Sunday 31 May 2020

A Fun Three Piece Worry Bead

A short one today - I have been on-call this week and am working again on Sunday (whilst this post goes live) and have had to prepare something in advance without much time for puzzling. Today I am focussing on a pretty metal puzzle from PuzzleMaster. A version of this should be in every puzzler's collection.

I reviewed the latest bespoke metal puzzle, Chiasma, from Yavuz Demirhan and PuzzleMaster a couple of weeks ago and was delighted with the quality of the construction and how it really added to the solution of the puzzle. In the same package, I also received a few more from the PuzzleMaster metal series and have had a little time to play with two of those. The Slideways puzzle is a classic - it's a 3 piece burr-shape that's not actually a burr, it's a lovely coordinate motion puzzle. I have never played with this puzzle in this shape before despite it having been around for quite a while. My versions are rather lovely shape transformations from Pelikan, the Slideways cube and two variants of the Slideways ball:



Double Slideways Ball
I know that Eric Fuller made really nice versions of the Slideways burr some time ago but I did not pick up either copy then so I was delighted to try a metal version (I am not a complete wood snob!) This one comes rather beautifully packaged to show it off and hold it in position:


Beautifully held in place
As you can see, this is a nice cerise coloured anodised aluminium and is rated as a level 6 on PuzzleMaster's difficulty scale of 5 to 10 which I would agree with - it is pretty straightforward in terms of puzzling and mostly is an object of delight for fiddling with. The movement makes it a wonderful fidget toy.

It won't fall apart, the pieces need to be pulled just right and you quickly end up admiring 3 beautifully identical burr pieces:

3 identical sticks - notice the angled cuts

For the reassembly, it is a simple matter of working out the correct orientation of the 3 pieces with respect to each other and then holding them all just right to allow them to slide together in a really satisfying way. The positioning needs to be fairly accurate before they will slide but not requiring pinpoint accuracy. This does make this version quite a lot more forgiving than the various wooden versions which need very very fine positioning. I have been using this as a sort of worry bead/stress reliever at home for a week or so and so far have avoided a Whack! Ouch! from Mrs S for the clinking.

Is it worth buying? I definitely think so - it is a classic, a fun thing to play with and very nicely made. At $20CA, you cannot go wrong.

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