Sunday 26 September 2021

An Advantage Of A Frightening Wife...

Is that she might make me find something I had forgotten!

Mrs S was very fed up with this!
The puzzles that I reviewed last week have been released by the New Pelikan workshop - they are seriously good!! Go get them now whilst they last.

I have mentioned on several occasions that I have a rather frightening Scottish wife who also happens to have had many years of training and experience as a nurse - this has a number of connotations:
  1. The violence genes are very prominent in the Scots (especially when considering the English)
  2. The violence genes are "X-linked" which means that the female of the species has double copies
  3. 1 & 2 combined leave me cowering under the table or bed or behind the sofa quite a lot of the time
  4. Nurse training teaches the violently inclined Scottish female many specialist techniques in the infliction of pain (both mental and physical) with the leaving of marks/evidence as "optional"
  5. 3 & 3 combined means that I get very little sleep as I keep an eye open all night to see the Whack! Ouch! coming (luckily my years as a junior doctor in the 90s prepared me well for little sleep)
  6. 1-4 & 5 leave me very susceptible to suggestion by "she who frightens the Northern hemisphere".
The end result of all the above is that I have 10 days of annual leave and my plan to spend it lazing around and playing with my rather frightening backlog of unsolved puzzles was not going to happen (thank you to Michael Q for pointing out to me that I maybe have more unsolved than solved). She said that the desk was beyond a joke and even the cats were unhappy! The cats like to watch out the window but struggle to get up and down from there when there is no space on the desk for them to use as a launchpad/landing area. She said that the basket under the window was looking very unsightly. Unfortunately I sort of had to sheepishly agree.

She then had the temerity/bravery to open one of the cupboards in the study and told me that things had to be sorted:

This is a couple of years out of date - it is MUCH worse now!
Finally she twisted my arm behind my back, frogmarched me into the porch where we had a pine chest of drawers. I had taken over almost all of it with metal and wire puzzles and she wanted the space back! In fact, the weight of the puzzles had been so great that two of the drawer handles had snapped when I tried to open them to stuff even more toys inside. 

The weekend of my annual leave saw Mrs S snap and threaten me with extremes of violence that even she had never dreamed of before. I cowered in the corner (because I could not slide under the chest of drawers and first thing on Monday morning I worked out on the rower (heaven help me if I get fat as well as untidy!) and went straight to work in the porch.

Oh Lord! I have a LOT of puzzles! One thing I was surprised to see, as I transferred them from draw to storage container, was that I had actually solved almost all of them. It was a really time consuming task as I had to identify everything and then catalogue where they were going to be stored - I have a database of what I own but it doesn't (yet) have a field for location). 
My Hanayama basket was transferred en-masse up to my upstairs puzzle room (into the Billy bookcases that are so ubiquitous amongst us puzzlers), then the hundreds and hundreds of disentanglement puzzles needed to be identified and placed in appropriate boxes in the correct grouping. 

After clearing the chest of drawers I could replace the handles and move on to the twisty cupboard. The twisties are going to stay in there but spread out a bit and the overspill of wire and vintage packing/movement puzzles taken into storage.

I expected to have to fill 2 or 3 storage boxes filled when I had finished and for it to take me just a day or two. Oh boy! I am seriously not very bright! I had no idea that it would take me 4 whole days of 6 or 7 hours each to do it! I ended up with the desk still looking like a shithole although the corner basket was cleared and the cupboard ready for rearrangement:

Much better....sort of!
Much better....nearly!
That's as far as I have got and I now have the prospect of finding space for this in the garage:


They don't look organised but everything is listed and the boxes numbered. Almost every single puzzle has been solved (part of the reason for the slow pace was that I might have gotten side-tracked into playing for a while on numerous several occasions. I have a little basket of "recent toys" and toys I never got around to playing with and as a result I got playing with a lovely pair of puzzles that I bought from Wil Strijbos quite some time ago when I last met him at an MPP. They are both sequential movement puzzles which I am usually terrible at but these come with an extra twist to them. Turn Over pentomino and Flying Tetra both by Naoyuki Iwase (aka Osho) 

These are lovely little portable puzzles with a serious challenge to them. The former comes with 34 challenges and the latter with 24. They should keep me busy for quite a while! In fact I expect Mrs S to make me do more tidying before I have finished! What are the rules?

In "Turn over pentomino" there is a start position for all the pieces and in each move you are allowed to Slide, jump, rotate or turn over one of the pieces. The aim is to finish with every piece in the tray flipped 180º horizontally. The challenges range from requiring from 10 to 22 moves to achieve the aim and so far I have completed about 10 of the easier challenges and sheepishly I have to own up that not a single one has been solved in the correct number of moves! I am just happy that they have been solved at all!

For Flying Tetra the aim is to place the pieces in a start position and slide, jump, rotate or turn over one of the pieces in turn until you end up at a set ending position. I find this one much more satisfying because the end point is easier to discern and the goal is always there in front of you. There are only 4 simple pieces but it is still a significant challenge. I have only completed the first 12 of the puzzles in the list.

I have also been desperately working in the evenings on a wonderful new Twisty puzzle. I received a fabulous gift from Twistytex of his special version of the 3x5x7 "Ultimate shapeshifter" cuboid. This was the very first one of this type to be produced many years ago and set me firmly on the path of enjoying more complex twisty puzzles. Whilst checking it out, I might have "inadvertently" scrambled it:

Twistytex' 3x5x7
That was really silly!
Having scrambled it, I realised that I had forgotten every single one of my cuboid algorithms! I also had not even solved a 3x3 or 4x4 for many months. It was back to the basics for this one. I have refreshed my abilities with basic cubes and am desperately trying to work out how to solve the cuboid without algorithms. I am trying to use a block method but am having trouble getting to grips with the movemnts. It might take me some time!       If she will let me!

Whatever you do, don't let Mrs S see this list of puzzles from Aaron! I am rather ashamed at how few of them I have managed to solve! I have kept the unsolved ones out for me to work on (and no doubt fail).

Dear lord! I am rubbish at disentanglement puzzles!


  1. Sounds like you are better organised than me. And you've solved Scissors 1 and 2, both of which I haven't!


    1. They are incredibly difficult! Each one took me several weeks!

  2. I've gone to the plastic tubs too. There are some with gaskets and tight snaps all around. Good for keeping the moisture out!


    1. We have to do what we have to do. None of mine have gaskets to make them moisture tight but none of them contain fancy wood.