Sunday 4 February 2018

The Blame Game....

Reza 4-4 - designed and made by Junichi Yananose
It would appear that Allard has once again outgrown his puzzle cave and is undergoing a reorganisation/extension and I am just a little jealous that he is being allowed to do that. I mentioned this to the present wife and she gave me "the look"! When I regained consciousness, I thought better of mentioning it again but I did chance my arm by telling her that the state of my collection and the fact that there are lots of new toys arriving and bits and pieces everywhere in the house and in my work bag is not my fault - ALL of this is down to other members of the puzzling community! We all like to blame Oli for pretty much everything (including global warming) and he certainly plays a large part in my present overwhelmed state but I seem to remember that it was actually Allard and Ali who also played a huge part in diverting my attention from my original Revomazes to "other puzzles". It is therefore all THEIR FAULT! The aim of this blog post is to apportion blame to others too - none of this is down to me. I am merely a helpless and not terribly bright pawn in their twisted plans. I don't understand what those plans are but it looks like it is heading towards my destruction...or at least total insanity!

The puzzle above is the Reza 4-4 designed and made by the incredible Junichi Yananose. It is particularly lovely made from Silver Ash and Jarrah, and would appear to be 2 tetrahedra one inside the other (i.e. a compound of them). The fact that I have it is NOT MY FAULT! At the Paris IPP I saw the incredible puzzle presented to Frans de Vreugt who was the lead organiser (so Frans must take some of the blame here). Part of that gift was one of the Reza 12-20 creations by Juno. The idea of these geometric shapes interlocked within other geometric shapes intrigued me and I started to surf around the intertubes. That puzzle was very expensive but sold out quite quickly luckily a few months later the series expanded with the addition of some more designs. Once Juno had added an odd burr with a maze built in then I was hooked and he FORCED me to buy them (that was what I told Mrs S at least). So the arrival of these puzzles is entirely due to Frans and Juno!

I put these on display and picked them up periodically. They frightened me to death! I have said recently that I am truly awful at assembly puzzles and only play with them when pushed or am feeling adventurous/brave. I kept shying away from these puzzles when last week I was chatting with Derek (yes, the genius) about these interlocking geometric puzzles. He had won an auction for a prototype of the Mirii 4x3 and was working on assembling it. In the end he FORCED me to disassemble my Reza 4-4.

See? It really was down to Derek!
Even if he was apologetic afterwards.
It comes apart very easily and I thought I was keeping track of what went where but then the cat on my lap stirred and they all moved. Yep! I now had a pile of sticks. Thanks Derek and Juno!

At least they look nice if I never get them back together!
Over the next week, I spent every evening trying to put them back. Derek gave what he thought was a bunch of helpful hints but in reality they meant nothing to me at all! Gradually I sort of worked out how to assemble the outer tetrahedron and felt enormous pride....until it fell to bits in my lap! I did it again and again and again until I found a way to put it down that was sort of stable. Apparently the puzzle does not need rubber bands to assemble it but I was not so convinced. Over the next 2 nights I tried to assemble the inner tetrahedron by itself but discovered that it was really not stable at all. After that I moved on to trying to assemble the complete puzzle only to again end up with a pile of sticks! Aaaargh! OK! Time for a specialist tool....I don't have any rubber bands in the house because the cats love them and have a tendency to eat them. This makes what comes out the other end like a rather horrific kebab that can sometimes get dragged around the house by the nether-end of said cat. Instead I appropriated a ribbon which had been wrapped around a particularly lovely box of chocolates. With said ribbon I tied a corner of the first tetrahedron and proceeded to play with the inner one. Let's just say this took me a rather LONG time but again that was NOT MY FAULT - I had quite a lot of interruptions:

Stable at last - but someone kept pulling the ribbon and puzzle around the work surface!
He actually undid the puzzle at one point and I had to start again! It took me a week but eventually I had my assembled puzzle without resorting to the solution. The sense of achievement was incredible and I am claiming full responsibility for that! Thanks Frans, Juno and....grudgingly....thanks to Derek who FORCED me to do it.

At last! If he pulls the ribbon off now then I think it is stable!

My next portion of blame has to go to the masters of the N-ary puzzles. Yes both Aaron Wang and Goetz Schwandtner. Both of them (amongst others) have got me completely addicted to the N-ary puzzle group. Some of my most beautiful wooden puzzles are also N-ary and I adore them but when Aaron shows off pretty much anything new I have to buy it. The little voices in my head tell me too and I am convinced that it is Aaron talking to me. The most recent ones that he showed off were part of what he calls the Chinese 99-ring series and as soon as those words echoed around my empty skull they were quickly joined by Goetz' voice so of course the arrival of a whole lot of wire jingly stuff was NOT MY FAULT!

9 more Chinese 99-ring puzzles
I find having these plan diagrams very useful

Boxing gloves (not N-ary)
Standard Chinese rings
After these arrived and I took my customary photos I couldn't resist working on one straight away. Again I blame the boys! Mrs S was seriously unhappy with me for jingling......for hours and hours and hours! I told her to take her complaints to Goetz and Aaron so you both should watch out. I started out with the Reverse Chinese rings - they look the simplest. They are very similar to the standard Chinese rings which I have written about before. A straightforward version is available from Puzzle Master here and for a general experience of this type of puzzle it is just perfect. I was interested to see how reversing the top rings could change the solution:

You can see that the top rings that are pierced by the shuttle are pointing backwards
It proved to be a very interesting experience solving this version - the pattern was much more involved than the original puzzle and required probably 3 times the number of moves with an even bigger risk of being turned around and ending up back at the beginning.

It took me 2 days of effing and blinding and being burned by the laser burning stare before I finally separated the shuttle off the rings. Phew! It was worth it! Mrs S doesn't seem to be believing my blame game any more. If I disappear please send help!

2 days and several hundred moves later
I still need to reassemble it - wish me luck!

In another episode I will be blaming Ali and Alfons! Look forward to a future post.

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