Sunday 29 January 2023

Thou Shalt Never Use External Tool...

Except When Given Permission by Dee

Bad Moon by Dee Dixon
The moon has feet!
Yes, Puzzleboxes tend not to be my thing but I had been led astray by a friend and bought the wonderful Angry Walter which made it into my top 5 of 2022. This certainly made me very interested in what Dee was going to produce in the future and then, at the last MPP, a prototype copy was doing the rounds which I studiously avoided playing with because I sort of knew that I wanted to buy and solve my own copy. I slantways watched a blind man solve it and throughly enjoy himself which reinforced my determination. After all, if a blind man can manage it then I might stand half a chance. Although...come to think of it, Allard seems to use the blind man to solve quite a few of his boxes that he cannot solve himself. I suspect that Ed is a savant! I was delighted a few weeks ago when Dee put out that he had made a whole bunch of them and put them up for sale. There were plenty for all interested puzzlers and it took 24 hours for them to sell out. Even I was able to get one in time.

I followed it as it moved stepwise across the USA and then stepped onto an airplane and promptly disappeared for quite a while. After a few weeks it suddenly arrived in the Royal Mail's hands (I presume that HM Customs and Excise had spent time examining and X-raying it before deciding it was not harmful. Except it was harmful to my mental health for a day!

The aim is to find the maker's brand inside the puzzle and, as with Angry Walter: 
no force or prying necessary
no spinning necessary
no striking or hitting necessary
no crying or whining unless necessary 

Then later, an emailed extra instruction that we cannot insert our fingers inside any further than the fingertips. Damn! He removes the only chance I have!

This puzzle had a wonderful progression... at first, you find something which is the only thing that moves and wonder what you can do with it. A little exploration shows that it can be removed and then further movement happens but stops abruptly but revealed something new. There are plenty of "what if I?" moments and some of them are rewarded with a lovely Aha! moment.

I struggled for a day with the second step. I had a "thing", I had a couple of places the "thing" would fit and it didn't seem to help. Stuck as usual. After a couple of evenings of doing the same thing over and over again, I heard something whilst doing that same thing. Yessss! Aha! It took me another little while to convert that sound into a step but I got there. This might explain why I am rubbish at puzzles - I spend most of my time playing whilst watching a noisy TV with Mrs S and maybe I miss these important noises?

As you explore there are more steps and more pieces to use. It really is a fun progression. After a few days I really thought I was getting somewhere and I had a small piece which I didn't know what to do with and in desperation, I wondered to myself:

"Self, do you think that putting this small piece inside the main puzzle and then pushing it further in with the main piece might be helpful?"

"Yes, I don't think it can do any harm and might just be helpful"

In the words of the venerable Captain Mainwaring: "You Stupid Boy". I performed the appropriate move and my latest piece of the puzzle disappeared inside and gulp, wouldn't come out again. I tried everything I could think of and even committed the cardinal sin of bashing it in various different directions to persuade it to come out. Nothing would work! I sinned again by inserting my fingers all the way inside and nope, it was out of reach. I had no idea where it had gone. Help! I have killed my new lovely toy. I got on FB messenger with Dee and he couldn't think where it could have gotten caught and apart from the bashing he did not know how such a thing could happen. He even apologised for me being stupid! Such a lovely man. He did give me permission to use other tools: JUST for retrieving this piece.

I took a wooden skewer which I could curve and tried to use that to dislodge it blindly - nope, that wasn't going to work either. I knew I had to take ultimate measures! Time to take it to work with me the following day and use something special:

I need access to a whole lot of toys to allow me to insert lots of nasty objects into all sorts of places. As an anaesthetist, I tend to stay at the top end of the lucky contestant as much as I can - I leave the other end to other specialists like Steve (although sometimes I have no choice - Eeeew). I sometimes use a video laryngoscope for either fiberoptic intubation or just plain intubation under indirect vision. It is a great way to see around corners. One of the devices we use is a Glidescope. I had some spare teaching disposables and had a little fiddle, much to the amusement of my ODP:

Light on and ready
Perfect fit and view
Aha! I could see that my piece had gotten wedged sideways into a groove in the base of the puzzle. I've put the phot behind a spoiler button Only click it if you really want to. BUT There is nothing in the photo that really tells you much about the solution to the puzzle.

Having established what was causing my problems I had another special tool. I usually use it for insertion of nasogastric feeding tubes or helping with intubation but it's equally good at retrieval of lost objects - I have only ever knocked out a tooth/crown once in 28 years as an anaesthetist!

Time to go fishing under video guidance
Yay! I had my missing piece and took the puzzle home to play later that evening. The final step took me a couple of evenings as I could not for the life of me work out how to use what I had to continue the odyssey. Finally, I realised there were some slots and pieces I had not used yet and with trepidation I inserted pieces into places and pushed...

Yesssssss! The Bad moon had revealed it's final secret:

Dee's mark is revealed.
I can heartily recommend playing with this puzzle if you get a chance. It is BIG and heavy (10" x 5" x 2.5" - 850g) made from Bubinga and European Beech. The grain and colour is stunning.

Sunday 22 January 2023

I Have a Storage Problem...

Solving the puzzles doesn't help!

Oskar's Paperclips
The detail is wonderful!
Mrs S has mentioned to me on several thousand occasions that I need to sort out my study! I always acknowledge the issue and then carry on playing with my toys and (shock/horror) keep buying more which adds to my storage issues. At the end of 2019 I had finally managed to acquire a set of Oskar's paperclips. I had been drooling over these for years, ever since I had seen it on Allard's website right back at the beginning of my puzzling career. I saw this as a fun puzzle but also an absolute masterpiece of puzzle manufacture - it looked so fragile and yet was perfectly safe to play with. I had attempted several times to get a copy through various auctions but had always been beaten. Finally Eric reproduced it for a third time and I was fast enough on my keyboard to get one of the 53 copies. This version in Grenadillo and Maple (unlike the previous 3 wood version) was one of only 53 made. The workmanship is superb with shoulder joints and reinforcing splines.

The puzzle was sent out disassembled with the pieces sandwiched between polythene fabric for safety. After taking my initial photos and having a quick fiddle, I put this on the shelf next to me to keep them safe from inadvertent damage and to prevent a certain cat gnawing on the ends (he couldn't resist small pokey objects for chewing). The flatpack nature of the puzzle as delivered was perfect for placing amongst books and pamphlets (it was next to my CFF journals). Over the months it sort of got hidden and I, blush, forgot about it - for 3 years!!!

This week, I was forced to do a little tidying up (not a lot) and came across my hoarded masterpiece. It was well stored but needed to be on show. Out it came and I had a little play. The dimensions are perfect. Everything slides and fits together with millimetre accuracy and I had a fun time exploring. I did use the picture on Puzzlewillbeplayed to work out the relative orientation of the pieces and the see the end result. Armed with that, I started work - the disassembly level is 15.2 and so was not going to be easy. It certainly is pretty confusing. There is a lot of movement possible at any one time but this means that there is a long way between moves and a lot to undo if you get stuck. 

It is extremely logical and actually solves more by thought than randomly trying things. It took me a while to realise that and I spent a happy couple of evenings playing with it before finishing my assembly.

Boy! It's tough to get good photo of this!
It is certainly even more beautiful having been assembled but now I have even more of a takes up MUCH more space like this and I need to find somewhere to put it. I very much doubt that Mrs S will let me keep it in the living room (where it probably should go) and there is no room amongst all of the rest of the "Fuller shelves". Sigh! I can see a complete reorganisation in my future sometime!

Sunday 15 January 2023

I Lurve All Kinds of Cuboid

Fountain by Stephan Baumegger
Just a really quick post this week - Mrs S has left me.......alone for a week. She has buggered off to Edinburgh to catch up with friends and the outlaws and I have been at home fending for myself for a week. You might expect me to have done a LOT of puzzling but, alas, no. I have been working my little backside off in the NHS and then at home not had much time or energy left after doing the chores and looking after a rather bereft cat. I'm also working on the day this gets published leaving me even less time to play. What I did do was pick up another puzzle off my pile o' puzzles that shame me. 

I have always professed a love for geometry. I even studied several years of Maths courses with the Open University and revelled in the geometry stuff in the courses. Puzzling is particularly good for geometric challenges and in the past I have expressed a huge enjoyment playing with twisty puzzles with different ways of rotation or different geometric shapes and in particular adored the cuboids - I have a very popular article on their classification and was truly delighted to receive a gift of one of the most difficult ones from Casey (aka TwistyTex). BUT there is also another set of cuboids that I really adore. I have managed to acquire quite a large set of cubes and cuboids from Alfons Eyckmans - the Happiness cubes are infamous in the MPP but he also made me a gorgeous set of interlocking cubes of his own design of which I have only managed to dismantle a few.

Some from 2018
More from 2021
I was delighted when Stephan showed off one of his early creations that he had made a bunch of and put up for sale early last year. Of course I could not resist another cuboid in my collection.

It has been taunting me in my to be solved tray next to my armchair for nearly a year. It has frightened me to death because there are quite a lot of choices for moves from the beginning and once a few are made then there is a LOT of movement possible. Initially I kept picking it up and then putting it down in fear (frightened of ending up with a partially dismantled puzzle and no way to return to the beginning). Eventually, this week, shame overcame me and I really went for it.

Ultimately there is a very nice path with less blind ends than I initially thought. I got stuck for a few days on the main path because of an initial fixation on a move that proved to be impossible and then because I just couldn't find a way to proceed. Finally, after about 4 hours of attempts and much swearing, I found a crucial move - the Aha! moment was wonderful. The first piece comes out after "just" 19 moves and then the rest of the disassembly is fairly easy. I had a nice pile of wood to photograph and then enough information to make my BT file.

Beautifully made
There was no way this was going back together without the aid of the computer. Luckily I love entering these into BT to find the solution. It certainly takes a bit of dexterity to hold the puzzle pieces in place to reassemble it. Once the 7th or 8th piece goes in then it becomes more self supporting as I don't have enough fingers for more and am alone at home just now (not that Mrs S is a willing helper!)

If you also would like a copy then contact Stephan via his FB page.

Sunday 8 January 2023

Finding the First Steps Usually Helps...

but not in every case!

Lock & Key
Always useful to have a diagram
Only level 7!
I seem to buy a LOT of puzzles from my friend Aaron Wang! I don't solve very many puzzles from my friend Aaron Wang! I put this down to a deficiency in my own brain because the puzzles are all very nicely made and well illustrated with an instruction diagram. Plus, I know that Aaron himself has solved them all - many of them he solves in his head. You would think that I should have no problem with these, I have had lots of practice and have a lot of empty space in my head (according to Mrs S) so there should be plenty of room for solving. Alas, that does not appear to be the case...not even occasionally. I think I have only managed to solve 1 of the previous batch which was allegedly a level 9. The MUCH easier level 7, Telescope (pictured right), still has me beaten. I keep all the ones to be solved in a little basket in the conservatory where I can idly pick one up periodically and do battle before putting it back having been humbly beaten yet again.

During the week, I had an idle 15 minutes with no assigned chores and some time to myself. I, yet again, picked up the rather beautiful Lock & Key puzzle, designed by the rather incredible DDK who is responsible for rather a lot of designs that I cannot solve. I keep returning to this one because it looks lovely and also there is a quick release in the string for the (frequent) occasion when a knot is formed. I have to say that I think that ALL string type puzzles should come with these as I have permanently murdered a few puzzles by getting into an awful tangle that I could not return from. It is hard to tell from the picture but it is not actually obvious how to start the puzzle solve - there is no direction to feed the string that screams go this way. In actual fact the first step on this one requires a twist of the loop which I always hesitate with. Eventually I bit the bullet and just tried a few different first steps and always ended up in either a knot or a dead end and had to restart. This time, however, I tried something and realised with a start that this puzzle is N-ary! I had had thoughts but wasn't really sure until this point. 

I lurve N-ary puzzles and this one is particularly fun - it is fiddly due to small rings and quite easy to get lost in the sequence and find yourself at an impasse or back where you came from. Having had my Aha! moment and made what looked like progress, I found myself at another spot where it wasn't really clear how to progress (another first step problem). This time I stuck with it and tried a few different "late first steps" and food what I was looking for - the N-ary sequence was underway again. After getting lost a couple of times I could breathe a sigh of relief and put it down ready for a new photo:

At last - 5 months of attempts!
I will be using the clasp to reset it and then solving again before attempting the reverse assembly process.

Having solved that one which I belatedly realised was N-ary, I had yet another try at the Ratchet puzzle (bought in September 2001) which quite obviously was N-ary:

Ratchet - beautifully made in steel
Diagram less helpful?
As soon as you look at it, you know that it is N-ary. The initial step in the solution was also not immediately obvious to me. There is a tiny clue to the first step in the wiring diagram but it is very subtle and I had missed it for 5 months. I should have found it much sooner but being made of steel, this one is not just jingly - it clangs and clanks! If you think that jingling upsets Mrs S then you should see what clanging does! The bruises were visible from a distance! I could only play with this infrequently when I was properly alone. After solving the Lock & Key and filled with N-ary strength, I started on Ratchet (this one had been entered into the 2022 IPP design competition) and for the first time had an Aha! moment - I found something special and then was able to see it on the diagram. Progress at last!

And that is where it stopped. Having found an obvious first step, I cannot convert it into a second step! The string is quite long which will almost certainly be deliberate and unfortunately there is no quick release mechanism so when I try a few things, I quickly get scared of a knot and return to the beginning. To be perfectly honest, all the possible second steps that I have attempted have not really led to anything good anyway.  

Alas, just because I find a first step does not necessarily mean I can find the next. It has gone back in my naughty basket of puzzles still to be solved - Sigh.

If you would like to be tortured by Aaron then he shows off his creations on his Facebook page.

Sunday 1 January 2023

Happy New Year! My top ten(ish) puzzles of 2022

Still a shithole!

Happy New Year everyone! I have no idea what happened to 2022! It went by in a haze of work with a little bit of puzzling providing some relief. We are not finished with this pandemic but the knock on effects of lock downs and down turns in the economy has made working in the NHS a bit of a nightmare to put it mildly. I am very much hoping that 2023 will be a better year for everyone.

As for puzzles…it was a pretty good year for acquisitions and I spent a fortune yet again. For solving, it has been much less wonderful - time has been hard to come by and the complexity of my work has gone up so much that I cannot concentrate on any toys during a case and I don’t get any breaks between cases to play. I do hope that next year provides a little respite and I can make some headway on clearing my rather embarrassing backlog. I bought quite a few wonderful and highly rated puzzles from the late and sadly missed Eric Fuller and have barely managed to play, let alone solve any of them. The number of Eric’s puzzles that were shown at Peter Hajek’s End of Year Puzzle Party was a very heartening tribute and reminded me of how many I had to catch up on.

Almost there

These are just outside my top ten(ish) puzzles purely because there were so many great designs and creations that towards the end I had to arbitrarily push a few to this group:

Legal Packing

Holy crap! I found this so so difficult!
It’s just plastic, it’s just a tray packing puzzle, it hasn’t won any awards! It bloody took me 2 years to solve it! The final Aha! moment was wonderful with a truly elegant solution which meant that it had to end up in my top ten solves of 2022 for that very reason

Castle sets 

I have watched in awe as my friend Tamás Vanyó showed off his amazingly complex puzzle designs on his FB page. His castle type designs (Castle builder set and Minas Tirith) looked particularly gorgeous and challenging. I was stunned to when Jakub and Jaroslav decided to make any of them because the complexity was incredibly high. Not only did they do a wonderful job but they improved the designs by adding a marble maze inside. These puzzles are on display on my desk next to me!

On with my top ten(ish) puzzles solved in 2022:

13) Stir the Coffee

Stir the coffee
Jakub and Jaroslav always create beautiful pieces and they rely heavily on great designers to provide them with puzzles that we will not only love to look at but will also love to play with. A simple burr (or even a horrifically complex one) is not something they will go for. There has to be something fun, some kind of special Aha! moment or a whimsy about the design that will stimulate them to put the not inconsiderable work in to bring a puzzle to life. Dan Fast has turned his hand to burr design for quite a few years now and has started to 3D print them for sale via his FB page. Many of his designs are very high level (too high for me) but some have an element of whimsy to them. The Stir the Coffee burr produced by Pelikan was just such a burr. I looked gorgeous and the solving process was such fun. It had to be one of my puzzles of the year.

12) Packing with Alexander

Sliders 2
Alexander Magyarics has a tremendous talent with all sorts of packing puzzles. I have a bunch of his 3D printed tray puzzles which vary from sublime to ridiculous in difficulty level. I keep returning to them and failing and then putting them away for a while. Luckily for us puzzlers, he has also had a bunch of his 3D TIC type packing puzzles made in wood by either Brian Menold or Pelikan and a few have been astonishingly difficult yet astonishingly good. I have to pick out the Sliders 2 from early in the year which was stunning and also the Insider puzzle from July and still available.

11) The aMAZEing Puzzlebox

The aMAZEing Puzzlebox
I have read about several designers who make their puzzles from Lego bricks and either sell them as completed puzzles or sell the plans for others to build. They have always intrigued me but never quite tipped me over to spending cash yet. I’m not entirely sure why…it may be my irrational aversion to plastic puzzles (I only buy a few of them), or possibly because they are “puzzle boxes” which I “don’t collect”. More likely, it is fear that they might entice me into the world of Lego which might end up with a murder in the PuzzleMad household (that would be mine!). When Peleg offered me a copy of his aMAZEing Puzzlebox to review, I couldn’t say no and thoroughly enjoyed working my way through the sequence of steps and discovering the various tools and establishing where to use them. I suspect that I am hooked!

10) Climburr

I have admired many of Christoph Lohe’s amazing designs over the years and have watched the fabulous development of Matthew Nedeljko’s fine wood craftsmanship for a couple of years. When they teamed up to produce the third and final puzzle in Chris' TIC series and the final one, Climburr, had design input from the TIC-Master himself (Andrew Crowell), I had to add one to my collection. The previous two (Chamburr and Cyborg) had been in last year’s Top 10. I was not disappointed - it was beautifully made with a lovely sequence of moves which were a nice challenge to find. This is a wonderful end to the trio which I keep together despite being made by different craftsmen.

I did manage to get a copy of the Jammed Gem when it came out and have only had time to idly play with it so far. It was in several of the top 3 puzzles at Peter’s EPP and I must try harder!

9) Akaki’s Picnic

Akaki's Picnic Basket
The late Eric Fuller only ever produced puzzles that he personally thought were fun and challenging. He had seen the amazing designs of Picnic baskets with items to pack inside created and 3D printed by Akaki Kuumeri. I had bought them because they looked gorgeous and I am a sucker for a puzzle set. I had not had time to play with them for nearly a year until I was told off by Ali for being so tardy. On his advice, I moved them to the top of my queue and took them on holiday with me to Edinburgh. As is usual with Ali (and of course, Eric) he was right. Each puzzle literally only has 4 simple pieces to place in the 3x3x3 cube yet the challenge is still tremendously fun and surprisingly difficult to do. Having left it untouched for such a long time, I now have it in my top 10 of the year!

8) Snappy Burr

Snappy burr
Jerry has appeared in almost every top 10 of mine since I began doing them. His puzzles are always instantly recognisable and are beautifully made from lovely wood with a very fine lacquer finish. What marks Jerry’s work from others is the incredible complex puzzle locking mechanisms that he creates. I don’t know how his brain works - he is definitely not like the rest of us but I am very grateful for his work. He gets very easily distracted and when he is supposed to be making puzzles for people on his list, he gets side-tracked and designs something new. Then he cannot resist taking the time to make it and I am lucky to be one of the puzzlers he asks for an opinion from. The Snappy burr was immediately delightful for the magnetic snapping movement it made which ended up as a bit of a fidget toy for me for a rather long time. Completion of this puzzle took me rather a long time because Jerry has used a set of moves that I have never seen him do before. It was quite fun to discover and the reassembly was a challenge too. I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next year!

7) Loki

No, not the Marvel character but it was a devil of a challenge. Boaz Feldman has exploded onto the puzzle lock scene with triumph after triumph! I received a copy of Loki, his sequential discovery lock puzzle early in the year and it took me over two weeks to manage a complete solution. There is considerable extra fun because the reset mechanism also has to be worked out since it is not the same as the opening mechanism. Boaz has a new puzzle released recently and this has reminded me that I really need to get a copy as soon as possible.

6) Pelikan’s Burr Zoo contributions 

Waltzing Whales and Hippo Burr

Boo burr and Dino 2 

This year has been an incredibly creative success for Jakub and Jaroslav’s Pelikan puzzles - they produced dozens and dozens of phenomenal puzzles with a very diverse list of puzzle types and from many wonderful designers. You all know that I adore burrs (as long as they are not too difficult and particularly love the puzzles with hidden internal pieces making them part of Goetz' burr zoo. They started the year very strong with Waltzing Whales designed by one of the masters - Alfons Eyckmans. In May they added two more, Hippo burr and Boo Burr both by James Fortune - the hippo was particularly amazing fun!Dino 2, another one of Alfon’s creation was part of the September release and again brilliant fun with just the right level of complexity for me. Finally just sneaking another one in for Christmas, they produced the fabulous Dracula, also from Alfons (my goodness, he had a great year!) which is a 6 piece burr with sticks based on a 3x3x9 grid forming a wonderful maze-like solve process with the bonus of an extra piece inside.

5) Visitor Q+ and Res Q

ResQ by Eric
VisitorQ+ by Frederic
Well what can I say? Frederic Boucher is a master puzzle designer with an eye for challenges that are very different for most of the usual puzzles we see. He had created the Visitor Q (my version is a unique “plus” version) and then collaborated with the Doctor of wood, Eric Fuller to create the ResQ. Unfortunately I had missed out on this due to shopping cart difficulties when it came out. On hearing that, Frederic very generously gave me a special copy of VisitorQ last year and I had singularly failed for a very long time. I was then very kindly lent the ResQ by a trusting friend and I failed for a while with that but persevered with solving them both side by side. The space odyssey that I went through was truly mind blowing and a huge amount of fun. The final move on the ResQ took me days to work out and left me with the feeling that two of the very best in the world had collaborated to produce something absolutely incredible!

4) Angry Walter

Angry Walter
Another puzzle box that I was not sure about buying until a friend of mine corresponded and worked very hard to convince me that it was well worth the outlay and the time. As usual, I saw within a few minutes that I had been stupid to be so reticent. Dee Dixon’s DEDwood crafts has produced a number of stunning puzzle boxes over the last couple of years and they have been very well received by the community and won prizes in the Design competition. Indeed, Angry Walter won a top 10 vote getters prize this year. I got stuck on several parts of the solution and a very gentle nudge got me going - I had a wonderful time solving this and I am now completely converted to Dee’s puzzles.

3) Burr Bot and Burr Bank

I count myself very lucky to have managed to buy copies of Andrew Crowell’s new obsession. Having previously mastered the skill of TIC design, he moved on to sequential discovery puzzles that utilise burr features as well as sequential discovery tools. Burr bot was a wonderful introduction to his whimsy which was just preparation to the tour de force that was Burr bank which had many Aha! moments and a led me to a false sense of success before I realised there was yet more to do. These creations are “only” 3D printed plastic but are still absolutely stunning and remain on display in my puzzle cabinets rather than put away in a drawer.

2) Mittan

Another habitual entrant in my top 10 is the incredible Junichi Yananose who’s store is constantly inundated with wonderful creations in several puzzle genre’s. The amazing Mittan was a masterpiece that allowed my to buy a puzzlebox and a sequential discovery puzzle in one piece. Being a gorgeous cat shape, it was acceptable (even liked) by Mrs S and allowed to remain on the mantlepiece in our living room. The sequence of moves is a lovely fun thing to explore with just the right difficulty level. The final step had me stumped for nearly a week and required a lot of thought before I found what Juno had masterfully hidden. I eventually had the cat’s bell and his little fish dinner (thankfully not bread this time).

Such an amazing range of puzzles from Juno
Juno had not been only responsible for one fabulous challenge in 2022! He created yet more board burrs with some very unusual pieces in them as well as the Card case which had the most wonderful mechanism to explore (literally).

1) Dr Latussek Packs A Punch

Fermat meets Fuller - a masterpiece and a fitting tribute to Eric

My top acquisition for Peter Hajek’s EPP had to be the incredible, mind-bending, Fermat meets Fuller packing puzzle designed by Dr Volker Latussek and stunningly produced by Pelikan. I began the review of this on my site with the words “Buy this puzzle! It is incredible!” and I have to stand by this - it is one of the most wonderful puzzles to solve I have ever seen. Volker has expanded from cylindrical packing pieces to blocks and now to triangular prisms. This puzzle was beautifully and accurately made as you would expect from Pelikan and is very difficult. There are quite a few potential arrangements of the pieces but none achievable in the restricted entry of the box until you find a critical move which is absolutely stunning. The Aha! moment was one of the best of 2022. I am amazed that I managed to solve it (the original Fermat remains unsolved)

Having singled out the Fermat for Fuller as my best of the year, I cannot stop without mentioning a few of the other creations from the twisted mind of Volker!

The recent Eros which is STILL available from Pelikan and PuzzleMaster has shades of the much loved Casino which was my number one for 2018. There are 4 squircle disks and 2 hearts to be placed in the usual Latussek box and the sequence to find to get them in is wonderful.

I could not miss out on the amazing Tau as well - Volker has graduated from simple shapes to polyominoes but increased the complexity by adding in 45º bevelled faces on them and a single voxel blocking the entrance. Again, the finding the several assemblies is fun and a nice challenge but working out exactly how to get the correct one inside the box requiring several complex tight rotations is fabulous.

If you can find any of these then don’t hesitate! Just buy them and ask questions later!

Do you agree with my top 10? If you have any different thoughts then please comment below or even use my Contact page to tell me how wrong I am. I look forward to your thoughts. 

Happy New Year to you all!

I really hope that you all have a wonderful year in 2023 with good health, success and plenty of wonderful puzzling. I look forward to entertaining and maybe helping many of you in this year.