Extremely Puzzling - Goetz Schwandtner's Puzzles

On this page some extremely puzzling objects are displayed: My private puzzle collection consisting of a wide range of three-dimensional puzzles, from industrial produced Rubik's Cube like puzzles to my custom builds, from production range Pihilos wood puzzles to rare and special puzzles from various excellent craftsmen, and not to forget the Japanese Himitsu Bakos, including some equisite works of the Karakuri Creation Group. Please note that you won't find any jigsaw puzzles on these pages, may they be two or three dimensional.


Added on 2014-12-22
Christmas is approaching fast and today I received three packages via three different ways (Customs and two different carriers). The first one is a Karakuri Christmas present from 2010, and a box I was looking for since I played with it in the 2011 IPP31 Design Competition, where it won a honorable mention. The box has a theme fitting the season: House with Trees has four little x-mas trees on it. The second puzzle is Stephan Baumegger's latest try to put additional pieces into burrs. This time a bigger 12 piece burr with a little Bulldozer in it: Dozer. Not an animal piece, but something for the Burr Zoo, to be completed when I have disassembled it, and from what I can say now it is very nice an high quality. The third one was also a nice entry in IPP Design Competition puzzle, from 2009: Qboid. In the picture, I picked up an idea from Gabriel Fernandez' blog — usually you are supposed to build a 2x2x3 cuboid. The puzzle has many different challenges (over 1000) to build, so I might start with some easy ones first. A nice early christmas present from my puzzle friend Michel. Thank you!
Update on 2014-12-15
On my web site I have the honour to host the latest extended version of Goh Pit Khiam's excellent article "The Design of N-ary Mechanical Puzzles", see compendium reference [12]. The update today includes some major extensions and new puzzles mainly, from page 28 onwards, featuring: The Power Box, Racktangle, an illustrated overview of some mixed base Power Tower examples, including a simplification of this concept.
Added on 2014-12-05
Today already a package from Eric Fuller arrived with some of the latest wooden interlocking puzzles. Very exact cuts and high quality as usual. They are: Amatores, Rough Night, Rupture, and Crystalburr
Update on 2014-12-01
My latest update on the Burr Zoo page is not really about animals, but about my experiences with a burr based on a famous race, the Gumball 3K. A surprisingly difficult and rich experience!
Added on 2014-11-28
A package from Nowstore in Hong Kong with the latest two from the DaYan Gem series: DaYan Gem VI is a 3x3x3 with some fancy extra moves and which does not look like a Rubik's cube at all. DaYan Gem VIII is a face turning and tip turning truncated tetrahedron.
Added on 2014-11-22
Today Bernhard kindly invited to a small and very nice puzzle party and beside the lot of fun at the meeting and with the other puzzlers there, I was also able to acquire some special prototypes and new puzzles. The prototypes are cubes and a cuboid with rotations from Jos Bergmans: United, Pirouette, Garmbaad, and one with six identical pieces by Yavuz Demirhan: Six Spades. The latest two puzzles by William Hu and Logan Kleinwaks have also been available already: Chain and Six Iberian Lynxes. The Chain offers nice rotations, while the Six Iberian Lynxes is composed of six identical pieces and has level 9. Two extra pieces are supplied and if you replace two of the standard pieces with these, you will get another puzzle with level 19.
Added on 2014-11-20
Today a massive cube arrived from Stephan: Cube 81 by C.K.Leung. As the name suggests, it requires 81 moves to remove the first piece. The whole puzzle is built around a big column, and before disassembling it completely, only the nut wood pieces move. Very nice fit and high quality. Nice to play with, also the size is just the right choice for playing.
Update on 2014-11-19
Success: I have now disassembled Gobi. It took some time, so I also wrote a long report of this expedition into the Gobi, see my Burr Zoo page.
Added on 2014-11-11
Look! I received a friend for my koala to play with! Today the long awaited Katie Koala and her joey Verne limited edition puzzle arrived. It is the 20th anniversary limited edition by Brian Young and a really beautiful and heavy wooden Koala. A lot of stuff must be inside considering the weight. Will take some time before I will be able to solve it, I guess — lots of puzzling fun! The other koala is sitting on another special puzzle which arrived today: a 3D printed reproduction of the Stickman Box number 5, sometimes called "Borg Box". Another Brian made this possible: Brian Pletcher modelled, prepared, and assembled it. Two truely interesting puzzles!
Added on 2014-11-05
Do you know the "Gumball 3000"? It is a famous (or infamous?) race on public streets, running through several continents, but in some places considered an illegal street race. This is the theme for the latest burr Stephan Baumegger designed and built: Gumball 3K. With its wood grains it is a real beauty and looks a bit like a ball (the trophy for this race?). Although it is not really an 18 pieces burr, I put it into this 18 pieces burr group, as the two extra pieces are well hidden. These pieces are cars and not animals, but close enough for the theme, so I put it into the Burr Zoo to be described when I have disassembled it and revealed the two cars inside. And after all, some fast cars do have animal names, so I should put this puzzle into the Burr Zoo! At the end, with the level, it does not seem an overly difficult burr, but the car pieces makes it a bit more difficult and it is definitely looking beautiful! You can find more pictures on Stephan's facebook page Puzzleisure.
Added on 2014-10-27
Yesterday I went to the Dutch Cube Day and met many old and new puzzle friends there, from different continents even! A very nice event!
From Jack I arrived a special version of his and Pit Khiam's Power Tower participating in this year's IPP Design Competition: Power Tower (mixed base, variable stage). This version comes with a lot of extra pieces and a stopper that allows to select between 3 and 6 stages, and also allows to select an arbitrary combination of binary, ternary, and quaternary pieces. This will intermingle sequences of different arity and may be quite confusing to solve. Not only the craftsmanship is amazing in this puzzle, but also the sheer number of pieces that come with it. The standard configuration is three binary pieces and plays nicely and easily.
The Barcode Burr (printed) is a 3D printed reproduction of the famous wooden version by Lee. Steve engineered and created these printed version in a limited quantity and is a great opportunity to study this fascinating mechanism. In a partial sale of a whole collection, I managed to get some classic puzzles: Computer Puzzler No 2, Computer Puzzler No 5, Double Loop, Trapeze variant, and Unknown Disentanglement 2. All seven puzzles mentioned so far are part of the compendium and n-ary puzzle group page.
From Michel I received a (customized!) Puzzle Wristband and an Expand A Ball. He was cooperating with Robrecht who created the Ladybird and Larva. The first one was part of the IPP Design Competition, the latter one is a simpler version including the same maze. That makes the names of father (Ladybird) and son (Larva) seem most appropriate, and they are both nicely designed and crafted puzzles.
Straight from Hungary Oliver brought a nice Smart Egg - Skull Egg, which is the most difficult of the whole recently released series.
Beside the Power Tower already mentioned, Jack also made a nice theme puzzle, the DCD-burr. Please look at the picture to see why it is a DCD theme puzzle. He was not the only high level burr designer and craftsman present, but also Alfons, from whom I received some nice beauties: Gobi is one of the latest Burr Zoo members. Jadimex is a nice easy puzzle of three boards and three sticks. Maltese looks a bit like a cross of 18 piece burr and a Maltese cross (sic!). Then Jalpa is one from the 18 pieces burr group.
The Letterbox is a nice design by Christoph (one of the guys I once helped with Burr-Tools). So now I also own "my first Lohe", and Chris also this of this design as his best.
The Rammelkast is a trick box by Theo and you hear something going on inside when tilting it. Fascinating and also nice woodwork.
From Bernhard I received as recent re-release Wunder-Puzzle, and then some new complicated interlocking cubes/cuboidsby William Hu: Coo-inter-pack seems to incorporate coordinate motion with interlocking and packing. I am curious to see how this works! Writhing Snake Cube has some snake pieces performing strange rotational moves. Zmije is one of Vinco's puzzles where you do not know how to open it and where the pieces end.
As a present, each participant of DCD received a 6^3 Board Burr, which is a variation of his IPP Exchange puzzle Cubic Board Burr — as Peter demonstrated in his interesting talk.
Added on 2014-10-20
From Shapeways I received a Helix Burr v2, which is a higher level variant of the Helical Burr. My order also included the HELLical Burr (27 moves for the first piece) before the pricing scheme went up, but unfortunately there were problems during printing and I only received this one. At IPP I already failed to solve the HELLical Burr, so maybe I will solve this 16 move variant some near time in the future.
Added on 2014-10-18
Back from the Spiel games fair in Essen I brought some interesting puzzles with me, some of them brand new. My first visit was to Jean-Claude Constantin, and he had some new puzzles compendium and n-ary puzzle group page for me (even after so many new ones he made for IPP): Based on the N522 he demonstrated the generalization aspect of this class very well: He created different sizes of the puzzle from a 2+2-slider N5, via the 3+3-slider N52, and so on until the 10+10 slider N522222222. Of course I was not able to buy all of them, but have some nice representatives. The N5 is good for beginners, while the N52 is a good challenge for an average puzzler, and the N522222222 may not be solved anytime at all. But all of them share the same principle and design. A new design is the Bi-Nary, which combines the this mechanism (of the N5x) with the one of the Six Bottles. It is a combination of two ternary mechanisms, hence the name, and can be quite confusing to solve.
The other puzzles by Constantin are a bit more normal again: Schmuckkiste, Einstein-Box, Spinnennetz, and Picture Ball Maze.
The Romanian Puzzle Box Small looks like a reproduction of a typical Sorrento Trick Box, but the key is hidden in a different place. The rest of the puzzles I bought at Rombol, including some new interlocking puzzles: Assembly Cube, Rondo Turco, Open Crochet Cube, Poco Loco, Framework, and Fan Puzzle.
Added on 2014-10-15
Twisty Octahedra are still a rare species, and yet today I have received a new puzzle from the group of twisty octahedra: Crazy Octahedron Plus - Mercury
Added on 2014-09-19
A package from Puzzlemaster today, starting with some of their own brand: Brass Treasure Chest is a very small puzzle box by Rocky Chiaro, Great Collision one of the group of similar puzzles by Doug Engel, and The Yak Puzzle and Brontosaurus are fierce disentanglement puzzles by Dick Hess. Writer's Block is "an Oskar" using real pens as parts. The Brain is the new version of the puzzle in compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. Cast Galaxy is a fascinating puzzle by Bram Cohen and the latest Hanayama puzzle. At the IPP33 Design Competition it was awarded an "honorable mention". Hourglass is one of those Yamamoto puzzles with high level and rotations, and it also looks nice!
Added on 2014-09-17
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away ... These puzzles remind me of something I have seen in cinema before. You may have recognized that the new Typhyter standing next to the Droid is not just another 18 pieces burr, but also a beautiful piece of art. This puzzle arrived today in a package from Stephan Baumegger with two other gorgeous novelties: Troika has only three pieces, but looking at the level you see it is pretty hard. From "pretty hard" to "pretty heart": Caught Heart is a beautiful interlocking puzzle touching the borders of the puzzle box category: the heart piece is the only piece that can be removed, and for the others several tilting moves are required. I am sure it will be officially published on the Puzzleisure page soon, and sorry for the bad pun!
Added on 2014-09-12
First update after IPP is a puzzle from the compendium and n-ary puzzle group page: Wicked Wire Fish
Added on 2014-08-13
Usually once every year since 1978 the biggest puzzle related event takes place: the IPP (International Puzzle Party). I have just come back from this amazing event where I met many old and new puzzle friends and brought back some nice puzzles. You can see my "haul" in the picture on the left. About 100 puzzles are from the Edward Hordern Puzzle Exchange, where you bring about 100 copies of a new puzzle and exchange with 100 other puzzlers. Please see the special page for these puzzles. My puzzle in the Exchange was the Cross + Crown 2013, which is based on a design patented in 1913, 100 years ago. It is an n-ary puzzle. To my big surprise, I received a bigger version of it from my Exchange assistant Kevin Sadler: Cross + Crown 7 This is also n-ary and has an amazing 4802 moves to solve! Thank you! IPP34 Exchange

At IPP, I received a London Lines Puzz-eLLe as a gift from the organizers, and a little IPP34 Necklace Burr from Brian Young. Thank you! The IPP also features the Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition. Beside some puzzles which are also in the Exchange, I managed to get some rare n-ary puzzles from the Design Competition: Complementary P-arity and Num Lock. I also bought a smaller version of the Naked Secret Box Red.

At the Puzzleparty, I bought various nice puzzles: Frame+Loop Septet is a n-ary puzzle I was missing in the set, and probably no others will be produced of this kind. From Kirill, I got a Valentine's puzzle as a swap. Tom Lensch and Frans de Vreugd sold me some old but nice of Frans' designs: Quantum Entanglement Exchange and Extreme Boxed Burr. Just a day before IPP, the new Doors and Drawers was ready, and I just had to buy this puzzle. It is a puzzle box/sequential discovery/interlocking/packing puzzle — very nice! I got a Sandfield's Banded Dovetails, which is the predecessor of the version I already have and then I found a Rhombic Maze Burr " many puzzles in one, with up to a several hundereds of moves. This one comes with a whole book of challenges! From Otis I received a Secret Box as a swap for one of my nice Acrobat puzzles. The haul is concluded with a new Indian Trick Lock.

With so many puzzles to solve, I am just starting to solve and will replace the pictures with solved versions once I have solved the corresponding puzzles. This may well take some year or more.

Update: The compendium has been updated and in total 10 new n-ary puzzles from IPP found their way in.

Added on 2014-08-02
This weekend brought a package from Jerry McFarland with a second Pin Burr. It is actually the first Pin Burr, Pin Burr 1. From the outside, it looks as beautiful as the Pin Burr 2 and similar from the outside, but the mechanism is very different. The pins are used in a different way here, and the creative new way of using pins and magnets is the first time I see this mechanism in any puzzle. A nice puzzle to play with!
Added on 2014-07-29
Today a package from Hong Kong with some nice Twisties. After successfully solving a 4x4x6 without help last weekend (has been lying around at a friend's place being scrambled by a neighbor some time ago), I received a new cuboid today: 2x4x6 Pillow Cuboid. Will surely give it a try and do not expect it to be overly difficult to solve — famous last words! With it came a very easy puzzle: Pyraminx Duo. The last in this order is a Dino Skewb. Actually I had this puzzle in a Shapeways version for some time, it is an F-Skewb, which is more a collector's item than for solving. Now I can try to solve the Dino Skewb without remorse.
Added on 2014-07-15
Today I received some of the latest works from Alfons Eyckmans. Very beautiful puzzles and all interesting designs! The Lolly Box 4 is a brand new and unpublished design. It has 5 lollies ready to grab, but they won't come out easily. The Rubicon was my selection from the sticks in a four board frame series, which Alfons has been working on recently. Beside the beautiful looks it has the piece shapes as most distinguishing feature: big boards, short sticks, long sticks, and also small boards! With the next one I took another visit to the Burr Zoo: Adam and Eve in Paradise. Have a look into the Burr Zoo page, the review is already there, with some nice pictures! Paraugas is some new shape: A central column with some 8 burr sticks around it. Even though this is a puzzle solvable with Burr-Tools, you can also start with some fancy rotation of the upper layer of pieces, trying to screw things up a bit. The next additions are some in the traditional 18 pieces burr group: Mayhem is a chaotic puzzle with hooked pieces, similar to Nightmare, just more complicated. Tadpoles is a nearly traditional 18 pieces burr (only six pieces of other shape, extended at one end), which tries to entertain the solver by providing a nontrivial level for several pieces. The Microburr is a truely small burr designed and built by Maurice Vigouroux. Thank you for all your nice puzzles, Alfons!
Added on 2014-07-05
Every year Rainer Popp releases one of his new trick lock designs, which are known as Popplocks. They are all custom made and some of the most sophisticated trick lock designs. So far I have only collected the Popplocks with even numbers: T2 T4 T6 T8. This year is an exception: The Popplock T9 was released and immediately added to my collection. It looks massive and valuable as all these locks and this one seems to have a whole series of steps and tricks built in. And this one has a key, may be a hint for opening it. I have already started solving it, found something already, but I am still far from solving this beauty.
Added on 2014-06-27
This update shows a new puzzle based on a completely new design: Pin Burr 2 is a burr by Jerry McFarland which uses a pin-maze-mechanism and is based on a binary sequence. This makes it part of compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. The binary sequence is not based on the Gray Code, like Chinese Rings, but is more like how computers count. Making the puzzle more interesting (much more interesting!), Jerry has included a trick in the binary sequence, and after the control piece and the bit pieces have been removed, the frame does not come apart immediately, but you have to find another trick which Jerry included — reminds me of the excellent Burrblock, but the trick is completely different. The complicated frame is a big development from the prototype which I had the honour of testing, commenting and comparing with the final version. That puzzle has a frame of the Quadlock 4, while the Pin Burr 2 has a more sophisticated frame and more complicated piece shapes. These pieces are also crafted from nice woods (including ebony) and this leads to the most obvious aspect I have not covered yet: The puzzle just looks beautiful! Please have a look at the picture yourself and also into the compendium entry for some nicer pictures. These fine woods lead to the last aspect I would like to mention here: The puzzle is quite heavy, which makes it nice to hold and fun to play with. An excellent addition to my collection!
Added on 2014-06-05
After yesterday's update with the two big puzzles coming in a separate package each, today I received a package from Eric containing nice puzzles from two companies: Cubicdissection and Raleigh Puzzles. The first one is a first design of the new designer Dan Fast, who was known for twisty puzzle videos and just recently extended his reviews to wooden burr puzzles and has now designed his first own very original design: Shake Something. The name will tell you something about the solution — interesting! Then there are two William Hu designs: Ring Lock involving rotations and Welded Burr, which is a three piece burr, believe me! From the less expensive Raleigh Puzzles range I received two classics I did not have yet: Slideways and Missing Notch.
Added on 2014-06-04
Today two nice little packages from two of my puzzle friends. Feels a bit like X-mas and Easter on one day. Well actually, there is an egg in one of the packages, and the other is wood (recycled X-mas tree? Definitely not!). They are special puzzles, both are difficult and very good looking. That is where the similarities ends. So what are these mysterious puzzles?

The first one is a big burr. And when I mean big, I am talking about a configuration of 12x15x16. That is 43 pieces in total! However, it is not a puzzle that eats up all your remaining shelf space, as it has been created in nice 8mm sticks, an excellent choice also for playing. You may have guessed already, it's the C2-1. It was designed by C K Leung and built by Stephan Baumegger. Only 5 of them were built (and licensed) and Yvon from Canada was also involved in this project. My first impression is "Wow!" and I am curious if I will be able to disassemble (and reassemble) it without help.

The second one is not another easter egg, but Wil Strijbos' newest project, the: EGG. The puzzle looks fantastic and like the high quality work we know from Wil's puzzles. It also feels nicely solid and heavy, as usual for these puzzles. This is all I can tell about the puzzle at the moment. No idea what is going on inside and how to open it. But that is the idea behind it, isn't it? Looking forward to see how this puzzle works and opens, but that may take quite some time.

Added on 2014-05-22
Directly from the designer I received two nice puzzle locks: First I was looking for the Burgh Lock, and then luckily the brand new Swing Lock became available. They are quite different from each other and look beautiful (believe me, the orange color is much nicer in reality than on the picture). I have already found some interesting surprises before even attempting to solve, so these lock surely will prove very interesting!
Added on 2014-05-17
Today a surprise package from my cousin, with a beautiful hexaflexagon she found on an arts fair: Das Magische Sechseck. Thank you!
Added on 2014-05-07
Two nice massive steel bolts from Wil today: Nipple Bolt and Low Number Bolt.
Added on 2014-05-03
A little package from Hong Kong with a nice new twisty puzzle: the Ghost Cube.
Added on 2014-04-30
Today a package from Stephan with some of the latest designs from Austria and both very nicely designed and built. "These aren't the droids you're looking for!" Remember this quote? Well, there is a droid I have been looking for, and this cute puzzle has arrived today: Droid. Looks like a wooden relative of the famous R2-D2 from Star-Wars. The second puzzle is another framed traditional 18 pieces burr: Enmarcado. Wrong again! This is the first self-framing burr of this kind, which means that the frame is not solid but mere sticks attached to the burr pieces which make up the frame. This is based on an idea Ronald had years ago: Self-Framing Burr.
Added on 2014-04-27
There are several ways to celebrate the Dutch King on King's day, and one is Wil's Koningsdag Puzzle Treffen, which I visited today. Met many nice puzzle friends there, had a look at a very small percentage of Wil's collection, and of course broght home some new puzzles: It started with a pre-order, which Michel handed over to me, four wooden puzzle locks: The Fiendishly Perplexing Lock, The Utterly A-Maze-Ing Lock, The Cunningly Complex Lock, and The Ultimate Combination Lock. Then I went for some metal puzzles:Lock Nut Bolt, Little Gordians Knot, including the latest Cast puzzle: Cast U and U. The next two are tiny interlocking puzzles I have never seen before. Lacking Japanese language skills, I still do not know how they are called and who designed them: 12 Piece Japanese Interlocking Puzzle, 15 Piece Japanese Interlocking Puzzle. For the last two, I know the designer and that they have been produced in the New Pelikan Workshop: Cubax and Konstrukt. Did you notice something familiar? Well, the Little Gordians Knot is a member of compendium and n-ary puzzle group page already, in a slightly different shape.
Added on 2014-04-23
Today a small package from Hong Kong, with a new cuboid, which I created as cubic version from a 4x4x4 before: 3x4x4
Added on 2014-04-12
Today I went to a nice GCD (German Cube Day) and met many nice puzzle friends there, and of course brought back some cool puzzles: As presents, I received the GCD 2014 Giveaway and the 4LCoMo (see here). I picked up some different old and new puzzles: Swiss Cow (Vache Rouge) (original naef version), Matchbox, Big Interlocking Cube (an unknown cube in a very rough build from an unknown craftsman and designer; none of the present experts was able to identify it).
Then some vintage additions to compendium and n-ary puzzle group page: New Puzzle Rings 3 and New Puzzle Rings 5.
From Bernhard I picked up some nice pre-ordered items (some of them were sold out already): Petit Puzzle, Rotator, Keyhole, Turnkey, Irene Alternate, and Two Wheeled Cube.
Added on 2014-04-08
Today a heavy metal package from Puzzlemaster in Canada: Two new Cast puzzles: Cast Harmony and Cast Twist. Then some new additions to compendium and n-ary puzzle group page: Rat Race and Tree Puzzle. Both are implementations of "Ingenious Rings Puzzles", which I have added to the compendium earlier this year.
News update on 2014-04-01
No April's fool, but I have really solved the Bicomplementary formation b/b:1/2 puzzle and removed all the sticks and bars from the puzzle. After the long interweaved-binary sequence for the first piece, there are a couple of moves for each piece (I would estimate no more than 10 per piece), including some half-unit moves taking the half-notches into account. Most of the strange moves I found earlier now appeared in the sequence for a piece. While removing the pieces, I carefully arranged the pieces in a way such that I would know which piece would belong where. Even with this information the puzzle is difficult enough to reassemble, as you have to know the order in which the pieces get back in, and what the configuration of the other pieces should be at that point. Luckily and unlike the disassembly you can see through the hole and see what has to be aligned to make room for the new piece. A real boxed burr experience. Very nice concept, I like it!
Added on 2014-03-29
Today two special updates:
Bicomplementary formation b/b:1/2 This puzzle update is something special because it is presented to the public for the first time. Is this beautiful red and shiny box a burr, is it an n-ary puzzle? Well, it seems it is both. It clearly has some Gray code moves in it and then also some burr-like moves that are not following Gray codes at all. The name Bicomplementary formation b/b:1/2 tries to summarize that there are two groups of pieces (bars and sticks), which both follow a binary GC move pattern at first and are interlocked. Then some nice half notches based moves appear that are usually only found in burrs by Bill Cutler and Jerry McFarland. Some solving experiences: After finding out about the binary GC first, the first group of moves becomes pretty evident. However, at a later point this sequence ends abruptly. Now you are on your own, like with high level burrs: searching for possible moves without being able to look into the box. After a while a pattern becomes clear and then the first piece comes out. Fascinating puzzle! It is a worthy new addition to the compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. Clever design, Namick!
Added on 2014-03-27
Today some very nice and beautiful burr puzzles from Alfons: The Mino and Jucar are a new type of burr actively discussed on facebook. Alfons made the Mino with nicely grained pieces for me, but additionally he also included the ones that were first built and presented on facebook -- as a special collector's item. After all the nice 18 pieces burrs lately, the Sand Witch and the Kameleon are a good distraction, with a mixture of different piece shapes in one burr. The Kameleon seems to mix them as the real animal mixes colors on its skin. Then there is one addition to the Burr Zoo: It seems, Alfons has finally found the master of all those pets he locked into the burrs before, the The Devil and his Pet.
Added on 2014-03-15
When I had some twisty puzzles visiting last weekend together with my puzzle friends, I just had to go to Calvin's store afterwards and order some. The arrived today already, which is very quick: 3x3x3 Pitcher Octo-Star Cube, Evil Eye II Dodecahedron, and Curvy Copter Plus
Added on 2014-03-11
Today a parcel with some nice little puzzles arrived from Eric. They are both nice and little, but that was intended: Rail Box, Carbo Cube, Gaia, and Vortex.
Added on 2014-03-09
Yesterday I was hosting the second MZPP and we seven puzzle friends attending had a very fun event. Chris brought me a nice little 2x2x2 Fortune Cat and I am sure this will bring good fortune to me and my collection. Thanks, Chris!
Added on 2014-03-05
Recently I made a visit to the zoo and wrote up a little report on the things I have seen there. Wrong page, you think? Well, it was a zoo of Animal Burrs, and the report is the new Burr Zoo group page. Enjoy reading!
Added on 2014-02-19
Recently I have been playing a lot with some "Animal Burrs", how I like to call them: traditional traditional 18 pieces burrs, which have one or two extra pieces hidden inside that have the form of an animal. I am in the middle of working my way through the Devil's pet family. I have completely disassembled (and therefore freed) Devil's Pet 1 and Devil's Pet 2. Two pieces came out from Devil's Pet 3 already and next will be Devil's Pet 4. Now today I have received a package from Stephan with some of his latest creations in this field. The Beware of the Snake is an 18 pieces burr and is the home of a snake, which is currently in the wild and needs to go back into the burr. All these animal puzzles so far have been 18(+x) piece burrs with very static animals — not much space in there. The Camelride has only 12(+1) pieces, but the camel moves a lot even early in the solution. Nice puzzles in this group and beautiful to look at!
Added on 2014-02-08
From Alfons I received a package full of very nice puzzles, mostly traditional 18 pieces burrs. The first is a traditional 18 pieces burr, although not of traditional shape: Saturn, and looks a bit like the Crusade. Then there are three traditional ones with high and very high level: Minerva, Morpheus, and Apollo; all with nice exotic woods. The Lange Wapper 54-2 is a small version and slight variant of the Lange Wapper 54. It has pieces of 10 units length (not the standard 8), but with a unit size about half the one of the other burrs, it is a nice tiny puzzle -- blending in into the class of small 18 pieces burrs that became popular recently. The last one is The Box, which looks like a puzzle box, but I would rather call it an interlocking puzzle, maybe even a burr. When playing with it, you will find that it behaves like one of these sophisticated Japanese Karakuri puzzle boxes, but looking at the inside, you will find a core and some hooked panels that look more like an interlocking or burr puzzle. To me it is a burr behaving a bit like a puzzle box.
News update on 2014-01-14
In the meantime, I have solved all the Karakuri X-mas presents, and Iwahara's little box with the two devices took me longest to solve. All very fascinating puzzles of completely different kinds. Today I have received my membership letter with the solution to the names and craftsmen quiz (I did not need the solutions to the puzzles any more). Seems I was right with my guess and can now uncover: Pirates Box by Miyamoto, Bean Bag Drawer by Iwahara, Expansion IV-2 by Kamei, and Ring Box 2 by Kawashima.
Added on 2014-01-11
First package of this year, straight from Hong Kong: Lattice Cube, which could also be called "Master Dino Cube".
Added on 2013-12-24
From Stephan I received a nice Christmas puzzle: La Mente. A very nice and beautiful puzzle from the category of boxed 6-piece burrs. Thank you, Stephan!
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and puzzling New Year!
Added on 2013-12-20
Now look at that! I finally managed to remove the second and then also the third and fourth piece of the Columbus. Must have been some 60 or 70 more moves, but I was not able to count. Had to concentrate on the move sequences, which are really fascinating. Sometimes after a few moves you do not even know how to get back! Nice to solve.
Added on 2013-12-19
Today a nice package from Dan arrived, who found a nice puzzle for me. It is an Electro 1, a traditional entry for both compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. Thank you, Dan!
Added on 2013-12-18
I am still solving for the second piece of the Columbus burr received last week, and have found some very interesting moves — must be close! What other ways are there to prepare for Christmas time? Perhaps with some season's greetings from Japan with some Karakuri X-mas presents arrived today: Xmas 1, Xmas 2, Xmas 3, and Xmas 4. I do not know the names of these little beauties, but I am sure about who created which. If you would like to guess who was the craftsman for which, please drop me a mail. I will not make it too easy here by telling you which craftsmen I selected, but for some there is a pretty obvious style and I am convinced I know who is responsible for which (and then there are also the colorful cardboard boxes ...). Later I will provide an update with the names and craftsmen, but that will usually take until next year.
Added on 2013-12-12
Today a nice little traditional 18 pieces burr from Alfons Eyckmans: Columbus. It only takes 7 moves to remove the first piece, so it should be easy, right? Wrong! Alltogether there are 114 moves required for the full disassembly so the puzzle is actually getting more difficult to the end. If you have a look at the pictures, be assured that the nice exotic woods look much better in reality! Thank you, Alfons!
Added on 2013-11-04
Today two packages with very interesting and nice puzzles arrived. The first one contains a Popplock T8. This is not only a huge lock, but also looks complicated and can be opened, although it does not come with a key. And by the way, it nicely extends the sequence of Popplocks I have: T2, T4, T6, T8.
Added on 2013-12-06
Today a package from Azerbaijanian designer Namick Salakhov arrived, containing a new special puzzle for compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. Thank you, Namick!
Railing with Draining This puzzle update is something special because it is presented to the public for the first time. It is a nice sliding pieces puzzle, which is ternary, but needs less pieces than other puzzles of that type. While the Tern Key puzzle employs two switches between each two sliders, this puzzle only has one switch between each two sliders. Let's see if you can figure out where the name Railing with Draining ternary comes from. I find it quite obvious if you have a look at how the puzzle looks like and how it works. Please click on the thumbnails to get a better view of the detail pictures.
Today also a second package with some early Christmas presents arrived from John Lin (Customs officers did not believe that but insisted it was commercial): Some nice new Skewb based puzzles: Squished Skewb (the name says all how this puzzle looks like — it is not a Skewb and not cubic), and Skewb Curvy Rhombohedron. Both are of high quality and have the nice clicking Skewb mechanism I like. Thank you, John!
Added on 2013-11-14
Today two packages with nice puzzles for compendium and n-ary puzzle group page arrived. The first contained a Octet for heavy disentanglement (luckily I managed the smaller Sextet yesterday without entangling myself). The second one a whole load of Frequency Doublers: 1, 2, 3. Unfortunately, that last one is not for me and will travel on, but I was able to study and solve this new puzzle — for research purposes, of course!
Added on 2013-11-04
Today two packages with very interesting and nice puzzles arrived. The first one contains a Popplock T8. This is not only a huge lock, but also looks complicated and can be opened, although it does not come with a key. And by the way, it nicely extends the sequence of Popplocks I have: T2, T4, T6, T8.
The other package was from Alfons Eyckmans. It contains a zoo of some more animals trapped in an 18 pieces burr. Can you find out which the others are? I have two such puzzles already. When I asked Alfons for a new one he created, it turned out that there were 4 different variations already. The new pets are all diabolical animals crafted in nice woods: Devil's Pet 1, Devil's Pet 2, Devil's Pet 3, and Devil's Pet 4. Once freed, they all look a bit different, but all like some sort of hellhound. In case I needed it against such fierce creatures, Alfons included a sword in my package: Damocles, whose name tells me it might not be easy to get out and to use. It employs the same general idea like the recently published Excalibur, but the sword itself is completely different.
Added on 2013-10-28
After the n-ary news of last weekend, a package from Azerbaijanian designer Namick Salakhov arrived, containing two special puzzles for compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. The first puzzle from this package has been on an oddyssey already. It nearly reached me a couple of months ago, but then something bad happened to the package and for some reason it returned home. Now the Binary Bud is with me, and it is the one that has been in the compendium since the IPP33 Design Competition, in which this design took part this year. It is a very nice little binary puzzle.
GC machine ternary The second puzzle is something special because it is presented to the public for the first time on this web page (and also in the compendium). It is also special because of the nice technical look, that underlines the name GC machine ternary and also special because of the nice new mechanism. There are five sliders and four wheels in this mechanism, and a control knob. The control knob ensures that exactly one slider may move at a time (indicated by the numbers on it), while the weels link the sliders together to a ternary mechanism. The sliders of course have three positions and the last picture shows the goal configuration with all five sliders pulled out as far as possible. A unique and very nice concept, and also fun to play with, believe me! It is contained in the compendium, as it is a ternary puzzle — hence the name, while the "GC" in the name stands for "Gray Code", of course.Please click on the thumbnails to get a better view of the detail pictures.
Added on 2013-10-26
Second puzzle event in a week was going to the "Spiel" in Essen and meeting puzzlers from different countries and even continents there. At Jean-Claude Constantin's booth I expected to see one puzzle for the compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. Instead he pulled out one after another until six new designs lay in front of me, so this is a big update not only for my web page, but also for the compendium. The new puzzles are Steuerrad, Spiralschloss, Uhrwerk, Seestern, 522, and Labynary. Some have extra challenges of hidden ball mazes, and they are of arities 2, 3, and 11. What better way to invite you to look into the compendium, where you will find more details about the puzzles!
Of course I also got some other puzzles from Jean-Claude, like one of his Light Bulbs and a Trick Lock. This lock is something I have been searching for some time. It has 3 independent locking mechanisms and they require 12 steps — a true beast!
At the Rombol booth I found some interesting new designs I did not have: T-one, Rotpack 1, Sliced Bread, and Gear.
Added on 2013-10-22
Last weekend was DCD in the Netherlands and I brought back many puzzles again: From Wil I got a Trapezoid Symmetry Puzzle and the two latest cast puzzles from Japan, still in their original Japanese packag: G&G and Cylinder. Bernhard had some nice pre-orders for me (some sold out now already): Coaxial, Mysterious Galaxy, and Galaxy Z. Oskar gave me one of his Impossiburrs (can you see the geometry?), and from Tony Fisher one of his latest originals, a Starpad (where did the rest of that Starminx go?). After meeting Jack Krijnen, I now had some of his old and new creations: The Cube (interesting design from 1980), Tippy (downsized version of the Tipperary, both in complexity and real size), Elevenses, Framed!, and Grandpa Framed (two additions to the 18 pieces burr group, the first ones with frame). The last one is a Grandfather Burr (by W. van der Poel), put into a frame. From the designer of the Grandfather Burr, I got an unknown Puzzle of 3 joined 4 piece burrs (probably by Interlocking Puzzles). After the talks (see below), I received a Perrier Bottle and three nice folding puzzles. I was also looking for a Quatro -- of course Marcel had one for sale. Finally, I received a nice Carthesian Wallet from Michel.
At the DCD I also gave a lecture about my compendium. You can download the slides here, but I did a lot of talking, which is not included in the slides.
Added on 2013-10-10
Today a nice little package from Austria, from Stephan Baumegger. It contained one of his latest creations, an Excalibur. The name and the look of the nicely crafted puzzle suggest that you need force to pull out the sword, but in reality mental strength is required: It is a high level burr with 9 pieces in a box.
Added on 2013-09-19
Today a nice little package from Australia with four exchange puzzles from IPP33 by MrPuzzle, all nice nontrivial burrs: Kumiki Airlines (comes assembled, but has to be assembled in a different way), P Burr, Stepping Burr, and Brace Yourself.
Added on 2013-09-12
From Nowstore a new and interesting shapemod: the Pillowed Hexaminx
Added on 2013-09-10
At MPP (Midlands Puzzle Party) Adin Townsend presented a ternary puzzle created from Lego. It is closely related to the Crazy Elephant Dance and works the same way. When building instructions were published for this puzzle, I built myself a Lego Ternary Gray Code Puzzle and after verification that it behaved correctly, I put it into n-ary puzzle group page and of course the Compendium.
Added on 2013-08-31
Earlier than expected I received a package of nice puzzles from Tom Lensch — very nice craftmanship! The order dates back to last year's IPP when I met the designer Ken Irvine and was fortunate to order some of his new designs: K22 Multiwood Cube, K24 Walnut Cube (named after the wood of the prototype), and K27 Accordion Cube (one wood as opposed to Eric's Multiwood version I already have).
Special Update on 2013-08-30
I know that there are many puzzlers interested in the n-ary Puzzle Group. There are more such puzzles than shown on this page, so I have created a compendium of all of them known to me over the last months, containing more data about the puzzles, a formal definition, and some interesting mathematical properties. All that is now published in the:
Compendium of Chinese-Rings-Like Puzzles
Enjoy reading and browsing the big list of puzzles!
Added on 2013-08-28
From Stephan Baumegger I received an 18 pieces burr, which he designed in a box. This is not only the first design of this kind I know, but also a beautifully crafted puzzle: Centauri. It has level 13 (i.e. 13 moves to take out the first piece), so it should be easy. Think again: The following pieces require another 141, 34, 8, and 17 moves, so it is a real monster to solve. Will keep me busy for a very long time, I guess.
Other/Older updates:
Can be found on the update history page


Hints: If you need solution hints to any puzzle in my gallery, feel free to e-mail me. My e-mail address can be found on my homepage.