Sunday 4 August 2013

Yin Yang Disentanglement

Helical burr

I've been a bit delayed recently due to work commitments and Mrs S going off up to Edinburgh to visit her parents meaning more chores for me to do! I've also not wanted to put out too much stuff when the deluge from the IPP is going to be out soon! First of all may I give my hearty congratulations to Derek Bosch for winning the Jury Grand prize in the design competition with his marvellous Helical burr which I gushed about here.

Jean Claude Constantin - Yin Yang
This week's post is about a disentanglement puzzle that I had thought was particularly attractive and involving string, I thought it would be a real challenge. I also would like to get more puzzles by the amazing and prolific Jean-Claude Constantin. This is the Yin Yang disentanglement puzzle (not to be confused with the puzzle of the same name made by Puzzlemaster that I reviewed here). It was originally rated as a level 8 on their difficulty scale of 5-10 and that was a major attraction for me - I was really hoping for a string puzzle that wouldn't hurt my head too much! Subsequent feedback from me has led to it being re-rated as a 5 (Easy) and is certainly good for beginners to this type of puzzle.

It is made from a nice quality anodised wire and a decent string with a bead on the end and arrived in just a small plastic bag with the name of the puzzle typed on a label. Certainly a decent quality and in size it is 6.2 cm in diameter and the bead makes it about 2cm thick. It is extremely cheap for such nice quality at only $5. The name is obviously related to the soothing Yin yang symbol it forms and it's not difficult enough to upset your inner peace! I haven't seen any other reviews of it anywhere and no one has commented on the PuzzleMaster page. Interestingly there is no downloadable solution on the solution site either but don't let this put you off! You really will not be needing it!

So how did I find it? Well obviously it was not much of a challenge for me at all and my feedback to the owners of PuzzleMaster has led to this being re-rated. Now why would I be feeding back that way? I certainly wasn't complaining to them! What occurred was that I took it apart in just a minute or so and found it no real challenge at all but when it came to reassembly I couldn't actually remember what form the puzzle was actually in (I had made the error of not actually taking any photos before playing with it). I then looked at the picture on the webpage and used that for reassembly - I did it so quickly that I actually couldn't believe that the picture was correct! Just looking at the picture alone, I could see how to solve it. I emailed PuzzleMaster asking for a new and "correct" photograph and was told that it was correct. A small discussion then led to it being rated as a 5/10.
Yin Yang Pieces
Is it worth buying? If you collect puzzles (especially those by JCC) or are particularly addicted to disentanglement puzzles then maybe, if you are a newbie to string disentanglements then also maybe. If you are reasonably expert at them then it's probably not worthwhile. I intend to challenge some of my friends with it and see whether they find it as easy as I expect them to. At least it's unlikely that they will tie it in such a knot that I won't be able to undo it!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks very much Tom!

      I've just realised that I seem to have missed your blog from my sidebar - I'll fix that shortly!

    2. I spent an hour looking at this, thinking that the metal parts that were connected weren't the 'right way' of solving it. Completely disappointed that it's a cheap gimmick. It's not the first wire puzzle that require force to solve and these are all bad puzzles. In another example, one required the wires to compress quite a bit for another part to slide through, that had me searching for a solution after taking it apart because it felt cheap. Turns out it was the intended way.
      Newbie or not, I wouldn't recommend it.

    3. Yes it is pretty trivial. Only God for children or to complete a collection.