Sunday, 13 September 2020

The Power of Three

I cannot assemble it!
We have here a trio of three piece TICs. There are 2 common themes - Stunningly made by the "published professor" of wood, Brian Menold and insanely designed in his head by the talented but every so slightly warped Andrew Crowell. Whenever Brian creates and sells pretty much anything, I try to buy as much as I can afford. Partly because I am an addict, partly because I want to support him and the craftsmen but also because Brian is one of the nicest men alive! Despite having had some terrible trials and tribulations in his life he is always a delight to chat to and buy from. Nothing is too much trouble for him. The Turning Interlocking Cubes and others requiring rotations are amongst my favourite puzzles but sometimes they can be extremely difficult - I received a gorgeous copy of the RIPley rotational 6 piece board burr back in May and have still not yet worked out how to assemble it! Despite my failures, this does not stop me from buying more. One day, when I have lots of time, I might just manage to solve some of my backlog.

Now this trio of TICs share one other thing in common...they also have only a trio of pieces. Therefore they should be easy peasy, yes?! At least not for a dimwit like me. The one thing that is easy is working out how the pieces should end up oriented within the final assembled cube. However getting there can be quite troublesome. One advantage of these puzzles is that the amount of each individual wood is fairly large allowing a nice view of some gorgeous grain.

ThreeTIC was the first I tried and it was a significant challenge with 18 moves to assemble including 5 rotations. These are just the right level of challenge for me at the end of a hard day at the anaesthetic machine - plenty of random movements and trial and error but not enough to lose track of and get disheartened by. In reality this level of difficulty allows planned experimentation to try and fit it together - I would almost say that these are perfect to someone new to rotational interlocking puzzles. ThreeTIC took me a whole evening in front of the TV to produce a gratifyingly beautiful cube:

Just right
How should I store these? They look gorgeous assembled and obviously stack better that way but disassembly is much less of a challenge should I choose eventually to go back to it. For this reason, I have decided to store these on the shelf as pieces and have to hope that no-one in my house decides to mix them all up.
Caged cube #1
I cannot disassemble it!

I have done this with almost all of the rotational puzzles except for one which I cannot for the life of me disassemble any more. Caged cube # 1 remains assembled (it took me a very long time to assemble in any case) because I cannot even work out how to remove the first piece! I now disassemble all of them more or less straight away after I have taken my photos to prevent this happening again.

TriTIC was going to be described by Brian as a TIC with training wheels...that was until he tried to put it together and it took him 2 days. I am really best sticking to training puzzles and couldn't resist the smaller challenge of a 14 move assembly and 5 rotations. I must be similar in skill to Brian because it took me 2 evenings as well. It is great fun and indeed, perfect for a beginner - I have brought it to work a few times to torture colleagues. It's a shame that current working conditions leave me working solo so much of the time and with no time to torture surgeons and no access to trainee anaesthetists.

TriTIC assembled
Finally, in my most recent (and rather large) delivery from Brian, I received yet another three piece TIC - TriumviraTIC made from all the "hearts" (Red, Orange and Yellow) and looking beautiful. Brian sent it out practically assembled - the 2 larger pieces were already in place and the Yellowheart small piece was inserted where it needed to go but blocked from moving further in. Thanks Brian, that will be really helpful.! It wasn't. That small piece won't go further in without completely disassembling the larger assembly first and then working out which ones need to be placed together in which order.

There are quite a few rotations required and quite a nice dance around to allow the pieces to slide past each other. Another wonderful design needing just the right amount of thought. It's a challenge for an experienced numpty like me but also doable by a newbie as well.

TriumviraTIC in cube form
I have a bit of a backlog to work through including the incredibly difficult TwisTIC and a huge bunch of wire puzzles that I have made no headway on at all. I have 2 weeks of annual leave starting this week and hope to find some time. Unfortunately, my tax return awaits, I have a year's worth of filing to do and my study/puzzle room looks like a hurricane has gone through. Oh yes, I'm also trying to forget about the work needing to be done in the garden as we approach autumn.

So little many chores...too many puzzles to do.



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