Sunday 7 October 2018

Rex Makes Perplexing Puzzles From Perspex!

Following on from last week's fun with a fabulous maze puzzle (Aguinaldo), I now intend to write about the two puzzles that I actually purchased from Rex. I expected to receive just 2 puzzles but a third was in the package. Before I continue, I should explain to all of you outside of the UK what the term Perspex from the title means. I had no idea until I wrote the term a few years ago that "perspex" is not known outside of the UK - Perspex is a name that we Brits frequently use for Acrylic, Plexiglass or Lucite. Why would I use this word? Because it makes for a properly poetic puzzle title and I'm positively practical in my pleasing and perspicacious approach to my puzzle writing! Gulp!

The Rizal puzzle is either named after a region in the Philipines in which Rex lives or it is the surname of one of the main national heroes of the Philipines, José Rezal. Maybe Rex can comment below for a clarification?

I knew that the Aguinaldo was a maze having played before at the MPP but actually had no idea what type of puzzle the others were. A quick look at them revealed that there are clearly things that can slide in and out and part of me expected to navigate a maze to move them but I was very pleasantly surprised when nothing budged. After spending a few minutes poking and prodding at various parts of the Rizal puzzle I realised that there was something moving around inside and it wasn't the coin. Time to switch the radio off and then listen properly. Mrs S walked into the kitchen to see me holding up an inanimate object to my year with a quizzical look on my face and yet again became convinced that I was losing the plot and having conversations with my toys! She didn't wait to see if I would talk back...she just assumed that I would! I hastily explained that I was listening to moving parts that I couldn't see and she stalked off muttering about crazy husbands and getting me committed to the loony bin (no guys...NOT again!)

Despite her disbelief, the listening was quite useful. I could tell that something would move only in certain directions and it did make the piece that should (but wouldn't) slide feel different. Thinking© about what was changing I formulated a cunning plan and Aha! sliding occurred! After this, the mechanism was revealed and it is deceptively simple but beautifully functioning because of the unique properties of perspex/acrylic. From this point, it is a fairly simple matter to perform another sequence and the coin drops out...very pleasing!

Not too difficult but logical and fun.
Returning it to the start position is not quite a matter of just reversing the moves you made. It is also important to think of orientation during the's not terribly tough but is another part of the Aha! moment. This is definitely worth adding to your collection when Rex makes them available again.

Barasoain is derived from the “baras ng suwail” which means “dungeon of the deviant”. It was the meeting place for revolutionists who were working against the Spanish colonial government in the late 1800s. Their work paved the way for the Philippine Revolution. I do wonder whether the deviant thing is just Rex having a sly poke at us puzzlers?

This rather nice grey puzzle is a bit thicker than the Rizal indicating there might be a good bit more to the solution than that one. Another indication is that on the opposite side to the coin there is a window into the interior. It doesn't reveal anything helpful but sort of implies that you're going to have to look inside or poke about at some point. Rex had warned me not to solve this in my customary armchair with cat on my lap as "things" fall out.

I began working at the kitchen table on it and was pleased that I had. There is a convenient blue piece of one layer poking out and depending on how you hold the puzzle it may or may not be useful. Needless to say, when I first picked it up, nothing would move but after a couple of minutes of desperate twisting and turning, pushing and pulling, I had a movement and...that was it! About 5mm more blue acrylic sticking out. A little more listening and fiddling and something dropped out...not the coin. Now that is interesting! What do I use that for? The shape is very reminiscent of something and gives a big hint (buy one yourself to find out!) but doing what I thought I should, did nothing.

Proving that I am not very bright, I was stuck at this point for 2 hours doing the same things over and over and over again. Of course, nothing ever changed and I put it down for a bit to cook dinner. During my cooking, I thought and thought and thought and for once it occurred to me that I needed to listen to this puzzle as well. It is VERY subtle but with certain conditions met there is a sound, a very small sound but when it occurs you know what you have done and why. At this point, you are still stuck but I would encourage you to listen again and see what you can hear. With all this listening and thinking and pushing, prodding and tilting about, there is a sudden change and BAM! A coin drops out! Now THAT is a very clever puzzle and not at all easy.

Phew! That took quite some time!
It is also a nice feature that Rex has used simple nuts and bolts to construct the puzzles. Once you have solved them it is worth taking the time to unscrew them and take the puzzle apart to see how he achieved what he did. The construction is really quite simple but very difficult to envision. I take my hat off to him for coming up with such a clever idea. I will be looking forward to future puzzles from his rather devious mind!


  1. Those look awesome Kevin! I have not yet delved into the realm of trapped coin puzzles yet, but this post certainly has had me reconsidering. I guess that for me it's hard to envision how something would work that I can't see, but eventually I'm sure I will have to learn how to do even these types of puzzles.


    Noah P.

    PS. I sent you an email a while back but haven't received a response yet. If you are just busy and haven't had time then no problem, but I have had issues with emails not going through recently and wanted to make sure.

    1. Hi Noah,
      You’ll never know until you give them a try. You might mike it!

      As for your recent email...I did receive it. I’ve just been really busy the last week or so. It’s flagged in my inbox for a reply as soon as I have a decent period to answer. So sorry, my friend!

    2. That would be "like it"!

    3. I may just have to give them a go! I would imagine that they are similar to puzzle boxes in how they solve, and I've enjoyed those quite a bit.

      No hurries on replying to my email! Puzzles come first, work comes second, and if there happens to be time for other things then that's an added bonus!

  2. How do you compare them in terms of design and difficulty to MINE's coin puzzles?
    It's a pitty that the appearance are very simple and not as attractive as MINE's coin puzzles.


    1. Hi Nico, I only have one of Mine's puzzles. Rex's puzzles are just as good, if not better but yes, not as pretty.

  3. How might one in far off California obtain such puzzles?

    1. Keep an eye out on the puzzle paradise auction site. When Rex has more made and ready for sale, he puts them up there for puzzlers to purchase. The site operates without fees and so is a pretty cheap way to buy and sell.

    2. Thanks again - just got a Barasoain!

    3. Awesome! Enjoy - it’s just the right difficulty level.