Sunday 28 April 2024

Always Take Your Photos First!

Neighburr designed by Christophe Lohe made by Brian Menold
Sigh! I have to say it yet again...I'm an eejit! I caused myself a flurry of work at the last moment for this post because I wasn't paying attention. I blame it on the fact that Mrs S is back "ooop North" again and I am home alone with a disturbed cat and a workload that is just too high including having to work the weekend yet again! The disturbed cat is gradually being made better by Prozac - yes, he's on the happy pills and making me look like a coke addict. Every couple of days I can be seen cutting a white powder on a glass coaster with a razor blade! The capsules are 20mg and I need to give him 2.5mg, hence I open capsules, pour out white powder and use a double edged razor to portion it into eighths and into little spoons for each day. The image is perfect, all I need is a rolled up £50 note and I am ready to be arrested! 😱😱😱

Having given my excuses, here is todays puzzle and what I did:

I had a little splurge with Brian Menold's Woodwonders store (I cannot resist the gorgeous woods and his fabulous choices in puzzles) and one of the delights was a caged 6 piece burr designed by Christophe Lohe - the Neighburr. I love burrs in general but I am hopelessly addicted to caged burrs - especially if they are caged 6 piece burrs because the addition of the cage can turn a relatively straight-forward exploration of simple moves into a wonderful interlocking nightmare. It is also made much more fun when the basic grid for the pieces strays away from the standard 2x2xn grid. The Neighburr has burr sticks based on a 2x3x6 grid and ads in the feature that one end is 2x3 and the other 2x2. This allows for much more interesting shapes and interaction. My copy has a wonderfully white Holly frame and the pieces are beautifully coloured Koto (white), Kirandy (yellow) and Redheart. This puzzle is very reminiscent of the Bouquet that I bought and wrote about a few years ago. That one was a fantastic challenge with a level of and this one was described as an even harder level - who could resist? Chris has a special skill with his designs - he always manages to find interesting shapes, interesting moves and just the right difficulty level.

Having received a bunch of puzzles from Brian, I put a few of them in my work bag and started playing whenever I had a brief moment at work. The disturbed cat was interfering with my ability to concentrate at home! There are quite a few moves open to you initially and all but one fails to lead very far which is also part of Chris' special skill. As you work your way in the puzzle does become a little rickety and require a little bit of control of the pieces to allow subsequent moves to happen but no rotations seem to be possible to inadvertently knock you off progress. On several occasions I got lost and couldn't seem to progress or find my way back but always after a little panic found my way to the start. In my usual to and fro process, I managed to gradually work my way in. This puzzle has a wonderful unlocking sequence with a lock mechanism being used, moving a piece before re-locking and then carrying on with another piece. The sequence of Aha! moments is wonderful.

I got to a point where there were a good few pieces sticking right out but not actually free. Everything could be seen inside but I just couldn't find the next move. At this point it was time to extubate a patient and I put it down for a couple of hours. The break did me good, on picking it back up, I could see the next moves straight away and I removed my first piece. Time to back-track. Except...I tilted the puzzle to align the removed piece and a precariously hanging second piece fell out on to my anaesthetic machine. Aargh! I bent down to pick it up hoping that I remembered the correct orientation and tilted it again whereupon 2 more pieces fell out - Double aargh! At this point with my surgeon laughing at me, there was no hope that I would be able to assemble it again without Burrtools. To be honest, I don't really mind that because making the BT file is all part of the fun.

Interesting pieces
I took my photo this morning of the pieces and looked through my photo database and to my horror realised that I had dismantled this one without taking my initial photo. I needed to make my BT file and reassemble it before I could blog about it. As I said above - I'm an eejit! When I went to BT to enter the pieces I suddenly found that this was not an easy one to enter the starting shape without having an assembled puzzle, or at least a photo to use as a reference. Luckily Brian has photos in his archive gallery but even then, this one is a bit awkward to enter into BT without having a puzzle to rotate around and look at from all angles. My initial attempts produced a puzzle with no solutions but after a bit of fiddling with my pieces and pushing them into the frame and rotating it around, I managed it and reassembled the puzzle.

This is absolutely terrific as I have come to expect from Chris. It even has some repeatability due to the lovely locking mechanism. 

Now, it's time to clean the litter tray (yuk!) and spend some time with the disturbed cat whilst playing with some of the others I received from Brian:

Uroborus by Girish Sharma
Persistence of memory by Alexander Magyarics

Yep! A series of wonderful Ribs designed by Andrew Crowell. These are 6 piece board burrs that need to be assembled with rotations. I hope that I have more luck with these than with the RIPley board burr which I haven't managed to assemble after quite a few years!

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