Sunday 21 January 2018

Puzzles to Return to

During my sick leave I had a major splurge on puzzle deliveries to give me something to do whilst forced to sit on my arse doing very little (Whack! Ouch! - sorry dear but the doctor told me to!!!) As you can tell, I had been home for so long that "she who must be feared" started to get shirty with me. She went so far as to get pretty gobby at times and on several occasions told me that I really needed to bugger off back to work! If I hadn't gone back when I did then this blog would have been no more and Mrs S might have been spending time at Her Majesty's pleasure. I do apologise for all that....I have not lost the plot - a certain Matthew Dawson challenged me to use some "special" British terms in my next blog post and ahem...there it is. One batch of puzzles that I bought came from the amazing Yavuz Demirrhan and I have to say that they are "The Dog's Bollocks"! Ok, Ok! Enough already!

One of the puzzles I had been really keen to get my hands on was the Transenna. It is a fabulous looking interlocking puzzle made from Walnut and Maple with reinforcing dowels in contrasting colours. I love this type of puzzle because it looks fantastic on display and can be a nice challenge for a rainy Sunday afternoon or a day during sick leave. This particular one was of interest because it would go on display next to another one that I had reviewed in March 2016, Volantis.

Transenna and Volantis - fabulous together
I set to with this puzzle and quite quickly disassembled it into 6 of each type of board and admired the woodwork skills that went into them.

Stunning workmanship
I left the boards for a day and then worked on the reassembly. In my own personal puzzle database I have a classification for each of my puzzles and I refer to these as interlocking puzzles rather than burrs because the main challenge here is an assembly one and it doesn't really require multiple back and forth movements of the pieces. I suspect this is not a very good system but it works for me. The reassembly is a little tricky but not terribly hard with a level of (total of 33 moves). Had the puzzle been sent out in pieces then it might have been a little more challenging. I did enjoy the process and did it a few times before returning it to the shelf. I completely forgot that this one had 2 challenges to it. I was perusing through Facebook and saw Yavuz' original post about it and with a start I was reminded that I had more to do. Time to return to this puzzle and attempt the alternative assembly. This one looked easier on paper being only level (27 moves) and not requiring all the pieces. In reality, because I had not disassembled it and also did not know which of the 2 types of large boards were needed, this proved a much bigger challenge - it took me pretty much a whole evening to find the correct approach and order. Mrs S was happy that I had recently returned to work and was no longer doing Sweet Fanny Adams (aaargh! It's all Matt's fault!) and she even didn't mind me muttering to myself as I attempted the reassembly. She did flinch a little after I yelled Bob's yer Uncle as the last piece slid home. I promise....that's it, there will be no more!

Second assembly of Transenna - simpler but took me much longer.
It was definitely worth returning to this puzzle as it gave me even more of a challenge and appreciation of Yavuz design skills. It is still available on Cubozone if you want a copy for yourself.

Pinocchio - original challenge
Alternative assembly
Last week I showed off a few wire puzzles that I had failed to solve for many many months. After I returned to them and finally worked out the little trick that each of them required, Aaron posted on my Facebook page that the Pinocchio has an alternative challenge. The aim was much the same - one of the rings on one side of the string needed to be moved to join the other one on the other side. This new challenge looked really fearsome - there are a lot more interactions between the string and the main frame of the puzzle. I suspected that this one shared something in common with one or more of the puzzles discussed last week. I took it to work and had a chance to play with it whilst waiting for a critical care bed to be available for a big case I had to do. At work I could mutter to myself and jingle to my heart's content without fear of a Whack! Ouch! The current horrific state of the NHS winter bed crisis was in my favour as I ended up having about an hour to work on it.

The Pinocchio alternative shares a few moves in common with the original but after that it changes and needs some more thought - there was quite a big tangle at one point with several loops being around that central ring. After a little adjustment of the string I saw a similarity with the Balance and Wedding Vows puzzles and my Aha! moment was complete:

That was quite a challenge!
Finally I have to show off one puzzle that I have been returning to pretty much every evening since it arrived in mid December. I had showed off the recent puzzles produced by Jakub and Jaroslav's New Pelikan Workshop and over the last month I have singularly failed to solve the Lucida puzzle. Allard had told everyone who would listen that it was a fabulous puzzle and my friend Rich Gain had taken a few weeks to assemble his 3D printed copy. The premise is simple take the 2 pieces and the frame and combine them without having any sticking out bits!

Looks simple? Maybe it is but I couldn't do it!
Every single evening since mid December I have spent at least 15 minutes (if not longer) attempting this and had gotten absolutely nowhere! I definitely tested Einstein's theory of insanity (and yes I am!!) I just could not seem to work it out. During play it is quickly obvious what needs to be done but getting the pieces into a position where it is possible eluded me. Suddenly after a month a few evenings ago, I started from a new position and suddenly I saw a possibility. I have no idea why I hadn't tried or seen this sooner - my only excuse is either insanity or stupidity (I'll let Mrs choose). The first attempt with my new starting position wasn't quite right but a small adjustment and I had it! The Aha! moment was one of the best ever - this will definitely be considered for my top puzzles of 2018! I showed my success to Goetz and he mentioned that there are 2 assemblies! I felt bad that I had missed not just one but two for so long until I realised that they are mirror images of each other resulting in the grain going in different directions and the text being hidden in one:

Two solutions and I struggled to find even one!

Yet again, I prove to myself that perseverance is crucial and it's a good idea to keep returning to puzzles that haven't been solved yet or have extra challenges to them!

MiSenary box update

Last week I reviewed Michel's excellent MiSenary box and announced his auction for charity. It seems to be going well and has reached a reasonable level. To try and increase the amount earned for the very worthy cancer charity Michel has added some extra prizes which will be added if the bidding passes certain targets:

Bid above €250 : two prototypes of the CFF100 limited edition puzzle will be added.
Bid above €300 : first prototype of Larva and a second pair of sliders will be added as well.
Bid above €375 : first prototype of Ladybird will be added as well.
Bid above €450 : first prototype of 8 stars labyrinth will be added also!
This is a seriously special set of puzzles and includes prototypes which are not available any other way. Get bidding!


  1. hi
    I need some tip about solution of Lucida Puzzle

    1. I cannot reply using the comments on the page. Please use my contact page and I will try and help.