Sunday 24 July 2022

I Lurve a Multi-Tasker

I also love a uni-tasker!

Six out of seven
This will be a really short article! I have been home alone all week as Mrs S went "oop north" to visit the outlaws and amuse herself with friends and not me. I had to stay home and look after the cat and the house, go to work, do some DIY (I'm a dab hand with silicone seal!) and try not to burn everything down. The pressure weighed heavily upon me and hence, I had very little chance to play with my toys. We also had a rather nasty heat-wave last weekend and the first few days of the week (my garden thermometer in the sun read 42ºC) which meant that sleep was hard to come by. The lack of sleep was not improved by the furry boy finding the movement of my feet under the sheet absolutely irresistible! I woke up several times a night for 4 nights with a blinding pain in my tootsies as hunting mode was engaged and he pounced, bit and killed. I just had no time or energy for puzzling.

Heaven in a cardboard box (or Hell?)
One thing I did manage occurred just as the heatwave began. I had been forced to sit and do nothing one afternoon and evening and just watch some crap on Netflix (stuff that Mrs S wouldn't normally tolerate) and I picked up something that my heat addled brain could just fiddle with. At the end of last year the Amazingly talented Alexander Magyarics had sent me a lovely (not so little) gift. he has bought himself a 3D printer (sigh! I wish I was allowed one) and had made copies of a bunch of his tray packing puzzles. Over the months I have even managed to solve a few of the easier ones but, unsurprisingly for me, I had failed to solve most of them. In my defence, a few of them are 2 layered packing puzzles with the layers interacting with each other and, with my skillz, I would have almost no chance. The Six out of seven puzzle should not have beaten me but what can I say? I am rubbish!

Being immobilised by heat and cat, who, for some reason, still insisted on lying along my legs despite the heat, I had no option other than to play for several hours with this puzzle which had been within reach since December. As the name implies, there are 7 challenges each of which uses six of the pieces. I have never used tetra-hexominoes before but they are rather tactile interesting shapes and really add to the complexity. This is much more difficult than had we just had ordinary square tetrominoes. The instructions said to place one of the pieces inside the tortoise shape and then fill the larger area completely with the other pieces. Man! The green and the red pieces have shapes that really work against you. I found the challenges that had one or other out of the equation only took me about 10 minutes each but the remaining puzzling that involved both of them was a huge challenge. 

It took me two whole trashy movies to solve all the challenges! I was so pleased with myself! Luckily, the end of the puzzling and the movies meant that I could disturb the furry hot-water bottle, get off the chair, and get myself something cold to drink before I expired from heat-stroke!

There are also symmetry and shape making challenges to go with these pieces which Alexander has sent me as pdf to print out:

As I say in the title of the post...I lurve a multi-tasker! I have been trying these in what limited time I have had this week and had almost no success at all but I am really enjoying having so many challenges in one puzzle. What an amazing gift - thank you my friend!

Later that evening:

Gobstopper v2
Gobstopper v2 pieces (I think)
I have had Gobbstoper v1 on display for ages and been too frightened to take it apart - I cannot model these hex structures in Burrtools and figure that if I get something apart there is no way that I will be able to put it back together again. For some reason the Gobstopper v2 had been left lying on my armchair next to me since it had arrived rather than being put straight on display with the rest of the Two Brass Monkeys stuff. My excuse was that it's very tactile and nice to roll around your hand. I never expected to actually take it apart. Apparently the v2 is the same shape and solution as the original Gamex puzzle by Bill Cutler. I do have a Hectix but I am really not certain whether that is the same. If it was then I might be able to try a simultaneous solve.

So what happened here? I picked it up in the evening and too my utter horror, I had oriented it in such a way that several pieces fell out all at the same time. OMG! This might get bad. I quickly wrapped my fist around it to prevent any more pieces falling out and worked out how they went back in. This wasn't too bad. I got bold and then sequentially took more pieces off whilst hoping that it would not collapse on my cat who seems to have razor-sharp claws again despite me clipping them a week ago. To my surprise, the disassembly is pleasant and stable (I should have realised that from the product description - but I had reflexly purchased without actually thinking about it). I had my pieces and took my photos. I can now assemble and disassemble this one at will.

This puzzle is a "duo-tasker" - there is an alternative assembly (apparently much more difficult to find). Can I find the other, more complex assembly? Hell no! I am terrible at assembly puzzles even when they are rectilinear. Hexagonal geometry upsets my feeble brain. I have singularly failed so far. If the Hectix (of which I do own 3 different copies) is the same as the Gamex and the same as the Gobstopper v2 then I might be able to try a simultaneous assembly. If anyone knows then please let me know and I will give it a try! I think that my pictures of the wooden Hectix that I own, the pieces look different. Maybe it is the Hectix revisited which I also own?

This weekend, in between cleaning the house before "she who scares the who world to death" gets home, doing more DIY and emptying the dishwasher, I received and have been playing with a Uni-tasker. This is Climburr, designed by Christoph Lohe and beautifully made by Matthew Nedeljko. This is the final one of the series that was designed alongside Andrew Crowell. Apparently, this was a difficult one to make and only Matthew would take it on. I had adored the previous two and basically HAD to buy the final one! So far it has been interesting and after making a small amount of progress, I am stuck!

My first puzzle from Matthew Nedeljko

It does appear that I had a better week than I thought! Maybe Mrs S needs to go away again? 😈😈😈

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