Sunday, 15 April 2018

I'm a Puzzle Assembly Genius.....Or Maybe NOT!

Interlocking #4
At the Midlands Puzzle Party last weekend, we all had a fabulous time as usual and we did enjoy a little extra fun from the Puzzle Pusher who arrived (along with the Puzzle solving machine) from the Netherlands. After my 2.5hr drive from dreary Sheffield, I got myself a much-needed coffee and duly went off to greet a few guys who I had not seen for a while. Louis had brought a few cute little 3D printed interlocking cube puzzles (I don't have any pics but maybe Allard will have some when he posts his spiel). Thanks to the amazing Bernhard, I have become rather addicted to these interlocking puzzles (with or without rotational moves) and had a little poke at them whilst beginning my chat to Shane. Shane, in his usual pugnacious manner, snatched them away and said something along the lines of:
"These are too easy for you if you disassemble them first! Here, I'll do it for you!"
He then proceeded to scatter pieces of 2 cubes over the table leaving me with my mouth hanging open in disbelief. I sputtered that I am rubbish at assembly puzzles and he told me in no uncertain terms to get on with it and stop making excuses! GULP! OK - here goes. One of the cubes was a 4 piece coordinate motion puzzle which took me about 10 minutes. Luckily there are 2 pairs of mirror image pieces and they only fit together a certain obvious way. Also luckily, the tolerances are fairly loose and it didn't require a huge amount of dexterity - if I am bad at assembly puzzles, I am REALLY BAD at dexterity puzzles! This will be a bit of an issue because I received a gift from Wil (so did Allard) - it is a prototype of another of his bottle puzzles. This looks impossible to me - the aim is to put the necklace on the baby in the bottle and have it hanging by its head again:

Of course, the Puzzle machine that is Louis took the puzzle from my display at MPP and promptly solved it in about 5 minutes or less whilst I was not watching. He then unsolved it by shaking it all rather vigorously before I could take a pic! He can be mean that way! As usual, the whole crowd laughed at me - I'm quite used to it now and even enjoy it!

Creepy isn't it? Mrs S thinks Wil might be a secret axe murderer!
The second of the little 3D printed cubes was a 5x5 cube called Interlocking cube #1 which is of interest to 3D printer fans because the pieces can be printed without any support material as there are no overhangs. One day I really will have to buy a 3D printer but not until Mrs S calms down a little. I was rather horrified by Shane's nonchalant destruction but proceeded to give it a go. This was a much tougher challenge and probably took me about a ½hr. I felt fantastic after that - I often tell people that I am not terribly bright and am rubbish at solving puzzles. Most people seem not to believe me but I maintain that I get lucky quite frequently. One thing I do insist on is that I am really bad at solving puzzles in public/company. If someone is watching me then my logical abilities desert me and I look fairly foolish (again!!) Solving the Interlocking #1 in front of the other guys made my day! Even if I solved nothing else all day then I would still be happy.

What those two assembling successes did do was fill me with a whole lot of confidence (probably misplaced) and shortly after that Richard Gain turned up and announced that that puzzle was nice but too easy and I should try the Interlocking #4 which was much more of a challenge. He had a few up for sale and they must have lasted a whole 3 minutes before we cleared him out! I was asked whether I wanted my copy whole or in pieces and with huge overconfidence brought on by my earlier success, I requested that it be taken apart and I would play with it at home. The picture at the top of the post was what I received. Yay!! Brimming with confidence, I set to the evening I got home and was immediately humiliated!

Later that evening a Facebook post from Ali (another puzzle solving machine) revealed that he had managed it. I wasn't surprised that he had done it as he is a seriously talented puzzler. I was a bit more surprised when Allard posted that he had assembled his. Now THAT did surprise me! Allard's usual modus operandi is to buy lots of puzzles that he cannot solve and then whenever Louis arrives for a visit, he solves them for him! Yep! Allard cheats by having help. When I expressed my surprise, I was informed by Wil that Allard had alternative help this time. I suspect that he never actually solves his own puzzles!

Allard has help - Ben is much more intelligent than him!
I proceeded to work on it each evening this week whilst sitting watching TV with Mrs S and the pussy boys! All of whom are no help whatsoever. Mrs S said that I had my "plug face" on the whole time! At several intervals, during the week she actually asked me whether I was in pain to which I had to admit that my ickle bwain was definitely hurting a bit!

Finally, on Thursday evening, I had my Aha! moment and it was fabulous (only 5 days after the other guys managed it). This puzzle is superb as an assembly puzzle and would even be great as a disassembly puzzle too. Maybe I am getting better at assembling puzzles? I certainly really enjoyed the experience and am delighted that I have another dimension to my puzzling challenges.

Filled with confidence, I restarted work on the cubes that I received from Alfons - for some reason, I have really struggled to find the crucial moves to disassemble the first one I chose:

Lili's Cube
I started with Lili's cube because it should have been the easiest to disassemble with a level of 16.1.1.3.6.1.1.2. For some reason, I could get about 10 moves in but no further. So Friday evening I set to and really thought about it. Aha! again! Yes, my genius is improving....I am just slightly above very dim now! I did take a photo at a halfway point to ensure that I might stand a chance at reassembly:

A reassembly might actually be possible!
I then proceeded to fully disassemble it and realised that my new found skillz definitely did not reach this level - I was stuffed and the only way that was going back together again was Burrtools!

OMG! Reassembly beyond me!
I have ordered another couple of interlocking cubes from Bernhard - I do seem to be just a little addicted! After I've finished writing this post I will get BT out.

Next up is another little challenge that I bought from Wil - it's a string puzzle that Aaron Wang tells me is pretty easy. But then he is a disentanglement puzzle genius who does these things in his head! Needless to say, I have singularly failed so far:

Iwahiro's exchange puzzle with an added Strijbos touch.
Move the knot and the ring to the opposite (short) length of string.
Wish me luck!


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