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 2018-09-10
Today I could pick up a big and heavy package at the customs office. It was so heavy that the moment I went into the door, the officer asked me if I had brought a dolly with me to transport the package. It contained one big wooden 7.3kg puzzle, so I could also manage without a carrying device. The puzzle is the result of a Kickstarter campaign which I supported roughly 2 years ago and which was run over by so many backers that they had to close down the sign-up early. After a long time, it arrived today — like a surprise birthday package you did not expect. So what is this big puzzle? It is actually a puzzle book: Codex Silenda. While I have a shelf full of puzzle books, this is puzzle book is special one, because it has only 7 pages, and they are various kinds of puzzles. The first page is a sequential discovery puzzle with several steps, and you can only turn each page after unlocking it by solving its puzzle. So far, I am on page three of the story, and the story also seems to be related to the puzzles in the book and to provide some background. This is a massive puzzle and it will probably take some time until I have worked my way through all the 7 pages. At the moment, they are still working on fulfilling the Kickstarter campaign, but after that it seems to be planned to put the original 5 page version into mass production. More details and also pictures of the pages and puzzles can be found on the Codex Silenda web page.
Added on 2018-09-09
This weekend, some of us puzzle collectors decided to go to the international lock collector's meeting held in Cologne, because we also collect and/or design trick locks. Beside some old puzzle friends (including two of the best trick lock designers), I met many friendly lock collectors there. This seems to be an overall term, as some of them only collect keys, and others collect huge safes, which are a bit like massively built trick boxes, among them some requiring many steps, tricks, and several keys to be opened. It sees that our little invasion was a benefit for both groups, as we puzzlers were able to see some fascinating lock craftsmanship from older time, and have interesting conversations about safe and lock topic, while the puzzlers brought some puzzles to the lock collectors, especially as additional entertainment during dinner. Meeting some puzzle friends / lock designers also meant that I could return with some more challenges for my collection. Having pre-arranged before, I was able to pick up the brand new Haleslock 5, which is quite unusual looking lock, based on an Italian product. So far I have found only some easy first steps, and something that may be part of a later trick, but I am nowhere near a solution yet. Shane also brought a pair of locks for me, which are some more pieces of IPP38 coming my way: a pair of IPP38 Exchange Locks. They look very similar, yet have subtle differences and were exchanged by different puzzlers: Silver Lock Exchange #1 and Goldilock. Those were the new trick locks, which I all will need to solve and I am looking forward to solving them! The others came from the Lock Exchange at the lock collector's meeting, and are also not regular locks and can easily be classed as trick locks: Braun's Patent-Sicherheitsschloss looks like a land mine, but this lock does not have rust or stain on it and is in excellent condition, keeping in mind that it was produced in the first of the 20th century (and never made it into large scale production, as far as I remember). The first trick is to find the key hole, and there is one obvious place where to look for it, and then to open the lock with the key, which has a shape I have never seen before. Only turning the key does not work, and that definitely makes it a trick lock! The Old German Tricklock (my guess, please let me know if you know more) looks like it is a bit older, and while there is a typical place where to look for the kay hole, it is not easy to actually find. Also this one does not open after inserting the key and turning it, and that might be a big surprise; another step is required. The last one could be from India, but actually I do not know and it looks quite old and a rusty. The key seems to be a new replacement key and I used its shape to name the lock as Lock with Hook-Key — not "HoKey" which is related to different excellent lock design from IPP38 I have solved with a big A-Ha!
For the other new entries, we have to focus our attention on non-lock puzzles again. The first one may not be the best example: Dinilock No. 1 was published at IPP38, where the world's foremost and best known collector of Trick Locks from India chose it as his Exchange puzzle. This 3D printed lock does not only look like a lock, but it can also serve as a true padlock. As it has a reasonable difficulty and is fun to solve (as I can tell from my own experience), we were able to start the possible puzzle collecting career of some participants of the lock collector meeting with this nice puzzle. What is a bonus is that unlike most trick locks, this is an open puzzle allowing to see everything and solving by deduction rather than blind guessing. Currently, there is some available at Puzzle Paradise at a very good price, so it is easy to give it a go! The other puzzles were some brought by Wil to be dinner table entertainment and kept puzzlers and lock collectors busy for quite some time: The Coin Puzzles - Selected by Iwahiro is a variation on a classic scheme, transforming figures obeying certain rules. The puzzle is nicely implemented allowing it to be easily carried around in the pocket for the next occasion to try. While the first challenge seems easy at first, it is not, and the others are indeed challenges that can be solved, but require some thoughts and creativity. The Make a Square - Cover the Centre consists of a set of nice wooden pieces on a nice board, where you have to place them creating a full square, without a hole in the middle, At the beginning some pieces seem to provide hints as to where they may or may not be placed, pending the evaluation of these hints after I will have solved the puzzle. Thanks for the nice puzzles!
Both from a puzzle collecting perspective, and the event, with all the people involved, the experiment of joining a lock collector's meeting proved to be a great idea and it was a fun weekend and well organized! Cheers to the organizers!
Added on 2018-09-03
Recently I spotted a picture of Allard Walker's IPP38 Exchange puzzle, and it was based on an old patent, rediscovered by Michel van Ipenburg and produced by Robrecht Louage. It is not the first one from this category, for example my own IPP34 Exchange puzzles was created in a similar way, and I knew that Michel would pick interesting designs, and if Allard had decided to make it his exchange puzzle, it was surely interesting. When I reached Allard to find out if he had some available, he quickly send one to me, and it arrived in a beautiful package, together with a gift Allard had been handing out at IPP38. The puzzle is B. Dorstrom Puzzle 2018 and looks unusual, interesting, and nicely manufactured from Trespa. The objective is to remove the ring that runs over the star shape diagonally, and does not look like it would come off at all. When I picked it up to give it a first try, I could do some expected rotational moves around the central axis, but then some shape shifting moves appeared that led to a first idea how this obviously impossible task of removing the ring may be accomplished. Having written that, I am currently nowhere near a soution at the moment and it will require some more observation, experimenting, and ThinkTM, which incidentially is one of the well known components of Allard's blog. Meanwhile, there is the other puzzle for some distraction: Find your P's, Q's ... and T's. The letters stand for three differeent geometrical groups of shapes (like "T" for "Triangle"), but the puzzle does not only come with three challenges, but a complete total of 14 challenges! All those need to be constructed only using the three triangles provided. So far, I have already found some of the easier ones, like right-angled triangle, a scalene triangle, a rectangle, some two parallelograms, a trapezium, and a convex quadriliteral. A very clever design considering how simple those pieces look like, and it is fun to seach for all those different shapes to construct. Maybe I should have started taking pictures, so that I can keep track about which ones I have already found and which ones to hunt for next. Two great puzzles, and fun to play with, thanks a lot, Allard! (Also for bringing a bit more of IPP38 to me!)
Added on 2018-08-31
From Pelikanpuzzles, I received some of the latest rotational interlocking puzzles made beautifully in wood. They are all by the same designer, who is an expert in this genre. Trap-R2 Has an interesting look, with the round piece sandwitched in the box. Can you guess how many pieces there are? There are overall four pieces, two carefully hidden by the beautiful wood pattern. So far, I managed to pull out some of the pieces a bit and now have something that could be described as a wheel on a turning axle, interesting! The Shield I have solved already, and it consists of four identical pieces in a frame. How difficult could that be? Not too easy, but also not too difficult, as it seems. In my solution, the first two pieces come out utilising some rotations, while for the other two pieces only linear moves are required. After I had completely disassembled the puzzle, I misplaced some of the pieces and had to find out how they fit into the frame. At that point it turned out that the frame is surprisingly supportive for this task, and soon afterwards I had everything back in the starting configuration. The Square Target also has four pieces in a frame with an additional stand, but here only three pieces are identical, and the fourth one is slightly different. It is also this piece causing some confusing during the solution. After some moves I even had some trouble putting all the pieces back into the initial positions. My solution then used something that seems to be part of the design: Some nice rotations before the first two pieces come out, and the trick for the first piece is then repeated for the second one. After complete disassembly, you can see where those pieces have the possibility to leave the frame, and there are not many possibilities. Some nice puzzles from this category, and the designer has once again proven that he creates interesting designs.
Added on 2018-08-29
Some years ago, Louis Coolen started some small 3D printed trick lock designs heavily exploiting the advantages of 3D printing and the material used, and created a series of excellent little trick locks. Having solved and enjoyed the locks from 2015, 2016, and 2017 in the past, I was waiting for the latest one, and here is the Trick Lock 2018. It has the same form factor and material like the previous ones, and this may very well be my favorite of the series. As it happened for the others as well, Louis has stored the key in or on the lock, and in this case it is securely fastened, and obviously one challenge will be to get that key out. The lock has a key hole and the key will fit in once you have extracted it. The solution has several stages (one is to get the key released) and a new and unusual mechanism. Even though the main body has been 3D printed in one piece, there are enough openings to get some look into the lock while solving, so it is not about blind guessing, but about making observations and a plan for attack. There was also room for some little additional features making the solution more challenging! Having solved the lock I am surprised about the complex solution built into this lock! At the moment, there are some for offer on Puzzle Paradise, and this may be a chance to get a great little trick lock.
Added on 2018-08-27
Today a small package from Shanghai arrived, with a very high difficulty density of puzzles inside, four complex wire puzzles in a small box. The first one is another entry into the IPP38 Design Competition (and I can assure you, won't be the last!): Mobius Ring. The theme of this puzzle is the Möbius Strip, a strip being twisted and having only one surface. The frame's wire of this puzzle is only onle wire running around all edges of the frame and has been manufactured to have no gap or visible opening. My feeling is that this will not make the puzzle exactly easier, but luckily, Aaron has fitted this one with a quick reset mechanism. The next one does not have a quick release mechanism and is called: Double Scissors. It looks like this concept could be enhanced by adding more and more scissors to the end of the chain, making the puzzle more and more difficult — or not, I have to find out! The The Snail B and C has the easiest rating of the four. Instead of 10+ and 10 (of 1 to 10), it is only level 9, so I gave it a go. Never underestimate such puzzles! Instead of disentangling, I managed to get an additional knot into the puzzle, so my guess would be that I only have to reverse what I have done, twice! Not sure if that will work, as I have only a rough idea of some steps I have performed and will need to reconstruct the rest. The Chinese Lanterns II looks very interesting, when it comes to the challenge. Of course, some of the metal parts have to be removed from the rest, but when that would usually be the big handle, this is not the case here. This puzzle needs to be split into two parts roughly in the middle, and I am sure the handle will play an important part in the procedure.
Added on 2018-08-22
Today a nice new addition to the twisty octahedra group page arrived: The Master Octahedron (MCTO) is a master version of the original Magic Octahedron, adding one more layer of pieces. One could assume, that this puzzle is therefore bigger than the original Magic Octahedron, but in fact it is about the same size, maybe a tiny bit smaller even. The quality is great and the pieces turn nicely, which I already used to make a stripe pattern (not in the picture!). A great little puzzle to add to my collection!
Added on 2018-08-21
Some additional IPP related puzzles arrived today: From the UK, I received a package with a nice greeting on a tongue depressor in it. That could of course only mean one sender, and I was happy to see that beside the tongue depressor, there was also Steve's nicely built IPP38 Exchange puzzle inside: The HoKey CoKey Lock. It seems I missed Steve's and Derek's performance at the IPP Exchange for handing over his exchange puzzle, but you can google to see that's what it's all about (if you don't know Hokey Cokey). The lock comes with a nice bottle opener that acts both as a label with the details and as a key fob. Does not seem to be the easiest lock, and I have not made any progress, but already one observation which may be more important later on.
A second parcel brought some old and new puzzle designs from the US, all very nice and well made. After his successful "Free Me 5" showing up in the Design Competition last year, I have now received some older models and a newer model from the series. The Free Me 2 is the oldest one and there is a lot of sliding going on. Yet alone 5 different dovetail connections keep the various parts together, and you can slide some a bit, and also move the rod in the bottom block. After having briefly played with that one last year at DCD, I will now try to solve it and work out how to get the half dollar out. The Free Me 4 also has the characteristic dovetails, but looks a bit different than the others. While the others are flat, this has more like a box shape, but in the end also a half dollar coin is secured and has to be released. The latest one is Free Me 6, which I first spotted on the Design Competition Website. It is a tiny bit bigger than the Free Me 5, and some initial moves seem to work similar like in that model. Some others don't, however! There is a lot going on in those pocket puzzles, I can tell even without having solved them.
Added on 2018-08-18
Another day, another package, another IPP Deisgn Competition entry. Today, Namick's third entry in the competition arrived, and it is from the same family of puzzles that we have been discussing for many months now: Entwined Loops Lattice. This one has a very interesting look, a bit like a heavily entangled forest or shrubbery, and beside the usual white colour, it has also nice yellow, silver, blue, and red elements. The blue one is the rope to come out and the red triangles denote the starting position. Having some experience with the other two puzzles and based on our long discussion, it was a nice and not too difficult exercise to solve this one. Like the Quadrupled Quadlooplet, this puzzle gives you some hints what you might want to do next, just that you have a clear view of the whole puzzle at any given time, because it is flat and not arranged in a circle. From the solution, those two puzzles are quite similar, and not all elements are actually used for the solution. This is maybe one first idea one has ot get to be successful solving. Despite the good view of everything, my solution did not go only the optimal way, but I managed to take some wrong turns and had to backtrack. With everything visible at one glance, it is quite easy determine what to do next and how the plan of attack looks like. A great puzzle, fun to play with, and a nice solving experience! The puzzle is of course on the n-ary puzzle group page, but if you like to know more details, please have a look into the compendium!
Added on 2018-08-17
Today two packages arrived, one from Australia, the other from Russia. The first one contained the latest box created by Juno: Meanders Box. It is a puzzle demonstrating the possibilities offered by a CNC router, with a visible maze. The lid of the box has actually two mazes, one on each side, and this leads to four challenges in total. The box comes in the configuration with 348 moves, achieved by these mazes and steps at the sides of the sliders. There is another variant having only 172 moves, and following the goal to design a box with at least 100 moves, Juno created this version with 348 moves (and at least 260 moves in the other configurations). This increase in the number of moves was introduced by doubling the number of steps and halving their size on the four sliders on the side. While the 172 box was planned to be solved and the 348 move version only for people looking for a bigger challenge, my impression is that the box is still solvable by hand in a reasonable time. Having solved the initial challenge and the other one on the same side, I like how the pieces move and interact. It does not take as long as you would first expect, as a gentle push onto all four sliders allows them to move back into their initial position, with a nice rattling sound and over 20 moves in a second. Of course, not all the moves are running that quickly, and the maze on the other side seems to be shorter, but having more possibilities to get lost in the maze by taking a wrong turn. So far, it looks like the two sides behave quite different. A very nice box, with a great working mechanism, and very well crafted!
The other package contained some plastic puzzle. The first one I remember from IPP34: Six Cube. It looks like it is a six piece burr in bright plastic. So why did I put it into the Twisty Puzzles class? Well, it is actually a heavily truncated 3x3x3 design lacking all the corners and some parts of the edge piececs. A very clever idea! If you perform the standard checkerboard pattern, you will be disappointed, because the colour scheme does not lead to anything really new. However, if you take a look at some of the internal pieces visible through the gaps, you will notice some part of a checkerboard pattern after all. Truely a puzzle not behaving like a standard 3x3x3. With it came an old vintage puzzle, having an imprint stating that it was sold for 3 rubl some decades ago. It is a Pyraminx From Tula, a Pyraminx version I have never seen before. Thank you, Evgeniy/Grigorusha!
Added on 2018-08-13
In the last few days, the big puzzle spectacle happened in the US: IPP38. While I was not there, I could play with some new IPP puzzles that could not make it onto my web site until IPP was over: Goodie was a nice little present from Stephan (thanks!), which looks like a cute packing puzzle. While it comes in a 4x6x6 pack in the packaging, the goal is to create the unique 5x5x5 pack as solution. Some pieces have additional cutouts limiting the ways how pieces can be packed, and I am not sure if that makes it easier or harder. Probably harder to solve. His second new puzzle was Stephan's entry into the Design Competition: Hydrant. This could be classed as a puzzle box, as you have to operate several mechanisms and locks to open the puzzle to find the fire hose. The puzzle is beautifully and very well made, and resembles one of the American Darling B-62-B fire hydrants found in the USA. Not only an eye catcher, but also an interesting puzzle, too. When you solve it, there is an additional surprise for you. This puzzle won a top 10 votes prize at IPP38. Also in the IPP38 DC were two of Namick's latest creations: Loopary Branch and Quadrupled Quadlooplet. Those are fascinating disentanglement puzzles and nicely demonstrate n-ary puzzle concepts. They look quite different, yet are related and have the same basic structure. When you have a solver for such puzzles, it is actually only a different parameter set. The Loopary Branch is good to learn the basic idea of such puzzles, and you can clearly see the whole puzzle during the solution, as it has a flat structure. The Quadrupled Quadlooplet has a structure that looks much more complicated, yet is a very regular structure at closer observation. When trying to solve this puzzle, it may seem complicated at first, but quickly one realizes that the puzzle design actually guides the solving process. Two excellent examples for n-ary puzzle group and compendium!
With the Design Competition results announced, I can finally write something about those puzzles. During the competition, I had the possibility to play with 13 of the entries — can you spot them in the List of all puzzles? Aside from the ones I mentioned above, there are some prize winners I already had in my collection for some time:
Quartet Box was a top 10 votes prize and I was sure it would win something, as it is just a fascinating puzzle box. A very unusual mechanism, some sequential discovery elements that nicely interact with each other and which require multiple senses to solve, followed by a final step that was so well hidden that it eluded many puzzlers. The Cast Trinity won a 1st Prize and this is a puzzle I still need to solve, and it does not seem too easy. Just three pieces to take apart! Then there is the Casino puzzle. You may know my review from my entry below, or from the Pelikan Puzzles web shop, where it has sold out quickly. When we first discussed that puzzle and how well it would fit into the Design Competition, we did not imagine what happened yesterday: The puzzle won both the two big prizes of the Design Competition and therefore became "Puzzle of the Year", something that had last happened in 2008. A well deserved prize!
Added on 2018-08-01
When visiting the web shop from Nowstore in Hong Kong, there is a good chance that you will see some of the latest Twisty Puzzle releases there. Today two of them arrived quickly. Both puzzles may be some of the latest releases worldwide, but are actually based on older designs. Container Puzzzle is the first mass produced version of this puzzle, and has a designer which is not often found among twisty puzzles: Jean-Claude Constantin. According to Tony Fisher, Jean-Claude sketched the design and then Tony built it as a hand made modification based on the common Skewb puzzle. Years ago, I saw it on Tony's web page, and now this mass produced version appeared, making the design widely available. The Barrel Redi Cube clearly states its origin in the name, the Redi Cube by Oskar van Deventer. While the Redi Cube design had been around for years, it was only mass produced last year, and for me it triggered revisiting the solution of this family of puzzles. Beside the cylindric barrel shape, the transparent colours caught my eye when I first saw this barrel shaped one on a picture.
Added on 2018-07-26
Today a parcel from Yavuz brought some beautiful and very unusual interlocking puzzles: Fenced Burr looks like six piece burr caught in a boxing ring. The two vertical pieces are mounted to the bottom plate and the metal rods of the fence lead to some nice interactions with the moving burr pieces. Of course, this unusual shape immediately caught my attention and it is definitely an eyecatcher — and a burr with a surprisingly high solution level. The other puzzle has some shiny brass rods and it is immediately clear where the name comes from: Abacus. When trying to solve, the first moves will also remind you of an abacus, moving the "beads" up and down. However, this is a burr puzzle, so most of these pieces won't move and you will also not get very far with these moves. Then comes the Aha! moment that offers a whole different set of moves, and I am not referring to rotations here. Because of the round brass rods, some pieces would like to rotate, but let's be assured that the solution is possible without rotations, even if there may be some rotational shortcuts at some points. When the solution sequence is finished, the three boards lying in the bottom of the Abacus will have come out and then it is another challenge to get them back in. Both puzzles benefit from the nice choices of materials and design details Yavuz has chosen.
Added on 2018-07-25
In his latest update, Eric offered some really unusual interlocking / packing puzzles, and all of them are built in beautiful species of wood and at top notch craftmanship. The first one is the Combined Burr and clearly an interlocking puzzle. Not so clear are the mixed shapes of the pieces, which come in 3 different pairs. The first few moves to remove the first piece are easy enough and alerady show the strange piece shapes involved. The 18 moves to follow for the next piece are very high for a 6 piece burr. The others are some form of interlocking packing puzzles: Half Lid Box is by a designer who surprised us with some creative and unusual packing puzzles in the IPP Design Competition 2016, where he managed to win two prizes. The lid is only covering half of the 3x3 opening and is actually a slider not coming out of the box. The other pieces can come out, only that the remaining half opening seems to be too small for some of them, or maybe even most of them. The puzzle came assembled, and it seems to be a respectable challenge to unpack this packing puzzle in the first place! The Obstacle Box follows a similar scheme, only that there are three sliders inside, and each only covering a third of the 3x3 opening. The amazing thing is that one of them acts like a partial lid on the top layer, while the second one is turned by 90 degrees and acts as a middle separator, and then there is one separating the bottom layer from the rest, in the orientation of the top sliding plank again. This puzzle did only come partially assembled, so I am guessing it might not be as difficult as the other one. However, you still have to get the remaining pieces in and of course it looks like the pieces already inside the box have cunningly been placed in there in a configuration that leaves not enough room for the others. So the full challenge seems to be to remove all the pieces, find a suitable assembly, and put everything back into the box again. Cubyful 2 came fully assembled, and upon first inspection I managed to get some of the small pieces out. There is one piece imprisioned in the box and not wanting to come out completely, so you will have to find your way around this piece for the rest of the solution. Sounds familiar? There is your common scheme of the packing puzzles in this update! The imprisioned guard piece in the Cubyful 2 puzzle has a nice interaction with the small blocks. The more you take out of them, the more that piece is able to move out and eventually move to other places — but not outside the box! When removing the first small pieces, gravity is your friend to get them out, but then they may come out in greater number than expected and for reassembly you have to determine their exact positions and sequence, and interaction with the guard piece. After seeing various interlocking cubic puzzles and packing puzzles by Lucie, these are her first box packing puzzles I have noticed, let's see what comes next!
Added on 2018-07-21
The newly arrived Master FTO (Master Face Turning Octahedron) is a nice version of this puzzle made possible by the use of 3D printing. Evgeniy implemented a design by Timur creating a master version of the FTO with four layers in each direction instead of the three in the FTO. This is of course a nice addition to the twisty octahedra group page, which has grown much larger than I expected when I started this page. The Master FTO turns nicely considering how many pieces there are in this puzzle. I have been told that there is now a second, improved version, which is even better. So far, I have only tested simple patterns on this puzzle and it might help that I revisit the FTO before trying to solve this one. Some standard cube patterns look quite irregular on the MFTO at first sight, so it seems to be easy to scramble this puzzle. It is great that GRIGoRusha is offering these nice puzzles in his shop, which would otherwise be unavailable or only available as 3D printed parts that have to be dyed, assembled, stickered and broken in. I know this from early Shapeways puzzles, and this is one of the reasons I don't have many of them.
Added on 2018-07-18
Today is one of those days! After waiting for several packages to arrive one after another for weeks now, three of them from three different countries and continents arrived at the same time. The first from Nowstore in Hong Kong brought some nice twisty puzzles. After successfully solving some of the previous releases of this designer and manufacturer recently, I thought a nice looking easy twisty puzzle was a good idea and I ordered the Chinese Coin Cube. This is a well made puzzle and the inside circles turn nicely, and indeed it is easy, so easy that I have solved it just some minutes ago. With it came a Fisher Skewb, which is basically a Skewb, but cut into a cube in a different way. I have seen many shape mods based on the Skewb mechanism over the years, and this one is also shape shifting. Last year, I met John at IPP and shortly before I had ordered his fist numbered Pyrigan puzzle, the model #808. Recently, he released the Pyrigan Puzzle Model #360 and it looked nice and beautiful. After my experiences with the previous model, I did not require a lot of thought to go for this one, as well. It is a beautiful and heavyweight puzzle and even without solving it, I can see the high attention to detail in this puzzle. Only a limited series of a 100 will be made, and at the moment there are still some available. That was the package from the USA, the next one came from Australia, and the first puzzle was some by-catch for my order. A Drive Down Lombard Street is a dexterity puzzle (and I am not good at that), but it intrigued me for some time, so I decided to finally order one while there were still some available. It is nicely made and having walked up Lombard Street myself in the past, I really like how this was implemented in this puzzle with nice details. And of course, this puzzle can be a bit mean at times, but that is the idea behind dexterity puzzles, isn't it? The main reason for my order were the next two. Puzzles looking like simple pairs wooden blocks bolted together with three or four massive brass bolts. The first one was a limited release of a puzzle I have already seen and played with a bit: Birthday Surprise! This one was originally named "Tweedledum and Tweedledee" to match the theme of the Jabberwocky project created in a joint effort by 15 well known puzzle designers, a puzzle chest with many puzzle boxes in it, all needing to be solved during the solution of the Jabberwocky chest. Brian Young's contribution to this project also went to the IPP37 design competition, where I had the chance to play with it and where it managed to win a prize being among the top 10 vote getters. The 3 Wise Bolts seems to be of a similar kind, but according to the description, it may only have 3 bolts, yet a higher difficulty level. I am curious to solve all those new puzzles and will see what surprises they will have to offer. A great day for me and my puzzle collections, and I got a birthday surprise, even though it is not my birthday!
Added on 2018-07-06
I have known Jack Krijnen for years, in the beginning for high level 18 piece burrs, and for the number of moves in this category, he is the current world record holder, together with Alfons Eyckmans, see 18 pieces burrs group. In a joint research with Goh Pit Khiam, Jack then worked on designing n-ary puzzles, and quite successful, as you can see in n-ary puzzle group and compendium pages. Various different designs were discussed focusing on puzzles without a long synchronizer piece. At some point in the discussion, I mentioned puzzles with multiple discs like the Spin-Out or the Crazy Elephant Dance, and quickly after that Jack came back with a mechanism for n-ary discs without the need for a synchronizer piece. Some time later, Jack mentioned that he was working on something new: a puzzle box project, and of course I confirmed that this was interesting for me. To my surprise, Jack had not only designed a sequential discovery puzzle box, but also had implemented that n-ary wheel mechanism into it. Now I was really interested and was happy to play with a prototype Jack brought to last year's Dutch Cube Day. I only found the first step, but I stopped there as I did not want to spoil later solving attempts at home. Today this box has arrived and it looks beautiful and very well crafted, and even better than the prototype, as you can see in the picture of Jack-in-the-Box — the name hinting at some surprises? I already managed to repeat the first step and found several other interesting things, which I don't want to mention here, not to spoil anything for other puzzlers. A great box and a lot of fun waiting for me!
Update on 2018-07-08: Having now solved the box, I understand the various parts of the short description Jack added to the box: "It's sequential discovery, it's riddle solving, it's ternary, and in the end it is challenging." The challenge in the end is a real surprise and a real challenge, I must admit. If you ever get stuck on the box, reread this hint, it may help. Some parts of this puzzle are easier, some are more difficult, and alltogether it is a very good challenge to solve that may keep you busy for some time. Now seeing all the parts and pieces, I know where those rattling noises come from that sounded like maybe close to 20 pieces of the mechanism rattling in the box. That does not mean that this box has any loose tolerances. On the contrary, it has precise fit for all parts and I especially like the ternary part and how it works. Jack implemented a clever solution here to avoid blind guessing and allow you to appreciate the ternary disc mechanism. I can only repeat myself: A great box and a lot of fun for me!
Added on 2018-07-03
Rececntly I read some articles about some interesting Hanayama Cast puzzle designs and so I decided that I should get some more of these inexpensive but high quality puzzles by well known designers. The German Knobelbox.com shop had them for sale and delivered them very quickly. Most of them are older designs, but there is also the latest design currently available among them, can you spot it? They are: Cast Chain, Cast Duet, Cast Enigma, Cast Equa, Cast Horse, Cast Radix, Cast Trinity, Cast Vortex, and Cast W-U. Having played with some disentanglement puzzles lately (more or less successful), I decided to have a look at some of those wooden disentanglement puzzles from Romania a puzzle friend mentioned (and ordered!) some time last year. To have a good overview of them, I decided to go for the whole set of those puzzles in a wooden frame. Now I have two aspects to solve: the disentanglement/entanglement puzzle aspect, and then the packging aspect trying to figure out how to store those massive puzzles. Here is a list with the whole lot: IQ Games Rope Puzzle Evolution 1, IQ Games Rope Puzzle Evolution 2, IQ Games Rope Puzzle Evolution 3, IQ Games Rope Puzzle Evolution 4, IQ Games Rope Puzzle Evolution 5, and IQ Games Rope Puzzle Evolution 6. Being a good customer I received an assembly cube as a present, and the following picture serves as a prove that I have indeed succeeded assembling the Cube 3D Knobelbox. A big package with a lot of interesting puzzles, indeed!
Update on 2018-06-22
Some of the recent additions I have started solving, but not completed yet. For example, the Rotoprism 2 looks nearly like the original starting configuration, only that one of the triangular faces has a wrong orientation. I am not sure if it was a clever idea to scramble it, as the moves are heavily restricted by design (i.e. the mechanism). This puzzle turns really well and is fun to play with and I will not give up until it is solved again. In the Frame Me Up I have already discovered interesting move sequences, especially with the pieces having a frame loop attached. Far from being solved, but I knew it would take some time, and it is fun to play with. Following my recent activities, I have also solved one of the Chinese 99 Ring series: Double Image. After some initial confusion, this one seems to be much easier than the others I touched recently. Still being a challenge, this one clearly shows its heritage of a (binary) Chinese Rings chain, and the additional elements add some nice local effects. At first, the forward secondary rings, pointing into the "wrong" direction need some solution to be developed, but after that the rest starts going easily. The puzzle has definitely more moves than the classic binary version, but is still manageable and nice to play with. I have updated the entries in n-ary puzzle group and compendium accordingly, and the compendium entry contains some more details of the solution.
Added on 2018-06-20
Stephan has been playing with the concept of self framing burrs in his designs before, and this one is the latest addition to that group: Frame Me Up. It is an 18 pieces burr and with its level 53, it managed to fill a gap in the 18 pieces burrs group. The beautifully and precisely crafted pieces are either standard burr sticks, or a burr stick and one loop of the frame attached. Even from the start on, some interesting moves are possible, by which some parts of the frame are pulled out a bit. Of course it will not be an easy puzzle at that level, and I noticed some other interesting aspect: When some of the pieces with frames are sticking out, it is a bit harder to reach some of the other pieces through the extended frame. A very interesting concept and a beautiful puzzle. Time to start solving 18 pieces burrs again!
Update on 2018-06-16
Before playing with Mountain Trail II, I tried the previous one, Mountain Trail. They are both from the same designer and manufacturer and look similar, but to my surprise they behave quite different. For the Mountain Trail, there are some simple rules which together with an overall understanding of the puzzle allow to solve it nicely and it does not take very long after the solution sequence starts flowing a bit. The Mountain Trail II is a different story. Forget about those rules, as only the general idea remains the same! The secondary chains have now a completely different detail structure and are not just one ring longer than in the first one, but for solving you explicitly have to disobey the rules for the first one (see compendium entry of that one for reference). In the MT II, the secondary chains are truely parallel binary chains interacting with the primary chain in a way that makes the solution a lot longer. Also for this fascinating puzzle, the solution starts goiug easy after a while, and with the long solution there is in fact plenty of time for practising. At certain spots you have to be careful to decide for the right way to continue, and have to be sure not to miss those solution steps. Please see the compendium entry for this puzzle shows more details about the solution and the puzzles' characteristics. I have updated the entries in n-ary puzzle group and compendium accordingly.
Added on 2018-06-15
A package from Russia arrived today, with some special puzzle in it: Rotoprism 2. The Rotoprism brought a friend, a vintage Minus Cube in original packing, and this one looks like one of the versions in the Twistypuzzles museum even! Thank you Evgeniy! I first played with the Rotoprism 2 at IPP32 in Washington DC a few years ago and beside its unusual shape, another aspect caught my attention. It was hard to scramble, or to perform long move sequences at all. Only later I found out that this is the intended way of working for this innocent looking puzzle. What you don't see is that it is deeper than origin cut and has a 3 layered shell mechanism, which cleverly enforces restriction to piece movements. The Rotoprism is very well made and all moves work nicely, with the typical sound of 3D printed puzzles. A very good job, including the stickers, and the behaviour of blocking and unblocking moves is fascinating.
Added on 2018-06-14
Today's delivery brought a vintage puzzle from the 18 pieces burrs group: the Eighteen Piece 6x6x6 Burr. It is indeed vintage: Not only does a marking say that it is from 2001, but the design also bears the typical aspects of an old one, designed before computer optimization of burrs started. It has multiple solutions with level 3 and above, and in fact the original assembly it came in has a level 4 solution. Twelve of the pieces are simple identical "cage" pieces in two colours, and the other six pieces are different, which is also a typical form for older 18 piece burrs, like the Grandfather of 6x6x6 (van der Poel Burr) or the Lovely Burr. While this puzzle looks like a typical 8x8x8 grid, it is actually a bit bigger. While analyzing I found out that in an 8x8x8 grid, it would be a level 1 puzzle. The pieces are actually a bit longer, leading to a 10x10x10 grid and a level of 3. It is a well made and not very difficult puzzle and a feasible challenge for both disassembly and reassembly, taking a complete total of 25 moves for disassembly.
Added on 2018-06-12
My god, it's full of hearts! And that is a good thing for the third one of Juno's card suit boxes which arrived from Pluredro in Australia today: Heart Case. It is heart shaped from the outside and beautifully made, but there are more hearts to be found inside, including a small heart with the Juno logo on it. That one is part of the mechanism and plays an important role in this sequential discovery box. Recently, I received Juno's Quartet Box, which has a fascinating mechanism, with its four wooden gears on top, and also some interesting mechanism parts below the lid. I must admit that I needed a little hint for the very last step, as I missed out some obvious step there, but it is still an excellent box. That hint also made it quickly clear to me what the first step of the Heart Case might be, and it worked. Then, he did it a again! Movements started to appear in this box I have never seen before and just studying them distracted me from the solution for a while. Overall, it is an easier box (as the description says) and it did not take me long to open it. The unusual shape and mechanism make it a great box despite it lower difficulty level. The sequential discovery part with several tools is nicely implemented and I don't see any shortcut possibilities (aside from unruly strong force which you would never apply to a wooden puzzle, maybe). Those two recent boxes (Quartet Box and Heart Case) are a great continuation of the sequence of boxes created by Juno recently. Both seem to be available from their store at the moment, and I will keep my eyes open for more to come, may it be a (Framed) Burr like box, one like Ixia / Quartet boxs with gears, or the last one from the card suit series, the Spade Case (just a wild guess or extrapolation?).
Added on 2018-06-11
Today some of the latest twisty puzzles arrived from Now Store in Hong Kong. Professor Skewb is the next greater one in the series of the Skewb and Master Skewb. 4-Leaf-Clover Plus is a hybrid of a 4 Leaf Clover cube and a 2x2x2. Both of the original puzzles are not too difficult, but this hybrid may be a completely different story. I just verified that shape shifting Clover moves in combination with 2x2x2 moves are possible, and this will not making things easier, I suspect. On the other hand, I am expecting the Professor Skewb to give me more headaches than the 4-Leaf-Clover Plus.
Update on 2018-06-10
Today I quickly solved another fascinating one from Aaron's Chinese 99 Rings series: Disordered Chinese Rings. Like the name says, this one has some irregularities in the arrangement of rings and some rings skip over the next two connectors, one even over three connectors. This leads to some rings being stacked over the same connector, while coming from the next and one but next connector. During the solution, one has to be careful which of the rings actually need to follow the binary sequence, and which of those stacked rings will not be on the handle for most of the time. The most interesting point in the sequence of rings is the one where a ring skips over the next three connectors, while there is one on top only over the next connector, and above that one over two connectors. This creates a really disordered position in the sequence, which can also be spotted on the picture by the one ring that just won't like to fit into the rest of the chain, but potrudes a bit. This ring is the regular chinese rings member floating on top of the one skipping three connectors and is also the position most difficult in the whole solution. After realising how to deal with the anomalies, the solution is quite easy and it only took me minutes for the complete disassembly, and then only a few more for the reassembly. A nice puzzle trying to get you confused, but which can be mastered by some analysis. I have updated the entries in n-ary puzzle group and compendium accordingly.
Added on 2018-06-06
After they have been travelling for quite a while and going through customs inspection, today I was able to pick up some of Eric Fuller's latest offerings, all beautiful and precisely made wooden puzzles. Most of them are from the interlocking kind and it takes some time to get them apart and more time to get them back together again, but there are also two complex packing puzzles. Bramble Box remdinds me of the Lolly Boxes by Alfons, but in this case the "lolly" pieces have two openings to choose when peeking out: top and bottom face. The Aquarius+ is an innocent looking puzzle, where you see two pieces in a frame, but there is a third, smaller piece packed into the puzzle that tends to dance around the puzzle while solving, directed by gravity and the other pieces. Stumbling Blocks is another great packing/sliding/interlocking puzzle by Pit Khiam. It comes disassembled and I do not expect it to be easy. Not sure if the little details (corners) will help me solving or limit my approaches. The X Cage has a fascinating look. A box wide open with an acrylic top and little pillars at the side. Packing all 5 pieces into that box will be the challenge and then it will quickly turn out which of the openings can be used to add pieces to the inside. One quickly realizes that there is only one useful opening on top, the spaces between the pillars on the sides are just not wide enough to be useful for inserting pieces there. The Coniburr is maybe the most unusual 8 piece burr I have seen for a long time. The first movements already show how unusual the moves are, despite their only linear nature. Some really interesting puzzles that will be fun to solve!
Added on 2018-06-01
After the recent offer of the great Ixia Box, Juno has now created the Quartet Box. It also has some gear shaped pieces on top, but four, two more than the Ixia box, and first playing already showed that they sheem to work a bit differently from the Ixia box. At the moment, I am not sure if it is really a puzzle box or a creative and unique puzzle mechanism, I have already found some unexpected features. Maybe this will help some collectors who do not officially collect boxes. There seems to be a lot going on in this box, but I will have to solve it first, before I can tell more. It seems that Juno has again employed two tools he likes: his CNC machine and a lot of magnets. What is for sure now is that it is well made and looks beautiful and fascinating!
Update on 2018-05-31
Today I quickly solved another fascinating one from Aaron's Chinese 99 Rings series: Second-order Chinese Rings. This one is a modification of the classic Chinese Rings with each ring going over the next two connectors instead of only the next one. A very interesting obserrvation is that the solution sequence is the same like for the Dispersed GC Lock, which has a completely different implementation. Quickly analyzing and trying this puzzle, I noticed this similarity in the solution sequences and then everything went on quickly. After initially writing about this puzzle, it occurred to me to pick up the next variant, too, the Third-order Chinese Rings. This puzzle was one of the rare cases where I exactly knew how to solve it before trying it for the first time, as it is a natural extension of the previous one, with each ring going over the next three connectors (instead of one or two). Disentanglement went smoothly and quickly, keeping track of which ring to free next and counting the prerequisite steps/rings to allow for each of the rings dropped from the handle bar. I have updated the entries in n-ary puzzle group and compendium accordingly.
Update on 2018-05-30
After giving the rest of the Corn on the Cob puzzles a break, I solved another one of Aaron's Chinese 99 Rings puzzles: Reverse Chinese Rings. While this looks like a Chinese Rings with all the rings backwards, it has in fact an ordinary Chinese Rings puzzle as secondary chain. This will be mainly used for the solution and for each ring of the primary chain, the corresponding standard Chinese Rings chain in the bottom of the puzzle has to be solved, then the ring is dropped. When disassembling the puzzle, one should take care to remember how the ring from the primary chain comes off, as this may be the most difficult aspect of the puzzle. Without properly remembering this, re-assembly might be a lot more difficult. With this basically being a binary Chinese Rings with some extensions, I have classed it accordingly in n-ary puzzle group and compendium. Difficulty wise it has been labelled as Level 10+ like many of the other Chinese 99 Rings puzzles, but I personally would rate it easier than e.g. the Corn on the Cob series. One interesting aspect is also the look of this puzzle while solving. From the end of the handle, a really long chain of rings and connectors will hang down, getting longer as you progress. It is a fascinating puzzle, and while I have not seen this one, there are some others currently available at Puzzle Paradise and you may want to have a look.
Added on 2018-05-16
Today another beautiful box made entirely from wood was ready for pickup at the customs office: Hexagram Puzzlebox. This one is one of the famous numbered Stickman boxes, and this one is numnber 33. It is a cute box, and very space efficient, a bonus for every puzzle collector! Maybe I can store it within the Pi Puzzle Box? Before storing, however, I will try to solve it. And knowing the designer, it will not be an easy task. I am sure I will have some A-Ha! moments during the solve, and I have already noticed some odd behaviour that hints it is indeed not a solid block of wood. Only minutes later — indeed the first "Eureka!" This is going to be fun!
Added on 2018-05-13
Coming back from a short trip, a package was waiting for me, with a beautiful puzzle box in it: Pi Puzzle Box. This box was created by Jesse Born, who is getting more and more popular for his beautiful and creative puzzle boxes, including an IPP design competition. The box has beautiful Yosegi pattern on top, which must have been a lot of work to create, and the whole box is nicely crafted from various species of wood. The name relates to the mathematical constant π ("pi"), and while it seems related to the box, the similar sounding word "pie" looks well represented, too: The top has a round mechanism with pie slice shaped pieces. Those have to be manipulated to open this beautiful box, and it seems to be non-trivial. A fascinating box!
Update: Having now solved the box, I must say it is not only beautiful, but also has a clever mechanism inside, and I now know why the name is Pi Puzzle Box (and not Pie Puzzle Box). I won't tell more to avoid spoilers, just that it is a great puzzle box and very well crafted. The mechanism can be opened carefully and reveals that all parts of the box are made from wood. More pictures and information can also be found on Jesse's web page.
Added on 2018-05-08
From a recent auction I received a puzzle from the 1990s: Dutch String Puzzle. It is an entanglement puzzle (or was it "disentanglement puzzle"?). Most of the time, when I play with this kind of puzzles, they end up more entangled than before, instead of being disentangled. This one does not seem to difficult — famous last words!
Added on 2018-05-07
Today a package with some of the latest works by Brian Menold arrived, two nice designs by the French designer Greg Benedetti, whom I have met at several IPPs, including the one in Paris last year. He is well known for interlocking puzzles picking up classic themes, or bringing crazy rotational and coordinate motion moves into puzzles. The first one consists of four identical pieces in two different woods, and features a move qualifying both as rotational (i.e. non-linear) and coordinate motion-like move: Pif Paf With A Turn. The second one is a classic six piece board burr: S.O.B.B.#1. No fancy rotations here, but it may well be the first puzzle I have, which was made from three "hearts" of wood species: yellow heart, red heart, and purple heart. It looks beautiful, and completely different in artificial light with flash and sunlight, and the solution colour scheme is not what you might expect.
Added on 2018-05-05
Today a book arrived from the US: Cube Index. This was a kickstarter project last year and is a big catalogue of many mechanical puzzles, focusing on twisty puzzles (hence the name). It has many pictures in it and beside some well known ones, I also found some puzzles I have not seen before. Will be interesting to look at all those over 6500 pictures! While the kickstarter project has ended, it seems that on their page you can still pre-order the book if you want one. With the book came a little surprise puzzle (OK, it was announced, but I forgot, so it was a surprise to me): OoO RING is a 3 piece puzzle ring designed by Oskar. It is 3D printed in a nice and sturdy way, and must have been printed in the configuration that can be seen on the picture. There is a locking frame around it, and that does not have a visible gap, so it looks like everything was printed in this way. Of course, after removing that additional frame, the three pieces of the ring can be easily disentangled, and I have also managed to entangle it again.
Added on 2018-04-29
Today I visited Wil for his Kings Day puzzle party, and met many puzzle friends there. A lot of conversation, puzzle solving, and also puzzle buying was going on there. Jaap presented my his latest G4G gift, where you have to combine 8 polyominos with 1 to 8 units into a square: 1 to 8 Squared. From the latest run of Karakuri offerings, I finally picked up one of Miyamoto's A Chance Meeting, nicely made and a very nice trick!
Added on 2018-04-22
Yesterday I went to the German Cube Day to meet some puzzle friends, for some puzzle-related conversations, and of course to look for interesting puzzle additions. The GCD 2018 Giveaway was the welcome present for each attendee and it shows a nice application for 3D printing. The goal is to assemble the pieces to a shape that looks like the letters G, C, and D from three different sides. There were some vintage puzzles for offer, which completed my collection of the "Electro" series. The first one is more obvious, how to operate, while the second one is a bit confusing to entangle and disentangle: Electro 2 and Electro 3. One of them is part of the n-ary puzzle group and compendium. I also got a Funny Puzzle (thank you!) — some dexterity involved, as well as phyiscs — and a vintage design from the Hoffmann book: The Barrel Puzzle. The Clover is one of those entanglement puzzles (or was it rather "disentanglement"? I mostly remember them tangling up into various difficult knots, instead of coming apart). It was created by a very creative designer in this area, and participated in IPP37 last year. Advanced Solution Ring 3 Chain* looks like a triple version of a classic Chinese disentanglement puzzle, where you have to remove 3 rings instead of just one. At this GCD, there were also some newly made cubic interlocking puzzles available. Both Rotpack 2 and Intertwingly come from designers known for interlocking puzzles with some twists, and both of them are actually in the TIC (Turning Interlocking Cube) category. They consist of 2 pieces each, but the rotations are complicated and make them very interesting. The Juha's Interlocking No.1 is also a TIC, and it also extends the series of puzzles I have from this designer, would not have expected that! The Maze is a clever design, which can be solved without rotations, but interesting moves. The next two are rare designs from Japan: PtZ and KOPA. I first tried the KOPA when Allard brought it to DCD last Autumn. The goal is described quite easy: Assemble all the parts into a closed box. Or the longer version: There is a box with one part of the cover attached already. Then there is the second half of the cover to be added, and then a drawer for the inside. When adding the second part of the cover to the box, one can close the box completely. This is not the solution, one needs to add the drawer inside. With this drawer, the challenge becomes much more difficult, and during DCD last year, I saw several people fail this challenge, and so far I have not solved it either. There was one puzzle friend at DCD last year who actually solved it, so I know it is possible. The last two are unusual small puzzle boxes added to the Philos production range: Greek Secret Box Good Luck end Japanese Secret Box Good Fortune
Added on 2018-04-20
At the customs office I could today pick up one of the latest creations from the Karakuri group and it lead to some confusion amongst the officers. Is it a box, to put jewlery in? Is it a puzzle? Is it a toy? Luckily one of the officers knew me already and knew how to put a handmade wooden puzzle box into their classification system. The box is in fact related to some other interest of mine: buses. If you have seen my home page (German part only, sorry!), you may have seen that I built/modified some scale model buses in the past. So the name of the box is quite fitting: Bus stop. It is my first puzzle by Osamu Kasho, and I really like it! The mechanism is not too tricky, but also not too easy, but what made me smile is how it works. Imagine a bus arriving at a bus stop (first step!), but not quite arriving at the sign yet. Imagine all the passengers standing around blocking the way. What to do now? If you can figure out a solution to this problem, this might also solve this box. A great part of their "Travel" exhibition, and in the usual excellent quality, of course!
Added on 2018-04-13
Today a parcel with two beautiful puzzles from South Africa arrived from IntellectualCraft, with two interesting designs by Alfons: Enak and Pollux. They come in different woods and while the Enak is quite lightweight, the Pollux is a heavy puzzle, which may also be due to the high number of pieces. I already played with the Enak and the three burr sticks interact with the six plates in an interesting way. After a few moves, it is already possible to look into the puzzle, and then a few moves more, there are pieces sticking out in various directions. The Pollux does not give away that much for the moment, only a few moves seem possible at the beginning.
Added on 2018-04-06
Recently, I was trying to solve the next one of the Corn on the Cob series: Corn on the Cob III. After a while I understood how it worked and now the puzzle seems really easy to me. There is a set of simple rules to follow, if you would like to solve it, and I have outlined those rules in the compendium entry. Whenever I screwed up the puzzle and brought it into a more entangled position than I wanted, I later found out that I had broken one of those rules. Of course, it was some work to find these rules first, and with 9 ring pairs there are many possibilities to perform the wrong moves leading directly to dead ends, some of them into detours that would land you in the initial position after a while. A nice and interesting puzzle, and fun to solve.
Today I also received some brand new puzzles from the Twisty Puzzle section: Chromium Cube and Chromium Cube Super Stickers. This is a new implementation based on a design idea that had been around for many years. I have seen a version based on pieces with magnets attached to a central ball core, but this seems to be the first implementation without such tricks and going to be mass produced. What is so special about this puzzle? The design is also known as the "24 cube", relating to the 24 triangular face pieces on the outside. It is a deep cut puzzle, and the only rotational axes go right through the center, with a cut also right through the center. So unlike the similar looking Dino Cube, the two triangles next to each edge are actually separate pieces. While the puzzle looks simple from the outside, the deep cuts require a complicated mechanism based on multiple stacked spherical shells inside. Of course, these shells may become misaligned and then rotations around the intended axes would no longer be possible. To keep the shells aligned, the designer has implemented gravity pins, and consequently this is a twisty puzzle where care has to be taken on the orientation of the puzzle before performing turns. Tilting the puzzle, those pins make rattling noises, which is a bit unusual and for other puzzles you would think that something must be broken loose inside. Alltogether, the puzzle has a high number of 360 pieces. With all this, the puzzle is of course not a speedcubing puzzle, but the ones I have turn nicely, had no lockups or popping pieces so far, like I heard from other puzzlers. Beside the regular version, I also ordered one with Super Stickers, and the regular version quickly showed me why: Just a few moves done, and the colour scheme is mirror imaged. The puzzle can be ordered from the designer's shop website and comes assembled and stickered at a very good price, which does not only include shipping, but also replacement sticker set, a bag with replacement gravity pins and with replacement springs, and a nicely made pouch for each puzzle. I am happy that I ordered this interesting puzzle, even after initially hearing about some problems others had.
Added on 2018-03-28
Today I received a package from Pelikanpuzzles in Czech Republic, and it contained some very beautiful puzzles, very well crafted from nice woods. Keep an eye on their website, these puzzles (and more) are going to be available soon! The first one is Casino. Dr. Volker Latussek is known for elegant packing puzzles where you have to get (usually 6) identical pieces into a box (or remove them from a box), that just would not let you do it. When I got my hands on this latest great design, I could not resist and play the Casino. There are six discs reminding me of chips used in a casino, and the challenge is to pack them securely into the box provided. With the box having plenty of room to offer and a large slot opening on top, this should be an easy task, but trying this, I soon found out it was not that easy after all. All the dimensions of the puzzle parts are carefully chosen to prevent you from just inserting the discs into the box. Now thinking and systematic analysis was required! This eventually lead to an Eureka! moment, which put a big smile on my face. Using a clever move, all those discs will start fitting into the box, and no blind guessing or trying is required, nor any dexterity. A great puzzle, highly recommended!
The next two puzzles are some puzzles I have already played with: Mini Lock and Spiral Lock. Both were available at a puzzle meeting last year as 3D printed prototypes and Christoph was looking for feedback and unintended rotational shortcuts. I did not find shortcuts, and liked both puzzles. The Mini Lock is a nice and easy puzzle with a good level for only three pieces in a frame, while the Spiral Lock is more challenging. In my soluition the shackle comes out as first piece — like it should be for a padlock! Those pieces have an interesting move sequences dancing around a central void. Both puzzles are beautiful in the woods chosen by the guys from Pelikanpuzzles, and the Mini Lock is really cute, a perfect match for the name.
The other two are by a well known designer for complicated interlocking puzzles with rotations Osanori Yamamoto: Neo Saturn and Aqua Toto. After solving Lucida recently, and taking a lot of time for that, I am not expecting those two to be easy. The Neo Saturn puzzle has a nice layout with the red dot embedded in the top, and it has some interesting moves right from the beginning. Trying a few moves, I was close to removing the first piece, but my plan was a few milimeters off and did not work. The Aqua Toto reminds me of the Top puzzle by the same designer released recently (still resisting to be solved!) at first sight. However, here the rings have extra cubies attached to make them interlock and restrict the movements, and after a few moves I found out that the two boards don't even have openings big enough to release the two inner pieces. Expecting some interesing rotations!
Added on 2018-03-23
Today three of the latest twisty puzzles arrived from Nowstore, from three different manufacturers: Laurustinus Puzzle is a puzzle that goes into the easier category of Dino Cube like puzzles. It is basically a hollow sphere, and turns nicely, with the pieces clicking in place. The Geary Cube does not have any visible gears (aside from those depicted on the stickers), but gears in the inside make it a fascinating variation of the classic 3x3x3 concept. Probably most 3x3x3 solving algorithms will fail miserably on this one. The Grilles II is also based on a 3x3x3, but then has also other cuts allowing moves known from the Redi Cube, Mosaic Cube, and Bubbloids. It is a nice combination of face turning and corner turning mechanisms.
Added on 2018-03-19
Just a few days after ordering the fascinating Ixia Box, Pluredro had a new interesting offer on ebay. I managed to win a (second grade) pre-production T-Slot Burr and it is a really interesting puzzle. It has seven pieces, which are a central core and six plates running in rails around the core. Those plates interact via pins and grooves in the sliding blocks, and to make things easier, there is an identical set of grooves visible on the outside. At level 18, it is not too difficult to remove the first piece, but a nice move sequence. To me, it feels more like one of those Karakuri boxes, the Mechanical Cubi in particular, than a burr. Seems Juno has been very busy trying designs with his CNC router recently, and this one is a great idea for using that machine. The groove pattern on the otside gives the puzzle an interesting, technical look.
Added on 2018-03-16
Today a recent auction win arrived from The Netherlands: 2PBB Two Pieces Boxed Burr is a boxed burr with maybe the minimal number of pieces — assuming the box has no special features and the level should be greater than 1, that is. With it came a heavy Tricklock No. 665, with two pairs of keys. It is not difficult, but unlike any design I have seen before.
Added on 2018-03-13
After solving the nice box from Australia a few days ago, today a package with new and very nice wooden puzzles arrived from Cubicdissection, with designs from various designers: Burr of Nine Boxes has an unusual shape and the solution seems to be equally unusual. Prison Burr may look like another boxed 6 piece burr, but the bottom of the box is closed and you have to operate the pieces from five sides only. The 4L is a packing puzzle and therefore does not belong to my favourite category, but it looks very interesting with those assymmetric L pieces. The Overlap has 5 pieces and two are looking out from each of the ends of the box, and the pieces seem to be interlinked in an intersting way. To make things more challenging, there is a small fifth piece inside, and it can be moved. The Chinese Knot is Christoph's latest design and a six piece burr with a plate fixed to one end of each piece. It looks beautiful and the level makes it fun to play with. The Sextboard looks like the six pieces could only move up and out, but they interact a lot and lead to a high level for such a puzzle.
Added on 2018-03-07
It is time to add a puzzlebox to my collection — after yesterday's update. Today from Australia a brand new and beautiful puzzle box arrived: Ixia Box. The name comes from the two three-coloured ixia flower shapes on top of the box, and they are not only decoration, but also have some interesting movement at the beginning. Playing with the box, I have already found some red herrings and some Aha! moments — and a fascinating mechanism. Seems those flower shapes are not a nice interpretation of a blossom, but also serve some other purpose, and soon after that discovery it becomes obvious how those pieces might fit together, truely a sequential discovery puzzle (box). People with thin and nimble fingers may be able to persuade some of the elements to perform a shortcut, but that would only spoil the fun of handling this mechanism, and believe me, you will like it once you managed to assemble and operate it. To avoid blind guessing, the designer Juno has also included some windows in the box, so you can see what you are doing. Being a puzzle box, of course this only refers to parts of the solution, so there is still some imagination required about what might be going on inside. Update: Meanwhile I have opened the box completely and found a note revealing a surprise. This is a great box with some clever ideas and mechanisms. The best part is that it can be solved without blind guessing, and no need for hitting or banging. There are several components reused during the solution, which is why I would more class it a "sequential discovery puzzle", however it is still a box, and I really like it (despite the shortcut).
Added on 2018-03-06
Today some of the latest Karakuri boxes arrived. The first one is Kickake and while it was available last year already (and sold out in the first run), the designer is the latest member of the Karakuri Creation Group. It looks unusual and it also opens unusually. During the solve, there are some colour changes in the puzzle, which is a nice effect. The box also managed to surprise me a bit before I finally managed to open it. The colour changing theme has become the main theme of the next box: Color-colo. It is themed to be a 4x4x4 Rubik's cube and you have to rearrange the colours so that each side is one solid colour. It is a nice mechanism, but no twisty puzzle. One very interesting fact about the puzzle is that at the beginning each hole is filled with a colour and at the end, too. Now how can those colours be manipulated to open the box? The New Secret Box IV is the fourth in the series, and it breaks the sequence of 6, 12, and 18 moves of the first three. This one has 32 moves and is actually a Cubie in disguise. A nice new addition to n-ary puzzle group and compendium.
Added on 2018-02-28
Today some of the latest puzzles built by Brian Menold from Wood Wonders arrived, in beautiful woods, as usual. The first one also contains some acrylic windows and two steel balls, and those two steel balls are actually the only pieces to come out, hence the name: Box with Two Balls. With the two balls starting near the bottom of the box, there are many moves of all pieces required to get the two steel balls out. Through the side windows, the pieces can be seen and the solution can be planned and executed, but many steps will require gravity to manipulate the pieces behind the windows. The steel balls are nicely heavy and are fun to move around. End of last year, I met Chris and he had some prototypes around for testing, which I liked, but this wooden/acrylic/steel version handles much better than the others I tried before. The Kamelle Box is based on the idea of the Caramel Box puzzle, and while the name sounds similar to that other puzzle, it will only be understood in some parts of Germany. The box has two openings, one at the top, and then one at the bottom between two acrylic plates. Comes unassembled and is not an easy puzzle, but a nice one. The Havannas 1 is one basic design by Alfons which later lead to other puzzles, like the Big Havanna's I have. The wood of the box is really unusual and beautiful, with some beige colour with pinkish and light green grain parts. The Cross in Cross is built from two beautiful and unusual woods, and has some interesting interaction between the outer frame pieces and the three central burr sticks during the solution sequence.
Added on 2018-02-24
Bernhard offered a new interesting puzzle from Lucie Pauwels and with it some more nice puzzles. Tumbler is a TIC (Turning Interlocking Cube) and beside a lot of rotations separating the last two pieces, there are some interesting moves before. The Tube Cube consists of only three pieces with interlock in an interesting sequence. The Rota Cube is the new puzzle from Lucie which is a TIC with some additional features. The main frame consists of two spiral pieces that have to be rotated with a sequence of several rotations to come apart, there are some half notches, so that it is only a 4x4x4 cube from the outside view.
Added on 2018-02-07
Bautifully built by Maurice Vigouroux, the Love Cube is a new variation on an older puzzle and it is a cubic version of the Love's Dozen six piece burr. Both have six pieces and level 12, and follow the same solution sequence. The original six piece burr pieces can easily be seen in this design, as they are made from Difou wood, embedded into extensions made from Utile. Stephane Chomine created this design based on an earlier one by Jean Carle: Love's Dozen as a Cube. That one has one piece more, adding up to 7 pieces. This piece is a filler piece coming out first in one move and then the sequence is nearly identical to the one of the new cube, just that an extra move is required at the end. There are some more copies of the nice Love Cube currently available on Puzzle Paradise.
Added on 2018-01-27
Has been some time since the last update, and then today 3 packages arrived during the day. The first one are some brand new puzzles from Aaron Wang, from his chinese 99-ring series. They will go to n-ary puzzle group and compendium after I have solved them and confirmed their properties. I am still trying to solve some of the previous ones, so it may take some time. They all look nicely complex and very well made. The Mountain Trail II is the second with that name, and a variation on of my favourites in the series. There was a series of 3 I have not completely solved yet, and which are getting more complicated as numbers in the names rise. The next three continue this series: Corn on the Cob IV, Corn on the Cob V, and Corn on the Cob VI. In the Double Image, every second of the rings in the chain has two rings attached below, going forwards and backwards to adjacent connectors. For the next four, the idea is immediate from the name: Reverse Chinese Rings has everything reversed, which reminds me of the Astry puzzle by the same desigber. In Second-order Chinese Rings, every ring goes over two connectors instead just the neighbor, and in Third-order Chinese Rings over three neighbors. The Disordered Chinese Rings are a combination of these two in a regular pattern, and looks a bit chaotic at first. The Boxing Glove is obviously not from this series, but has the sturdy look and feel of the Tavern Puzzles. A beauty and definitely not easy!
The second package is from a recent auction win ("win" as in are "you are allowed/obliged to buy the items", not getting them for free): Patchwork Box and Pink Ivory Ring are two beautiful interlocking puzzles in exotic woods by a renowed craftsman and two well known designers. The Flange 99A is a nice little puzzle in a 3D cross shape and non-trivial to assemble. The third package was a win at another auction and is a classic by a well known puzzle designer Sonneveld 9 Piece Board Burr who does not like to give his designs names, and so it has a more technical designation. A beautiful piece coming with its own stand for display.
Added on 2018-01-06
Today a puzzle friend was visiting me and brought a nice present for my interlocking category: Rail Box #1. It is a nice little puzzle and fun to solve. Thank you!
Added on 2018-01-05
Today a second package from Hong Kong with some of the latest twisties: Multi-Cube. This design started its life as "Multi-Skewb" which refers to the primary mechanism visible from the outside, that of a Holey (Master) Skewb. The inside seems to be a Compy Cube, which is a tip turning cube related to the Dino/Rainbow Cubes. This puzzle is actually two in one. The TriCube looks like three intersecting cubes, and with each move, pieces from two of the three cubes will be moved (initially, until they are scrambled and each such cube contains more than one colour of pieces. There are also other colour variants available, another three coloured one and then one with six different colours, where each cube consists of two colours.
Added on 2018-01-03
The first puzzle package to arrive was from Hong Kong, containing some of the latest twisty puzzles: Crazy Comet Is a rhombic dodecahedron with strange moves, some of them shapechanging. The 2x2x2 Transform pyraminx BaMianTi is based on a 2x2x2 and has small circles in the corners. It is the lastest addition to the group of twisty octahedra. The Seven Star UFO is a collection of 7 little 2x2x2 balls, and an additional rotational axis to mix these seven puzzles by rotating the UFO halves. The Infinity Cube is a folding cube making different shapes.
Update on 2018-01-01
The first update of this year is around some puzzle solving. During the holidays, was working on the puzzle solving backlock a bit, and today I have solved the "Casino 2" and have put my solution review on the Burr Zoo group page. A nice burr puzzle of medium difficulty. Happy new year to all readers following this web site!
Added on 2017-12-27
From a private deal with a puzzle friend I received a puzzle which has been missing in my collection for some time: Juha 10. This is one of the nice Juha cubes series, but one that was not mass produced by Philos. As usual, it has some small pieces to fill holes, and this one resembles some similarity with the Juha 12 puzzle, with a stair shaped piece in the middle. The alternative name of "Zig-Zag Burr" is a well matching name for this aspect.
Added on 2017-12-26
A good friend visiting brought me a Sudoku-Cube as a christmas present: 3x3x3 Sudoku V-CUBE. Of course it was immediately scrambled, and it is a really tough challenge to solve. Needs some recognition of the patterns to be arranged on the sides, and then some planning ahead and some concentration. Thank you for this nice challenge!
Added on 2017-12-25
Beside the recent x-mas activities in the last days, I also had some time to assemble some new plywood kits, which are very well prepared and easy to assemble. One of them is a safe with a functional three digit combination lock (no puzzle), another is a puzzle box: Treasure Box. After having fun assembling this box without any glue required, I can now enjoy the puzzle box aspect. It is a sequential discovery box and some of the mechanism can be seen from the outside with the wooden gears turning. Those gears are related to the name of the company producing these kits: UGears, from Ukraine. While most of the kits are no puzzles and the instructions make it easy to assemble them (and not a puzzle how things might fit together), they already start showing up in various bigger and smaller puzzle shops. If you would like to see how this box works, there are also some videos online.
Update on 2017-12-22
As a christmas present to all readers of this website, today an update is launched, with a new feature: Interlocking Explorer. You see the yellow box that appeared in the changed menu above? You can always start this view via that button. At first, it will only show you all pictures of the interlocking category on one page, and this is nothing new. What is new is that you can click on links to sort by number of pieces or by level (in descending order). Additionally, you can filter for solutions with rotational moves (or without), and same for coordinate motion moves. This can all be combined, and for example if you are interested in all interlocking puzzles on this page with a level 6 solution with rotations involved, click on this link here.
You will also notice new fields in the puzzle detail pages for the interlocking puzzle class, providing information about the number of pieces, the solution level, and also rotations / coordinate motion moves. Fell free to click on those links, they will take you to the corresponding view of the Interlocking Explorer. Please note: everything works only for the interlocking puzzle class, no others.
The implementation of these new features was not the only task, collecting the data for the entries was also a big task, and is still ongoing. Of course, this only works for puzzle entries with the corresponding data amended, and so far, I have managed to collect this data for a good deal of the around 1000 entries in the interlocking category. Hopefully, the interlocking class of puzzles on this site will now be easier to navigate and it will be easier to find a certain puzzle. This was also my main motivation, after I spend some time flicking through all the pictures of the whole class when searching for the name and other details of a particular puzzle. I wish you happy holidays and all the best for the new year!
Added on 2017-12-19
Today a package from Czech Republic arrived, with some of the latest works from Pelikanpuzzles. Recently, the nice looking "Knot on my watch" was released, a beautiful puzzle, and from the same designer now another beautiful shape: Recede. It looks like a cube with one corner (and a bit more) removed, leaving a wide opening. The core consists of three burr sticks, and then there is a frame to trap them, augmented by some additional pieces filling up the puzzle and restricting possible moves considerably. The other two are difficult designs by Osanori Yamamoto, and of course have some rotations involved: Top and Lucida. From both, there exist versions from other craftsmen, which were offered at IPP, and which allowed me to play with them on a puzzle meeting around DCD. Unlike the current ones, those came disassembled and many puzzlers tried to assemble them without success, only very few succeeded. Especially the Lucida is a mean one: After solving, a typical comment was that the solver did not know exactly how he did it, and even worse would not get the puzzle apart again quickly. After not solving those two earlier on, I hope I will be more successful now. Two pieces in a cage, how hard can it be? Famous last words!
Added on 2017-12-18
Two new beautiful and clever puzzles form Australia today: Being the inventor of the original framed burr with 6 pieces, Juno has now created a tough level 24 one with 4 pieces only, which is more open and allows you to look inside a bit: Visible Framed Burr. This reminds me of the Framed Burr Box I picked up at IPP this year, containing a framed burr that would allow you some looks inside, once you started solving. The open frame is not the only trick involved in the Visible Framed Burr, there is more to it, increasing the level. After the Diamond Case was the first cute box with a card suite theme, the Club Case is the second one, and the design is as unusual as for the first one. When looking through the club shaped window, you will see some mazes, obviously a result of Juno's recent experiments with the CNC router. You will also see a design feature I have never seen in a box before, and which has to do with the sliders in the lower layer, right below the lid. A quick inspection shows that there are two independent sliders directly below the lid, which means they should be crossing each other and therefore blocking. This design gives a clever idea to this mystery, and makes it a puzzle box, which is not only nice looking, but also an interesting challenge to solve. Luckily it is not one of those requiring blind navigation in a maze, but to some extent you can see what is happening.
Added on 2017-12-15
Today two packages arrived with one puzzle inside each, both puzzles quite different in comparison. From Yavuz a wooden interlocking puzzle, based on boards: Transenna. It is actually two puzzles: One is with all pieces as shown in the picture, the other assembly is leaving away three of the bigger, darker boards to build a shape more like a three dimensional cross. From Diniar I received a 3D printed puzzle in colourful plastics, and he seems to explore the possibilities for 3D printed puzzles, and which types can be created. The Sewing Box looks like one of those storage containers in which various colours of thread are stored on spools, for sewing, hence the name. Of course the actual puzzle has nothing to do with sewing, but it is a take apart puzzle. It is well made with very good tolerances and right now, it does not seem obvious how to take it apart. The coloured columns have each a different stair-shaped cut, dividing each into two pieces each, but they are locked by the upper and lower rim of the container. I already have some idea how to progress, but have no idea if that will work and if it will lead to the solution of the puzzle, will have to carry on playing. The size is about the same like some of such sewing boxes and is nice to play with. An interesting new puzzle idea!
Added on 2017-12-13
Recently, on the Twistypuzzles.com forum, there was a new non-twisty puzzle released. This puzzle reminds me of the Daedalus puzzle and has some pegs and internal mazes on the pieces, mazes that are reconfigured by shifting the pieces. The puzzle is: Titan and is 3D printed. The puzzle is a 4x4x4 cube with no holes in it (if you don't count the grooves for the mazes), and quite high level of more than 14, which is all I know. It came from the 3D printer disassembled with the pieces enclosed in some wire like structure I had to open to separate the pieces. This seems to be a way to limit the number of separate pieces in the 3D print to reduce the costs. The pieces fit into each other nicely and I have already found several configurations with all but one piece assembled into a cube. The puzzle might seem a bit small, but it has a nice size and weight for playing and excellent tolerances. One nice aspect is that you can see what interactions there may be between grooves and pegs, will still be a good challenge to assemble!
Added on 2017-12-12
It is that time of the year again. Quite early this year, and much earlier than expected, I received a package from Japan with the latest Karakuri X-mas presents in it. Four cute puzzle boxes in different shapes, and not too easy of course: X-mas present 1, X-mas present 2, Aquarius Drawer 2, and The Pig. For the first two, I don't know the name yet and will add it a few weeks. The Aquarius Drawer 2 looks certainly different than the existing puzzle without the "2", but it says in the description that this is intended. This one has the usual scheme of the bean bag drawers by the same craftsman: a drawer with two compartments and you have to open them both. Kamei's new box was a bit of a surprise to me, as it does not look like a puzzle box at first. Kawashima's box seems to be cutting edge puzzle box design, it contains a warning that it has sharp edges. The last one with the same warning was the Popplock T11, but that one did not hurt me during solving, so I will be careful here. The Pig is a nice addition to the series of animal boxes in Yoh's typical style.
Added on 2017-12-06
Today is Saint Nicolas Day here in Germany and kids are surprised with people dressed up as santa clause and bringing small presents, like chocolate santa claus, gingerbread, and nuts. Instead of that, I received two packages from abroad today which arrived in Germany quickly. They contained beautiful new wooden puzzles and incidentially, each also one puzzle by the same Dutch designer. The first one from South Africa, from Johan's Intellectualcraft workshop contained the first four. Three of them are monster burr puzzles, when it comes to the number of pieces. Instead of the usual 6, 12, or 18, they have 24 to 30 pieces: Colossus, Barriere, and Grand Barriere. All designed by Alfons Eyckmans and nicely crafted by Johan. You would expect that those are also monstrous in size, but Johan has devised a new technique here, which allowed him to build these puzzles in an excellent size. Big enough to play with them and still enough room in the cabinet. According to Johan, they are all a challenge to assemble, with the high number of pieces and require some dexterity. Well, before thinking of that experience, I will have to disassemble them first, and that is a challenge on its own. Johan also included a surprise puzzle, the Archives by Klaas Jan Damstra, which I had noticed on his web page earlier. Looks like the "ring" inside has in reality some extra pieces and cubies glued in making it more challenging to move most of the pieces. A nice little puzzle, and of course this one comes with a stand. Thank you, Johan!
The second package arrived from the US, where recently Brian Menold was working on some fascinating new puzzles, all in beautiful woods, too. I knew that the Liliput would soon be available, as Chris told me at Dutch Cube Day. A small puzzle, with two pieces in a frame, but a high level. I wonder what the maximum may be for two pieces in a 4x4x5 frame. The Castle has an unusual look with a central frame and is from Klaas Jan, too. It seems that he is currently experimenting with strange frames, like the one that was published on Puzzlewillbeplayed today. The last two don't need a frame. They are 6BB, meaning 6 Board Burr, consisting of boards. To make it more interesting, they are from the subgroup of Bent Board Burrs, where each piece has a solid block at the end, spanning over two pieces in the assembled state. There have been others before, and I already have some from Frans, who is the expert for this kind of puzzles, but those are new in my collection: Bent Board Burr #4 is a non-trivial example in this group and has a quite high number of moves for the first two pieces. The other one is a variation, the Bent Board Burr #4 Too. It has two assemblies, and the first one has even more moves for both first pieces than the original one. With the uniform choice of woods, it can also be assembled in a lower level assembly.
With those puzzles to solve, there is no need to worry that I might be bored in the near future, in particular as there are other puzzles to solve, like that massive new lock which arrived last week.
Added on 2017-12-05
Christmas is approaching, and so are the first themed puzzles: Tea Box - Santa's Workshop arrived from Canada and is the latest of the Granny's Tea Box series. It is a cute little box and requires 5 moves to open. It has three knobs allowing to manipulate the lock, and it seems this is in line with Kelly's recent designs. I think for solving, it best goes along with a good cup of tea, just that the tea will probably be empty before the box is open!
Added on 2017-12-02
Today I went to a very nice local puzzle meeting Bernhard held at his place, where I met some puzzle friends for a lot of puzzle related chat, and also playing with some new puzzles, and I got to play with some fascinating possible future IPP Design Competition entries, too. There was also an offer of Bernhard's latest works, which are mainly coming from two creative and active designers, and are mainly cubic interlocking puzzles, some of them "TICs", the Turning Interlocking Cubes. The first designer is Andrey, with some interesting designs with and without rotations, some of them just published on Puzzlewillbeplayed.com: 16 Bar Cube 1, Toughie I, Toughie II, Tube Cube, Identity 4a, and Identity 4b. For these puzzles, the names give you a very good basic idea. If couse I could not resist another of Tom's designs: Loopy Cube. In the last couple of years, Lucie Pauwels has appeared as a new puzzle designer, with a variety of different designs. Her Open Cube is a typical TIC, and it is just the right difficulty level to assemble from the pieces in a reasonable amount of time (confirmed by myself during the puzzle meeting). Like the one before, most of her interlocking puzzles seem to have a name with "Knobbel" and then the number of the design, like the following three nice TICs: Knobbel 24, Knobbel 26, and Knobbel 28, which date back to 2015, but have been built for offer for this year's IPP for the first time. I have not heard from Franklin Gonsalves for a long time, and was surprised to see one of his older designs: Loopy Loops Junior, which is a nice and not too difficult puzzle, and quite big, by the way! Thanks to Bernhard for the nice meeting and great puzzle offer!
Added on 2017-11-26
This weekend, a package arrived from a recent auction. The two puzzles from this auction are nice little Japanese puzzle boxes: Packing Box (mini) II from a well known Karakuri Craftsman, and then from unknown origin: Twist Box - Kiasa. Both boxes are unusual compared to the traditional Japanese trick boxes.
Added on 2017-11-22
Today, I expected one puzzle package to arrive, but then it became four! Thanks to training at events like DCD or IPP, I could cope with this puzzle overload, but it is not only the number of packages, but some of the puzzles are brand new and special. Just a few days ago, a puzzle was officially announced to the collectors, which I had once seen at IPP earlier this year, when I met Rainer Popp there. After his T10 had been the biggest lock in his series so far, he was very busy working on the next one and when I first saw it, it turned out to be an impressive, big, and heavy puzzle (at around 2.5kg). I was very lucky and today already one of those beauties arrived, a Popplock T11. It comes with a key, and the key looks like a piece of art by itself. Should I mention that there is no keyhole visible? This lock comes with some rules to protect the puzzle, and one of them is that you should first find a keyhole before using that key. Well, let's put that key away again and focus on the rest. I played with the lock a bit already, and noticed several interesting things, but could not really progess yet. That will definitely not be an easy challenge, and one to look forward to!
The next package was actually an envelope from Jerry Loo's newly opened web shop with some light puzzles inside: Planex and L(8)tice-2. For the lattice puzzle, the target shape is obvious (not shown in the picture), while the Planex has a name resembling the one of a well known puzzle. It is actually a small version of the big Panex puzzle and therefore goes directly to n-ary puzzle group and compendium. It may be much lighter than the Popplock, and may have considerably less parts, but the mathematics behind it is more complicated. This is a nice pocketable version of the Panex which can be solved in reasonable time, too, and has enough pieces to demonstrate the basic ideas and algorithms.
Also around the globe, from Hong Kong, Nowstore had sent a package with some of the latest Twisties: The Curvy Ccopter+3x3 says everything by its name. It is a hybrid of Curvy Copter and 3x3x3 Rubik's cube. It has the regular face turns of the one, and the half turns on the edges of the other, but then there are also the shape shifting moves, now combined with the 3x3x3 moves. The Pentacle Cube is also a modification of a 3x3x3 cube, this time with circles, but unlike a circle cube, they come in a pentagram shape, limiting the available moves considerably. The 4-Leaf-Clover Cube is edge turning, and similar to the Curvy Copter+3x3, those can be half turns, or shorter turns leading to shapeshifting and blocking more and more moves. The Grasse and the perfume was a side order in another package and is a nice easy interlocking puzzle.
Added on 2017-11-20
Dutch Cube Day was a month ago, but today I am presenting two puzzles I received as a gift by my friend Christoph on that occasion: Torus 3D 16 pieces, Torus 3D 24 pieces. Of course these nice mathematical objects came disassembled in a small package each and required careful assembly. The smaller one was quite easy and quickly assembled, but the bigger one cost a lot of concentration and dedication. It is very easy to get some of the cuts misaligned and hard to get all cuts of a piece aligned with the crossing pieces. Luckily, this one came with a small strip of transparent as a helper tool, which made this assembly task possible. Now those two are both assembled and they look just beautiful. Despite being created from thin cardboard, they are surprisingly stable in the assembled form. Thanks for the puzzzles, Christoph!
Added on 2017-11-17
Today two packages arrived with nice puzzles inside. One contained one of the latest works from Pelikanpuzzles: Knot on my Watch. It looks indeed like a wristwatch and as it is an interlocking puzzle, there is also a knot of some sort involved when disassembling. It cannot be worn as a watch and it will not show the correct time, but it is a beautiful puzzle and fun to disassemble and reassemble. I wonder if the other interpretation of the name has some meaning for the designer, maybe relating to the story mentioned, about the wristwatch he was not able to repair.
The second package had a longer way coming from Taiwan and contained brand new puzzles for n-ary puzzle group and compendium. These puzzles are all variations of the classic "The Brain" puzzle, just with 6 instead of 8 sliders. David took that design and modified it to be a ternary and quaternary version, too: xBrain binary, xBrain ternary, and xBrain quaternary. These three puzzles nicely demonstrate two asspects of n-ary puzzles: They can be transformed to other arities and different number of special pieces. They are 3D printed and high quality, and fun to play with, and the size is even better to handle than the old puzzle. Of course for the pictures (more in the compendium!), I had to solve them all, and they operate well. They have a shortcut, but that wasn't used here. David has improved the original concept in several ways and made some really nice new puzzles here. Thank you for building them for me!
Added on 2017-11-10
A puzzle lock does not need to be big, heavy, or made from metal, to be an interesting and complex trick lock. Louis has proven this with his excellent 2015 and 2016 designs (which are currently for offer at one of the big puzzle auctions), and now there is a brand new one: Trick Lock 2017. I have first played with some prototypes at DCD a couple weeks ago, and that convinced me that I wanted one for my collection. Not wanting to give away any spoilers, let me just remark that the solution is unusual in several ways. A really nice challenge in this little puzzle!
Added on 2017-11-05
From Australia, Stuart sent me a box full of nice little puzzles, all made by himself. Buggin is one for n-ary puzzle group and compendium. This is a variation of a binary disentanglement puzzle, by creating two copies of it, and joining them at the end. The first steps confused me a bit, but after having a closer look, I managed to run through the sequences and solve the puzzle. The two binary puzzles meet at the end, so for the second copy, you will have to traverse through the end of the first one many times, but luckily those two sequences are basically traversed one after the other. The next two are nice variations on classic disentangelment puzzles (names unknown), and the goal is to move both beads onto one side of the loop, and then onto separate loops again: Move the beads 1* and Move the beads 2*. The Broken Jewel looks like a nice jewel shape, until you try and disassemble it. After that you will end up with a ring of pieces to be entangled into the jewel shape again. A variation of this in cubic shape is the Checkered Steady Cube. The Butterfly Puzzle is sometheing completely different. The pieces consist of hex sticks of length one and two, and you should build a butterfly shape of height two from them — or some other shapes if you like. Four Square is like a "Sudoku" puzzle with colours. Use the L and I shaped pieces to form a square, so that each row and each column has no colour occuring twice. Shape Maker also consists of cubies on a string loop, and the challenge is to create some 8 shapes provided with the puzzle, and others if you like. Six Corners* consists of six identical pieces with two cubies and two boards each. After trying to disassemble this shape, the goal is to restore it, of course. Thank you for these nice puzzles, Stuart AKA "Puzzle Man Australia"!
Added on 2017-11-03
From Austria, from Stephan Baumegger, a package arrived today, and in it was a very interesting design made of beautiful woods: Pandora. It looks like a caged 6 piece burr at first, but there is much more to it: the cage consists of boards of three different woods, and everything comes apart — eventually. Before that, a solution has to be found for disassembly, and the level tells you it is not easy. For similar puzzles I have seen so far, like Alfons Eyckmans' "Al Capone" puzzle, first one or more sticks come out before the first board can be removed. In the Pandora puzzle, the boards have additional guides attached, making them harder to remove. Despite that, in this puzzle three of the boards come out before any stick can be removed. Luckily this is a very beautiful puzzle, so you can enjoy it as a piece of art before actually solving it.
Added on 2017-10-26
Today I went to the "Spiel" in Essen, the biggest games fair for board games and the like, and it is getting bigger every year. The main focus is on games and I acquired quite some new games there, and test played some more, but there are also well known puzzle shops/manufacturers there, and I met some puzzle friends also being on the hunt for puzzles and games. The first puzzle was Crown Shape Lock, a huge lock in traditional Indian style commissioned by Jean-Claude Constantin. From Hendrik's Puzzle-Shop, I got one of the last Redi Cubes I missed out so far. A well known puzzler got the last one after me. A nice and not too difficult twisty, as it seems. Famous last words? We'll see! Rombol had nice puzzes by various designers for offer, but this time I concentrated on designs by Volker Latussek, most of them being part of the latest two IPP Design Competitions: Curling Box, Bastille, and Black and White Antislide. The House of Tangram I have never seen before and it seems to be a classic Tangram, once you get the pieces out of the "house". Of course you will have to put them back in after playing. Or maybe this is still part of playing, actually! One of the winner puzzles of the IPP36 Design Competition is also offered: The "Marbles Cage". There is a wooden version available by the name "Tower of London" via their web site.
Added on 2017-10-23
Yesterday, the biggest European puzzle meeting saw another incarnation in The Netherlands, the Dutch Cube Day. Of course, I attended this event and several side-events to meet many puzzle friends, see new (and old) puzzles, discuss excellent prototypes with the designers, and also enjoy solving puzzles not usually available to me. One new puzzle is Sixfold, a set of six folding puzzles by Markus, and one has also a picture of the Crazy Elephant Dance on it! This was the present for all attendees. One intended side-effect of DCD is a haul for my collection, which has a clearly noticable bias: More beautiful but difficult wooden puzzles from Alfons. The following wooden puzzles extend some of the group pages I have on my web site. The Burr Zoo group page is extended by Casino 2, which does not really have animal pieces inside, just two dice, but is one of the designs that started this group of puzzles. Ignoring those two hidden extra pieces, it is also part of the 18 pieces burrs group, as are the following ones: Earrings, John's Goliath, and Hooks 2. That last one is an 18 piece burr mounted to a base plate via four hooks in the corner, which we have seen in the Dog Catcher puzzle before, which was a 12+3+1 piece puzzle. Similarly, the Hooks is a 12 pieces burr mounted to a base plate with four hooks. The puzzle Silene looks like it also has four supporting pillars in the four corners, but this time, those more look like an exoskeleton, and the four long sticks are firmly held in place by the crossed sticks in the middle. An interesting looking design and two very beautiful species of wood (the picture not doing them much justice). Plaza caught my attention because it looked like an easy puzzle with an unusual shape, which also allows you to see inside the puzzle while solving. This view is an advantage, especially when it comes to the unusual third move I have already found. The next two are very similar puzzles of two halves in contrasting woods: Oximoron and Siamese Twins. After this series of two, there is one of three, all very recently released: Tricolor, Tricolor 2, and Tricolor 3. They all have four central sticks and four L-shaped boards locked onto them. Two of the L-shaped boards are a bit bigger than the other two. While the first and third puzzles have a mirror symmetric look, the second one is point symmetric.
At DCD, I also met the host of this year's IPP and he had one of the missing exchange puzzles with him for me, after it had been caught in German customs earlier this year on the way to IPP. Now I also have Euro Star on my Edward Hordern Puzzle Exchange page.
There were several n-ary puzzles for offer, similar to existing ones in n-ary puzzle group and compendium. The one I chose to add is: The Bell, which is like a Panex puzzle with only 6 levels. There were also some IPP Exchange puzzles for offer, like the The Moose Ball. Leaving the DCD without a twisty puzzle feels strange, and those two are simple and basically a 2x2x2, but look very nice: Hex-X 2x2x2 and 2x2x2 Mini Fisher Cube. The Saturn is a vintage puzzle with not so obvious goal and solution. A novelty is also the Floppy Ghost Cube, which may have better been named "Floppy Ghost Megaminx" or "Ghost Floppy Pentagonal Prism" in a more technical fashion, considering that it is based on a pentagon, not a square.
After wood and plastic, there is also another material category, the heavy one: Cast Dot is the latest Cast puzzle, flat, but folding into interesting shapes before coming apart. Cast Beta Capsule is a remake of some hedgehog puzzle in a different setting. The 3 Circles and Cross the Ball come from one of Wil's business partner in China.
Finally, there is also one trick box in this update, an IPP 36 Exchange puzzle: Bolt. It is a box from Japan, and from this country are also the following not quite so standard sliding piece puzzles: Tricky?, neo SLIDE-9, Easy?, and SOLO are well known designs by one expert of such puzzles: Minoru Abe. The "Easy?" has also made it in several puzzle games I have seen on mobile platforms, where it was used as a mini game, but in an easier version without the red square piece. Making the "Easy?" puzzle easier? Probably that was a good idea for those games, where not everybody is a puzzle solving expert.
This DCD was a great event and I will have some fun working myself through all the new puzzles. No chance to get bored anytime soon!
Added on 2017-10-17
Today I picked up two packages at the customs office ordered on the same day, arriving on the same day, but one from far east and one from the west, an interesting coincidence! The first one contained what you would easily identify as the traditional not so cheap Japanese puzzle box, and it is therefore called The Traditional. So this must be from the east? Wrong! This is Robert Yarger's latest release of Stickmanboxes. After playing with it a bit, you will soon notice that it looks like a traditional Japanese box, and has some similar elements, but then also something typically not found in such a box. Will take some tricks to open the four compartments.
From the east, from Australia, a package arrived with Juno's latest works. The A Mazing Burr was offered as a prerelease in a charity auction and I was lucky to win one. It was labelled "second grade", but looks like a high quality puzzle and is certainly not a normal six piece burr. There are mazes inside which lead to coordinate motion moves appearing in sequences and regular moves, raising the level to 17 for the first piece. A well deserved name for this puzzle! The Diamond Case was thought to be a small box after the big Framed Burr Box (see below on this page), and not so difficult. That does not mean it is trivial, and it is definitely a cute little box. The Skewed Six Piece Burr* will support Juno's reputation for unusual six piece burrs. This one has a crazy look and hints that something has gone horribly wrong with the angles of Juno's saw and jigs. At a closer look, you will see the nice symmetry. It is only level 1, but the odd shapes make it difficult to re-assemble. Still being a prototype you might want to keep a look on the Pluredro shop for this one to be released in the future. Thanks for the nice puzzle!
Added on 2017-10-10
Today some beautiful wooden puzzles arrived. The first one gave me a slight headache because it came disassembled, and it has a fitting name: Migraine It did not take me too long to work out the positions of the pieces in the solution, and to start assembling it. With a nice click the first 4 pieces slid together forming a cube, leaving only room for the L shaped piece to be added last. But then I had a hard time developing into a slight headache adding this piece, because the others wouldn't open any more. After some time, I found that special move and now I know why it is sold disassembled. It is just so much more fun that way and gives you the "ah-ha" moment mentioned on Eric's web site. A nice addition to Ken's two Little puzzles! With the others, I have only started playing, but they all don't look too normal or too easy: Amulet adds some cubies/cuboids to raise the level of the six piece burr, and has very interesting move sequences. Board Burr Rack has more pieces than it looks like. There are two additional cubes inside, blocking the board pieces. Wedged has some four burr sticks packed into a corner box, and has the highest level of this update.
Added on 2017-10-09
From time to time, some new twisty puzzles catch my attention, and today a package quickly arrived from Nowstore with such twisties inside. At IPP, at the banquet, I joined a twisty puzzlers table and saw some of the latest mass produced ones from China. I was happy to receive the easier one (the Honey Copter), which is a nice easy puzzle, but which I have seen fool some of my puzzle friends. The other one was another copter puzzle, this time not corner turning, but the traditional copter edge-turning: Flower Copter. To be completely honest, this is also corner turning, so it can do both kinds of moves to confuse puzzlers. A nice looking puzzle which feels it has many movable parts. The second new puzzle is the Fisher Yileng Wheel of Time, and if you have some knowledge of twisty puzzles, this name exactly describes how it works. It is a nice shape changing variant of the Wheel of Time puzzle by the same company. The last one I just had to order, because it enhances my collection of twisty octahedra a bit more: Octahedral Mixup. Looking like a Greenhill's Octahedron, this one is also capable of Mixup moves by only 45 degrees.
Added on 2017-09-17
From a little puzzle meeting this weekend, I got the Clamped Cube from a puzzle friend. A nice little variation on six piece burr, with two cubes made of beautiful wood. Thank you!
Added on 2017-09-12
Today a parcel arrived quickly from the US with a nice little puzzle in it: In a Cage. It is an entry of this year's IPP Design Competition, and also an award winner! It is a tiny box caught in a frame, which explains the name. This well crafted Japanese puzzle is not an easy one and offers a nice challenge. After first playing with this puzzle at IPP, I was able to win this one in a charity lottery. Thank you, Matt!
Added on 2017-09-06
Today a small parcel from the U.S. arrived with a very nice puzzle inside. It is an entry to this year's IPP Design Competition, and not only that, It is one of the prize winners, too! After my experiences with this puzzle in Paris I agree that this is a well-deserved prize. It is an interesting multiple step sequential discovery puzzle, and I have seen it hitting some seasoned puzzlers by surprise with some steps. Well, the instruction sheet warns you that there are some pieces that could come out and try to vanish, but I like the last part of the instruction most: "No banging, bending, or burning required". Time to reveal the name, details, and picture of the puzzle: Free Me 5. It is a nice pocket-size puzzle offering a lot for its size. Mine came in a different wood than the one in the competition, brighter and not well suited for the heavy use during the competition, but more beautiful, I think. Once disassembled the matching wood grain of the part will leave no doubt how it should be reassembled. However, the real difficulty of that are the inner parts not to be seen in the picture. It will be interesting to see what Joe will come up with in the future.
After latest count, this is number 16 of this year's IPP Design Competition entries I have in my collection, and one more will be on its way soon. If you haven't noticed yet, the Puzzler's Award winner is also in my collection, just created by a different craftsman and added last October and I had some good fun with it since.
Added on 2017-09-02
The first September package contained some beautiful new puzzles from Pelikanpuzzles: Camera Conundrum is a re-relase of the puzzle from the IPP23 design competition, which was sold out for over a decade. This second edition has an additional piece and an additional step, a very nice touch. The other puzzle is Scotsman 2, a puzzle on its own, but also the tender to the steam locomotive puzzle by the same designer and craftsman. Both are gorgeous puzzles for looking at and also for playing with them. It seems that unfortunately the Camera Conundrum has sold out already, but the Scotsman 2 is still available, together with some other nice puzzles.
Added on 2017-08-30
Today a small package from the US was available for pick-up at the customs office, with my first order after IPP in it. Two interesting and beautiful wooden puzzles, the first being the Worm Cube. This 5x5x5 cube has pieces mostly coming as worm-like shapes with a 90 degree bend in the middle. Even without rotations, this puzzle seems to be quite difficult to disassemble, and even more to reassemble. The basic concept is "pull the pieces away from the center by one unit until one comes out". Well, it looks pretty chaotic after some moves and this is not all that there is to remove the first piece. The pictures on Eric's page made me curious and I am not disappointed! The Dinlas reminds me (and not only me) of one of my favourite additions this year: MINE's Cube in a Cage. In this case, we only have one challenge (not 8), but the grid is bigger being 4x4x4 rather than the 3x3x3 of MINE's puzzle (and 2x2x2 of the smaller variant). It is nicely made in beautiful woods and I was only brave enough to remove three pieces from that frame, and to put them back inside. Even then I found a little surprise in the design hinting for a complex overall puzzle, and it seems getting those three out was easy part of the solution.
Added on 2017-08-25
The first update after the huge IPP update is about the last puzzle I ordered before going to IPP. It ia s new puzzle from a new designer, and I was quite puzzled to meet him at IPP as a greenhorn. His puzzle is the Pyrigan Puzzle Model #808, which is a puzzle built from custom made metal parts and looks very nice and professional. As a puzzle, it has more to offer than one might think at first. It has several different settings for complexity, which can be set when re-assembling the puzzle. Coming in the easiest setting, I was able to open it and the solution works nicely reproduceable, no luck involved. I appreciate the different challenges, which give the puzzle a really nice touch. It is nice to play with and there is only a small warning I would like to give: If you open it, be careful not to loose a small part of the mechanism coming out. A nice and well designed puzzle, looking forward to explore the other, more difficult solutions!
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. 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 Bastille EscapeRing, combining the two concepts sliding piece puzzle and ring maze into a new one. IPP34 Exchange
Beside the great haul of Exchange puzzles, I also took some more with me, some of them being presented to me, others bought directly from the designers, and then some more. From the IPP team, I received The Paris IPP Cube, which consists of several pieces of pre-cut and pre-folded paper and which can be folded into three dimensional pieces for an assembly puzzle.

The Framed Burr Box was the biggest puzzle I got at IPP. After seeing it on-line in Juno's Pluredro shop website, I thought about getting it some time. Meeting the designer and seeing one standing on his table at IPP made it clear to me that I really wanted this box. Meanwhile, I have solved it and it is an excellent puzzle for both puzzle box enthousiasts as well as puzzlers interested in high level framed burrs. The inventor of the original framed 6 piece burr has combined these two puzzle concepts, leading to a very interesting experience when solving the burr part. It is the first framed burr I know that will open up the frame more and more during solving.

From the IPP Design Competition, I received the Jury Honorary Mention prized Burrnova, a beautiful puzzle with a surprise in it, which seems to have developed from Jerry's earlier concepts with pins and magnets. The new semi-automatic move sequence of 11 moves will hit you by surprise and you have to be careful not to drop this nice puzzle then. The No Full Pirouette! is unmistakenly Namick's usual style, but this time the n-ary elements appear in a somewhat randomized and decorated fashion. For each of the modules you have to determine the arity, and then also the sequence to solve the whole puzzle. Not the everyday n-ary puzzle, but a very interesting one, which probably also lead to the well deserved Jury award of a first prize! The second n-ary entry is the MiSenary Puzzlebox, a puzzle box that works differently than initially expected. Only if you find out that n-ary nature and the right sequence, you will be able to open this box. I am happy that I could play with a prototype earlier this year and provide the designer some advice for improvement which has found its way into the final version. Those two puzzles can of course be found in n-ary puzzle group and compendium. The Unlawful Assembly is another competition entry, nicely made and easily explained. Just put the four identical pieces and the cross into the tray.

Shortly before IPP, I received word about a new puzzle from Australia and after the initial surprise, I had to reserve myself a The Louvre of course. Makes up for a trip to the real museum, I think!? After the Exchange had shown an unusually high number of trick locks, there were also more to be found in the puzzle party: Tibetian Puzzle Lock and Popplock T3 by specialists in this area. From Iwahiro, I could catch up with some of his unusual works still missing in my collection: 5 Yen in a Jam is another Jam puzzle, while the Zipper demonstrates another unusual application of everyday objects. Scott had some of his 3D printed puzzles for offer, Halve a Heart completing the series, the Peppermint from a previous exchange, and the Deux Nuts being an improvement of an earlier screw puzzle, and being an impossible object in several ways. This IPP I had the pleasure to meet Stephan Baumegger and he had many of his puzzles for offer, including the Maahes made by him and designed by Terry. This one has a really nice look! Some other items to pick up were: Varikon, Helix+ (TIC or not TIC? both!), Honey Copter, and Magic Wire. Thank you for all these nice puzzles and entertaining conversations!

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. I noticed that I already have 14 puzzles of this year's Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition in my collection, among them 4 prize winners. Can you spot them and name them all?

Update on 2017-07-30
Last week, I mentioned a puzzle of the the Chinese 99-ring series causing me some headaches: Corn on the Cob II. After looking at an easier puzzle first, I picked up this one again, just to be confused again. Only this time, I soon reached a better understanding of the puzzle and in the meantime I have solved it. Like the first puzzle of the Corn on the Cob series, it is a complicated binary puzzle, meaning it has "only" binary sequences to offer, like in the original Chinese Rings puzzle, and then some additional features to confuse people. The confusion can be reduced by discovering another similarity of I and II: while the primary rings are arranged like a Chinese Rings puzzle, the secondary rings forming a zig-zag chain together with the connectors are only touched once per ring during the solution. Okay, it is a bit more complicated than in CotC I, but in CotC II, just a little more binary sequencing is added. If, however, you try to run the secondary rings through a sequence, you will soon end up in a confusion and special disentanglement puzzle waiting to be restored to a meaningful configuration again. Both CotC I and CotC II are two very nice extensions of the classic binary Chinese Rings puzzle, and the second one adds a bit more difficulty to the game — or a lot more difficulty if you don't get the point of the solution in time. A nice series of puzzles and now I have some idea what to expect from CotC III to be attacked next. Before that, CotC will need proper reassembly, but now I feel confident that I will not be confused a lot any more. With the corresponding comments, the puzzle has recieved a compendium entry.
Update on 2017-07-23
Of the Chinese 99-ring series I have played with, the Corn on the Cob II proved to be more difficult than expected. I got five of the ring pairs of the loop before getting confused, and decided it needed more analysis. In the meantime, I have managed to get it back to the starting configuration. Postponing that one for a later time, I decided to go for an easier one, which has been labled "Level 8" instead of the 10 or 10+ of the others: Bald Eagle. Finding the first move was more difficult than expected, and after a short conversation, Kevin tried the puzzle and his comment was that it was indeed an easy one. Trying again, I found the missing moves and solved it. While it has components of the others from the series included, like the zig-zag chain of rings and connectors, the solution is surprisingly an easier one: Each of the rings is only traversed once, leading to a linear solution. With the corresponding comments, it has received a compendium entry. It is a nice puzzle with a surprising difficulty: Finding the first move is the challenge, not the sequence.
Added on 2017-07-06
After successfully solving the first couple of challenges for the Sliding Tetris, today a new multiple challenge puzzle arrived, and it is huge, in size and also in the number of moves: Num Lock (mixed base). Nicely built in beautiful woods by Johan, it comes with a frame, with 9 sliders in it (and 16 of the small knobs), a stand, and additional 13 pieces, adding up to 22 slider pieces alltogether. Those pieces come in arities 3, 5, 7, and 9 with different counts, and allow you to combine up to 9 of them in the frame, mixing their bases as you like. The common piece (C) is always the rightmost piece and the first to move, and has only two different positions. With the pieces of highest arity used, this set has 50009399 moves to remove the first piece. Maybe not something to try for yourself, it will take a long time, very long! After playing with the ternary only setup it had in the beginning, I started off with the configuration of arities 9,7,5,3 and common piece, one of each kind, with 9 as the leftmost piece. I only managed to run through the sequence lifting the arity 9 piece by two steps, but that felt like many moves already. Luckily Jack Krijnen has already derived a formula for the number of moves and Johan provide some sheets with the number of moves for the various configurations, and it seems my choice would require 4199 moves (had I run through to the end of the sequence). There are smaller versions of this puzzle Johan made, and this big one comes with a health warning, and all move counts of above 34991 (maximum of smaller version) are highlighted in red. One fascinating aspect of Jack's formula is that it has the arity of the "start block" (i.e. leftmost) included and then only the product of all other arities involved, which means it does not matter in which order you arrange them. For example the configuration 9,7,7,5,5,3,3,C will have the same number of moves for the first piece to come out like 9,5,3,7,7,3,5,C. What I have not explicitly explained so far and what is not shown on any picture is how setting up the frame with less than 9 pieces work. It is a nice solution, and Johan made it an additional puzzle to figure that out. Unlike Tom's version, the frame cannot be opened, but this additional mechanism serves also as a reset feature. This puzzle is of course part of n-ary puzzle group and compendium, and the mixed base approach and the variable number of pieces nicely demonstrates this fact. There are more pictures and some mathematical background information to be found in the compendium entry. A nice and beautiful puzzle, and a challenge both in theory and implementation. Now I only have to solve a different puzzle, and this relates to puzzle packing and display cases, and the available space.
Added on 2017-07-04
From Diniar I received a nice small package today, with a lot of puzzle in it. It is his newest creation Sliding Tetris, which consists of a frame with transparent walls with holes in it, a ball inside, and some three dimensional tetris like shapes, all very nicely built. Goal is to move those pieces and the ball in such a sequence, that the ball can go out through the one bigger hole in the cage, which can also be seen in the picture. A nice puzzle and pushing those pieces around works nicely and smoothly. The puzzle is the collectors edition coming with many more of those tetris like pieces. Well, they are actually three dimensional, not two-dimensional like in the original Tetris, and most of them are more complex shapes. They are no spare pieces, but used for additional challenges, for which the frame can be opened and an alternate setup be created. 15 challenges are provided with the puzzle, with up to 37 moves, which leads to a lot of puzzling fun!
Added on 2017-06-30
Today a package arrived with a key puzzle for n-ary puzzle group and compendium: The Key Puzzle. Sorry for the pun! This is the original version of the binary key puzzle, which lead to the new version and the ternary version later on, and many others listed in Goh Pit Khiam's article "The Design of N-ary Mechanical Puzzles", which can be found as reference item [12]. It is not only a nice and well-made puzzle, but also an interesting piece of puzzle history.
Added on 2017-06-23
Today a package arrived from Eric Fuller with some of his latest creations: I already have "Wunderbar Inspriration" in a 3D printed version, now I also have a beautiful wooden version: Wunderbar Inspiration. It looks like 18 wooden sticks, but to see the true structure, you have to look for the different species of wood. The sticks of each species are glued into one piece, 6 pieces overall. The 3D printed version has a different colour scheme with 3 colours only, and came disassembled with the 3 colours as a hint for assembly. Siamese Burr II is an unusual fusion of two standard six piece burrs, and it has one longer, common piece in the middle. Repair The Cube came assembled, and maybe then the name of the puzzle is misleading. There is a frame and two pieces and they have to be assembled into a cube. A nice version in beautiful woods. Boxes And Frames is much smaller than the others, a pocket size puzzle. Those three burr sticks and three frame plates have some nice interactions. Maybe I will not spend too much time on those puzzles today, as another item arrived, a beautiful puzzle book to read.
Added on 2017-06-15
Today's update features three puzzles from Wood Wonders. The first one, Trenta, is a beautiful wooden puzzle with a very interesting concept. There are three pieces in the frame with a level of 30 to remove the one piece coming out. There is also a rotational move, shortcutting this to 24. The puzzle came disassembled and to insert the free piece, the other two had to be rearranged, even involving a rotation. A very tough challenge. I did play with some design prototype earlier, and had several conversations with Christoph earlier. It is fascinating how difficult such a puzzle with 3 pieces in a 5x5x5 unit frame can be. The fact that the two remaining pieces cannot be removed, seems to add more room for complex moves, leading to this high level. Chapel #1 is another beautiful puzzle in a well known category demonstrating new complexity. In this puzzle, the pieces are two units longer than for the usual 6BB puzzle, allowing for many more moves. The last one, Tourelle, could also be classified as a packing puzzle. The pieces have to be packed into the frame in a particular order, with some multiple move sequences, which makes it more complex than just a packing puzzle.
Added on 2017-06-14
From Hong Kong, from Nowstore, some nice new twisties: The lastest tetrahedron: 5 Layer Mastermorphix. And then various cuboids: 2x2 Windmill Cube, Super 2x2x4 Cuboid, 2x2x5 Cuboid, and 2x2x6 Cuboid
Added on 2017-05-28
Coming home from a short trip over the long weekend, I have just found a package from Puzzle-Shop at home, with the three of the latest Siebenstein puzzles: Euro-Falle 1 looks a bit like Euro-Falle 2, but works differently. It also solves the mystery why there were the models 2, 3, 4, and 5 but no 1. Puzzle-Box 03 is the next form the series with the jigsaw puzzle shape on top, and also not opening with a mechanism like in any of the others. Lock 64 they claim to be their most difficult trick puzzle.
Added on 2017-05-22
Today a package arrived with Wil's latest creation, the: Revenge Lock named The Wanderer. It is a new version of the Revenge Lock, which was Wil's answer to Gary Foshee's Lunatic Lock. This new version of the Revenge Lock is not only a lock, but it comes enclosed into a metal block. There is also another new part in the lock, the Wanderer mentioned in the name, making it more difficult. There are several steps to solve in the puzzle, with the first one finding the number, and the last one restoring everything back to the beginning. That last part sounds familiar from older puzzles by Wil, also one with a lock, and there it showed how challenging the puzzle really was. I am expecting something similar here, and while I have found the number (first challenge), already I am unable to restore it to the initial state, and there are more challenges in between. There seems a lot to be going on inside. A very fascinating puzzle! It comes with a nice story and is beautifully made.
Update on 2017-05-21
The third puzzle from the Chinese 99-ring series I solved and analyzed is Corn on the Cob I. After playing with it a bit, I recognized some well known sequence and noticed that there are only a few additional elements to it. I have created a compendium entry with more details. I have started playing with the II puzzle, the next in the series. It has more links between the different loops, and seems to be much more complicated. At the moment it is all tangled up and I need to find a way to untangle. A typical issue for disentanglement puzzles, will take some time until the next update.
Added on 2017-05-19
Today a parcel from Alfons arrived, with one of his latest creations in it: Alken/Kenal. It is a box with a lid and offers many challenges, which is actually more than one puzzle. The puzzle Kenal comes with a lid that can be used in two orientations and leads to two solutions, one with 135, the other with 257 moves. Alken is the same puzzle, but with the other lid piece, and two solutions, one with 135 (again), and one with 321 moves to remove the lid. The shapes and positions of the sliding pieces is similar to the ones in the B-Box, and indeed most of the solution of Alken/Kenal is similar, and binary too. This puts the puzzle into n-ary puzzle group and compendium. However, with the two lid pieces and their irregular shapes, there are many new moves to discover, which are deviating from the binary sequence. They add some up to 6-ary elements to the puzzle. Take a look at this picture to see the lid pieces and their structure. In some way, the 135 moves configurations are more difficult, because at the end of the solution, you have to find exactly the right position for the last few moves. Otherwise, you will be going into a dead end. For the Kenal piece, this also offers an interesting aspect: Instead of performing the last few moves to remove the lid, you can also slide it open widely, like a puzzle box without removable lid, as seen in this picture. This is a very interesting and well built puzzle, and one of the rare cases where I have examined the puzzle including all solutions before putting it into this gallery. Have a look at the compendium entry for more technical details.
Added on 2017-05-12
Today two packages arrived from different continents: 3 Piece Burr Cube 50 from South Africa is a beautiful wooden interlocking puzzle, or better than that: It is two puzzles in one. You can assemble the whole puzzle with all pieces, or you can just assemble the three fame piecs as three piece plate burr with a nice level.
The second package came from Hong Kong and contained some brand new twisty puzzles: Deformed 3x3x3 Centrosphere looks like a sphere in a cube, and it needs two looks to see why it is called "Deformed". The Clover Octahedron Fragmentation is a massive puzzle, the biggest so far in the twisty octahedra. The whole group of mini octahedra can easily sit on top of it. The COF is wildly shape-shifing, and this is surprising, as the groups of pieces around the tips of the octahedron only have tiny overlaps in the center of each edge. So far, I have only found moves also possible on the non-fragmented version, but I will keep trying.
Update on 2017-05-11
The second puzzle of the Chinese 99.ring series I have completely analyzed and solved is Reflection. At the beginning, I was only able to perform a handful of moves before getting stuck. In a "Heureka!" moment I found what I called the "double ring" configuration, which is a central part of the solution. With this, the puzzle basically becomes a classical chinese 9 rings with some extensions (and a much longer solution sequence). I have created a compendium entry with more details. With this insight it is much easier than the Mountain Trail, which is less regular. It is a fine example of an implementation of the n-ary sequences, and it forces you to actually develop a solution idea right at the beginning, a very nice aspect. The name "Reflection" is also a very good choice to describe the solution sequence.
Added on 2017-05-09
Today a package from Japan arrived, with some of the latest Karakuri works. Aquarius Drawer looks like it has many drawers to open, but there are only two of them, the rest are "5 devices", as mentioned in the description. These function in a ternary scheme, which puts this nice puzzle into n-ary puzzle group and compendium.
Update on 2017-05-07
The first puzzle of the Chinese 99.ring series I have analyzed and solved is Mountain Trail. Its main structure is binary, with some short additional chains leading to ternary and even some quaternary elements. I have created a compendium entry with more details. Before understanding it and gaining some routine, this puzzle can be quite confusing at times. As a general rule: if a little force is required for a move, even after rearranging the rings, it is not part of the solution sequence.
Added on 2017-05-05
Today a small package arrived and inside was a small, but very beautiful puzzle: Mini Mirror Octahedron. Like the other mini octahedra, this one was created by Raphael Mouflin and is built at very high quality, turns nicely and is a real beauty. Obviously is part of the twisty octahedra group, which is growing beyond what I was expecting years ago. While the Mirror Blocks (as a cubic puzzle) has 90 degree turns, this one is based on 120 degree turns, and therefore plays quite differently. One fascinating thing is that you see a different number of pieces on the faces, as the deeper cut ones introduce little triangles from the truncation of some of the pieces. Only two sides roughly look like a classic FTO side, all the others don't.
Added on 2017-05-04
Today a package from Brian arrived with some of his latest creation in beautiful woods. The first two are to extend the collection of Tom Jolly puzzles. Mean Cube has an interesting name, and Burr Box 1 is a box with some burr sticks in it, which have to be shaken out a bit by gravity as the first move. 4x4x4 Elevator is a relative of the Elevator puzzle I already have. Y6BB #1 adds to the growing collection of six piece board burrs. Trilogy is three puzzles in one: depending on the order of the boards, a different solution with different level appear.
Added on 2017-04-30
Today I went to a private puzzle event and met many old puzzle friends there. We had a lot of fun discussing new and old puzzles, playing with puzzles, and solving them. Aside from that, I was able to add a nice puzzle to my colletction: Pod. It is a small box with many moves, some of them unusual, and none of them directly leading to obvious progress. A nice challenge, and well-made as expected from this craftsman.
Added on 2017-04-28
Last year I heard from a new master of higher order chinese rings puzzles: Aaron King (Wang Yulong). I already have his Fishing Hook Chain 9-Ring, which is a ternary version of Chinese Rings, has very many moves, and can confuse you deeply, if you are not careful. A very interesting puzzle and well made. This puzzle and the following (non n-ary) puzzles are available via Felix Puzzle from Hong Kong: Lucky Lantern, Beyond the Ying-Yang, and Detachable Ball and Chain. This last one has two special features: It comes with a quick release hook and 6 different challenges to try, of different difficulty. Another one available in that shop is Astray, which looks like a chinese rings version, but with three extra rings adding an element to it, which may be ternary or even higher order. I have yet to find out and confirm, and this is one challenge I have with this update: Higher order chinese Rings puzzles with some other more or less regular elements in it making it a puzzle to classify them, requiring the appropriate amount of time to avoid any mis-classifications finding their way into n-ary puzzle group and compendium. You will certainly appreciate my approach to gradually put these puzzles in their respective category.
Why all the fuzz? Maybe just a look at the rest of today's update will convince you of the sheer complexity of those puzzles, which are from Aaron's "Chinese 99-ring" limited series: Bald Eagle may be the easiest one, my fist guess is binary, but it is already a challenge to pass the first couple of rings. A very unusual puzzle with the big ring being foldable in the middle, becoming a crescent moon like shape. Reflection looks ternary at first sight. It has pairs of rings, of which the top row look like the usual chinese rings chain, but there is the middle row of rings carrying the bar. This gives the puzzle a reflected look with rings above and the small rings below, not a far-fetched explanation for the name. Mountain Trail seems to be a distant relative of Astray, with a binary chain, and some pairs of rings raising it to a higher order puzzle. There are three chains of two rings each attached to the basic chain, so that makes it ternary? Quaternary? I have to find out.
The next three bear the same name and have 18 rings each, arranged in a zig-zag pattern on the main bar. These rings are connected with little metal pieces with two loops at the ends. So they are basically the same puzzle? Not from what I have seen so far: Corn on the Cob I looks and plays like a typical ternary puzzle. Each pair of rings shares one connector, and each pair of rings is surrounding the adjacent connector. Corn on the Cob II seems to have a more complicated pattern. The top ends of the connectors have two rings connected each, one going forward and one going backwards. The bottom connector holes have only one ring, connected not to the next lower one, but skipping one and then connecting to the one-but-next top connector loop. The other rings in the top connector holes "only" reach over the central bar and have only one connector attached. Corn on the Cob III features also connectors with two and with one rings in their loops, but in an alternating pattern. Instead of just going top-down and skipping, those rings form a continueing zig-zag-chain to the next top or bottom connector loop, respectively. The other rings are just linking the main bar with one connector hole. So far, I have figured out how those rings are arranged, but that is only the very first step in the solution. Playing with those puzzles and unlinking the first couple of rings from the main bar each, provided me an idea how different those puzzles really are.
What they all have in common: They are very well made and at first sight you see that they are complex puzzles requiring a systematic approach, not trial and error. Will keep me busy for some time to analyze and solve them all! Very nice puzzles and those great puzzles show that there is potential for new ideas based on chinese rings.
Added on 2017-04-22
Today I went to German Cube Day (GCD), a yearly meeting well organized by Frank Tiex, where I met many puzzle friends, and enjoyed puzzle collecting, puzzle solving, puzzle talks, and many nice conversations with puzzle friends. For the puzzle addiction: Wunderbar Inspiration is a new design based on Stewart Coffin's Wunderbar puzzle with a nice easy solution involving rotations. D-ICE is a puzzle linking with another hobby of mine, board games. However, this die seems unsuitable to generate random numbers, but is a nice heavy metal puzzle. I also got some IPP exchange puzzles from this year and earlier Board an Cube Burr (Katsumoto Cube) (serially interlocking with a secret inside), Vapors Puzzle (the missing piece in the Helical Burr series), and Cross-Keys puzzle (a one-dimensional projection of a 2D maze). Oskar's Disks is also such a projection of a maze on lower dimensions, but now with round pieces. Hex Pyramide is one of Diniar's latest creations and a fascinating new interlocking puzzle based on a triangular grid. Cast Shift is the latest in cast puzzles, still to appear on the European market. An old design with unknown name is W disentanglement puzzle*, which Jan created for Wil Strijbos. Brass Pin Bolt is a nice addition to the bolt collection. On a smaller scale than the others it offers a similar challenge, to be solved! Alf 3 is an easier one from the 18 pieces burrs group, should not be difficult to solve — famous last words! Thanks everyone for the nice event and chats, puzzles and puzzle deals!
Added on 2017-04-21
Today two different packages from two different countries and both arrived very quickly, right in time for some puzzling before the weekend. The first one was lighter and contained beautiful wooden puzzles from Pelikanpuzzles: Big Quadrox is actually smaller than the Quadrox I already have, but only because it uses a smaller unit size, and has more units in its grid overall. That makes up for a more complicated version and the first few moves I have seen so far look very promising. Tribord is just three sticks in a frame, but with a catch as you are going to find out when trying to solve it! Tower looks like the ice pillar puzzle by Osanori Yamamoto, but the wider 3x3 piece crossection allows for more complicated moves.
From the German Knobelbox shop a smaller, but much heavier parcel arrived, which is no wonder considering all the nice heavy metal in it: Swing Trick Lock 8 and Side Trick Lock 4 are two Constantin trick locks with JCC written on them. I have seen a similar traditional lock from India like the Side Trick Lock now. They both are not overly difficult, but have nice and new tricks (new to me!), which is hard to find in this category of trick locks. One of them has even multiple mechanisms you have to solve and operate before opening! They came together with some nice small metal disentanglement puzzles, hopefully easier to solve the ones I got recently: Remove the U-Stick and Carousel on Stand*.
Added on 2017-04-19
Today a package arrived from Eric with some of his latest work: Burr Lock E and Rift. The Burr Lock is well known to me. End of last year, Christoph brought a 3D printed prototype to a puzzle meeting and I could play with it. That was when I discovered the rotational shortcut leading to level 13. There was an easy fix to save this design: change the key starting position form horizontal to vertical (which looks more like a typical padlock in my opinion), and have the key stick out to the other side. So far, I have not found a rotational shortcut for that one (before the first piece comes out). It is interesting to see the puzzle in different materials, and both are nice to play with. I have put this puzzle in the Locks category, but of course it is also a high level interlocking puzzle, and a very nice one! About the other one I nearly know nothing, but it looks quite unusual, and the first moves I have seen are also unusual.
Added on 2017-04-15
Today a package from the US arrived, and it seems there must have been some very wet weather somewhere and DHL had to repackage it. It contained the latest of Tracy's latest puzzle box: Stuck in Limbo. It is a nice looking, massive box and probably the name is hint on the solving experience, meaning that it will take some time until it is open. There should also be an interlocking puzzle inside, but before I can have a look at that, I need to open the box, and that does not seem easy. There seems to be a knob on the top turning just a little bit, and then the box makes all kind of noises when you tilt it.
Update on 2017-04-10
Today I finished another visit to the zoo, to see some big and wild animal, read more of my experience with Rhinoceros on the Burr Zoo group page.
Added on 2017-04-03
In a recent auction, I won a mysterious green box I have never seen before: Knowhow Emerald Puzzle Box. It comes with a key, two keyholes and a lid to be opened. Shaking it, you can hear some more components inside and it seems to be a challenge to open it.
Update on 2017-04-01
After around a week, I have already solved two of Alfons' new puzzles and one is from the Burr Zoo group, read more of my experience with Dog Catcher on the Burr Zoo group page. A very interesting puzzle!
Jack sent me a picture of a puzzle he made based on Pit Khiam's design, for the compendium: Double Helix
Added on 2017-03-24
Today a package with some beautiful and complex interlocking puzzles arrived from Alfons. These are all new puzzles, designed within the last half year or so. The first one is an easier one to start with: Agapan. This is one of the group of three sticks in some ring shaped pieces, with an additional hidden piece, of which we have seen works from other designers recently, too.
The 5 next puzzles all go into the 18 pieces burrs group: Rombak is a traditional 18 pieces burr in a frame. Eiger has a detachable frame of 4 boards added to the 18 pieces burr, and the first part of that frame can be moved as the first move, so it is all but static. Phoebe comes with four additional pieces, too. In this case, they are four additional smaller sticks in some corners, leading to an interesting symmetric shape. Smeagol is an 18 pieces burr guarding his preciousss — a wooden ring, and of course the solution is heavily influenced by that ring. A fitting name for such a puzzle! While the puzzles so far were traditional 18 pieces burrs with some extra pieces, the next one has only 17 pieces, and that is including the stand: Gateway has a base plate with a gateway of two adjactent burr sticks attached to it.
The remaining two puzzles are 12 piece burrs with / without a frame and additional pieces inside, perfect to add them to: Burr Zoo group page. 12 piece burrs can have a lot of storage space in them. Maybe the biggest additional animal piece put in such a burr is the Rhinoceros. The Dog Catcher contains three dog pieces, like the "Beware of the Dogs" from last year. However, this time, there is an additional frame involved mounted to the base plate. This puzzle also comes with a small metal tool reminding me of a dog lead, so it seems that these dogs will need some convincing to be freed!
Added on 2017-03-07
Last weekend, a puzzle friend visited me and he had some nice old Constantin disentanglement puzzles for offer. For two of them, I don't even know the name, and I have not found them on the internet yet, so I had to guess. They are: Binary Ladder Disentanglement*, The 23rd Labour of Hercules, and Disentanglement Puzzle S61*. For the first one, I chose a name, which makes it obvious that it should go into n-ary puzzle group and compendium. It has some binary sequence, but with two alternating intermingling rows of rings, it is designed to be more complex than the average binary disentanglement puzzle. There are also some other new pictures in the compendium, of a prototype of a well known puzzle. It is a bit smaller and thinner than the regular version, and I am happy I could take some pictures of it. All three puzzles are definitely not easy and I am in danger of entangling them rather than disentangling.
Added on 2017-02-27
Today some nice and new puzzles from Pelikanpuzzles, all beautifully made in fine woods. The puzzle Sucrier looks like one of the typical four sticks in a frame puzzle, but there is more to it: The frame comes apart in two pieces and the sticks have internal extensions, very interesting. The Two-Tone Zero is one of Osanori's designs, this time with two frames, and of course involving rotations to make it more interesting. For the other three, they all are not what they seem at first: Proteus has four (not two) pieces in a frame, Campanus has an extra piece well hidden, and whithout which it would not move at all, and Confluence has two large brackets and three sticks in a frame. All very well built and beautiful puzzles!
Added on 2017-02-22
Today's puzzle concludes the series of daily puzzles. It is an IPP Exchange puzzle: 6GA Six Gates Arranged. This burr could probably best be described as an L-burr, where each of the 6 pieces is combined of two more or less L shapes, but in different layers. While the long parts of the Ls are glued on top of each other, the shorter parts are distributed over two layers for most of the pieces. A nice little puzzle and not too difficult.
Added on 2017-02-21
Today's puzzle is another unknown puzzle, a puzzle box, which does not seem to open. No obvious ways to open it, an interesting challenge: Metal Puzzle Box*. Unfortunately, I do not know anything about it.
Added on 2017-02-20
Today's puzzle is an unknown puzzle with an unknown name: Wooden Coin Trick*. The aim is to get the coin out, which you can clearly hear rattling inside, but there does not seem to be an obvious way of reaching it.
Added on 2017-02-19
Today two puzzles which do not seem to be what they actually are. The first is a burr puzzle of 12 sticks, but not a 12 pieces burr, and the second a burr puzzle of 18 sticks, but not an 18 pieces burr. Both look like 6 piece burrs and that is closer to what they really are: Nesting 6 Piece Burr and 3set Nesting 6 Piece Burr. The first is one six piece burr nested in a second one, both to be solved separatly, and the second burr to be assembled around the first one. The other design takes this puzzle (in a much smaller version) and adds another 6 piece burr as a third layer around it. Not very difficult burrs with level 1 and 2, but a very interesting idea and well implemented.
Added on 2017-02-18
Today's puzzle is an old design from 2003, a 3 pieces burr with level 19 without rotations, or 16.3 with rotations: Grand Giga Burr. From the outside, it looks like the Giga Burrs, but when opening, you see the reason for the higher level. Instead of a 5x5x5 grid, it is based on a 6x6x6 grid. One piece looks quite complicated, while the other two look quite simple. Together they assemble into a very interesting puzzle.
Added on 2017-02-17
Today a package from Hong Kong arrived, with an Armadillo Cube. This is a 3x3x3 twisty cube with an interesting colour scheme and an easy reset mechanism. When solving this with the usual 3x3x3 algorithms, you might run into some interesting parity problems.
Added on 2017-02-16
Another break in the daily puzzle series for the completion of another series. From Eric Fuller came the last 3 of Greg Benedetti's NOS burrs. "NOS" that is for "New Old School", and a corresponding old school 6 piece burr might be the U-Nam-It-Burr. The series of NOS burr is anything else than old school, but features crazy designs, which no one before Eric dared to build: NOS4 Go Back has a unique (?) solution with level 15 including 4 coordinate motion moves. NOS6 Dodge has "only" level 10, but it features both coordinate motion moves and a rotation of one piece. I played with a 3D printed version of this last year, and it is my favourite of the series. The NOS7 Seizaine tells you more by it's name, it is an amazing level 16. Of course including coordinate motion, and Eric built it in a beautiful wood. If you would like to know why nobody dared to build these puzzles before, have a look at the piece shapes at Puzzlewillbeplayed and try to understand them. Currently, there are some left in stock in the Cubicdissection store, so you might better order some while you can!
Added on 2017-02-15
Today a second plywood burr by Vesa and Matti, the Vesa Burr 8. This one has 8 pieces and several assemblies. The level 13 assembly is the one with the IPP letters on one side, and 25 on the other. A nice little puzzle.
Added on 2017-02-14
Another break in the ongoing series for a major coincidence: Two packages arrived from two far apart countries. From Japan: Slide Packing and Penta in a Box, two of the top puzzles in the IPP36 Design Competition last year. Cute puzzles and both with a clever solution. Just pack the pieces into their box and close, how hard can it be? The second package contained some carefully crumpled Canadian newspaper, which I had ordered. Surprisingly, someone put two small puzzle boxes in that box with the newspaper, too, and for that surprise, I immediately forgot about all the nice newspaper. The boxes are the cute number 5 and 6 in Kelly's Granny's Tea Box design series. I already have two early designs from that series, and two more: Tea Box - Sugar Bush and Tea Box - Lil Lunchbox. They look cute and unusual. One like a little sled with runners and a bench, and it also has a painting of a horse sled on the sides. The other like a lunch box with a sturdy handle, a tool and some mysterious holes in the side. Four very nice puzzles!
Added on 2017-02-13
Today's puzzle originates in Finland and was an Exchange puzzle from a Finnish guy: Vesa's Four consists of only four pieces, but requires 14 moves to remove the first piece, quite impressive!
Added on 2017-02-12
Yesterday I was at a small private puzzle gathering and was offered a very nice puzzle for sale of a spare copy. It is excellently made by Tom's usual standard and the design by Pit Khiam is very clever, too. It seems that other puzzlers thought so, too, as it won an award at the IPP35 Design Competition. It is Number Blocks, a sliding pieces puzzle with only four pieces, where you have to re-arrange the numbers as shown in this picture of the solved state. How hard can it be? Well obviously, one piece comes out directly, then another has to be moved only by one position and re-inserting the first piece, you are done. If it only was that simple! That second piece does not move and there are two additional tricks needed to solve this puzzle. As a said, a very nice puzzle!
Added on 2017-02-11
Today's puzzle is Triple Play, which looks like a three piece interlocking puzzle where someone forgot some notches and built it too loose. When you know Eric's precision, you will realize that this loose fit can only be on purpose. And indeed a rotational move is required to solve that otherwise unsolvable puzzle. It is a nice idea with three identical pieces.
Added on 2017-02-10
Today I am interrupting my series for a package from Gregory Benedetti. It contains the series of three packing/interlocking puzzles. They are all based on a 3x3x3 goal shape and consist of pices with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 units, alltogether 27 units. To make things more complicated, the biggest piece of each puzzle is glued to the base plate, which has no or only a few openings, making the puzzles a nice challenge to assemble. This challenge also has to be taken, as they arrived in a different assembly with the 2 unit piece outside and no chance to fit it into the assembly. As you can see from the pictures, I succeeded with the correct assemblies. Speaking of pictures, here they are: Stand By Cube 1, Stand By Cube 2, and Stand By Cube 3. Greg made these nice looking puzzles in his own 9m2 workshop and did an excellent job.
Added on 2017-02-09
Today's puzzle is six board burr from the expert for those puzzles, but this time in a cage: Boxed Six Board Burr. It is a nice little puzzle and not too hard to reassemble. One interesting fact is that the frame consists of six pieces like the board burr pieces, which gives the puzzle a unicque look. This puzzle has a second challenge: assemble the burr outside the frame!
Added on 2017-02-08
Today's update consists of two little puzzles made from Corian material, which is typical for puzzles created by Frank Chambers, and those two nice puzzles are no exception: Wheel and Axle and Captive Coin. Very well made and sturdy. Cute puzzles, but not simple to solve.
Added on 2017-02-07
Today another classic burr from the master of six piece burrs: Computer's Choice. When solving this nice burr, I was immediately reminded of the Mega Six burr, which is also designed by Bill and has also level 10. Both have a very interesting solution sequence and the Mega Six only differs by having more (false) assemblies and being more complicated to assemble from the pieces. If you are interested in six piece burrs, getting one of the two is definitely worth trying and it is your choice which. Both are currently available: via Bill's homepage, and two different wood/size variants via Mr Puzzle Australia's shop page.
Added on 2017-02-06
Today two nearly identical puzzles: Double Locked Briefcase Puzzle and Bowling Alley in a Briefcase Puzzle. At least from the outside they look identical like nice little briefcases. However, the solutions are quite different. The Bowling Alley came with an interesting article about the history of Bowling in Boston (where IPP26 was held) and the oldest Bowling Ball in the US. Not helping to solve, though!
Added on 2017-02-05
Today's puzzle is a variation of a well known puzzle. Variation of Illegal Burr is a variation of the Illegal Burr version designed by Dic Sonneveld and modified by Trevor Wood to have 5 pieces. This version also has 5 pieces, and the biggest piece only has one voxel missing compared to Trevor's version. However, the "illegal" solution with rotations is replaced by a traditional solution here. It is fascinating what difference one missing cubie makes!
Added on 2017-02-04
Today's puzzle Secret Coin Box is like one of those boxes for collecting coins in temples in Japan, called "Saisenbako". The idea is that you can throw a coin into the box without seeing the money already inside and more importantly without getting it out again. The bottom panel is supposed to come off in some way, but it only moves a bit. It is a puzzle box!
Added on 2017-02-03
Today's puzzle was not easy for me. Not easy in several ways: First to disassemble and reassemble. Secondly to classify it properly. It is an interlocking puzzle, but the solution has rotational moves involved and you can disassemble it in a way that more reminds you of a disentanglement puzzle. It is the very nice Triple Cross Burr. Nicely built by Tom Lensch in his usual top notch quality. Designed by Dic Sonneveld, based on an idea by Oskar van Deventer, and the solution discovered by Willem van der Poel involves the graphical skills by Derek Bosch. There were surely many puzzlers involved to create this puzzle, and it not easy, but very a very challenging and interesting one!
Added on 2017-02-02
Today's puzzle belongs to the group of 6 pieces board burrs and is well-known for his rounded edges and the angled cut: 6 board burr #1. This puzzle is based on Juno's IPP17 Exchange puzzle and is a variation on some other 6 piece board burrs. It has very similar piecces, just the one with the angled cuts making for an angled gap make this puzzle unique. The solution starts off deceptively easy, just to get interesting after removing the first piece, when you notice that skewed gap.
Added on 2017-02-01
The first puzzle for this month is a very nice interlocking cube requiring rotations for the solution: Tango. Luckily, there is Puzzlewillbeplayed.com, so I could identify this interesting puzzle. Several of the pieces require rotations to come out, and it is more difficult than the level suggests.
Added on 2017-01-31
Today's puzzle of the day is another nice design by Bill Cutler: Eight is Enough. It is a six piece burr and the level is not hard to guess — it is part of the name. The pieces are made of three different woods, but there is only one unique solution, with or without these colours. Disassembling the puzzle is quite interesting for a 6 piece burr with level 8. There are interesting interacting sequences, and there are also dead ends of a couple moves, a nice puzzle in Bill's style.
Added on 2017-01-30
Today's puzzle is a classic design by Bill Cutler: U-Nam-It Burr. This is a 6 piece burr, where Burr-Tools will not help you, and it is also an ancestor of Greg Benedetti's NOS Burr series. Requires coordinate motion and other moves to disassemble.
This and the other puzzles from the current daily series were offered to me by Markus Goetz. He is now offering some more of the fascinating and rare puzzles from his collection on eBay and there are some very rare pieces to be found there, among them many IPP Exchange puzzles from many past IPPs. The link to the eBay auctions can be found on Markus' home page. Make sure to have a look, and stay tuned for his future auctions! He has added several lots of puzzles recently.
Added on 2017-01-29
Today's puzzle is a nice wooden version of the Lock Nested Burr made by Tom Lensch. 3 identical pieces assemble in a level 6 interlocking puzzle (updated).
Added on 2017-01-28
Today's puzzle is an unusual 6 piece burr in a cage designed by the expert of 6 piece burrs: Burr In A Cage has a cage with four usual openings and two bigger ones on two sides. This also allows you to store the pieces in the cage in the unassembled state.
Added on 2017-01-27
Today I am interrupting the ongoing puzzle series for a small package from far east, containing the lastest Hanayama Cast puzzle: Cast Dial. It looks very interesting, a bit like some of those kitchen timers, but the puzzle will not open just by turning the dial. There is more to this little beauty!
Added on 2017-01-26
Today's puzzle is a nice looking 3 piece burr in two contrasting woods: Uncoated Burr. It was an IPP Exchange puzzle by Andreas Röver years ago, and maybe you have heard that name before? He is the developer of the excellent Burr-Tools software!
Maybe you are wondering where I got those nice puzzles for my daily puzzle series from? Time to disclose the secret: I acquired them from my puzzle friend Markus Goetz (same name like mine, just first name vs. surname), and there are more where those came from. He is now offering them in lots on eBay and there are some very nice and rare pieces to be found there. The link to the eBay auction can be found on Markus' home page. Thank you, Marcus, for offering all those puzzles!
Added on 2017-01-25
Today a burr puzzle with relatively low level, which is maybe more challenging to disassemble than to assemble. It is also not very clear what the actual level of the puzzle is, even with a burr toos file! How was this achieved? There are two steel ball bearings inside that have to be maneuvered without knowing where they are and where they have to go. Maybe you have guessed already? It is Bill's Ball Bearing Burr. Maybe not a six piece burr for everyone, but in my opinion it should be part of each collection with 6 piece burrs. Coincidentially, at the moment, there is one for offer in that well-known auction in the Netherlands.
Added on 2017-01-24
Today a nice puzzle box: Acorn Box. It is a cute little box with a wooden acorn and an interesting trick.
Added on 2017-01-23
Today's "puzzle of the day" I am adding to this collection is actually a whole puzzle set. It has the technical name MINE's CUBE in CAGE 333. The basic concept is that there is a cage of three linked wooden rings (not coming apart) and into the core you can assemble each of the eight smaller puzzles. Maybe you will first try to assemble them outside the cube, because getting them in adds a lot of additional challenges with multiple moves, including rotations, as you can see listed on Ishino's page (the standard comprehensive archive for interlocking puzzles). The version shown in the pictures is the IPP edition and actually a collection of three subsets of the frame and: I. mini cage and mono-cube (front), II. cubes a-d (on the left), III. cubes e-g (on the right). This all makes up for 8 puzzles in one, each with an easy and a difficult challenge (outside vs. inside the cage), and each with 3 pieces. If you are still not convinced that this is a great puzzle (set), let me mention that it won the IPP23 Design Competition. If you like one, have a look at the usual puzzle auctions. Actually, there is one for offer at one of the well known puzzle auctions right now.
Added on 2017-01-22
Today I am adding the first version of the L-Burr made by Pelikan. In this design, Junichi included complicated rotations, which make it more difficult than the low level 4 suggests. A few years back, I received an improved version by Brian and Junichi, which is even more difficult to solve. Both versions are fun to play with and the first one is currently available in an auction.
Added on 2017-01-21
Today a nice wooden version of Frans de Vreugd's IPP18 Exchange puzzle: Japanese Wood Joint Puzzle. It is very well made and comes with a storage box repeating some of the piece shapes. Not a difficult puzzle, but a nice little challenge from the disassembled puzzle. At first analysis, you will wonder how it can fit together until you notice some more details.
Added on 2017-01-20
"A puzzle a day keeps the doctor away." — sorry for the pun! To make up for that, I will later watch an episode of The Doctor and show you three new puzzles today. They are not new, but in fact they are all from around 2002 and belong to the group of 6 piece board burrs, all designed by Frans, the expert for such puzzles, and one in cooperation with Bill. The Chocolate Dip Burr is the most famous of the three and has the highest level, for the first piece. Just at the moment, it is listed in an auction again, and you may want to bid on that interesting puzzle with entertaining move sequences. The Chequered Board Burr is a burr with different successors. In my collection alone, I have two variants, the Doppelknoten without colour constraints and therefore different solutions, and then Chen's 6BB, with slightly different pieces and very sharp edges prohibiting illegal rotations. While Frans' version was to be solved without rotations according to the rules, the cheaper one-coloured version allows two different solutions with rotations (one of them illegal), and Chi-Ren's version can be solved with one of the rotational solutions. Then there is Tricolore, with an interesting colour scheme. It has a high level for the second and third piece, and some fascinating move sequences rarely seen in board burrs.
Added on 2017-01-19
Today two nice puzzles found their way into my collection: Cubie Burr, Cubie Burr #2. I have been looking for these classic puzzles for some time. They are not difficult (I was able to disassemble both and also later reassemble from scrambled pieces within a few minutes each), but they are interesting designs and well made. The piece layouts definitely help to see how the puzzles work and to reassemble.
Added on 2017-01-18
Last year, I ordered some new puzzles from Eric Fuller. It was probably the smallest package, I have ordered from him for a long time, and this is probably due to the size of the puzzles inside. Only one burr puzzles is about the usual size you would expect, and even that is small for burr puzzles. The small acrylic puzzles are nice additions to the ones I already have, and should I mention that this package also contained a tiny, but tricky puzzle box? I leave it to you to find out which is which: Small Button Box, Loopy Burr, Tamino, Band Cube, and Conclusion. Surprisingly, this package was not only small, but it also took some time to arrive, but now I have these tiny but difficult puzzles.
Added on 2017-01-16
Today a tiny puzzle package arrived, with the latest invention in the field of "Locks unfit for securing something, but really cool puzzles": Louis Coolen's Trick Lock 2016, which is already the second in his series.
Update on 2017-01-04
Lately, I have been trying to catch up with solving puzzles quite a bit and the first update of this year is a review of the Dragon's Cave on the Burr Zoo group page.
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.