Sunday 31 May 2015

Fantastic Five - A Fantastic Puzzle!

Fantastic Five
Getting to the end of my Puzzle Master hoard now, I decided to play with another disentanglement. I am completely addicted to them - they appear so simple and yet can be tremendously complex. They are also, by and large, relatively cheap. The best think I find about them is that the Aha! moment which we all crave so much is very prominent with them - sometimes a puzzle is solved by accident but this makes that final understanding all the more fantastic when it finally arrives. My addiction/habit/hobby has led me to order another batch of them from Tomas Linden at Sloyd where he seems to have a rather huge selection so expect another load of reviews of affordable puzzles to come your way.

Livewire version
I am now going to exhibit the depths of my dementia!! I ordered the Fantastic Five thinking that a level 9 (on their 5-10 difficulty scale) is pretty difficult for a disentanglement that doesn't involve string. I had no real recollection that I had already bought a version of this (called the Pentangle) from Livewire puzzles and reviewed it here. In my defence, I have bought an AWFUL LOT of puzzles since then and it was nearly 4 years ago. In fact, I frequently wake up in the morning and there is a strange woman lying next to me! I have no idea who she is but she claims that we are married! Would I have been that silly? OUCH! There goes another bruise!

The puzzle arrives in the usual clamshell packaging and the instructions are a bit obscure - the aim is to remove the ring that is not held captive. The wire is 3mm Nickel plated wire and is very shiny. It is 10.2 x 12.7 cm when fully spread out into the pentagon shape which is a nice size to handle. Interestingly 2 of the wires in mine seem to have not been plated and had a more dull appearance. This makes the puzzle look a bit odd but obviously doesn't interfere with the puzzling. The one review on the product page gave it 5 stars and said it took him months to solve. Brian reviewed it here - he said it was a great puzzle and took him some months. When I solved the Livewire version the first time 4 years ago, it took me 15-20 minutes and I rated it as Brilliant! There is no solution provided but if you really need it then it can be downloaded from here (I'd advise you to stick with it and solve it yourself - it is definitely doable).

It was only during my fiddling that I came to realise that I might have seen something like this before - so I went to my database and did a search for disentanglements and scrolled through the pictures. Yep! Very advanced dementia here! I have solved it before and yet I have no recollection of how it was done! I won't be telling that woman who claims to be my wife (OUCH again!) because she will tell me that I never need to buy any new toys and I can go back to all my old ones that I don't recall and just do them again! That's obviously not part of my plans.... I need more, more, MORE! Sorry - hysteria set in again!

Definitely solvable
Solving the Fantastic five took me about 15 minutes even the second time around. It is a really unusual method to solve and very rewarding. I would go as far as to rate it as one of my favourite pure wire disentanglements of all time!

At the end of my Livewire marathon I gave a rating to my favourites and the Pentangle was given 10/10. I will stick with that - it is a stunning design and every serious puzzler should have a version of this in their collection! At only $12 it is a bargain - it might give you months of puzzling like it did for Brian.

Have a look at my New additions page for a view of a couple of recent deliveries - she isn't happy with me!!!

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