first play had found the first tool(s) but nowhere to use it/them. I have put this down to me being a man of a certain age and needing multifocal contact lenses to be able to read/puzzle as well as see the TV. Despite these wonders of modern science and the fact that the living room doesn't have blindingly bright light in the evening, I really couldn't see well enough to work out my next step. I told Derek, that this weekend I would take it into the conservatory and play in nice bright natural light. I did that both Saturday and Sunday and.....
Not got anywhere - I am rubbish at puzzles!

Then I moved onto some of the wonderful new designs that Aaron sent me - Many of his string based puzzles are ferociously difficult and frighten me to death but the wire only puzzles are less scary (I buy both types anyway). if you want to buy them then either contact Aaron via facebook or look at PuzzleMaster for them (I am sure that the latest ones should be in stock soon). I thought that I would start with one of the easier ones - Dig ears is a level 9 on Aaron's scale (which I really don't understand) and to my very gullible eyes, looked really quite possible to a puzzler of very feeble brain.  Dear Lord! I was terribly wrong - if this is an easier one from the batch then I am in serious trouble! I have greatly upset Mrs S by jingling away every evening for a week and then swearing aloud when I got nowhere - at least it doesn't get tangled into a knot! I must keep trying! 
I cannot seem to do it!
Not got anywhere - I am rubbish at puzzles!

Thinking that maybe Aaron had just rated it incorrectly, I moved to the first one from the Sax trio - a level 10 but I have done others of that difficulty:

These look absolutely fabulous and should be as much fun as the Scissors were. They had taken me quite a while but I did get some good Aha! moments fairly early on. I have played with Sax 1 and 2 and managed...
Absolutely nothing!
Not got anywhere - I am rubbish at puzzles!

What about some N-ary puzzles? I can hear you say that you are quite good at N-ary puzzles. I should probably see someone about these voices that keep appearing in my head. I had received a few rather beautiful N-ary puzzles in the batch and usually, once you have worked out a rough system then the solution is quite logical. I started with probably the most beautiful metal N-ary puzzle I have ever seen - Hippocampus.

Yes it is wonderful! Yes, it is easy - I should imagine that on Aaron's difficulty scale of 1 to 10 it must be a minus 52. It's a lovely little thing and having solved something, I moved on to another of the N-ary puzzles. These are rather special and come in a lovely box:

Nice box for storage and protection in transit
I picked what I thought might be the easiest of the 3 complex N-ary puzzles, Cableway. Goetz has done a preliminary analysis which looked promising and sort of confirmed that the others would be MUCH more difficult.

I have spent an hour so far and, to my eternal shame, have not even found a vague idea of a pathway/mechanism. The vertical rods attached to the base really get in the way. I had sort of hoped that it might be a variant on a Chinese rings but alas, no.
Failed again! 
Not got anywhere - I am rubbish at puzzles!

I really must try harder or this blog is going to end up very very boring!

I have received the latest puzzles from Jakub's Pelikan puzzles. There look to be some fabulous creations there and they should be available quite soon - keep checking their website. I have put my initial photos on my New stuff page but in the meantime they have put a book up for sale. Peter Hajek is the host of the New Years puzzle party in London every year and many of my friends attend to show off the best puzzles they have acquired the previous year (I have not managed to attend due to the distance involved and work commitments) then Peter creates a book of everyone's favourites each year. Peter is also one of the most knowledgeable puzzle collectors in the world and a true connoisseur (unlike me who will buy whatever is shiny!) He has written an incredibly beautiful book about the history and secrets of Puzzle boxes - it is a stunning creation. It is now on sale from Pelikan puzzles here and in a few weeks a special locked version will be available with a new lock designed and made by the incredible Shane Hales (I don't know how he finds the time to do it!) - I have not seen the lock/locked version but if it is made by Shane then you know it will be fabulous.

A simply stunning book by an authority!


  1. Looks like a great book! -Tyler

    1. I’d go as far as to say it’s THE definitive book on the subject.

  2. Hi Kevin,

    I hope you will persist with the ResQ because once the puzzle is unlocked I think you will really have fun solving it : D
    I'm so sorry you couldn't buy a copy.
    If you are not in a hurry I have just enough material left to make a last copy of Visitor Q
    (the original puzzle Eric was inspired by for the ResQ).
    I would be happy to offer it to you, at the same time it would be a way of thanking you for all these fantastic reviews that you have shared with us for many years.
    If you are interested contact me by email
    (I think you have my address, if not ask Eric or Tye for example).

    Best Regards,