Sunday 5 May 2024

A Puzzling Tribute to Christoph Lohe

Very sad news
After my last post (about Christoph Lohe's marvellous design, Neighburr) I received an email from both Laszlo Molnar and Goetz Schwandtner with the very sad news that Christoph had sadly passed away at the end of January this year. It would appear that his family had not had contact with him for a  few days and contacted the police and he was found in his flat. It has been judged to be natural causes. As many of us puzzlers are getting older this sort of thing should not come as a shock but he was only 65 years old. I guess that with what I do for a living, I should not be that surprised.

He was a significant scientist having  received a MSc in Experimental Physics from the Technology University Aachen in 1989 and a PhD in 1993. He worked as a Product manager Ferrofluidics, Nuertingen, Germany, 1996-2000. Project manager Aixtron AG, Aachen, since 2001. As a scientist of note he had been listed as a noteworthy physicist by Marquis Who's Who.

I considered Christoph a friend. We had never met and I was not constantly in touch with him but we exchanged emails every few months to discuss puzzles and his wonderful designs. You can still buy some of them from PuzzleMaster here or print them yourself from Thingiverse here.

His amazing skill as a designer is shown by the fact that I have reviewed 20 of his wonderful designs here on my little section of t'internet. I thought that it would be a nice think to look back at a few of my absolute favourite of his designs. 

Collaboration with the TICMaster, Andrew Crowell
Cyburr and Chamburr from Pelikan
Climburr from Matt Nedeljko               
When the first 2 came out from Pelikan, I wondered whether these two masters of puzzle design had created a completely new type of puzzle and raved about them. They made my top 10(ish) in 2021. The Climburr was felt to be too difficult to produce in wood by Jakub and it was only when Matt Nedeljkogot the courage to attempt them did we get to attempt the final one in the series. Spoiler alert - it was fabulous and made the top ten in the next year.

Locks, Locks, Locks!
Burrlock E
Key Trap
Christoph had a bit of a thing about locks and keys but not in the classical sense. He designed burrs in that shape. The fun thing is that rather than make simple 6 piece burrs where the pieces interact in the 3 axes, Christoph made the burrs with a frame to restrict movement and a key and shackle (and pieces) to lock up in at least 2 of the axes. The one amazing thing about all of Christoph's designs is that they are not terribly high level but are always challenging and fun without being too arduous. I absolutely adored these. The fact that even the late Eric Fuller thought well enough of these to make one of them, does show how good they were.

Framed Burrs
I adore a burr that has just the standard 6 pieces but is constrained in its movement and interaction by the presence of a frame. It makes them so much more interesting.

Neighburr by Brian Menold
Again, we have puzzles that are so good that both Jakub and Brian Menold decided they were worth putting the effort into manufacturing in reasonable numbers. They all had something special and were all great fun without being too difficult.

Unconventional packing puzzles
Whenever I think of this particular type of challenge the names that always spring to mind are the incredible Alexander Magyarics and Osanori Yamamoto. But they were not alone, Christoph also had a fascination with these and designed some amazing puzzles:

Box with 2 balls
Kamelle Box
This is only a few of his great contributions to the puzzling world as well as to my collection but they include my favourites.

Do you have any favourites that you think should be given special mention? If so then please leave a comment below.

Rest in peace Christoph - I was proud to call you a friend.


  1. How about the gorgeous Victoria by Pelikan? 🙂

    1. Ooh yes! It was stunning and a very nice design. Totally different to everything else he’d designed. Thank you for the reminder.

  2. We will all miss Christoph! He was also the designer of the Labyrinth Cube aka Maze Cube a very nice sticker variant of the Rubik's Cube.

    1. Ah yes, I was aware of those but never experienced them myself. Thank you for reminding me.

  3. When I met Christoph we had a lovely conversation and I shared with him that I of course I really enjoyed his burrs, but I loved his symmetry puzzles. He shared with me some designs I hadn’t seen yet and to this day I have not found the final solution to cutter!
    If anyone hasn’t tried his symmetry puzzles yet I would encourage you to check them out.

    1. Thank you for that, Amy. I don’t think I’ve tried any of his symmetry puzzles (or Cutter). I suspect they might take me years to solve.

  4. Closed Box is a level 15 ,framed , three pieces burr in cube-form

    1. Ah yes, I have that one. A very clever puzzle. Christoph was very good with framed designs.

  5. So sad to hear of Christoph's passing. I recently purchased his "Moai" and "Splinter" puzzles from Brian Menolds. I was happy to solve Moai after a few weeks but Splinter no such luck. Such an interesting symmetry puzzle with such a tiny piece. He and his wonderful puzzles will be sorely missed.

    1. Thank you for that George. Christoph was multi-talented. I never attempted his symmetry puzzles because I am awful at them!