Saturday 28 May 2011

Bill Cutler's Wausau '84

Wausau '84
As I said before I have a real weak spot for burr puzzles and those designed by Bill Cutler are really good (many are made by Jerry McFarland). So when I saw that Hectix Revisited would soon be available I contacted Bill to enquire. When one became available I took advantage of the opportunity and also ordered another in the Wausau series (I aim to collect the set!) and chose the Wausau '84 at the recommendation of Allard.

When it duly arrived I have to say it is definitely up to Jerry's usual standard - beautifully accurate and highly polished pieces make this a rather attractive design. After letting it sit and be admired for a few days, I finally couldn't resist it any longer and took it down off the shelf. The first piece extraction is nowhere near as prolonged or attractive as the to and fro movement in Wausau '83 with no possible dead ends but after the first obvious move the subsequent ones involve 2 or more pieces moving at the same time which is an interesting phenomenon. The fifth move actually took me quite some time to fathom - it actually entails positioning everything perfectly and then moving 6 pieces all at the same time!! After this there is a single move and the first removal can occur. Then another move before the next (there are several choices here) and at this point it will all come apart pretty fast.

Wausau '84 pieces
The aim as always was to plot and remember the positions and order - but as usual it just fell apart in my hands (your honour)! I was completely unable to reassemble it having not really had a chance to look at the piece positions for more than a few seconds before it collapsed on me.

Luckily for my ego, I do consider creating a Burrtools file and solution for these puzzles all part of the fun and spent a happy 1/2 hour plugging away. It took less than 5 seconds to find the one and only solution and I put it back together with some difficulty! Unfortunately Burrtools doesn't always place the pieces in an order that is easy on the hands. Over the next few days I spent some time learning the general positions of the pieces and developed my own less knuckle breaking approach to reassembly. In fact, just now I am really enjoying my assembly technique more than the disassembly!

As with all of Bill's puzzles this one is great and is definitely a good number 2 in the Wausau series. I'm not sure how long I can hold off before ordering another in the series! I desperately want to get the Cube puzzle but "her indoors" will murder me, dissolve all the evidence and flush it, if I buy it! I have shown it to her and she agrees that it is lovely but I am not allowed!!! Oh well.

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