Sunday 23 April 2023

A Two Week Struggle Motivates Me

Ocupado by Stephan Baumegger
Yes, I have been working my little arse off both at work and trying to solve puzzles as quickly as I can! No, I have not been very least at the puzzle solving aspect. After the huge effort getting reviews done for Jakub in time for last week's sale date (quite a few are still available), I came down with a crash. My tiny bwain felt a bit broken. I have received quite a few fabulous new toys recently and despite a lot of trying, I had very little succeeding. I have been desperately trying to get the second step of Dee Dixon's Walter's radio and having found 2 or three interesting features, I cannot seem to utilise them. Then I also managed to get a copy of Phil Wigfield's amazingly machined Free the washer (which Allard managed to solve with only a modicum of difficulty) and I have managed to find 2 identical moves on opposite sides of the puzzle which do something but that is it. I am not very bright and have no further thoughts other than to do the same thing over and over again! So in desperation when my work on difficult puzzles gets me nowhere, I resort to one of my favourite types of puzzle that might allegedly be simpler (Hah!). Yes, I go back to my burrs which I feel are rather like mazes and just need exploration to find the solution. 

In this case I kept resorting to a gorgeous creation by the incredibly talented designer and craftsman, Stephan Baumegger. He has rather a lot of fabulous designs up on Puzzlewillbeplayed, although not his most recent ones. His last batch that went up for sale included one of my favourite types of burr - the 6 piece burr in a cage. These look so simple and yet can be so incredibly difficult. I bought the Ocupado because it would be a fourth addition to the previous challenges by Donald Osselaer and Stéphane Chomine - Nickel box, Congestion and Chrysalide (bought from Arteludes). I don't know whether Stephan had deliberately made his puzzle to match those from Maurice Vigouroux but as soon as I saw it go up for sale, I had to buy it.

Aren't they lovely?
Of course, when I said I turned to my new framed 6 piece burr to have a chance of solving something for today, I sort of accidentally forgot that out of the 3 older puzzles, I have only actually managed to solve the Nickel box and that took me 2 weeks! The other 2 puzzles are considerably tougher than Nickel box and after a week of play I did wonder whether I had made a stupid mistake.

The manufacture of the Ocupado is stunning from with a lovely smooth finish and 2 inlaid disks on the ends of a couple of the burr sticks (again, reminiscent of the other burrs). This morning, I began to panic a bit - I had been singularly unsuccessful and had found 2 opening pathways and had gone around and around in circles trying to find a hidden exit from one of these paths. I began to despair when I suddenly found something new. It had been right in front of me the whole time and I had sauntered right passed it. Suddenly there was a lot more movement and the sequence was wonderfully logical with the pieces dancing around beautifully. 33 moves on and I had my first piece. The remaining puzzle got a bit wobbly and required careful orientation and holding to prevent drooping and rotation but no pieces could easily be rotated out and a full 14more moves were required to remove the next piece. Even after that the remainder required a bit of a challenge but at least you could now see inside to do it. I finally had my photo and my blog post - PHEW! 

Time to make my Burrtools file and put it back together.
I think that I will end up doing this one or two more times before I store it with the others on display in my living room (Whack! Ouch!) - I feel that in my desperate approach to this I missed some of the enjoyment of the exploration. I hope that redoing it will give me that a second time through. It has also motivated me to get back to the wonderful Congestion and Chrysalide burrs - or maybe not!

After that, I need to get back to all the wonderful toys from Japan as well as the discovery puzzles that I have failed so spectacularly at.

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