Friday, 26 February 2016

Baffling Bolted Book

Name
Baffling Bolted Book ("BBB")




Designer
Louis Coolen & Adin Townsend

Manufacturer & Availability
Produced by Allard Walker (but all 3 gents had a hand in doing the modding and fittings with Louis doing most of the work!)

Type & Classification
Trick Opening/Take-Apart/2D Packing

Dimensions
18.2cm x 12cm x 3.8cm 

Materials & Construction
The puzzle is actually a box which has been made to resemble a book and I believe the box is commercially available. Made of plywood with canvas wrapping. The 2D packing puzzle is laser cut acrylic.




Overview
This is one of the more unusual looking (and rather large in size) puzzles at the IPP34 Puzzle Exchange and it was fellow puzzle blogger Allard Walker's exchange puzzle. The BBB follows the theme of his previous year's (IPP33) exchange puzzle the Conjuring Conundrum where an available object (in the case of the BBB, a box-book) is fashioned and modified into a working mechanical puzzle. 

Like the Conjuring Conundrum, the BBB offers two challenges. The first and easier (not easy) task is to open the box. The second is to use three pieces stuffed in a bag inside the box to make a line-symmetrical shape in a frame that is attached to the underside of the lid.

This is a sequential discovery puzzle where you are required to use whatever's in the puzzle (eg; tools etc) to solve it. No external implements or tools are allowed. To open the box requires approximate 7-8 steps. After about 3 steps, the lid opens partially and you get to have a bit of a glimpse of the inside. An a-ha moment! You can just about see a cloth bag and a card which holds the acrylic pieces for the second challenge but not more. From here, the difficulty increases. Not easy moving forward and it does require you to do some thinking how to use what's within the box to progress further. The next 4-5 steps if executed correctly will release the lid fully and bring you to the second challenge, forming a line-symmetrical shape inside the frame.



In case you are wondering what's a line symmetrical shape...simply put is this...if you draw a straight line over the shape you have formed with the three pieces and if the shape is the correct intended shape, you will get a mirror image on the left and right side of the line. Although its only three pieces, this 2D packing challenge is tough because you not only have to firstly form a symmetrical shape, but you need to form one that fits inside the parallelogram shaped frame. There are several symmetrical shapes to be found but only one which will fit inside the frame. Here is what makes the second challenge so very difficult, despite only having three pieces. Took me a while to figure this part out. I will not link the solution here but will provide it via email upon request.

Difficulty Level
For sequential discovery puzzle lovers, this is a pretty good one with some tricks here and there. Need to be careful or might miss some things. Not overly difficult but by no means easy either. For the 2D packing challenge, very difficult and can be a real pain! Not that many symmetrical type puzzles out there and this one is really a toughie.


Summary
A very nice, unusual and well executed exchange puzzle which provides two challenges in one puzzle. The BBB is available in limited quantities from puzzle purveyor Wil Strijbos. The 2D packing challenge is also available as a standalone puzzle (called the Symmple Puzzle; what an understatement! and designed by Adin Townsend) and available from Louis Coolen.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Leprechaun's Dilemma

Name
Leprechaun's Dilemma



Designer
Patterson G. Feeney 

Manufacturer & Availability
Allen Rolfs

Type & Classification
Slocum Classification 4.1 Disentanglement

Dimensions
13cm x 10cm.The ring is about 6cm in diameter.

Materials & Construction
The puzzle is entirely made of sheet metal. Everything fits and moves as intended. Pretty good detailing given that the puzzle is hand-painted. Alan painted a 100+ copies? Wow!! Only problem is that with continuous play (if your solve is slow), the paint can get chipped away.


Overview
I usually don't fancy disentanglement puzzles as they are usually way to hard for me. But when I do play with one, I try to choose one that is not too difficult or does not look difficult. In the case of the Leprechaun's Dilemma, its both.



The puzzle was Allen Rolfs' Exchange Puzzle at IPP34 in London. His reproduction is based on a 1912 design pattented by P.G. Feeney. Object here is to remove the yellow ring from the Leprechaun's body.


Difficulty Level
Not too difficult. With a bit of experimentation, I was able to remove the ring in a matter of minutes...hooray. Nonetheless its sufficiently tricky enough that I took a bit more time to put back the ring. What can be taken out (without force), can be replaced. And its all a matter of physics, even though the ring looks "impossible" to remove (like most string/disentanglement puzzles)

Summary
Cute and colourful puzzle that can be solved quickly once you master the couple of moves required. Great for novice "Disentanglers" and a nice exchange puzzle with (IMHO), just the right level of difficulty.


Friday, 19 February 2016

4L Co-Mo

Name
4L Co-Mo (4 layers Co-ordinate Motion Puzzle)




Designer
Johan Heyns, South Africa. This circular version is based on a hexagonal shaped version designed by Johan in 2011. Johan has also recently produced a hex-shaped version with a cutout in the middle.

Manufacturer & Availability
Handcrafted and sold by Johan himself. 

Type & Classification
Co-ordinate motion

Dimensions
Relatively large at about 9.1cm diameter and 4.5cm thick, but a good size that fits the hands pretty well.



Materials & Construction
The three pieces of this puzzle is made from Pau Marfim (a Brazilian "substitute" for Maple), Rhodesian Teak and Mansonia. Quality of construction, fit and finish is excellent with the entire puzzle built to tight tolerances. Hefty and yes the sliding is also very smooth. The stand that comes with the puzzle comprises of offcuts re-purposed from the same three woods. A nice little extra touch here!

Overview
This is my first puzzle from Johan and certainly would not be my last. My copy is the less expensive "non-stripey" version (US$38). The stripey version has each of the pieces made from a combination of three woods. It is also overall thicker to maintain the strength and integrity of the puzzle and correspondingly a little more expensive.

Generally I don't have much problems with co-ordinate motion puzzles (based on past experience) and I didn't think I would have much issue with the 4L Co-Mo. But I couldn't be more wrong. I took apart the puzzle in a jiffy (this was the easy part) but spent the better part of an afternoon trying to put the thing back together and still couldn't! 

I made a comment (to Otis Cheng's FaceBook picture post of his 4L Co-Mo) about my difficulty and within minutes, Johan (who must have seen my comment) shot me a PM to let me know that I needed to align certain match markings on the pieces to slide them back to the original state. He mentioned that the markings were a necessary guide to ensure that the pieces fit especially after sanding and turning. In my case, it was a small dot drilled into the joining ends of two pieces. Others could be two dots or a circle, depending.

With this new info, I was then able to position the pieces correctly and slide all three pieces back into the solved state. 





Difficulty Level
Easy to take apart but even with the match markings, this is still a relatively difficult puzzle to put back together; you need to align all three pieces "just nicely" in the correct position and orientation to slide them inwards. If not, one of the pieces would always be excluded. Not an easy task and I did take a bit of time on this as well. Perhaps the hardest co-ordinate motion puzzle I have come across so far. Thanks for Johan's help, otherwise I would still have been grappling with this one. A bit of practice here and there and I got the hang of it after a while.

Summary
The 4L Co-Mo is a great co-ordinate motion puzzle; very high quality and sturdily constructed with thick stock and can withstand abuse (but be more gentle with the stand tho'). Johan calls his works ICTA (Intellectual Coffee Table Art), not puzzles. How true; supported on its own stand, the 4L Co-Mo displays really very nicely on any desk or mantle. And did I mention that it is very good value for money too?



Thursday, 4 February 2016

Antislide Tetramino

Name
Antislide Tetramino



Designer
Vladimir Krasnoukhov, Russia. The AT-Puzzle was also Vladimir's IPP35 Exchange Puzzle. For some of his other very nice puzzle designs, click here and here.

Manufacturer & Availability
Manufactured and sold by Vladimir himself. He may still have some copies available. 

Type & Classification
2D Packing

Dimensions
13.5cm x 7.5cm x 0.6cm

Materials & Construction
Laser cut acrylic used throughout. 3mm thickness for the pieces and the tray. Excellent quality and Vladimir went one step further by providing a red piece-holder so that all the pieces are are nicely held together when not in play.






Overview
This is not just your usual packing puzzle, but one with an added task; to pack all the 5 tetramino (each piece is 4 units) pieces into the tray in such a fashion that none of the pieces can slide (or move) in any direction. As a pure packing puzzle, this would have been a no-brainer, but with the anti-slide requirement, the AT-Puzzle becomes a very difficult puzzle indeed!

I took the better part of a day and still couldn't figure out the solution and decided to email fellow puzzle collector George Bell (who had solved it a while back) for a clue. But before he replied, something clicked in my brain and I tried arranging the pieces in a new way...and there, within seconds...I had solved it! I usually don't spend so much time on any one puzzle, but this one just drew me in and I went on and on playing with it, refusing to give up. I wish I could do the same for burrs.

Difficulty Level
Very difficult! thinking outside the norm is required no less. If you wish to see the solution, please click here - Password - antislide.

Summary
The AT-Puzzle is absolutely fantastic. It is also George Bell's favourite. So innocuously simple looking yet extremely challenging for a 5-piece puzzle. One of those puzzles that once you pick it up and know what you have to do, you simply can't put it down.




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