Friday 29 March 2013

An "Ultimate" puzzle - maybe it will be yours soon?

The 2x4x6 - Ultimate shape-shifting cuboid - notice the 1 next to the HP
This beauty is currently the only one of its kind in the world just now (hence the 1 next to the signature). Hunter Palshook initially made me a couple of puzzles which I absolutely love and we have struck up a good friendship since then. He posted on the Twisty Puzzles forum that he had managed to create a new puzzle - this is the 2x4x6 cuboid pictured above - it is the smallest memeber of the category that has been named the "Ultimate shapeshifting cuboids". Hunter managed to make one from one of the TomZ's 4x4x6 cuboids. Looking at it, it is clear that an enormous amount of work and skill has gone into it's manufacture (including beautifully hand cut stickers). He decided that he would let me have it - but on one condition!

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Cast Box

Hanayama Cast Box
Continuing with my recent batch of puzzles from Puzzle Master, I had decided to try the latest 2 of the puzzles from Hanayama. I love the stuff this company produces! It is pocketable, beautifully made and packaged, varies from fairly easy for beginners to extremely tough for puzzle freaks and really appeals to the Magpie in me.

Just this year Hanayama released the Cast Harmony (reviewed here) and this one, the Cast Box. It is packaged in the same black box with only the instructions to remove the ring from the box (and then obviously return it). It is made from a nice antiqued brass with just the word start which the shiny chrome ring straddles. Size wise the cube is 3.6 cm along each side and the ring is 5cm in diameter. It has a nice heft to it so would make a serious dent in a wall if you threw it away in disgust! Luckily it is only a level 2 on Hanayama's 6 point difficulty scale and a Level 6 (Tricky) on Puzzle Master's 5-10 scale. This means that you will not find it particularly difficult but it does provide a rather nice discovery moment. No solution is provided (as with all these puzzles) and it can be downloaded from here. You really shouldn't need the solution! Gabriel reviewed it here but be careful - he did give a small spoiler on how to solve it!

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Happy Birthday Puzzlemad... 2 years old today

My pride and joy!!!
Yes, on March 13th 2011 Puzzlemad was born! It does seem longer than that! It feels like I've been writing about this stuff forever.

I have had a hell of a journey over the last 2 years. I started puzzling nearly a year before I began blogging and in that short period of time I have managed to accumulate over 570 puzzles, solve most of them (there is a moderate queue waiting to be solved) and make a huge number of friends from all over the world. I even get to meet a few of them fairly regularly at our Midlands puzzle parties - all welcome!

The topic today is not a review of a particular puzzle but a list of my top 5ish puzzles of all time from my collection. Believe me, this is a really hard set to choose and any designers and craftsmen out there who might be miffed because I didn't include you, don't be! My top 20 or 30 puzzles all came out pretty close to each other.

Thursday 7 March 2013

Trick Bolt #1

Trick Bolt #1
A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the Trick bolt #2 puzzle made by Puzzle Master and I said that I would hopefully be next reviewing the much harder first in the series - Trick Bolt #1! Obviously this would be dependent on me actually solving the thing first.

I was not sure that I would actually manage to solve it particularly quickly when I read that Gabriel had failed to solve it over quite a period of time before finally posting his review! Now Gabriel is a pretty amazing puzzler so I was really worried that I would fail dismally and not to get a review for you. So basically as soon as I finished the last episode I picked up this puzzle to give me a chance of solving it before it was time for my next Puzzle Master review. What mechanism could possible have kept Gabriel stumped for so many weeks?

This puzzle is packaged nicely just as the last one was and is rated as 7 out of 10 (Challenging) just like the other. I personally think that 7 is the correct score for this one and that 6 is probably closer to the truth for bolt #2. It is also very good value at $10. Sizewise it is rather different to the other in the series - it is short and stubby with dimensions of 7.7 x 2.7 x 3cm and is a good heft in the hand being made of the same antique brass metal as the other one. Just like the other there is no solution provided - if you really need it then you can download it here.

Friday 1 March 2013

It's good to have a puzzle friend... Or is it?

Rattle Twist Duo
I have mentioned many times that I love the community associated with puzzling - there is no shortage of people to tell you about new puzzles, to stimulate you to try harder at solving some you are struggling with and also to either give tips or as a last resort, when you are about to rip your last remaining follicles of hair out, to actually tell you what to do so you can finally put a puzzle away! I feel very privileged that I have friends now from all over the world who either write comments on my blog or even contact me via email. In fact every morning when I wake up I have a few emails waiting for me to read from my new friends.