Sunday, 26 August 2018

Some Pelikan Beauties

Trap R2
Last week I showed off the recent delivery of puzzles from my friend Jakub, one of the co-owners of the New Pelikan Workshop. He lets me purchase them in advance and as a service for him I solve them as quickly as I can and write a paragraph about some of them for him to put up on the description page for each puzzle when they go up for sale (it depends whether the designer can speak English and feels capable of writing something themselves). The last few times I have been aware that me being so busy has caused a delay in the puzzles going on sale. This time I ignored everything I was supposed to do around the house to ensure that I did not delay the posting of the puzzles for sale and I had my spiel written in just a few days. I try to put my reviews up on my site to help you decide what to buy too.

The first puzzle for me to review is the Trap R2 by Osanori Yamamoto. My copy is made with Purpleheart but it will also be available in an equally beautiful version with Wenge. When you think of puzzles by Osanori Yamamoto you instantly think "rotations". With Trap R2 you won't be disappointed but this puzzle is very different to any other puzzle I have seen. Initially, it looks like a couple of solid boards joined at the corners with a small wide cylinder between them. The cylinder can move about fairly freely with some interesting limitations but that is it. With a little curious fiddling, you will find an unexpected move or two which opens up other possibilities. These unexpected moves can be in several directions and will lead to blind ends. It is extremely unlikely that random moves will end up with this one coming apart. I have to say that this puzzle needs a good bit of careful exploration to get a complete mental image of the shapes involved and then proper planning to arrange them so that disassembly is possible. It almost needs a full mental understanding of the shapes inside to be able to solve it. The first part has to be done blind which makes it a fun challenge. The Trap R2 is an absolutely marvellous puzzle -  it is totally unlike anything I've seen before and a lovely challenge - for me it has made a great worry bead for the last week. As always with a puzzle from Jakub and Jaroslav, the fit and finish of the puzzle is simply perfect - you cannot see any seams at all in the assembled puzzle and they appear to come out of nowhere when things are pressed in the right places.

The pieces are hidden behind the show/hide button - if you are thinking of purchasing one then DON'T look until you have solved it:




Square Target

Square Target
Square Target is another puzzle by the amazingly prolific Osanori Yamamoto, which will, of course, require rotations. There are 4 pieces in a frame and the hole is shaped such that they can only be extricated after turning them to the correct orientation. Having said that, the main challenge of this puzzle is actually to find the correct linear moves to make space for the rotations to occur and working out which order to remove the pieces. This puzzle has a fairly complex set of moves to make enough room to let the rotations/removal occur. The reassembly is also a challenge...especially if, like me, you don't pay attention to all the moves you made in the dismantling process. It is very clever and beautifully made by Pelikan. This is a perfect choice for someone just starting out with puzzles that require rotations.

With this one, I can show the pieces as that will not give too much away:

Pieces of Square Target

Shield

Shield
The third puzzle by Osanori Yamamoto could easily be called the "Hashtag" - 4 very simple shapes are assembled on a frame in a # shape and need to be removed after arranging them into the correct orientation and position. As one would expect from Osanori, rotations are required...quite a LOT of them! This is trickier than one would expect as the sliding movement and rotation of the pieces is very blocked and requires quite a bit of planning. This one took me the longest time of the three new puzzles. Eventually, I succeeded in my disassembly only to spill the carefully arranged pieces off my sleeping cat! Needless to say, the reassembly from scratch is a huge challenge and involved a good amount of swearing and the odd Whack! Ouch! It is, however, perfectly solvable with thought - the reassembly took me a good hour. A great idea and a worthy challenge to any puzzler.

Pieces of Shield

Wourie

Wourie
Alfons Eyckmans designs puzzles ranging from fairly simple to massively complex and Pelikan has chosen just the right level with this one - only a very small number of puzzlers want to work on burrs with 40+ moves to take out the first piece (I personally really struggle when the 1st level goes above 30). Wourie is perfect for the puzzler who is either a beginner to burrs or an enthusiast. It looks stunning in the four different woods and the mix of boards and sticks are interlocked with a fun but challenging sequence which has a blind end or two - it actually took me a good 20 minutes to find the first move. Having found the first move, the remainder of the disassembly is not too hard but then the reassembly becomes a real challenge if you scramble the pieces and leave them a while. It is definitely solvable as an assembly puzzle but maybe that part should be left to experts. The fit and finish of the puzzle is wonderful with moves that are silky smooth - it is perfect to display in any puzzler's collection.

Pieces of Wourie - looks easy? Think again!

Rotacube

Rotacube by Lucie Pauwels
Bernhard's version
Rotacube is another delightful challenge by the very talented and extremely prolific Lucie Pauwels (pwbp shows only a tiny fraction of her designs). I originally had the Rotacube drawn to my attention by the King of the Turning Interlocking Cubes (TIC), Bernhard Schweitzer who contacts me occasionally when he has discovered and made a new TIC and offers one for me to play with. Quite a few months ago Bernhard sent me a copy of Rotacube which I played with, enjoyed and forgot about after a month or so. I remembered about it when Jakub had his Pelikan version for sale. I was interested to see how Bernhard's version compared...plus, I'm not terribly bright, and had forgotten the solution completely! I think that it does benefit from the several types of wood used by Jakub but I do prefer Bernhard's rotated top cubie as a handle.

There are a couple of simple but unusual moves to remove the first 4 pieces and with the Pelikan version the fit is so perfect that it feels like one is held in by suction! Once the 4 simple pieces are removed then one is left with a cubic frame made from 2 identical pieces which require multiple rotations to be separated. It is a lovely sequence and not too tough. Even after scrambling and leaving the pieces the reassembly is not impossibly challenging and even suitable for beginners to TICs. This is a very nice puzzle and well worth adding to your collection.

Very clever pieces

The remainder of the Pelikan puzzles are yet to be solved. Keylock has been produced for PuzzleMaster in the past and I am not sure whether this production will also be sold by Pelikan direct. It is a very tough burr (level 47.4.3.2.2.2.1.1.2) designed by one of the IPP design competition winners, Stephan Baumegger.

Keylock
The Droid is another fascinating puzzle with a mixture of boards and sticks by Stephan with a level of 35.2.2.3.3.3 which also was made for PuzzleMaster and I am not sure whether it is being made available from Pelikan this time. My copy below came direct from Stephan - it took me 5 months to dismantle it!

Droid
The 3D Onat Contrast is yet another complex burr by Stephan constructed from some very simple burr sticks into a beautiful cubic design - it has a moderately difficult level of 37.10.4.1.2.2 which makes it less suitable for beginners but probably still do-able with some perseverance. It is stunning and I couldn't resist buying a copy myself:

This should be fun!
Excaliburr (available from PuzzleMaster) is another fantastic puzzle designed by Stephan and is definitely not for beginners! At level 79.18.5.5.5.2.1.2, it is aimed at real burr enthusiasts or people who are seriously addicted to everything related to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. I own an original from Stephan and as yet have never solved it! I might have a bit of a problem though!

Excaliburr
Swords in puzzles!

Keep an eye on the Pelikan site as well as look at PuzzleMaster to see when these new toys come up for sale. There is something for everyone here - beginners and burr experts alike will enjoy these puzzles which are, as always, stunningly made!


Sunday, 19 August 2018

He has a Sick Sick Mind!

Magnetic Madness aka Burrnova 3D
Yes, Jerry McFarland has done it again! You may recall that last year at the IPP he won a prize in the design competition with a fantastic burr puzzle that bamboozled us all due to it's automatically solving section. I wrote about it in this blog post and it reached the number 6 spot in my Top 10 of 2017. In Paris whilst he was showing off his Burrnova 2D puzzle, he also showed the admiring masses a very bare prototype mechanism of his 3D version which we all encouraged him to continue working on. Let's just say that he did that and did it VERY well!

Jerry and I discuss puzzle designs fairly frequently - for some reason, he seems to think that I know something about puzzles (I have no idea what makes him think such a silly thing but I love chatting to him). He had seen the fantastic Angel box design by Wil Strijbos and was really quite tickled by the idea of the figurine inside a puzzle to be released. He worked on it a while and showed me a few pictures in the process and I, of course, encouraged him in his madness! Then earlier this year he asked if I would like to buy a nearly finished prototype of his latest puzzle - he gave me a few $$ of the end price because I would be giving input into the final design and mine may be different to the end puzzle. Who would say no in my position? I obviously couldn't resist and I have had my copy of Burrnova 3D which he renamed to Magnetic madness for the design competition. The aim of the puzzle is, first of all, to remove the key piece and then rescue the princess trapped inside.

I was supposed to keep it quiet and not reveal it to the world and I did a great job up until a few weeks ago when I inadvertently revealed the puzzle to eagle-eyed puzzlers when I showed off my new cabinets:

Can you see it?
Right in the middle of the display of McFarland puzzles, there was a classic interlocking puzzle from Jerry and someone peaking out! Someone did actually spot it and contacted Jerry to ask about getting a copy! I do apologise for letting the cat out of the bag!

The puzzle is absolutely unmistakeable as a McFarland puzzle! There is something completely characteristic about what he makes and it is instantly recognisable! The only new aspect to this one is that it is clear that his mind has slipped a bit:

What has he done?
Jerry has drilled a hole in a burr piece and there appears to be a pretty young lady trapped inside! There is something rather twisted about this but in a humorous way, of course! I laughed out loud when I opened my package to see this.

Having solved the first puzzle in the series I had an idea of how to go about the beginning of this one and was delighted when after finding the first move, I pushed one of the dark sticks for the lovely "Thhraaaap" of 8 sticks at 90º to each other in a lattice went through a really rather lovely automatic solving process. I distinctly remember that Nick Baxter said "who cannot love a puzzle that solves itself?" when he announced that Burrnova 2D had won a prize in Paris. This new version does the same thing only MORE! It is fabulous! I have done it again and again since then and love it. At the moment my copy is a bit sticky with the heat and humidity in the UK but it should improve come the autumn. Between me and Jerry, he made some changes to the ones in the design competition. The magnets are MUCH stronger and now having carried out the first move all it takes is a tiny movement or even picking the puzzle up and it immediately does its' "Thhraaaap" thing again often frightening the poor unsuspecting sap/puzzler in the process! He really has a sick mind!

After the automatic section
After the automatic section, there are sticks poking out but the next move is quite well hidden. If you have solved the 2D version then you can do it but if not it takes a fair bit of searching to find it and then the key piece can finally be removed. With the stickiness of mine, it took me about 20 minutes to get it to work today!

Key piece out but she's still trapped!
Next comes the fun and very challenging process of disassembly. Jerry has really made this tough! The removal of the next pieces is hard to find because he has used STRONG magnets to hold things in place! It takes a fair bit of self-confidence to do the necessary moves to get this thing to come apart:

This must be the hard bit done! Think again!
At one point during the dismantling of this beast, you run into a wall...nothing moves at all. There is a bit of wiggle room in the automatic lattice but that will only come apart with a bit of force and a partial rotation. You know this is not right...Jerry never does that! He's a very sneaky man! He has put a second lock into this one and fastened it with some more VERY strong magnets. It took me hours and hours to find the method to open the lock and then actually doing it requires some serious courage and dexterity, strong fingers...about 14 of them! Eventually, the stage is passed and you can stop muttering under your breath about the evil genius of Jerry!

Now the magnetic lattice can be worked on...for a while anyway!
At this point, I hit a wall!
The disassembly proceeds and the workmanship (with both wood and metal) is revealed. There are some seriously clever pieces here. I got stuck again as only two of the magnetic pieces come out at first.

Not even nearly finished!
After the second lock is passed and further disassembly becomes possible, I try to keep pieces sort of arranged so that I will have some chance to put it all back together again. At this point, one discovers the disadvantage of all the magnets...they attract and repel each other and my carefully placed pieces start to move spontaneously around on the work surface and don't stay pointing the right direction. At one point I took the magnetic lattice structure out and arranged them very carefully but as soon as I let go of them a whole bunch of rotations occurred and I lost the orientation I had carefully preserved.

Finally, after a few hours and a fair bit of swearing, I released a piece and almost dropped the puzzle in shock! An arm fell out! A few moves later, I realised why someone at the IPP had said he has a "Sick sick mind"! Yes, he has dismembered the princess before putting her in her little magnetic wooden dungeon!

This is a little disturbing!!!!
Eventually, I was left with a LOT of pieces spread around the work surface!

The workmanship is incredible - but yes, he is a very sick man!
Of course, the puzzle is not solved until the princess has been properly rescued:

I must be a prince...I have rescued a princess!
Errm wait! She appears to be a mermaid!
What a fantastic odyssey! I can only say that Jerry is a genius, a master craftsman, and a lovely lovely man! He may have a very sick sick mind but I can forgive him for that!

Later, when I came to put it back together, I jiggled a piece with the partially constructed base and my magnetic pieces all went "thhraaaap" again and clung together in a big pile much to my horror! The reassembly was a huge undertaking as he only included a very basic diagram of the magnetic lattice in the paperwork he gave out.

I LURVE THIS PUZZLE! Thank you so much, Jerry!

If you get a chance to buy one then don't even think or hesitate! Just say yes! It will not be cheap - there is a lot of work in these and they take him quite some time but it is one of my most treasured puzzles (hence the prominent position in my new display cabinets).

You might also want to go and have a look at my new additions page to see what else I have been up to recently and to get a heads up on puzzles shortly to be released by Jakub and Jaroslav at Pelikan puzzles.



Sunday, 12 August 2018

Can Bolts be Wise?

Nope! But they can be very puzzling!

3 Wise Bolts from MrPuzzle
I have barely managed to do any puzzling for a week or two due to a combination of work and fatigue! For some reason I have been doing an awful lot of on-call recently (I really should have a damn serious chat with the rota organiser sometime...oh, that would be me! Doh!) On Tuesday night I managed to achieve a whole 2¼ hours of sleep which basically wiped me out for 2 days afterwards - I had to sleep most of one day and then was fairly zombified the following day which many would say is my normal state. I'm certainly getting too old for that. Then yesterday (Saturday) was another day on call and after a fairly exciting time of major blood loss and trauma, puzzling was not really on my mind. Luckily last weekend I had finally managed to solve one of the most challenging puzzles in a long time, the 3 Wise Bolts Sequential Discovery Puzzle from the Master of the sequential discovery, Brian Young.

Bottom view
The puzzling world is a little distracted just now as the International Puzzle Party is being held in San Diego as I write this - from the photos I have seen, they are all having a fantastic time. Now before some smart alec comments to me that this is NOT a puzzle I should have bought because it is a "box", let me just say up front that I do own some puzzles that have cavities if they have some other puzzling feature to them. Yes, it does say in Brian's description that the aim is to "discover the 2 round compartments inside the box" but I am sticking with the full name of the puzzle as it calls it what it is...a sequential discovery puzzle. This type is my absolute favourite from the puzzle classification and unlike many perviously made this is a VERY reasonable price of about $123. When you consider that Brian has had to manufacture a large number of brass as well as wooden components, this is a tremendous value for money.

The wood used for the top and bottom slices is Blackbutt and the slice of reddish wood in the middle is Rose Gum. It is a nice portable 123 x 38 x 30mm and having solved it, I intend to take it to work for a while to bamboozle my colleagues.

To find the compartments, you obviously need to remove all three of the brass bolts. Turning them reveals that the two outer bolts rotate freely and trying to grip the nuts sunk into the wood does not work - they are too tight to undo easily. The middle of the 3 bolts will not turn at all. Brian wrote in the instructions:
"Brian designed the puzzle with the view that the first two bolts to be removed should be tricky but not ridiculously difficult. He wanted to keep you interested in progressing through the puzzle. But that all changes when you get to the third bolt; the wisest one of them all!  Solving this final step should give you a really good Aha! moment. 
Just like the 3 wise monkeys, you’ll need all your senses and more to do this one. Hear, see, think about it, maybe hear again.... and once you’ve solved it speak no solution!"
I started one evening with a cat on my lap and the TV distracting me. Within a few seconds I was able to turn the middle bolt and then I couldn't again...and then I could! Very odd because sometimes the same movement would not let it turn at all! Rather than just carry on fiddling I kept moving on a step and back trying to work out why it was happening. I thought for a while that I had it sussed when I suddenly had a similar blockage occurring in a different position...hmmm!

A small mental image was forming which is lucky because I am a small bloke and many of my colleagues have said that I am "mental"! I certainly have a very small brain!

Having understood the first part, I moved on and suddenly the cat was very interested in the puzzle when a small "something" landed on his head - immediately after this there was a little fight and I removed the small "something" before the cat could eat it. Oooh! This will be useful. I started to try a few things using the newfound tool but it wasn't going to work. Back to the drawing board and I realised using one of my senses that there was something else inside. A little more fiddling and the cat and I had another wrestle. NOW I was able to do something new - AHA!

After this the first of the bolts was off - as Brian had intended, it was only a little thought and discovery. Will the same thing work on the second of the bolts? Not for me it wouldn't! Think© man! I'm not very good at the think thing but I thunk and thunk and thunk and suddenly I had a second bolt! Well, if that was supposed to be easy then Lord help me with number three!

I did have an idea of what I might do for the final bolt. I had a nice image of the inside of the puzzle in my head but there was a crucial feature missing from the head of the bolt. Some construction or further discovery was going to be necessary...and here I got stuck. I tried a lot of things but none of them was quite the right size or shape and the puzzle remained closed. I'm ashamed to say that I was failing to solve it despite having solved the 4 bolt bersion that was Brian's entry into the IPP design competition last year. I had seen the puzzle at an MPP a few months ago but had been scrupulous in not watching anyone do the final solve. I worked on this on and off for a week without success.

Finally, on Friday night, I had an epiphany and after a little grunting and trying to avoid a cat, I suddenly had everything I needed to undo the final bolt. Man! That is a very clever idea! I was finally able to take it apart and reveal the compartments:

All dismantled - no hints visible here, I'm afraid!

It would appear to be a sort of box too!
The next step is to put it all back to the beginning. Most of this is not terribly difficult if you remember the dismantling sequence. I would say that it does take a bit of thought to put all the internal pieces back into the correct positions so that the strange beginning sequence is still required. Lovely!

This is one fantastic sequential discovery puzzle and one of the very few ever to be sold with a reasonable price. Go buy it from Brian and Sue's store, you really will not be disappointed.

In the meantime, go and have a quick look at Shane's site - despite vowing he would never manufacture an IPP exchange puzzle again, he has had another mental lapse and made not one but two! Like me, he is a sucker for punishment! But unlike me...he is VERY bright!

Hopefully I will get some time to do some puzzling this week or there won't be a blog post for you!


Sunday, 5 August 2018

Some You Win, Some You Lose!

In Fact, I Seem To Lose Most Often!

Kumiki Airlines - something not quite right here???
I do hope you are grateful? This will be my only weekend off work for 3 weeks and I am sitting still here writing a blog post for you...even when it is an absolutely gorgeous day outside! Mrs S is talking on the phone to the Mother-outlaw and I am trying to keep out of the way so that she might forget the chores she said I had to do! Whack! Ouch! Ooops - I guess she hasn't forgotten. I have been so busy at work and at home recently that I have barely managed to work on any puzzles at all and surprisingly not received anything new for a few weeks! My last little splurge was described here.

Today's story is about a little success and a whole lot of failure - I began with the Kumiki Airlines puzzle which I finally bought after several years of longing from Brian and Sue Young's MrPuzzle store. I had originally seen this years ago when Allard showed it off at an MPP and wrote about it on his blog back in December 2013.

The Puzzle was Brian's (assisted by the greatly missed late John Moores) exchange puzzle at the 2013 IPP in Japan. It was designed by the incredible Junichi Yananose and of course, made by Brian himself. The description and part of the spiel from Brian is that:
"The plane is incorrectly assembled and can’t possibly fly like this. You need to take the puzzle apart and reassemble it to make it more aerodynamic. To do that on reassembly you’ll have to solve the level 13.4 multiple move burr."
The base of the puzzle with instructions.
Not very helpful!
“Kumi ki” is a Japanese word that means “to assemble wood” or “put together wood”. Whilst I own a LOT of interlocking and burr puzzles, I don't own any traditional Kumiki puzzles at all. The use of the word burr in the title and description sort of filled me with hope. It would appear that this puzzle is primarily an assembly puzzle which I am usually terrible at but recently I have been having some success with assembly and was full of confidence...maybe too much confidence? This puzzle is made from Queensland Silver Ash and is a pretty decent size:

Wingspan: 140mm
Length from nose to tail: 160mm
Height of tail wing: 60mm

Brian rates this puzzle as 8/10 difficulty.

The first thing that sprung to mind to me was that it didn't look like it would fly in the form that was sent out and the first thing that sprung to Mrs S' mind was that it was "cute". I can live with that! Of course, I had forgotten the description which included the word "burr"! I only remembered the Kumiki word and only thought of the simple little plastic Kumiki puzzles I had played with as a kid. I couldn't resist and set to as soon as my photos had been taken. There are a couple of possible moves at first including a possible rotation which I tried to avoid. Within about 2 minutes with only 3 or 4 experimental moves, the puzzle split in half lengthways and crash-landed on the kitchen work surface before shooting in pieces all over the place! Well, that bit was easy!

Quite a few interesting but very similar parts and some unexpected 1/4 size cuts revealed
Having achieved the rather simple separation of the pieces, I immediately tried to reset the puzzle back to the beginning and was a little surprised to realise that I could not do it easily! I had to go and sit down at a table and work on it! The thing fell apart in 2 minutes flat and it took me about 15 minutes to reset! At least I was able to put it back to the beginning...the full solve was just a different orientation of the pieces - it couldn't possibly be that hard...could it???

Stupid boy! Brian's rating was absolutely correct - this is a difficult puzzle, at least for me. Initially, I set to attempting the proper aerodynamic assembly in the same way as the false start and of course, that was wrong. Put this down to lack of experience of Kumiki puzzles and me not being terribly bright! You might ask, "is this just a huge matter of trial and error until you find the correct burr piece positions and then assembly method? And...the answer to that is a most definite NO! I dare say that you might be able to do this by pure trial and error but that would be horrifically boring and definitely not in the spirit that was intended by either Juno or Brian. This puzzle has enough to be seen in the pieces that the assembly can actually be worked out by logic. I know! I can hear you muttering now that the fool is no good at logic and doesn't stand a chance! Damn those voices! I probably should see someone about them.

The puzzle had to be put down so I could cook our Sunday dinner and I left it at the incorrect assembly to ensure that I didn't lose any pieces to the cats who have a tendency to pick small pieces up and run off with them. After dinner, whilst drinking a nice glass of Sauvignon in front of the TV with Mrs S, I set to once more. I started with simple trial and error before gradually, over a couple of hours, I began to notice certain features of various pieces which gave clues for the start or end position and possible movements. This puzzle has a whole series of lovely Aha! moments during the solution process before one is left with an aeroplane that, let's face it, still won't fly but looks more plane-like than it arrived:

All I can say with this is AHA!
I simply ADORE THIS PUZZLE! It really is a Kumiki assembly puzzle and only has a very limited likeness to a burr. If you are not a burr person then you would still LOVE this challenge. It is very solvable and most definitely NOT one for trial and error. There is a real pathway of discovery during the exploration and eventual success that gives enormous satisfaction - every single piece and cut in the wood has been placed deliberately and paying attention to them will lead you toward success. I am sure that if you were desperate then you could model it in Burrtools but the presence of fractional height cuts make this a bugger to model. Buy it! It's not terribly expensive and you'll have an airplane on your shelf once it's done! By the way...Allard loved it too!

Having been filled with success, I decided to go straight to my other burr from Brian - the Mega Six burr (Craftsman edition):

I think it might look like this for a VERY long time (maybe forever)
Piston burr
Despite being a burr-lover, I only have 2 standard 6 piece burrs in my collection - the Piston burr made by the amazing Jerry McFarland and the Computer's choice unique 10, also made by Jerry but designed by the incredible Bill Cutler. I also have a number of very special burrs that look like standard six piece burrs in my collection but in reality, have rather unusual and special solutions which are a lovely challenge and then I have 3 burr sets (you will see these in a photo at the end of my post) which provide many hundreds (or thousands) of burr assembly challenges. I am simply rubbish at burr assemblies. I thought a while ago that if I start at the simpler level 1 challenges and move up gradually then I would start to get better...I was wrong, I am still rubbish! Quite a few years ago Nigel had told me in words of one syllable that the Mega six puzzle is fantastic and that I MUST get it. I used my recent splurge as an excuse to get a hold of a copy. If you aren't bothered about the gorgeous wood then Brian also has a version in a standard wood for less moolah. I, of course, bought the version made from Queensland Blackbean because I'm a sucker for gorgeous wood!

It arrives in a ziplock bag in pieces - make a straightforward 6 piece burr - simples! Yeah! right! Sob! Here's what Brian wrote about it:
"This puzzle really does show a case of 'don't judge a book by it's cover'. It may look like other six piece burrs on the outside but it is DEFINITELY not. The puzzle is incredibly more complicated than the commonly known six piece puzzle. 
Bill Cutler first used a computer program to analyse six piece burrs in 1974 but it took until 1990 to analyse all possible six piece burr combinations. Mega Six is the result of that search for the maximum number of moves for a six piece burr with a unique solution. This does not mean it has a unique assembly, due to the number of internal voids. In theory the pieces should fit together in 20 different ways however, the reality is that you can physically only put the puzzle together in one of the 20 assemblies. 
Mr Puzzle’s version, designed with Bill’s help, has one extra cube removed to increase the number of false assemblies.... As if the original Computer’s Choice Unique-10 was not difficult enough! 
Not only OUR hardest six piece burr but THE hardest six piece burr!"
OMG! Let's just say that I have been working on this on and off ever since I finished the Kumiki Airlines and have so far made no headway at all! I'll keep at it but may get sidetracked by other toys along the way! This one I have definitely not won - I won't say lost yet but it might be years! Thanks, Nigel!



I also lost a fight! "She who threatens unspeakable injury upon my person" got very very fed up with the state of my desk in my study! I did say that she never has to go in there herself but that only gained me a Whack! Ouch! and a Laser burning stare - yeeeouch! I took a photo of the desk - what do you think?

It's not that bad, is it?
Whilst I had some annual leave 2 weeks ago she frogmarched me upstairs and pointed out my almost empty new cabinets and said that if I didn't make use of them within a day or so then she would put her own stuff in them! I was galvanised into immediate action and decided that the new display cabinets would house some of my most gorgeous and precious puzzles. I haven't really organised everything by craftsman or by type, although my main study is sort of grouped by craftsman as well as by material. The new cabinets look like this:

My precioussss - Can you work out what they are or who made them?

It's only the beginning but I would appear to have plenty of space for new toys! The desk and the rest of the study looks great and I have even managed to take a load out of the dining room and living room. I now have an almost placated Mrs S...       FLINCH!

Here are the changed parts of the study:

The desk is clear and there are spaces for new ones
A nice gap in my Pelikan collection
Even some space above the iMac!
I'd better not tell Mrs S that a puzzle is due to be posted from Azerbaijan tomorrow! Whack! Ouch!

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