Sunday 17 September 2023

A Knot Without String

Knot by Abhishek Ruikar
Abhishek has burst onto the puzzle scene from nowhere and seems to have produced a few very well received puzzles over the last year or so and I had missed them all. He showed off the Knot a couple of months ago on the Mechanical puzzle Facebook group and I couldn’t resist it. It was made of wood and had an interesting idea to it. When Neil reviewed it on FB and was pleased with the idea and puzzling level, my decision to buy was confirmed. Contacting Abhishek directly through FB messenger was a breeze and I purchased directly from him using PayPal. His designs are now available from PuzzleMaster as well as Nothing Yet Designs and I can recommend them.

It took a while to arrive from India because Abhishek was away from home when I contacted him and the British postal service seems to be falling to bits these days. I was delighted when I opened the box because the presentation was unexpectedly beautiful. There’s a nice black box with the name printed on it which slides open to reveal the Teak puzzle pieces held in foam and an instruction card alongside. It’s as if it’s been made by a professional puzzle supplier. 

2 sets of chiral tetrominoes
Magnets in seemingly random positions
The Teak is well finished and the magnets flush with the surface. I was impressed. A quick inspection revealed that the magnets seemed to be randomly positioned and with odd polarity. Each piece was different. The name and the instructions say to assemble into a complete trefoil knot with everything held stable by the magnets whilst none of them are visible externally. Easier said than done for a puzzler who is terrible at assembly - destruction seems to be my forté.

Initially, as I do with most puzzles, I start with randomly trying things. Luckily, there’s a diagram showing the aimed for shape and I place pieces in a way to achieve that only to find that the magnets won’t match with each other or actively repel. At one point I did seem to be making progress but the last couple of pieces couldn’t fit together without one of the magnets being visible externally. Whilst this was actually quite a pleasing thing to achieve (at least I had the shape correct) but not having all the magnets connect meant that it was not stable. If I let go of any piece the puzzle was going to fall apart.

After about ½ hour of almost getting there, I realised that I had to be a bit more analytical. With 6 pieces, I could not keep track of what I had tried in which position and had to actually think a bit about directions and polarities. Once along this path, I made pretty rapid progress and had my solution in another 5 minutes. The Aha! moment was delicious and a photo was taken shortly afterwards.

Aha! A nice Knot
How should I store it? The box is so good that I have dismantled it and will be keeping it in the box for display. Interestingly, repeating the solve had to be done from scratch - there seems to be no way for me to remember the assembly. Don’t tell Mrs S that I could just solve this over and over again with no recollection of previous solutions.

This is well worth the $75 from NothingYetDesigns if you like a nice little assembly challenge. It is not yet available from PuzzleMaster.

Thank you Abhishek for the fun puzzling. I will look forward to the next creation from you.

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