Sunday 26 November 2023

Hanayama Hyrule Crest

Hanayama Hyrule Crest

Following on from last week's review of the Hanayama Master Sword puzzle, I finish the trilogy with a quick review of the Hyrule Crest. This puzzle obviously has the shape of the emblem found everywhere in the Legend of Zelda game from Nintendo and not quite so clearly visible is the Triforce knotted up by the chain. At the ends of the chain are 2 more Triforce shapes which prevent the chain passing through the emblem. The aim is to remove the large triangular Triforce from the puzzle and then put it back.

This puzzle is rated as 4 out of 6 by Hanayama and 8 out of 10 by PuzzleMaster and I think that is a little high - it is not a really simple puzzle but I would make it a 3/6 or 7/10. It is a very nice bronze type colour and a good size for playing with at 10.4 x 1 x 6.2 cm. 

Details of the knot revealed
It is not clear from the initial positioning how the chain is fastening the Triforce in place and so I pulled it down to reveal that there are 3 holes in the crest and the chain loops through them all and around itself to hold the Triforce in place.

It may be that I have gotten to be quite good at disentanglement puzzles over the years but as soon as I looked at the configuration the solution just screamed out at me - I knew immediately what the sequence should be. But something was bugging me... I usually have a terrible memory and can find myself solving the same puzzle several times with absolutely no recollection of having done it before (don't tell Mrs S) but I distinctly remember that the Cast Heart (also a level 4/6 or 8/10) has a very similar configuration (I am very impressed with myself because I reviewed that puzzle way back in 2014). Going back to my pictures of the solved puzzle I can see that it is identical but with modified pieces. At $18 CAD the Heart is considerably cheaper but I would say a bit less attractive and is also a good bit smaller and more fiddly if you have fat fingers. If you are a Nintendo or Zelda collector then you will have to get the more expensive one.

Just like the Cast Heart, I was able to see the solution straight away and had my Triforce removed very quickly. The hardest part was manipulating the fiddly chain through some rather small holes:

I left the puzzle for a day or so and reassembly was still pretty straight forward for me. Is it worth buying? If you are a Zelda freak then definitely, if you are a Hanayama completionism then definitely again. If you already have the Cast Heart then probably not. This is a nice puzzle for newbies and definitely looks good in a display.

Sunday 19 November 2023

Hanayama Master Sword

Hanayama Master Sword
The box is more beautiful than the puzzle!

I just realised that the photo above is not actually a terribly good pic! Depth of field issues - sorry about that. At the end of October I reviewed the Hanayama Triforce puzzle which I broadly enjoyed even if it was actually much easier to solve than the advertised level of 5 out of 6. The other two in the series have been sitting in my pile of to be played with toys but I seem to have had very limited time this last week and I only managed to start playing with this last night.

This is another in the Legend of Zelda series produced in collaboration (or maybe just with permission from) Nintendo. The Master sword is Link's weapon and here it is captive in a stone with the Hyrule crest insignia on it. Your aim is to free the sword from the stone. I think this might be better marketed in the UK as an Arthurian legend puzzle and called Excalibur.

The puzzle has a sort of pewter coloured metal for the base and collar and the sword is a chromed metal. The base has a weird sort of feel to it - I felt that I was going to get a discolouration or staining of my hands (this did not happen). It is 9.5 x 4.4 x 3.4 cm in size which makes it a little fiddly to grip the parts of the collar and has been ascribed a difficulty level by Hanayama of 6 out of 6 and by PuzzleMaster as 10 out of 10. I sort of agree with this assessment.

On the underneath of the puzzle you can partially see inside but the view does not help during the solve. There is a collar around the sword which is split into two halves. These collar pieces can move up or down and intermittently rotate in either direction depending on position of all the various pieces. This effectively makes the challenge a hidden maze type puzzle which is made more difficult by the fact that there are 4 pieces that can all move independently with certain restrictions which you cannot see. With my puzzle origins being with the Revomaze, I expected to enjoy this challenge and begin mapping fairly early. With such a limited size, I did not expect it to be anywhere near as tough as a Revomaze.

Fiddling early on, it is worrying to discover that the collar can rotate in either direction and also one of the pieces can be pulled up to allow more limited rotation with the piece in this position. I started taking some notes and very quickly realised that there were lots and lots and lots of possible moves after each decision that you make. It is really hard to make a decision tree for it to help keep track. This was rather disheartening and then at some point (not that far in), I must have either allowed a piece to move without me realising or forgot to note a move and I was lost in the maze. Aaaargh! 

I was unable to go back to the beginning by following my notes and I was now left blindly wandering around a maze in the hope that I could either randomly get out or find my way to a reset. I got quite close to a disassembly a few times with everything protruding from the base quite a long way but not enough to allow a release. After about 30 minutes of fiddling blindly I managed to release the pieces:

The sword has been released (spoiler free)
It is interesting to see how the pieces are able to interact and also interesting to look in the prism at the maze obstructions but this is singularly unhelpful in attempting a reassembly.

To put it back together, obviously, the exact reverse of the movements done is required. Except, I had absolutely no idea what I had done. So far I have failed to get this back to the start after an hour. I have got frustratingly close but each time been blocked and ended up inadvertently dismantling again (with a fair while being lost in the maze). I am sure that I will get there eventually but I have to say that I didn't really enjoy this puzzle. It was too random for me with very little thought.

Obviously, if you are a seasoned puzzler then you will be better at it than me and have no problem with it and probably find it quite enjoyable. If you are a collector then this along with the rest of the set is an essential purchase. Zelda fans should probably buy as well.

Sunday 12 November 2023

Crazy Pyraminx Crystal

Crazily Logical Solve

Crazy Pyraminx Crystal
OMG! What have I done?

Having spent a good 10 days desperately working on the wooden puzzles from Pelikan, I decided to take a completely different puzzling track after that and play with something that scared the living daylights out of me but weirdly, enticed me as well. The Crazy Pyraminx Crystal looks absolutely horrific but the reality of it is that it is an entirely logical puzzle that can be solved by anyone who can use either the beginner's solution to Rubik cube or the Ultimate solution. Yes, it literally requires nothing more than a standard approach to a simple puzzle and a bit of thought.

I had absolutely adored the original Pyraminx crystal and even bought a shape modifications of it from Traiphum - the Hexaminx crystal. 

The most important thing I learned from the Pyraminx crystal solution was that, despite having so many pieces, it actually solved as 2 completely different puzzles which were solved one after another. Neither of those puzzles, individually, were terribly hard to solve. 

Hexaminx crystal 

My initial worry with this enhancement of that original puzzle was that the crazy centres which split all the pieces in half would completely confuse me and make it impossible to solve. Before I embarked on the odyssey, I did quickly have a look at the Twisty puzzles forum posts on it to see the general approach that others had taken. Everyone seemed to have worked out a fancy commutator to cycle 3 of the inner circle pieces around and I found one myself which was not hard to do in reality. As is usual for me, during my exploration, I inadvertently scrambled the bloody thing and in the end went all the way. As you can see from the picture above, it is really quite attractive when scrambled so would not be the end of the world if it stayed that way.

My memory of the non crazy version was that all the corners were solved as a Kilominx (i.e. a 2x2 version of the Megaminx) which can be done by anyone who can solve a standard Rubik cube. Then the  edges of the non-crazy version were solved independently of the corners using just the usual up, up, down, down algorithm to cycle them around. Maybe the approach with the crazy version would be similar?

Aha! YES!

There are a couple of wonderful Aha! moments with this puzzle. The first was that the 2 separate puzzle approach would work and the second, even bigger Aha! moment was that the crazy version is not based on the Kilominx - it is actually based on a Megaminx. If you can solve a Rubik cube then the first part of the solution to this is definitely possible for you. It will require you to alter your orientation when looking at it but certainly no worse than any other shape modification.

So what am I talking about? The corners are still the corners of a Megaminx. The edges that look like they should be part of the Megaminx are NOT! Just like the original Pyraminx crystal, you need to ignore the obvious edges just now. The true edges of the Megaminx are actually the inner circle corners.  When turning the faces, it quickly became apparent that the inner circle corners moved with the corners and the ones on opposite ends are effectively bound together. The edges of the Megaminx are effectively internal with only the very ends visible. Having realised this, I refreshed my Megaminx solve and started on it.

Top and middle faces solved all edges and corners
Final face to be solved
As you can see in the pictures above, the corners are solved everywhere apart from the grey face and the apparent edges (which are not edges) have been ignored. The real Megaminx edges are the inner circle corners. To help you visualise - in the left pic, the frontmost edge with the blue and red corner pieces on it has a red/pink edge which we are ignoring just now but the inner circle corners with a white at the top and the pink at the bottom is the real edge that I am visualising. It is hard to get your head around thinking this way but once you can do it then it is literally JUST a Megaminx. Just like a standard Rubik cube, the top face takes a bit of work but it is just standard cube algorithms (slightly altered for the pentagonal faces. The end result is solving the Megaminx:

Megaminx solve completed
Having solved your Megaminx and completely ignoring the crazy circle part of the puzzle you can see that quite a lot has been done. Time to focus on the true edges of the puzzle. I was not sure how best to go about it. I had a commutator worked out so I could just solve the outer edges like the original pyramids crystal and then move the inner edges later using that but it would require a lot of setup moves and could be fraught with the danger of inadvertent scrambling. Just for giggles, I thought I would try to reduce my edges one at a time and then place them. As long as I always just do my up, up, down, down algorithm and undo the setup moves then the Megaminx solve should NEVER be disrupted.
Focus on R/W edge
Twist to pair it with W inner
Move edge over and reset twist
Working systematically, pairing up inner and outer edges, flipping it over and then doing the other side
Move it to face with R inner
Pair them up
Place completed edge
Here I have reduced and placed one single Pyraminx edge. All that is required is to use my up, up, down, down sequence to move the edges around and then twist in place and move them back out and into place. Simple! Do this repeatedly over and over again being careful not to ruin what you have done before - luckily with a dodecahedral shape there is plenty of space for most of it.

The final few require a bit of thought and planning and will usually require you to break up some of your nice careful placement but nothing too catastrophic:
Final face of edges to reduce
Last one will need some extra moves
All reduced but placed ones moved
Once the triple edges have all been recreated and most of them placed then the end game is just like the original Pyraminx crystal:
In the end just have a 3-cycle
Re-solving the equatorial edges that had been dislodged will eventually leave you with just 3 pieces to be cycled. Yet again, it's just an up, up, down, down move to have it completed. Yesssss!

I have carried out multiple solves using this technique and there is nothing extra to it. The end-game occasionally needs a bit of fiddling to get to the last 3-cycle but if you can solve a Rubik cube and by extension the Megaminx then you can solve this puzzle without learning anything new. A truly wonderful puzzle design and puzzling challenge!
A puzzle progression
Can you solve the 3x3 Rubik cube using Beginner's approach? Then a simple progression through Kilominx, Megaminx and Pyraminx crystal is just a matter of thought and no new techniques.

Sunday 5 November 2023

A Bumper Pelikan Crop!

The biggest bunch of Pelicans ever!
From back left:
Egg - Pelikan (mixed woods)
Hooks - Alfons Eyckmans (Wenge & Cherry or Bubinga & Cherry)
Octopus - Pelikan (Limba, American Walnut and Wenge)
Infinite - Alexander Magyarics (Mahogany & Wenge)
Captain Hook - Alexander Magyarics (Maple, Wenge & Padauk)
Tigridia - Alexander Magyarics (Limba & Ovangkol)
Gem - Osanori Yamamoto (Purpleheart)
Den 3 - Osanori Yamamoto (Acacia & Padauk)
Waltz - Osanori Yamamoto (Wenge, Maple and Zebrano)
3 Piece Burr Flower - Osanori Yamamoto (Wenge & Limba or Wenge & Jatoba)
Dick-Flop - Dr Volker Latussek (Walnut & American Walnut)

In no particular order but mostly the order I worked on them or solved them in:


Octopus complete with 8 tentacles!
It seems that no new Pelikan release is complete without one of their own designs, beautifully visualised as some kind of animal. We have had Turtle, Snail, Ladybug and Crab so far, all of which reside on display in my living room. The arrival of the Octopus in the PuzzleMad asylum/loony-bin was greeted by me with a whoop of delight and by Mrs S with a groan of "Oh no, not more!!". She did admit that it was very beautiful. 

This was the one I began with because it's just irresistible. It's pretty big at 13.3x13.3x9.8cm and made of Limba, American Walnut and Wenge. The beady eyes just look at you. Like the crab, it is not just a simple slot together Kumiki puzzle. It is a burr with pieces that interlock in all directions. It all fits beautifully together and the first sliding move is easy to find but after that it gets more awkward. I was able to remove the first two pieces quite quickly and realised that I had not really paid attention to the orientation they came out - the shape of them meant that they rolled off the cat who sleepily acted as my tabletop. Having realised I was going to be stuck soon, I just proceeded with the disassembly. Usually after half the pieces of a burr have been removed it suddenly gets easier but not with this one. I really struggled for another 20 minutes to find the way to remove the final pieces. The main challenge with this will be the reassembly after scrambling the pieces. I almost gave up and went to Burrtools but luckily before I lost the last remnant of my mind, I finally found the correct assembly. 

This puzzle is an essential purchase if you collect Kumiki type puzzles or if you have the rest in the series. For the rest of you it's worth getting because it's adorable and very clever.


Egg by Pelikan
I had to check with Jakub about this one as it looked familiar but I barely remember yesterday, let alone something I saw in 2016. This is a re-release using European woods of the beautifully turned Egg puzzle. It comes complete with its own lovely turned stand. These puzzles from Pelikan are wonderfully tactile things to hold and caress. The egg is NOT coordinate motion like some of the other spherical puzzles made previously. When it comes to disassembly, the puzzle is not particularly difficult - it is just a matter of finding the correct places to put your fingers to hold it and and push/pull in the right directions. It is not immediately obvious where to put your fingers to do it and it is so wonderfully smooth that you get no clue from running your fingers over it. If you have it just right then you are rewarded with a beautiful sliding motion as it smoothly separates. After a few minutes you have four pieces which look nearly identical and which will only fit back together in one way. Re-assembly is just a matter of thinking it through. This is a joy to fiddle with and looks lovely on display.


Dick-flop by Dr Volker Latussek
It's just 6 tetracubes from the Soma cube
Here we have another masterpiece from the warped brilliant mind of Dr Volker Latussek! This is what he had to say about it:

"When Dick Fosbury died in March this year, I had no idea that I would find a small series of packaging puzzles and name them FLOP after the high-jump technique named after him. A sports journalist ran the headline "Fosbury Flops Over Bar" after his 1968 Olympic win, comparing the jumping style to a fish flipping onto its back and curling its body after being caught."

DICK-FLOP with its six tetracubes follows FRITZ-FLOP with only five pieces. The boxes are each completely filled and the opening is restricted so that some of the pieces have to flop out of the box.  This is the fourth in his Flop series in which he takes a subset of the standard Soma cube pieces and insists that we stuff them into one of the standard shape challenges that come with the Soma cube. Except.... he makes it much more fun by making us do it into a box through a limited entrance hole. And then, not completely happy with that restriction, he ensures that the entry hole is not a whole number of voxels wide which forces some very interesting and difficult to find rotational moves on the non-planar pieces. It looks like the entrance is 2mm too small to allow two voxels through.

The assembly configuration (Volker always stipulates the assembly shape) is a "near miss" and when you take the pieces out of the box, you get a small hint at the deviousness of that man! Some of the moves just to get the pieces ready for play need them to be perfectly placed before it can happen. The incredible precision of the manufacture by Pelikan is simply stunning - when some of the pieces move and you can almost feel the suction holding them in place as the tolerances are perfect to a tiny fraction of a milimeter.

A quick play with Burrtools told me that there are 78 possible ways to assemble a 2x3x4 cuboid from the pieces provided and I was definitely going to struggle to try them all from memory. I then scrolled through them to find only the ones that have a planar piece arranged vertically along the end (i.e. it can be dropped in last) and after about 15 I stopped counting and decided to peek with squinted eyes at the solution. I just managed to restrict my view to 2 piece positions in the end shape and from here restricted the number of assemblies to be tried down to just 3. I was rather surprised at one of those piece positions that I had peeked at but it really helped me. Even having just 3 assemblies to choose from, actually getting them inside the box was still a massive challenge. It took me about 3 days!

This puzzle is an essential buy for anyone enthused by packing puzzles or the Soma cube. It has been stunningly created by Jakub and team and will be a huge challenge to any puzzler. The Aha! moment is wonderful. 

The Fritz-flop and Soma-flop are still available from the Pelikan website and you should definitely buy the whole set for an amazing challenge!

Captain Hook

Captain Hook by Alexander Magyarics
Captain Hook is a very interesting board burr made from Maple, Wenge & Padauk. The tolerances are absolutely perfect - this puzzle slides so smoothly. It is something quite new from Alexander Magyarics, whom I am beginning to wonder whether there is anything he cannot turn his hand to and master. I know that you are all familiar with his amazing 3D and 2D packing puzzles and he has designed a few burrs with frames or boxes over the years but I am not aware of any board burrs from him. This looks very like a standard 6 piece board burr when viewed assembled but within a few moves it quickly reveals that it is not what it seems. The movements are interesting and in one case a little unexpected with a very nice pathway to be found. No big blind ends to get caught in and after 10 moves the first piece can be removed. After that 2 moves each for the next 2 pieces and the fact that it is a 5 piece board burr is revealed. I don't think I have ever seen one before. I tried to reassemble it immediately after I had taken it apart and, whilst I had memory of the relative positions of the pieces, there was a critical tricky step that I could not achieve straight away. There is a very well hidden essential move to allow the disassembly and reassembly and if you haven't memorised it then it will cause you to think© for a moment. 


Infinite by Alexander Magyarics
That left side when viewed straight on looks like an infinity symbol
Here we return to classic Alexander Magyarics and it is really, REALLY, REALLY good! It is a beautiful packing puzzle made with a very chunky Mahogany box and just 3 lovely Wenge pieces to be packed. Just 3 pieces? They aren't even that complex! How hard can it be? Oh boy! This is a TERRIFIC challenge. The entry-ways into the 3x3x3 voxel box are quite restricted and must be completely occluded once packed. In fiddling with the pieces I was able to find quite a few arrangements of the pieces into a 3x3x3 cube but none that I found would fit through the openings. 

Not solved but fun

Retrospectively, I found 59 cubes with the relevant solid areas using Burrtools but this was unknown to me at the time. Usually I start outside the box and find the required shape but there were too many possibilities and I needed to combine the very restricted entry requirements with my assemblies to narrow it down. The fascinating thing for me is that the smallest piece has the most limitation and ultimately is the reason for a very interesting solution. I found 2 "almost there" solutions with single holes visible through the entryway and I got stuck for quite some time at this point. I then went to Burrtools in desperation and found that it was unable to find a solution which means something special. I relaxed my rules and started again - it took me another whole day of play to find the solution with a wonderful Aha! moment. This is one of Alexander's best designs - make sure that you find all the near solutions as well as the correct one.


Bubinga & Cherry
Wenge & Cherry
Hooks by Alfons Eyckmans
I am always delighted when a Pelikan release includes something from Alfons Eyckmans. There are two versions of this beauty - one made from Wenge & Cherry and another from Bubinga & Cherry - they are gorgeous! Alfons is the absolute master of interesting burr design. Many people are not keen on burrs and cannot understand why I (or anyone else) love them. I always say that it is like exploring a maze that changes as you work your way through. Often there are hidden pathways that are tough to find and sometimes blind alleys or loops. I do agree that many of the very high level burrs are beyond most human's abilities to follow but this is where Alfons is a master...the designs are always interesting and fun to explore. The Hooks burr is one of my favourite types - a caged 6 piece burr which takes the idea of a standard burr and extends it. The cage is incomplete being formed from 4 "hooks" on a base and looks like it should not make a huge difference. The pieces are 3x2x7 voxels which allows for much more interesting interaction. There are a few moves possible early on and no long blind alleys. Quite quickly some complex fun compound multi-piece moves occur and this opens up even more possibilities. Process seems swift until suddenly it's not. After 11 moves, I was stuck and could find no way to progress. I must have either missed something along the way or be missing something crucial to progress on my existing path. I got stuck here for a few hours going back and forth - at least it was creating a muscle memory to help with the reassembly. With only 6 pieces and such an open frame/cage it is possible to see inside the maze quite well. Eventually after multiple failed attempts I realised that I had left a single piece in the wrong position and it had blocked the next move. Having worked that out, the progression was fast and fun and the first piece was removed after a total of 18 moves. The remaining pieces remain stable in the frame for the rest of the disassembly.

Having spent so long searching for the pathway, I was able to reassemble it without help but making a Burrtools file is always fun. I think that most burr aficionados should be able to reassemble this without help.

3 Piece Burr Flower

Wenge & Jatoba
Wenge & Limba
3 Pice Burr Flower by Osanori Yamamoto
This stunning design by Osanori Yamamoto has been beautifully created by Pelikan in Wenge & Limba or Wenge & Jatoba. As the name states, it looks like a flower on each face of the cube structure but it has been made from 3 rather complex burr sticks which interlink with each other inside the cube. Once you have found the first piece to move, the pieces then slide on each other and the flower opens up to reveal the interior. Over a rather delightful 6 move sequence the pieces get further and further apart until the first one comes out and then the other two can be separated. It is not terribly hard to find that sequence but then the real challenge begins - can you put it back together after scrambling the pieces? There are only 3 pieces and the way they fit together at the end looks straightforward but it took me a good hour to find the correct order and position for the pieces to fit back together. This is a very clever puzzle utilising what feels like a knot inside the faces to control the movements. 


Waltz by Osanori Yamamoto
Another fabulous design by Osanori Yamamoto, stunningly visualised in Wenge, Maple and Zebrano. This one is almost as if Osanori-san has seen the wonderful 3 piece challenge by Alexander Magyarics and said to himself: "I can beat that"! It is another packing puzzle with a limited entrance and a requirement to block the entry once solved....but this time, just to make it even more interesting, there are only 2 pieces to be packed in the 3x3x3 cavity and filled the 2x2 entrance. Not only are there only 2 pieces but it quickly becomes apparent that one of them HAS to be the entry blocker. I was rather over-confident with this one and thought it would  be relatively easy. Oh no! it wasn't easy for me! I spent a day failing completely and did wonder whether I was going about it wrong - I looked at the name and thought about the cardinal feature of the Waltz and then decided to explore rotational moves. I was successful and managed to assemble the puzzle with the entry filled but something didn't feel right. This was especially true when I found that I couldn't take it apart! Aargh! In a bit of a panic, with a fair bit of dexterity and swearing, I was able to unravel what I had done and decided to try again the more conventional way. But this time I was determined to think© about the name as well but not be so stupid. The cardinal feature of a Waltz is rotation with minimal rise and fall. The 18 moves to achieve the assembly are a masterpiece. The gauntlet has been thrown down and is there anyone who can design something more simple with more beautiful moves than this? Over to you Alexander-san!


Gem by Osanori Yamamoto
This gorgeous gem of a puzzle by Osanori Yamamoto  is simply stunning made here from Purpleheart. I have previously bought and solved this in April where it was an extra puzzle that I chose to "make up the postage" from Japan! Osanori's version was a gorgeous creation and Pelikan have lived up to the same very high standards. When I bought the original, Osanori-san told me how pleased he was because it was his favourite puzzle.

The original was sent out as an assembly puzzle but this one arrived already assembled. Either way, it is a fun puzzle to explore. If you are good at assembly then it might be a good idea to get someone to dismantle it for you before you play. It consists of 3 rings of wood that are interlocked and  inserted into slots in the cube with one at 90º to the other 2. When disassembling it the sequence it is fun that you cannot see the shape or how the rings are interacting inside the cube. The sliding of the pieces over each other shows off the extreme precision that this has been made with. Having taken it apart, leave the pieces scrambled for a while and then try it as an assembly puzzle

The solution took me only about half an hour but again a lovely aha! moment made better by the silky smoothness of the pieces and how they glide over each other. I could see why this was one of Osanori-san's favourite puzzles. It is delightful. Another piece of Japanese puzzling heaven.

Den 3

Den 3 by Osanori Yamamoto

In this packing puzzle designed by Osanori Yamamoto the aim, as usual is to assemble the pieces (3 of them this time, made from Padauk) into the nice chunky Acacia box. I must point out the incredible detail that Jakub and team have put into the box - Acacia is a relatively plain wood in terms of colour but with having very nice grain and shading. To make this one even more spectacular the top and bottom faces have been assembled with a diagonal line of differently placed cubes of wood - this makes this wonderful puzzle even more precious for a man addicted to gorgeous wood! The cavity of the box is the usual 3x3x3 cube but, with this one, the areas that must be occluded by the pieces are quite extensive over quite a lot of the puzzle which should limit the number of possibilities to go through. I used Burrtools to count the possible assemblies after I solved it and there are 124 ways to assemble a cube from the 3 pieces of this puzzle but when restricting the positions to allow the occlusion of the holes, this number shrinks down to a more reasonable 22. This number is still too high for me to go through and try them all (I find that I can't remember what I have tried after just 3 or 4 attempts) and necessitates using the restricted entry to significantly decrease the cubes to be tried. 

The solution of this took me an embarrassingly long time to find. I think I played with this on and off for 4 or 5 evenings before I found a cube that met all my criteria and then really struggled to place the pieces inside the box. I ended up solving it outside the box starting from cube shape and attempting all the moves that should be possible and gradually dismantled the cube. It should not be that difficult with just 3 pieces but I kept getting stuck 10 or 12 moves in. The disassembly of this puzzle has an incredible level 26 (19.4.3) - if you do manage to solve this then you can be very chuffed at your puzzling prowess. 


Tigridia by Alexander Magyarics
The final puzzle I played with in this new batch was Tigridia by the amazing Alexander Magyarics (last, mostly because my initial play revealed it to be a very difficult challenge). Beautifully made from Limba & Ovangkol, it consists of 4 pieces to be placed as a 3x3x3 cube inside one of the most complex boxes I have seen in one of these puzzles. The entryways are very limited but there are 3 of them to be used. There are lots and lots of holes in the box which need to be covered by the final filling. Your usual approach outside the box quickly reveals that there are a LOT of possible cubic assemblies (Burrtools later told me that there were 64) and obviously each one that you find will need to be tested in every possible orientation. I very quickly got quite confused and lost track of what I had been trying. Most of my potential assemblies, when I found one that also fit the brief to cover the holes, quickly revealed themselves to be impossible to move inside the box and could be discounted. After a couple of days trying and a deadline to hit, I went to Burrtools to at least give me the correct cubic assembly and then I could work out the method to place it inside the box. Even this proved to be a problem! I had the correct cube made but I really could not work out how it could be inserted inside the box, After a very frustrating and then satisfying hour, I found the critical move and it was something rather special that is only possible with a box with this many holes in it. The Aha! moment is wonderful when you find it but that might well take you a VERY long time.

I am rather humbled by the fact that Ivan Danik (the Puzzle Guy on YouTube) managed to solve this one and did not find it terribly difficult! I found this one amazingly hard. I agree with him that the frame is stunning!

Pick what you love guys and get them all tomorrow (6th November at 10am central European time) at the Pelikan store

Wednesday 1 November 2023

A Kickstarter Opportunity

Honeycomb by Oskar van Deventer
I received an advance copy of the Honeycomb puzzle designed by the great Oskar a month or so ago and the Kickstarter for it just went live today. The cells of the honeycomb are threaded and can be removed one at a time (at least up until several have been removed). Scramble the pieces and see whether you can reassemble it in place. Obviously, if you have taken a picture then that would be a big help but try not to do that.

The kickstarter is at:

It is beautifully packaged like all the Puzzlemaster own brand metal puzzles and will make a nice addition to any collection.

Nice box
beautifully made