Sunday, 19 February 2017

The New Old School Completed

Got the final 3 to complete the set
When Eric announced his latest update had gone live, I immediately put down the puzzle I was playing with and went straight to his site and placed an order for 3 new 6 piece burrs. But these are not just any old 6 piece burrs, they are the last 3 of Gregory Benedetti's fantastic series of New Old School (NOS) burrs. Eric initially did not think that he could produce them in wood but after seeing them in 3D printed form he decided to have a go and I am so glad that he did. These puzzles require multiple coordinate moves and one even needs a rotation. The design of the pieces make them a woodworkers nightmare and caused the price to be a little on the high side. I and quite a few other collectors couldn't resist them and jumped straight in. I think there are still quite a few left - go pick them up!

All seven together

Sunday, 5 February 2017

A bountiful week!

This week saw the arrival of a nice big package from Tomas Linden's Sloyd store. I couldn't resist ordering the puzzles that Mike D reviewed for me last week and of course couldn't stop at buying just 2 or 3.....I got lots!!!! Blush! Mrs S is not pleased to see jingly puzzles - I expect to be showing off some new bruises and laser burning stares!

Old Man's Desire
Russian Heart
Ring Bottle - looks N-ary

Spider Web
4 Bague

The Glasses
Mini Wire 11
Mini Wire 10

A gift from Tomas - no idea what it is!
Mini Wire 16
Reviews for these will be coming soon.

Let me first of all say that Mike's description of Russian heart as:
"quite a few notches lower on the difficulty scale"
"I think the average puzzler should be able to solve Russian Heart in a modest amount of time"
Lets just say that I disagree with Mike....I have singularly failed at it all week!

Shane was up to new tricks too. He made a classic puzzle but gave it a new twist - this is called Laurie's puzzle after my good friend Laurie Brokenshire:

Shane doesn't do interlocking puzzles but I think he should - it is beautifully made!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

New from Pelikan

New from Pelikan
Jakub has allowed me to purchase the latest creations from Stéphane Chomine, Osanori Yamamoto and Lucie Pauwels. As always they are stunning and should keep me going for a while. Expect reviews soon. We have from the back left:

  • Links D by Lucie
  • Grilladin by Stéphane
  • Two Tone Zero by Osanori
  • Campanus by Stéphane
  • Sucrier by Stéphane
  • Confluence by Stéphane
  • Proteus by Stéphane

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Extra N-ary Madness & a Pelikan/Coffin Special

The Merry-go-round
Jack Krijnen offered an amasing new N-ary puzzle which was a variant of his Power tower which made it to number 6 in the 2015 best of list. This time he allowed puzzlers to choose the pieces they got in the set. Mine consists of ternary, quaternary and quinary pieces. I could have gone even higher order like Allard but figured that my poor little brain doesn't have the staying power! Jack even produced a nice little storage box:

Mrs S will be pleased that they store easily!
Just before the horrible virus hit me, I received a fantastic gift from Jakub of Pelikan puzzles in thanks for the writing I have done for his website. He sent me another of his fabulous turned ball puzzles. This one is the Involute ball:

This is perfect for going on show in the living room with the rest of my turned collection from him. I thought I would show you the puzzle it is based on - this is the original Coffin cube version which I bought from Brian Menold many years ago:

Saturday, 24 December 2016

At the end of the year, yet more twisties

Mini Geranium Plus
On Xmas eve, I received the last puzzle delivery of the year from my good friend Martin Fox. His Puzzle store has gone from strength to strength and I am so pleased that he has done so well. It may even become his full time job next year - I hope to contribute to that myself as more great twisty puzzles come out.

Leslie Le's Very Puzzle company have produced some new variants on the Geranium puzzles which I missed out on when they were originally released. Leslie also produced a new variant of the smaller (?and easier) mini puzzle which I couldn't resist. The yellow "arm" have been divided up to allow the puzzle to scramble further and maybe I will manage to solve it? Looking at it in front of me now, I very much doubt it!

Hex Shaper
The Hex shaper is another 2D twisty puzzle which resembles the top of a megaminx. When it was released I thought it might be too easy but subsequently puzzlers revealed that the disks are not flat and it can be solved for colour but the pieces be in the wrong place and the puzzle not return to flat shape. I couldn't buy just one puzzle from Marty so added this to my list. Not sure I can solve that either!

Bermuda Cube Venus
There are 2 triangles opposite each other
Finally, I was not planning on buying this - I bought the Mars version of the Bermuda cube a few years ago and could not solve it....I got to the last face and couldn't orient the corners no matter what I tried! Recently Pete Wyspianski showed off on Facebook that he had begun working on the series again. I expressed my despondency that I couldn't do them and on Messenger Marty and Paul Morrison ganged up on me and encouraforced me to buy a new one to get my skills up! So here we are with another puzzle I will never be able to solve! You three should be ashamed of yourselves - you are a bad influence!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Splurge Continues

Mrs S continues to open the door to the postman and get pissed off with my deliveries! I keep telling her that I am making up for lost time but she won't listen. These ones really weren't that expensive (Ahem!)

I cannot resist N-ary puzzles and when my friend Namick Salakhov announced that the Ditwibin was being made available then how could I say no? This is a relatively simple Binary puzzle - easy to solve but still fun. I actually don't understand how the mechanism works though.

The Pass
I also couldn't resist 3 new disentanglement puzzles designed by Aaron King (Wang Yulong) and bought from the Felix Puzzle store.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

The beginning of a splurge!

I might have been a bit bad! Mrs S has been in a forgiving mood recently after our trip to Edinburgh where she might have done some expensive shopping, so I chanced my arm and ordered some toys whilst the brownie points are still working! Above is Tricolore designed by Frans de Vreugt - a brilliant 6 piece board burr made by Brian Menold from Padauk, Holly, Wenge and Katalox. It is supposed to have some really unusual moves during the solve.

Burr Noose
Burr Noose by Tom Jolly is part of a series of puzzles which I seem to have missed out on so I remedied that with this one. Pieces made from Ash, Osage Orange, Iroko, Lacewood, Padauk and Tzalm with Holly rings (the noose).

This puzzle was designed by my very good friend Tzy Hung Chein and is effectively 3 puzzles in one with levels of or or depending on the arrangement of the boards. This copy has Walnut Pieces with Ash, Cherry and Holly boards. Beautiful!

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Quaternary goodness

Amazing accuracy
It doesn't look much but I received the above pieces in a very neat package from the amazing Jack Krijnen. These are a set of 6 quaternary burr pieces to go with my power tower set. This set means I can now mix and match the pieces to produce some very entertaining sequences. I love it! I'm also waiting for a new version to come out with an entirely new design.

Power tower set up and partly solved
Power tower set up in its tray with assorted burrs

Sunday, 9 October 2016

You just cannot have too many cuboids!

3x3x6 but not a simple cuboid!
3x3x7 - yep! It's simple!
When Witeden announced a couple of new cuboids, I couldn't possibly resist buying them! Over several years now I have blogged how much I adore twisty puzzles. It's not about speed cubing as that is for teenage boys who have plenty of time to practice doing the same thing over and over and over again! I love to use the techniques I have learned to solve new variants of twisty puzzles and I particularly love the cuboids - I even wrote an article on one approach to classifying the cuboids.

I immediately contacted my friend Martin to ask when he will be getting these new puzzles in stock in his UK based Twisty store and he said they would be arriving very soon. A week later they were in stock here and here and a little money moved across the internet.

The 3x3x7 is said to be "Proportional and shapeshifting" and after a few twists I confirmed that:

3x3x7 after 4 turns - it's going to be such fun
Then I turned my attention to the 3x3x6 which is only described as "Proportional". Why did they miss out the shape-shifting? I had a fiddle and showed that it is definitely shape-shifting but also has a very special extra is offset. Yes! It is an icube (we have seen these before with the 3x3x5 series having a 3x3x4 icube). As you can see below the slice turns about an axis that is not in the centre of the long faces.

The turn is offset!
This will make for a very interesting challenge. I have solved other iCubes including the 4x4x5 iCube made by the Crazybad Cuber and the amazing 5x5x4 iCube made by Gr_cubed - I discussed those puzzles here. I even solved an even more challenging 5x6x7 iCube extreme from Gr_cubed which reached the astounding heights of number 3 in my favourite puzzles of 2014. I am sure the 3x3x6 will be much easier but I have absolutely no recollection how to go about them!! This will be fun!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

A few extras from MPP

Vapors puzzle
At the recent MPP I picked up some extra toys - The Vapors puzzle was designed by Derek Bosch (he's the genius!) and exchanged (and printed) by Big Steve - it's another puzzle in their helical collaboration and as an unusual 3 piece version, I would say an essential for my collection. After all I do have the rest of the set (even if I haven't managed to solve them all).

Helical 540
The latest of Derek's designs and made by Steve is a helical burr that has 540º of rotation. It looks amazing and unfortunately Steve is selling them in the disassembled state! He wants me to tell him whether they are easy enough to be sent as an assembly puzzle! Does he not realise that I am not terribly bright? I suspect this will stay in pieces for quite some time! Just because my friend Ali manages to assemble all of them, does not mean that us mere mortals can do it too!

It's a plastic book?
It's a beautiful packing puzzle!
Steve brought back the Pack Your Passport puzzle from Eitan Cher (Designed by Rex Rossano Perez), a packing puzzle that is just beautifully presented as a passport with 2 pages of packing to be done. I'll never manage it but it will be fun to torture colleagues with.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Two Special deliveries in one week to Ease my Stress

VERY special twisties
I had to go to London during the last week to hand in the keys to my late Mum's apartment immediately prior to the sale completion and then the following day was a special family and friends get together for her "stone setting". This was a very stressful and emotional time for me and when I got back I was ready for a bit of relaxation with Mrs S.

The day after my return home I got back to 2 deliveries - the first package was an unexpected and delightful surprise. My friend Marty has begun running his own on-line Twisty puzzle store here in the UK and delivers all over the world. I had discussed that I wanted the above two cubes but was going to be away a few days so he surprised me by arranging for them to be delivered the very next day to cheer me up after my ordeal! Now that is customer service for you!! I have to recommend his store as amongst the very best customer service out there.

On the left is the Dayan Bagua cube - this is a very complex puzzle that allows 45º turns and still lets further movement occur:

Top 45º then Right 90º turn
Just 4 turns only! Ouch!
This thing gets very jumbled up and then starts to block movements. I am told by a very good friend and twisty solver from Japan that this puzzle doesn't need any fancy specific algorithms at all! Gulp! I haven't even dared to scramble it yet.

Next up is the Clover cube from Very Puzzle - it reminded me of one of my favourite twisty puzzles, the Curvy copter:

Each half edge can turn 180º
This jumbles with every move!
Something tells me that this is going to be much more difficult than the curvy copter - Gulp again!!!

Finally I managed to get a copy of Eric Fuller's Bebox/Reactor cube:

It's N-ary and a burr and has a box inside!
I had missed out when these came out because I had faded out after having been on-call the night before. They sold out in 45 minutes at about midnight UK time! But luckily for me many had been held for people who had reserved a different box puzzle. After a couple of weeks had passed, a few people decided they didn't want their reserved puzzle and I got a chance to buy! It wasn't cheap but it sure was worth it!

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Can't Resist Design Competition Puzzles

Slide Packing
Recently after the IPP, a couple of stand out puzzles from the design competition suddenly were made available to purchase from Mineyuki Uyematsu's store. I sent him an email and quickly received a reply. A little PayPal later and a package arrived from Japan. Amazingly it only took 4 days to reach me from the other side of the world!

Slide Packing designed by Hajime Katsumoto won the Puzzler's award at the IPP so how could I resist? There are 4 pieces to be packed into the beautifully crafted box:

Looks easy? Think again!
Another puzzle that Hajime Katsumoto designed also won a Jury Honourable mention was Penta in a box:

Another beautiful box (with a hinged lid this time)
As the name suggests there are 5 pieces to place inside.

Finally I couldn't just buy 2 puzzles from Japan so I ordered a third one for luck! Another packing puzzle this time designed by Yasuhiro Hashimoto - the 4L puzzle.

4L packing
I thought this would be relatively easy.....I was wrong!