Thursday 9 August 2012

Hanayama Cast Amour

Cast Amour
Whilst we all sit and wait for news of lovely new toys to come out from the 32nd International Puzzle Party (IPP) in Washington being held just now, I thought I might try and distract you all with "tales of lurve"!!! Yep here we have a heart with what looks like a couple of tails! This is the Cast Amour from Hanayama.

There is also another Tale of Lurve here too! Whilst the present Mrs S has no interest in playing with this (or any other) puzzle, she has agreed in principle that I can go to an IPP in the future (wherever it may be) - how about that for real lurve??? I am too late to go to the current Washington one but hopefully I will get to the next (in Asia somewhere) or the following one in Europe. Now all I need is an invitation. If any of you IPPers out there happen to read my blog - how about it? I quite clearly have a good collection, I even more clearly have a "passion for puzzles"! Do I deserve an invitation to this most prestigious of puzzling events?

I received mine from Puzzle Master as part of their huge selection of Hanayama puzzles. It is rated as 5 out of 6 in the Hanayama difficulty scale or 9 (Gruelling) on the 6 to 10 scale used by Puzzle Master themselves. I personally think it may well be slightly easier than that but others have agreed with the rating. This puzzle was designed by the great Akio Yamamoto and consists of a golden coloured metal male and female symbol intertwined within/through a flattened disk which I initially thought was a heart shape but which the puzzle instructions insists is the shape of the "forbidden fruit". It is 5.2 x 5.2 x 3.1cm and is really shiny and catches my "magpie" eyes very nicely.

This one has been reviewed by Brian here (his only complaint was that the shape doesn't sit straight on a table!), by Gabriel here and Oli on his blog here. The reviews on the Puzzle Master product page for this one were all positive. All of this did make me quite keen to try this one. No solution is provided but you can obtain one here.

As soon as you pick it up the pieces separate slightly and you then see that the rings of the 2 symbols are not complete. This allows a whole lot of extra degrees of freedom of movement. It also allows the arrow or the plus sign to pass through the rings. Quite quickly you see that there can be only one possible way to physically remove the symbols but the way to it is blocked. There are quite a lot of ways to try and I decided to be systematic in my approach. This meant that after 5 minutes I had the whole thing in 3 pieces. This really made me think that it was going to be pretty easy. The other reviewers all commented on the difference in difficulty level between the assembly and disassembly.

The forbidden fruit along with Adam & Eve symbols!
Something Twisty!
I pretty much thought I remembered how it had come apart so I put it down for half an hour and went and played with something twisty!

When I came back to the Cast Amour, I initially had to work out which direction the symbols needed to go on to the disk, and then how to get them to intertwine again. The reassembly is really quite tough and I suspect that it is this that gives it the difficulty rating. Despite only taking me 5 minutes to disassemble it, the reassembly must have taken about 20 minutes. It was some relief to actually get the parts back together.

I really like this one - not so much for the challenge, as I can now do it in under a minute. The best part is the ability to give this to friends and colleagues! They can all understand immediately what is required and it is wonderful to see their faces light up when they separate the components. Then of course you drop the bombshell that it's not done until back together. None of them complain about having to do this - they all think they remember how it was done. BUT so far only one person has managed to reassemble this puzzle. The fabulous looks of chagrin when they realise that it is actually really hard to return it to the beginning is great to behold!

So should you buy this one? Most definitely! It is a snip at $13, looks great on the shelf, will provide a nice challenge to you and has plenty of torture value for your friends!

Hopefully I will be off to IPP next year too.


  1. No worries Kevin I'll put in a good word for you.

    1. Thanks Moises!!!!

      I'm sure that will make a huge difference to those in charge at IPP central!!

  2. Ha! Now you are telling the jokes :)

    1. My whole blog is just a bit of self-deprecating fun! Jokes is what it's all about! :-D

  3. Oh no sir! This is serious business. In fact, I always make sure to dot my "t's" and cross my "i's".

    1. Amazing!! You can solve puzzles with crossed eyes? Very impressive - you'll go far!

      Although with permanently crossed eyes you may well crash if you drive!

  4. Hold on there. I take pride in driving skills! I turn on the car, shift it to drive, throw a brick on the gas pedal, and jump in the backseat.

  5. What's this puzzle party you're talking about? I wanna go! I wanna go!