Sunday 7 April 2024

Here We Go Again - Spring With Pelikan (part 1)

Pelikan offering for April
Hello again everyone! I'm a bit behind with my puzzling this week - it's been a bit hectic and I have had to do extra work to cover sickness and other "stuff" at work. I was hoping to have all the reviews for the latest offering from Jakub, Jaroslav and team all done in a week but I will have to split it up into two posts. We have some terrific challenges on offer here:

From the back left:
Euclid for Bernhard by Dr Volker Latussek
Stefka-flop from Dr Volker Latussek
SISU by Benjamin Heidt
YLEM by Benjamin Heidt
Airlock by Pit Khiam Goh
Xmas Stocking by Osanori Yamamoto

These should be going on sale on April 15th hopefully. I can review four of them today and plan to have the rest of the reviews up next weekend. Here we go...


Airlock by Pit Khiam Goh
Pit is an incredible designer - I have seen his puzzles do very well in the design competitions and I have a good few of his designs in my collection which have appeared in this blog. This one is wonderful as well because of a series of really nice Aha! moments.

I had been certain that I had seen this somewhere before but a search of the internet only found a few pictures that did not ring any bells. It is a tray packing puzzle with a restricted entry hole. It has been beautifully made by the Pelikan team from Wenge, Purpleheart, Mahogany, Maple and Limba with an acrylic grille over the top. The delivery placement is useful to keep the pieces together and shows that certain moves will be required. removing the pieces reveals that all the pieces will need rotation and that 2 of the pieces are really quite restricted in how they move and can be placed.

The aim is to place them all back in the tray without any of them appearing in the entry hole and this is a real challenge. I started with this because it looks so enticing and I was hoping would not be too horrendously difficult. My solving success the last couple of weeks has not been great and I wanted something to boost my confidence. Erm... whilst I did solve it, it was not a quick easy solve. The pieces can conveniently be placed on top of the grille for planning purposes and it quickly becomes apparent that almost everything you try ends up blocked. Planning to get the most awkward pieces out of the way was an interesting challenge and taught me a lot. Random placement will not work for you here. You will need to think© and plan ahead. There are several of these Aha! moments and the solution is delightful. This is a fabulous puzzle that will delight experienced puzzlers as well as newbies alike. I will be taking this to work to torture colleagues and medical students during the day.

Xmas Stocking

Xmas Stocking by Osanori Yamamoto

An odd time of the year to have this one brought out but delightful nonetheless. I would suggest that you all buy this as either a belated Christmas present to yourselves or as an advance one for December for the significant other puzzler in your life. Hopefully you can stash it away for long enough and still remember where you put it. It is a rather pocketable size - perfect for your own Xmas stocking. As delivered there are 3 little feet inside the stocking already and 2 outside. Time to work out how to get them all inside.

Like many of Osanori-san's creations, there will need to be rotational moves but the box has very tight tolerances and the pieces can only rotate in certain ways (even with the box empty). Add in a few of the feet then the restriction gets significantly worse. As usual, I would suggest that you work this one in reverse - find out how they can be packed and then see if that packing is removable. This approach gives a couple of great Aha! moments again to help you on your way but even then, more thinking© is required. Gravity may be helpful to you at times and less helpful at other times - there is very little room inside for poking a finger in. Planning is everything with this one!


YLEM by Benjamin Heidt
This is the second time the Benjamin has appeared here and the second Pelikan release that includes his designs. There is something very clever about his designs which are delightful to see on display and also brilliant to explore and solve. This stunnning creation in Acacia and Purpleheart appeared to me initially to be "just" an 18 piece burr but with an odd configuration of the pieces leaving a hole in each of the 6 faces. But...this is not "just" another 18 piece burr - it can quickly be seen that it is a 19 piece burr (something I have never seen before) and it requires a fair bit of exploration to work through. 

These high piece number puzzles always frighten me because they often either have an incredibly complex/high level disassembly or after a couple of pieces are removed, can become very unstable and collapse on you. I can reassure you that this wonderful burr has a fantastic and almost logical unlocking mechanism which is an absolute delight to work through. There are a few moves available at first and the easy ones don't appear to lead anywhere. After some exploration and a nice Aha! moment, a new move becomes available which is very helpful in revealing the beginning of a locking sequence. The disassembly is a wonderful and very achievable level giving a total of 46 moves to take it completely apart.

19 pieces - beautifully made by Pelikan!
This monster was beautifully stable right down to the last few pieces. I very much doubt that many people can assemble this from scratch but a few of you will be able to. Some may be able to remember what you did and be able to backtrack. I, on the other hand, barely remember my own name and therefore had to resort to Burrtools for the reassembly. Entering the pieces into that wonderful program and then adding the colour restrictions for the assembly was also great fun and a nice part of the challenge. The assembly required quite a bit of dexterity initially but was a delightful part of the challenge. If you like complex burrs but are frightened of too high a level then this is perfect.

I hope to finish the rest of the puzzles this week and get my reviews up for you next weekend.

Keep an eye out for these - they are fabulous for all levels of puzzler.

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