Sunday 20 December 2020

A Packing Aha! Moment

Oleo 10
I have heard on FB that a whole lot of you are having lots of Hex courtesy of Ali and Big Steve and whilst a few of you are having trouble getting it up or keeping it up and a few more are struggling to put it in the correct hole, you all seem to be having a lot of fun. Luckily the risk of unwanted pregnancy is very low and accidentally catching a hexually transmitted disease is unheard of. My experience at home is that it is also very good for decreasing viral transmission as it improves social distancing (Mrs S is not interested in going anywhere near me and my extra demands for Hex). I have heard that the lovely Gil has helped Allard have some very dramatic complex Hex and formed a threesome with Derek - I am very very envious.

I am working again this weekend unfortunately so a short review for you today. Lucky for me PuzzleMaster has helped provide something special to show you.

I am very aware that almost all of my blog posts tend to be about very expensive and often hard to get puzzles and this does make me feel slightly guilty as not everyone can afford those puzzles or can get there in time before they are sold out (I saw that Eric's latest production that I was interested in sold out in less than 3 minutes whilst I was at work). Luckily for me, PuzzleMaster contacted me with an offer to let me have a copy of the latest design by Yuu Asaka to review. I have previously reviewed the incredible Jigsaw 29 by Yuu-san and absolutely loved it after overcoming a few mind-boggling struggles. I also bought and solved the Jigsaw 19 direct from him and loved that as well. I am not a huge fan of plastic and acrylic puzzles in general because they lack the soul and beauty that I normally go for but there is something very special about these puzzles that really attracts me. I have been meaning to try and get hold of copies of his other packing puzzles for over a year now but not yet gotten around to it. I saw this first on Facebook when Mine was showing it off and hoping to make it available for a bunch of puzzlers and a day or so later it appeared on the PuzzleMaster site

The Oleo 10 is one of Yuu-san's classic tray packing puzzles - this one consists of 10 pieces to fit in the 12 x 10 cm tray. There are long thin 4 black rectangles which fill the tray perfectly and 6 bright red (happy) circles to fit into the cutouts in the rectangles. Usually packing puzzles with lots of pieces are extremely difficult but this design actually looks simple at first sight. Simple??? Silly boy! I thought so initially...just line up the rectangles in the correct order to get enough holes to fill with all 6 circles. Yes, well erm...maybe not quite that simple.

There never seems to be 6 complete holes!
I fiddled with this when it arrived before having to cook dinner and even managed to get Mrs S ever so slightly interested (I think that she was just relieved that I wasn't pestering her for Hex again) and after a minute of play she gave up in disgust. After dinner we sat down for some TV and I worked on it with some help from one of the cats (not actually very helpful as he wouldn't lie still and kept knocking pieces out of my hands). 

After about an hour I came to the conclusion that I was doing it wrong (just like when I have Hex!) and I had to have a little think© - normally a painful thing for me. This time I had a sudden realisation that there was a very clever little trick I could try and this might produce something interesting. Another 5 minutes and it was solved - very clever! This is not a hugely tough puzzle - PuzzleMaster rate it as an 8 on their 5 to 10 scale and I might be tempted to say 7½. Despite the low difficulty level this is a wonderful little challenge and well worth adding to any puzzler's collection. After you have solved it, you really need to hand this to the non-puzzlers in your lives as it will keep them occupied for a little while but not be impossible for them to solve with a little thought. Just right as a belated Xmas present maybe? 

I really need to get the rest of Yuu-san's puzzles quite soon - there is just something so compulsive about them.

I hope that you all have a lovely Christmas - try to stay safe out there. Whilst it is not nice to avoid seeing your family and friends at this time of year (or any time), you really do not want to spread this awful virus around and possibly be responsible for the deaths of your nearest and dearest. Please try to stay at home and not mix with others outside your households. We can see that things have taken a turn for the worst throughout Europe - things are getting really tough in my own hospital now and I hate to think how bad it will be whilst at work when this post publishes on the Sunday afternoon. The US catastrophe continues on its' horrific path. Hospitals everywhere are filling up and quite soon we will be forced to turn people away at the doors despite being very ill and elective admissions will need to stop making cancer and cardiovascular outcomes worse. Just stay home and look after yourselves...please!

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