Saturday 15 April 2023

Get 'Em Now - Wonderful Pelikan Challenges

Stunning new releases from Jakub and Jaroslav's Pelikan Puzzles
The pressure was on! I had received these wonderful new toys from Pelikan and they wanted to put them on sale in 10 days. I got a deadline of thursday night for the reviews and they went on sale late last night (Czech time). I'm afraid that the Euklid Meets Fuller puzzle has already sold out but I do hope that they will get permission to make another batch because it is a wonderful difficult challenge with only 4 blocks!

On to the reviews:


Snail designed in house by Pelikan
This is the second of the puzzles designed and made by Pelikan themselves (I really hope this becomes a series). Yet agin it is a “creature” and this one is absolutely adorable. The snail is constructed from Wenge and Maple with dowels to produce eyes on stalks. As before the aim is to disassemble it and then put it back together. It is not a difficult puzzle but the process is wonderful with a couple of nice little Aha! moments. You end up with quite a few pieces. 

I love it - it is fun to play with, good for beginners (as long as they can be trusted to be gentle with the fairly complex pieces) and will look great on display. It will be another one kept in the menagerie in my living room.


Paraugas by Alfons Eyckmans
This very attractive diminutive 9 piece burr designed by Alfons Eyckmans is gorgeously made from Padauk, Wenge and Ash. It is a wonderful challenge, perfect for puzzlers who want to be certain of burr success. Alfons has enormous design skills and has created incredibly complex high level burrs that are almost impossible for anyone other than the burr expert (that does not include me) but also designs puzzles that have more moderate disassembly levels, amenable to the more general puzzler. This is a very interesting design having one giant burr stick pointing up/down and then 4 in each of the other directions. It has a level and is perfect for exploration and disassembly. At first I did wonder whether it required a rotation because after a few moves it appeared to be possible to rotate the large single stick but I have never known Alfons to design these and persisted with linear moves. 

I was not disappointed and had it in pieces after a couple of evenings of struggle. It is also perfectly possible to assemble this one if you have concentrated on the disassembly. I don’t think I could do it from scratch but I am sure a few of you could. 

Lomi Lomi

Lomi Lomi by Alexander Magyarics
Alexander Magyarics has had a bumper puzzle release this time! This is one of my favourites of this release. Lomi Lomi consists of a fairly simple frame made from a glorious Bubinga and lovely contrasting white Maple pieces. The frame is just a simple 5x5x5 affair with a 3x3 gap in each face and only a few extra voxels filled in on 3 of them. The 4 Maple pieces are identical and fairly complex. They are also a shape that really resists much movement when inserted through a face. The aim is to place all inside with everything ending up flush. The faces do not end up completely filled and there is quite a lot of space when it is assembled. This made it impossibly hard to find an assembly outside the frame which would be my usual approach. I had to resort to looking for sequential assemblies inside and this was really really hard for me. I made a huge mistake initially by failing to realise that one of the faces could be used and this lengthened my solve process by an extra 2 days. 

Spinal surgeons should have a great visuospatial ability
In the end I found the level solution and the Aha! moment was ecstatic. It also impressed the 2 surgeons who had been watching me try (and who had failed to manage it themselves!)

Euklid Meets Fuller

Euklid Meets Fuller by Dr Volker Latussek
Yet another incredible puzzle design from the amazing mind of Dr Volker Latussek! I just don’t understand how his brain works. Here is another packing puzzle dedicated to the memory of the much missed Eric Fuller. It consist of 3 Cuboids and one cube to be inserted into one of Volker’s characteristic partially enclosed boxes. The difference here is that the entry into the box is a good bit smaller than usual and most of the blocks can only be inserted in 1 or 2 orientations and once more than one is inside there is almost no wiggle room to move them about. The manufacture is absolutely perfect with sheer millimetre perfection in size and smooth finish. The woods are Padauk, Bubinga, Jatoba and American Walnut. My usual random inserting things got me absolutely nowhere as they block up very quickly (almost immediately!) and in the end I had to actually think©! It took a little arrangement outside the box to find a vague idea of how they could go inside and then working out a possible insertion order. Straight away I got stuck after just 2 pieces were inside before noticing that trying something that Volker had done with another earlier puzzle would open up a bit more space. After that there were three pieces inside and I could see how the 4th should lie but it wouldn’t fit. I needed a rather fancy move to do it and boy! was it difficult. After a lot of dexterity and shaking the bloody thing around, I had a very satisfying click and a couple of sliding moves later it was all inside. HOORAY! I cannot for the life of me reverse the sequence but I haven’t had much time to play. I am looking forward to several more frustrating days of rattling about. This is a MUST HAVE puzzle!

Edition of Additions

Edition of Additions by Alexander Magyarics
The wood contrast is wonderful
Just 6 beautiful shapes
Do you like the Soma cube and it’s associated challenges? If so then you will love the Edition of Additions! Alexander has branched out into a different genre of puzzles to his usual packing or interlocking puzzles and has created something perfect for new and old puzzlers alike. This is absolutely stunning made with Bubinga pieces and an Oak box which has been beautifully made (taking the lid off requires breaking a vacuum seal!). The pieces are assembled inside the box as a 3x3x3 cube and having taken the pieces out for my photo, I realised that I couldn’t put them back inside again! Unlike the Soma cube which has 240 cubic assemblies, this has just four - Aargh! 

It was extremely tough to even make the cube!
To my shame it took me almost a whole afternoon to put it back in the box. Having done this then the wonderful puzzle comes with another 12 shapes to attempt to assemble. None of them are easy as most have between 1 and 5 possible assemblies (2 have more than 10 but I still struggled with them). If shape forming puzzles are your thing then this is a must - if you own and enjoy the Soma cube then you owe it to yourself to add one of these to your collection. To me, any puzzle that comes in a beautifully made box is a must have!

 Making these proved extremely tough!

Pento-Stamp by Alexander Magyarics
Just 6 simple pieces!
Yes, yet another brilliant creation from the warped mind of Alexander Magyarics. This is available with 2 different wood combinations (Wenge pieces or Acacia pieces both in a Cherry tray). Either of these has been beautifully made and looks gorgeous. There are 3 identical pentominoes, 2 mirror image tetrominoes and a corner tetromino. The first puzzle, of course is to make a 3x3x3 cube which has only one assembly - it took me a couple of hours to make it! Either I am rubbish at these or it is significantly harder than expected. Then for extra fun, it came with a sheet of paper with instructions for other challenges. This is not normal for most of Alexander’s puzzles and I had to read it through twice to make sure that I fully understood the idea and challenges. You need to create two full 3x3 layers on top of each other and then a 3rd layer which makes one of the shapes on the sheet. This can only be done by leaving out one of the three tetrominoes (playfully, Alexander doesn’t say which to leave out - aargh!)

I have only attempted and solved a couple of these so far but it was great fun. There are a whole bunch of challenges so this puzzle will keep you busy for quite a long time! Stunning idea and beautifully created by Jakub, Jaroslav and their incredibly talented team.

This puzzle release is absolutely fabulous - a triumph by Alexander and something wonderful from Volker and Alfons. Go get them quickly whilst they remain in stock and hopefully more of the Euklid meets Fuller will be released.

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