Sunday 4 December 2022

The Surgery Went Well - Angry Walter is No Longer a Danger

Angry Walter from DEDwood Crafts
I can't remember when I learned about Walter. I think it must have been at the end of last year that initial discussions began to happen and then Brent wrote a fabulous review of it in January. I was intrigued but somehow forgot about it completely due to pressure of work during the 5th or 6th wave of the pandemic. I may have sort of dismissed it because it had been labelled as a puzzle box and I really do try to steer away form these in a desperate attempt to keep my bank balance (and marriage) intact. The fact that it was more of a Sequential discovery puzzle didn't really impinge on me until much later when my friend Dominic asked me my opinion and was then horrified that I had not bought it (especially for such a silly reason). 

Suitably ashamed, I contacted Dee Dixon, the head honcho, and ashamedly enquired about purchasing a copy. Luckily he did not hold my earlier reticence against me and informed me that a new batch was about to be released and I manages to get hold of a copy which arrived in September with some rather frightening instructions. I particularly liked the "No crying or whining" line!

My copy was absolutely gorgeous made from some very vibrant woods. There is of course a bunch of magnets and  some very striking Canarywood, Peruvian Walnut, Bubinga, Claro Walnut, Sapele and Yellowheart. It is a pretty substantial item at 135x125x55mm. Mrs S was not impressed with the size of yet another toy left in the living room, kitchen, conservatory or wherever I happened to be (no puzzles in the bedroom)! She did agree that he was strikingly beautiful in an angry sort of way.

Dee says on his site:
"He's back...
Walter wasn't always angry. He was the world's best robot-friend, but time passed and the novelty wore off. He was left to rust in a junkyard alongside other abandoned robots. Walter swore revenge and started patching himself with whatever parts he could scavenge. He then began building his army. With his minions behind him, Angry Walter would emerge from the forgotten fields of misshapen metal mad as hell and ready to exact the revenge he promised on mankind. For humanity to have any hope of surviving his robot rage, you must find and remove his green power cell before it's too late. Stay calm as you make your way into Walter's inner workings and discover the tools and tricks you need to protect us all. It won't be easy, but the moments of discovery along the way will keep you from going mad. Now go forth and see if we can still be saved!"
So it would appear that my new patient needs some surgery to remove his green power cell. I have been known at work to scrub in to various surgeries (mostly orthopaedic) when the surgeon needs an assistant and if I have a suitably skilled junior doctor with me to give an anaesthetic. I do occasionally find it fun to wield a drill/saw or suture but not enough to make me want to change career. Luckily, as a robot he doesn't need to be anaesthetised whilst I perform surgery (it is not allowed to do both at the same time!)

That is usually quite painful!
There are lots of pieces that will obviously need to be removed. Just from looking at him, the eyes move, the mouth wiggles and so these may well need to be surgically manipulated. The ears and nose are rock solid however. During my initial viewing I turned him "prone" and did it without the usual Wilson frame and Proneview mask and eye tape. The cat in my lap (we don't usually have cats in the operating theatre!) was not impressed when Walter's right eye fell out on his head. It was quite heavy too! Well, encouraging for a Puzzlebox idiot like me, I had made progress straight away!

His left eye did not fall out but would rotate in its' socket which is not something I would advise any of you to do to yourselves - free medical advice for you!

For puzzles like this, I often bring out my trusty compass to allow me to detect magnet position and there are a LOT of magnets in Walter. I was obviously going to have to manipulate them somehow. I am usually rubbish at this but the early steps had very few choices for what could possibly be tried. It is down to the lack of options that I made progress and not due to any particular skill on my part. I moved stuff, I made things go click and before long Walter was being dismembered (actually, as an isolated head, he had already been dismembered but I don't know the word for having bits of his face ripped off surgically altered. After a while I had a few bits and needed to work out what to do with them. Here I stopped for several weeks. 2 of my "organs" were magnetic and I attempted to use them on all the other magnetic bits inside and got nowhere. I have no previous experience of Dee's puzzles and so tried everything I could think of...for a month!

Eventually Dominic contacted me to ask how I was getting on and I explained what I had and what I was trying to do. I could feel his exasperation across the pond and he admonished me to stop such silliness and just look at the puzzle again! Sigh! Yet another friend who realises that I am not terribly bright and am truly rubbish at puzzles. I stopped my silliness and did as he told me. 
Aha! That was very clever. That Dee Dixon hides stuff very well. The mechanism for that step I had missed for 4 weeks was  beautifully constructed and I should have noticed it earlier but I got fixated on the magnets. I now had another tool and could carry on working. Walter got more radical surgery and I found a small coloured ball bearing. I wondered whether that was me finished (was that a blue-green and his power cell?) and asked Dominic. I could almost feel his surprise that I hadn't noticed something else. He said I had more to try. I had noticed the other "thing" but had thought that it was related to the construction rather than the solution and had ignored it. 

It was back to trying everything I could think of and I couldn't think of much (not terribly bright) - back to the magnets again. In general, I am not a huge fan of having to blindly manipulate the interior of a puzzle with magnets because it is too much trial and error and just flailing around in the dark. But sometimes puzzle designers make you do that and I usually spend way too long failing to find the right moves. After a further 2 weeks or so of getting nowhere, Dominic contacted me to ask how I was getting on (he is not very patient!) and after I described my attempts, he gave me a clue. Not much of a clue but it was absolutely perfect - he said:
"Be brave!"

That was it! Just be brave. I knew what he meant by this and I "screwed my courage to the sticking place" and did something that I had previously thought was very silly. A metal piece then got stuck to a magnet in a hole and I couldn't for the life of me get it out again. I tried using a different magnet but it wasn't strong enough. Eventually, I retrieved that metal piece and tried a different object and promptly lost it! 😱😱😱

After my initial panic, I realised that this was what Dom and Dee had intended. I could hear it rattling around and then had a special thought..."what if I???" Now another piece was stuck in the wrong position. Quick! Backtrack a bit and think©. I wonder? I tried something else - similar but slightly different and Walter powered down!

The green power cell has been removed
Walter is no longer a threat to mankind and even after I put him back together he seemed very docile. Over the last day or so, I have heard mutterings from him about taking over the collected animals in the living room and forming a dictatorship. Each time I remove his power cell and he stops his nonsense and is as good as gold when I power him back up

If Walter takes charge then we may be devoured in our sleep!

My verdict? Absolutely brilliant! It will be a contender for my top 10 this year that I will be publishing on New Years Day. Of course, you all know that already because I am very late to the party here. It is beautifully made and very logical. My slow solve was due to my incompetence and I know that other puzzlers would sail through it much quicker than me. 

Thank you Dee, for a marvellous and beautiful puzzle that will remain on display in the living room rather than a cabinet and, thank you Dominic, for encouraging me to buy it and then just nudging me in the right direction without giving anything away! I cannot wait to try any new creations from the workshop of DEDwood crafts


  1. Hi there, enjoy reading your reviews! I was thinking about purchasing the new DEDwood crafts puzzle. Were there any issues with shipping from the US to U.K such as custom charges? Thanks

    1. I had no issues. Sometimes things get through without interception. It seems quite random. The only charge would be 20% VAT as duty is not due on puzzles/toys.

    2. Thanks very much!

    3. Hope you had more luck than I did! Logged on 3 mins after release time and they had all sold out

    4. I’m sorry to hear that. Maybe Dee will make more? He has made several runs of other puzzles. I was there ready dead on time and managed to get one.

  2. Ah nicely done! I’ll cross my fingers and hope he makes so more.

    1. I do hope so. I’ve heard he was surprised at how fast they went.