Sunday 9 October 2022

Kumikisaurus Made a Fool of Me on MS Teams!

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it is a Kumikisaurus!
Juno describes this as:
"This 9-piece dinosaur-shaped puzzle offers unique solutions for levels 10-13. That is, it takes 10 moves to remove the first piece from the assembled shape and another 13 moves to remove the second piece. It is a relatively easier puzzle compared to many of Juno's diabolic burr puzzles, yet it is still challenging to solve. Some of the pieces are shaped in such a way that it is obvious at a glance which parts need to be assembled where. The difficult part of the challenge is in which order the pieces have to be assembled.
The puzzle is shipped to the customer incorrectly assembled, so it must be disassembled and reassembled to form a perfect dinosaur shape."
It is 173 x 76 x 100mm, made from 9 pieces of Queensland Silver Ash. How could I resist?

As a fairly senior doctor (that means bloody old), I chair quite a few meetings for my organisation - they used to be in person but since the pandemic began they are almost all done via MS Teams (an abomination of a program but mandated by my employer). My aim in these meetings is to ensure that the various bits of equipment and consumables the wards and operating theatres can order and get sent are compatible and fit for purpose. There is a lot of work that goes into the background activities of running a major hospital. Now, many of these meetings are pretty niche and not terribly exciting (unless we are spending a LOT of money on new toys) and so I brighten the dullness up by setting my background as a view of my study (it is actually in front of me) and use an old picture showing a small fraction of my collection which many colleagues are astonished by.

Just one of the varying backdrops on MS Teams
A bit of a distraction!
I have to use an old picture because I have turned the study into a huge mess by not putting anything away for the best part of 9 months and Mrs S knows it! Whack! Ouch! The picture lightens the mood in a meeting before we have to get on with our real work. We also have our departmental educational and service meetings using the same system often attended by over 150 colleagues and associated paramedical staff. They know me and my "foibles/madness" and just look in amazement. If the meeting is not terribly interesting and I start to doze off (embarrassing in a video conference) then, to prevent it, I often start to play with one of my toys. Apparently I was a huge distraction during one conference when I spent a good hour solving the Skewby copter plus whilst being watched by everyone else who was supposed to be listening to a talk. I had completely forgotten that my video was still switched on after I had presented my bit. Whoops!  

Let's just say that Juno's latest creation had arrived and I might have done the same thing. Except this time I might just have made a fool of myself. That be would be another whoops! A couple of weeks ago Juno announced the imminent sale of his latest burr creation the Kumikisaurus. This is "obviously" a Kumiki puzzle of a dinosaur and it is very reminiscent of the collaboration with the fabulous Brian and Sue Young (MrPuzzle) in the creation of the wonderful Kumiki Airlines puzzle that I reviewed here.

Like the Kumuki airlines puzzle, the Kumikisaurus is sent out in an incorrect assembly (as pictured above) and whilst playing on screen, I received a couple of text messages to the effect of "nice bird" and I indignantly replied that it should be a dinosaur. Then my cat wandered through the camera view and I received a chorus of "nice pussy" comments which I sheepishly had to agree with. I sometimes think that my workmates have very poor attention spans...rather like me. 

During the proceedings, I explored the disassembly of the bird/pterodactyl and had a thoroughly nice time (I was still attentive to the discussion) as I gradually removed the first two pieces which required quite a lot of moves in a wonderful logical sequence. I then got a bit stuck trying to remove the third and found it very suddenly without expecting it when a couple if sticks fell out into my lap in front of the watching audience. I must have reflected the shock on my face inadvertently as someone noticed it and sent me a derisive text message. Blush! I then spent another 30 minutes during the meeting desperately trying to put it back together and back to the beginning. After a struggle I managed it and in relief put the puzzle down and stopped playing for the rest of the afternoon meeting. 

Back to play later that evening and I managed to disassemble it and was happy that I had sort of learned the approach:

9 Pieces of dinosaur
Having taken it apart, the challenge is to reassemble it in the correct shape so that it looks more like a Brontosaurus than a Pterodactyl. Now I am usually awful at assembly puzzles and fully expected to have to resort to Burrtools to solve this. Luckily, due to the shapes being relatively simple and with the top and bottom surfaces of the dino body having chamfering in the correct positions, the placement of many of the pieces were quite restricted. I set to, trying to find the placement that might work with the top section missing. I found a few possible assemblies with the top section off and tried to imagine the disassembly moves from the start and very rapidly realised that most are impossible. Having limited my possible positions, on my third attempt I found a series of piece placements that would allow me to begin a disassembly process. Despite having an awful memory and being truly rubbish at burr assembly, I managed to put it together in about an hour. This was awesome fun!

I actually assembled a burr from scratch!
Dinosaur shape at last.
I will still make myself a Burrtools file because that is half the fun with these things and prolongs my enjoyment of the puzzle. This puzzle is unfortunately sold out now but quite a lot were made. I am sure that one will come up at auction and it is worth getting a copy (don't pay a huge amount as it really is a relatively straightforward if fun challenge).

Thank you Juno! I loved it and it will end up on display in a prominent place once I finally get working on my study!

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