Sunday 16 July 2023

Cleaning the Study One Puzzle At A Time

Feed the Monkey by the Two Brass Monkeys
16 small bananas and a giant one
I have been a bit busy recently. The junior doctors strike means I have to try and revamp our on call rotas to ensure all the gaps are covered plus "she" has made me do/attempt some DIY recently. The roof of our conservatory sprung a leak with the huge deluge of rain that the UK has suffered over the last 2 weeks (Global warming? It's been bloody cold here!) and I have been up a ladder in the rain trying to clear gutters, downpipes and see where the water is getting inside. She has been commenting that the silicone seal in the bathroom needs to be redone due to the inevitable build up of mould and after she trotted off up north to visit the outlaws, I spent a day on my hands and knees cutting it all out (along with a bit of grout) to prepare for a redo. This took me most of a day because I am too damn old to be down in that position for long and now I can barely move!

All of this has meant that I have not had much puzzling time after the huge effort put into the wonderful Pelikan puzzles that I reviewed last week (they are all still available now if you feel the urge to torture yourselves). For this reason, I have returned to a puzzle that I solved at the end of last year but did not get around to writing about. One reason to write about it is because it has been sitting on my desk to remind me and I really REALLY REALLY need to tidy up my desk before I get murdered in my sleep:

Houston, I have a tidiness problem!
It all sort of reached a head when I had to do my pre-op assessments on a Sunday afternoon after writing my blog and for that I have to use my work laptop. For....ahem, obvious reasons, I usually need to decant to our dining table only to find that it was occupied by "she who gave me a very burning look" when I turned up to find she had spread her stuff out over it. I was told to F... off/go somewhere else and I beat a hasty retreat to the living room and spread out there. I really do need to tidy the mess up and to start me on my way I could write about the Feed the Monkey puzzle and return it to the Two Brass Monkeys shelf upstairs. I am a little worried about how long that shelf will hold up - the brass is really quite heavy and I have quite a lot of Steve and Ali's wonderful creations. A fully loaded monkey weighs in at 563g and is 90mm tall, 32mm deep and wide.

TBM Brass shelf (plus a a few of my N-ary puzzles)
I'm worried it might collapse

TBM 3D printed stuff
I received my copy shortly after it was released way back in March 2020 and immediately set to. I had bought the male monkey but they also had an identically challenging female version which has cute eyelashes. I removed the long banana that had been in the monkey's mouth and shook the bloody thing about to extract all of the small bananas as well. I was a little horrified to see that there were 16 of them and they all needed to be placed through the mouth inside the case.

It quickly became clear that the cuboid interior could only take 3 of the bananas across and "up" and therefore 9 in a layer. It was only 2 layers deep so should be able to take 18 small bananas or 16 small ones and one double length large banana. Yay! Easy! It must just be a dexterity puzzle. Or so I thought.

I spent over 2 years thinking that my dexterity was crap! I really could not arrange all the pieces inside. I shook them, I rattled them, I rocked them and rolled them! These bananas would not all fit in the monkey! He was always full before I reached the final one. This lack of dexterity was really worrying for someone of my profession - I have to prove my dexterity almost every day at work with cannulae, arterial and central lines, nerve blocks and intubations. I usually think I am not bad with my hand-eye coordination skills but this monkey was not getting stuffed by me! Over that 2 years, I picked it up and put it down again dozens and dozens of times. It stayed on that desk next to me because I could not solve it. 

Then my most heartbreaking moment - a certain blind puzzler (yes, he knows who he is and so does everyone else who goes to the MPPs) solved it whilst sitting opposite me and it only took him about 20 minutes. He solved it and couldn't even see it! Aaaargh! One thing that I did notice whilst desperately trying not to look at him playing with his monkey was that he was not doing any of the stuff that I had been trying. Hmmm. Maybe one of my major thoughts (my only major thought) was wrong?

I went back to it after that MPP last year and had another think© - What if I? OMG! I'm an eejit!

I can now put the damn thing away
There are a couple of new puzzles on Steve and Ali's site which are well worth nabbing (once I have saved some pennies after my recent splurge on Cubic dissection and a few more from Aaron then I fully intend to buy their latest ones.

Don't forget to visit the Pelikan puzzle site as well - the puzzles from last week are still in stock.


  1. I thoroughly enjoy your reviews of individual puzzles, but this one made me want more of the zoomed-out views of your entire collection. What fun to see the big picture!

    1. If I do ever manage to tidy up the clutter then it is my plan to take photos of the whole collection. My Flickr page has the last group shots from 4 or 5years ago.