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.

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