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 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 Pluredo 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 Layber 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.
Added on 2016-12-28
Yesterday I went to a local puzzle meeting and met some puzzle friends there. I also had the chance to add some new puzzles to the collection. From Bernhard I got some nice wooden interlocking puzzles: Little Bruce, Twisty Hollow, Spiral Cube #2, and Bandocub. Christoph presented some of his new designs and also designs from other authors. I got Yell-Oh Puzzle (only available in yellow for some reason) and Seven Mini Folding Puzzles (3x3). Thanks for the nice puzzles.
Added on 2016-12-16
Merry Christmas Today a small package with a big puzzle set arrived. A wooden Christmas tree model? Merry Christmas? No! Merry-go-round! This is the latest development in variable stage mixed base n-ary puzzles. The puzzle is based on the Power Tower and while my copy of the Power Tower has 5-ary pieces, this one includes two 6-ary pieces! After successfully solving the maximal configuration of that Power Tower earlier this week, with a total of more than 15600 moves, I now felt ready for this new challenge. First surprise: There was only one type of pieces of each arity, unlike the mirror-symmetric pairs in the Power Tower. For the puzzle to work, the pieces have to be put into the slim tower in a helical pattern, and there is the first puzzle: Which way round? Both are initially possible, but only one orientation will work. Luckily, you have a good visibility of the pieces during solving, and many spare pieces to look at the details and determine how the pieces interact. That sounds like a systematic and easy approach, but in reality (late Friday evening), this puzzle lead to some confusion and I was sometimes going back and forth not completely understanding all moves. Compared to other n-ary puzzles, there are also many small dead ends in the move sequences and you have to take care not to end up in them. They will lock the puzzle with various pieces locking each other until you get back out of them again. First, they look like shortcuts, but they are far from that. After a while, I got used to the usual sequences in this implementation, a very nice n-ary puzzle! More pictures and some technical details can be found on the puzzle's compendium entry.
Of course the puzzle can be found here, too: n-ary puzzle group and compendium
Added on 2016-12-15
This year I received some very early Christmas Presents from Japan. The are ranging from mechanically complex puzzles to cute ones, and all look very nice. I still have to solve them, and also the names for most are only guesswork, to be changed when I know the real names. Bean Bag Drawer 3*, String Box 4*, X-mas Present 2016*, Twin 4*, Ursa Major
Update: Meanwhile, I have solved all of them and as expected Iwahara's newest work has taken me longest. Amazing, how many different concepts they put in those boxes this time. My views of the boxes range from little "look, that is cute!" details to mechanisms I find fascinating. This time, you can also see part of the mechanism in the most complicated box, which is quite unusual.
Added on 2016-12-14
Today a package with one of the latest twisty puzzles arrived: Ivy Cube. This cube is a nice looking and easy to solve cube, not requiring any complex algorithms or sequences to solve.
Added on 2016-11-26
Today two vintage puzzles from a recent auction: 4x4 Puzzle looking a bit like Quadlock 4, but different, and Impossible Cube, which looks like two locked pieces cut out from a wooden block in an impossible way.
Added on 2016-11-24
Today a very beautiful puzzle arrived. It is a high level burr, but that is not the main aspect. It is quite big, but still not the main aspect. It is a beautiful puzzle resembling a famous train locomotive, The Flying Scotsman (Wikipedia), and on that page you'll find a picture of the locomotive. Now after viewing this picture, you may want to have a look at the picture I have taken of the puzzle: The Flying Scotsman. Now compare the two pictures (I am not talking about my poor pictures!) and find all the little details that have been incorporated into the wooden puzzle! The wheels of the puzzle don't turn, but they interact with the puzzle solution and are vital for it. This beauty has been crafted by Jakub and his colleagues from Pelikanpuzzles, based on a first implementation in wood by Stephan Baumegger, which also looked beautiful. The original design of the puzzle and its burr-solution is by Terry Smart. I am not sure what this is: It is a beautiful piece of art, a little bit a scale model, and also a puzzle. The high level convinces me that it is also a puzzle to be solved, not just an object to look at. Well, after a couple moves, it is not a scale model or classic piece of art any more, but looks more like a modern art sculpture with the parts of the locomotive all in wrong places. But you can be sure to have a nice looking model train at the end again — if you manage to solve it!
Added on 2016-11-23
At DCD, Jaap schowed me an interesting sticker mod of the 3x3x3 cube. It has circles on it (therefore the name) and looks like this: 3x3x3 Circle Sticker Cube. The stickers are distributed in a way, that each cubie has at most one sticker on it. As a consequence, no two circles touch. This mod is not easy, but hard to solve. Determining where the stickers should go is the first challenge. For the stickers with fixed positions, they have to be put in the correct orientation, maybe the easiest part, but not found on the standard Rubik's cube.
Added on 2016-11-22
Today I received the second of the new Hanayama Cast puzzles, which are finally coming to Europe. It is the first Hanayama Cast puzzle to appear in n-ary puzzle group and compendium, and not even in a low arity position! The puzzle is the Cast Infinity, which of course does not have an infinite number of moves or configuration, but looks like an infinity symbol. It plays nicely and is of excellent quality, and I would class it as an interlocking puzzle, with two interlocking discs in a frame, and many moves to take apart. My favourite among the new Cast puzzles.
Update on 2016-11-20
Today I have solved the beautiful puzzle Beware of the Dogs, please find my review in my Burr Zoo group page.
Added on 2016-11-13
Iwahiro is known for his excellent and crazy coordinate motion puzzles. Recently I spotted one that was now available via a German manufacturer: Hexahedroom
Added on 2016-11-11
Today I could add some new puzzles to a group which had not seen any updates for some time: twisty octahedra. At DCD I had the chance to play with the latest inventions in this group and when they became available in a mini version this week, I quickly contacted Raphael for: Mini Axis Octahedron and Mini Ghost Octahedron. They are cute little puzzles and beautifully made and of excellent quality. Even with their small size they are fun to play with. They might look cute, but they are both evil shape shifters. Lovely puzzles, I like them!
Added on 2016-10-31
Last weekend I went to the biggest European puzzle event, the Dutch Cube Day in Voorburg and met many old and some new friends there. Of course, I came back with some puzzles! The Ichthus and the sticker set to build a 3x3x3 Maze Cube were this year's giveaways. Michel has dug into the archives of very old vintage puzzles to create two nice modern reproductions: The Three Times and Out Puzzle and Circular Maze Puzzle*. Jack has managed to form a burr from some letters in the nice CFF Burr, which was his entry in the CFF100 puzzle design challenge. He also had some of his traditional puzzle areas for offer: Assembler's Challenge, Bottom Line, and Simplicity are small 18 pieces burrs. For his Power Tower puzzle, he created a set of quinary (5-ary) pieces for me, so that this puzzle nicely demonstrates the n-ary concept. The Power Tower has now 2-ary, 3-ary, 4-ary, and 5-ary pieces, and all of these can be combined in challenges. Stay tuned for more n-ary puzzles to come from Jack! Jaap is usually known for Twisty Puzzle solutions (which we discussed at the event), but his Gathering for Gardner present is from a different category: Ziggy. From this year's IPP Exchange puzzles I was able to obtain two visually very interesting ones: Bram's Magic and Vivaldi Burr. To catch up in the heavy metal category, the Morris Bolt 1 and the Haleslock 2 found their way from the UK, accommpanied by the latest nod to literature with the Oliver. Not hard to guess which character the name Oliver of this twisting burr relates to! Alfons visited the DCD again and this time he brought even more of his old and new designs with him, all of them beautifully crafted by himself in wood. Frankenstein is an 18 pieces burr with quite irregular pieces and an appropriate name. In the 12 piece burr Beware of the Dogs a lot of space was available to add three additional dog shaped pieces, each different and in a different wood. I am going to write more about it in the usual place after solving. While Pappos is a high level caged 6 piece burr, Toban is the new traditional 18 piece burr I just had to get for that category, accompanied by the caged Full House 2. Lalibela misses this category by just one, it only has 17 pieces, but an interesting look. Jacket has 14 pieces and an unusual shape. Gargamel has only 8 pieces and it is surprising how high the level for these 6 sticks and 2 loop pieces is. With the last two, I added two more to the Schoolbus series: Schoolbus 2 and Mini Schoolbus. Thank you all for the puzzles offered to me, including the nice presents among them!
In this update, there have been updates to several group pages, feel free to browse through them to find the updates: Burr Zoo, 18 pieces burrs group, n-ary puzzle group, and the compendium.
Added on 2016-10-26
Today a package from Japan arrived with the latest inventions in Karakuri works. Well, latest? Maybe not the basic design, but I would guess the following design neither from its size nor from its shape: Super-CUBI (small). Yes, it is one of those famous boxes belonging to n-ary puzzle group and compendium, but much smaller and as a much more delicate version. The mechanism is well built and I was able to run through the 324 move sequence quickly. I have played with the original size version and King-CUBI, and I must say that I liked playing with this one most. The size makes it nice to handle and it almost gives you a feeling of speed-CUBI-ng (sorry for the pun!). Please have a look into the compendium entry for a picture of the mechansim in this version.
With it came two more Karakuri boxes, which look a bit different, but that is because I have built them myself! Treasure Box and Newton Box are nice and easy to build and unlike traditional Karakuris they allow you to see more of the mechanism.
Added on 2016-10-22
Today I visited a nice puzzle party nearby, held by my puzzle friend Bernhard. Beside meeting nice puzzlers there with a lot of fascinating puzzle related conversation, I also got the chance to play and solve an excellent puzzle from Greece winning a honourable mention award at this year's IPP Design Competition. I leave the puzzle to you to figure out which one it was. From that meeting, I brought a copy of the grand jury's award winner of this year's Design Competition: Marbles Cage. I first played with one around one year ago, but now I can take my time to get those six marbles out of that simple cage — sounds easy enough! From Bernhard, I got several puzzles he had built, some of them brand new and just published on Ishino's Puzzlewillbeplayed page: Cage Amovable, Twisting Cubes, Cubic Lock, Get in the Box!, Five O'lock, Happy Dance, and Identical Twins. A guest from far away was Jim Kerley, who presented me a Two Star Puzzle. Thanks, Bernhard and Jim!
Added on 2016-10-14
Yesterday I visited the world's biggest fair for games (like boardgames, card games etc.), the "Spiel" in Essen. There are also some puzzlers there, for example Jean-Claude Constantin. His newest designs include the following nice ones: B-Nary is a ternary puzzle with a hidden mechanism, but after playing you can guess how it must look like under the hood. You can clearly see the name B-NARY beautifully incorporated in the design, but not all those ball bearrings, including the one that has to go from starting position to the goal position (reset feature included!). Especially that one can add some confusion to the second part of the solution, making the puzzle more challenging, and when you thought you had understood the puzzle after the first half, there is a new component to it! The JUNC reminds me a bit of the N522 series, only with two major differences: The design is obviously simpler. You can unlock and remove the top acrylic lid and then rotate each of the little square pieces with the mazes in them. There are some simple ones, like in the picture of this puzzle's entry, but there are also more complicated ones. In the compendium you can also find a picture of a configuration adapted from the N522 and with a similar solution sequence (only binary, not ternary!). Both these puzzles are part of n-ary puzzle group and compendium.
The others are nice new trick boxes: Triangle Trick Box 2 is a variation on the Triangle Trick box theme, Z-Box and Push Drawer Box are new designs and shapes. The Locked Puzzle Chest is a design by Constantin and built in a cooperation with a second manufacturer. For all of them, you cannot see what is going on and how to open them, and I don't know the correct names, so I may update the entries later.
On his tour through various game fairs and puzzle meetings, Hendrik also came to Essen with his Puzzle-Shop and had the following nice and interesting puzzles for me: Cast Cake, Eurofalle 5, Puzzle-Box 001, and Puzzle-Box 002. While the first of these Siebenstein puzzle is a continuation of a series, the other two have the theme "puzzle" nicely incorporated in the design of their lids. Two of these three share a similar mechanism and all three of them are nice little boxes I have already solved. For some reason, the storage space in the Eurofalle is so small, that it does not contain the usual Euro coin, but only a 20 cents coin.
Added on 2016-10-10
From Austria a beautiful new puzzle arrived: Entropie. It consists of a cage, with three wide piece trapped in it, and around there are 12 more burr sticks in 3 different woods. If you have a look at the level, you will notice that it is a difficult puzzle with many moves. An interesting puzzle, indeed!
Added on 2016-10-06
After those delicate and fragile looking wooden puzzles recently, today a heavy and sturdy puzzle arrived: Nutty Bolt No. 2. It looks very similar to the first one, but this bolt seems to have a different solution. A nice heavy metal puzzle!
Added on 2016-10-05
Today a beautiful puzzle made its way to me from South Africa through customs despite the dangerous name with "Explosion" in it: Triangle Explosion. It is a coordinate motion puzzle with a nice stand and as usual for those puzzles, it is unclear whether it should be displayed as puzzle or nice piece of art.
Update on 2016-10-04
In the picture to the right you see G.I. Joe and King Tut. Sounds familiar? Maybe you don't remember any sliding pieces puzzles with that name, but more something wooden, with big locks and wooden chains?
You remember right! Below I announced Gi Joe locked King Tut in a Tomb!, and now I have managed to solve it (after asking for a hint on a trick in the box!), and I finally had a look at G.I. Joe and King Tut. I expected King Tut to be in the tomb in some wooden form, but instead I found both those guys. They must have had a fight in there, both icons completely scrambled, not in their original state, and in need to get all their pieces rearranged.... After solving those two nice vintage sliding piece puzzles I now know how the American super hero and the Egypt pharao look like!
Before that, I had to solve those four locks, unlock them, and then find and perform several steps of the puzzle box. First, it seemed to me, that one lock was not working as reliably as the first time I opened it, but then Tracy told me that there is actually a trap in it, on purpose! Hidden locking mechanism, a dial to turn, a trap — does that sound familiar? It does, and that concept is also part of another puzzle I have just solved (with a few peeks into the first part of the solution): SMS Box — an excellent puzzle! Now back to topic: Having solved that complicated box, I have managed the four locks and box, and indeed, there are some nice tricks built in. Different locks for different difficulty challenges. A nice feature is that resetting the open locks for the next puzzler does not require all the way back (only if you like to), but there is also an intended shortcut.
Overall, I have to reclass this puzzle now as: Puzzle lock(s), Puzzle box, Sequential Discovery, Hidden maze, Sliding Pieces. I will keep this big and fascinating puzzle in its main category in my gallery. It is obviously a box after all, and a very nice and fun one, too! Still love those wooden chains giving the puzzle a unique look!
Wooden Locks
Added on 2016-09-29
Today I received four shipments from three different delivery companies, two of them being puzzle packages. The first one from Hong Kong contained one of the latest Twisty puzzles, a 4-axis 5-rank Cube, which is also called "Master Skewb" in the shop. However, it is different from the Master Skewbs I already have. While those are symmetrical and add one layer in the middle compared to the Skewb, this one has an assymetric internal structure and behaves more like an F-Skewb. To be precise, like an F-Skewb with two combined inner layers instead of one. Thus a more fitting name would be: Master F-Skewb / Master Dino Skewb (that latter one also not following nomenclature exactly).
The other package contained some vintage wooden puzzles from a recent auction. The Berserk BurrCirc was on my list for some time, and it is an unusual puzzle. With only level 4 for removing the first piece, you have to move those two circle pieces early in the solution, unlocking several pieces in some of the 4 burrs around the circle. The Mechanic Cubi is mechanically equivalent to the Small Cubi puzzle I already have, with some differences to be noted immediately and some hidden. The mechanic cubi is the inner part of the Cubi / Small Cubi showing the mechanism and letting you explore the binary sequence and showing you how the trick works that successive moves are on opposite sides of this box. It is good that you can see what is going on, because extra care has taken not to damage the puzzle, as the whole mechanism is made of wood, no metal inside! For those wanting to be extra careful not to break anything, Kamei also included a second solution, a shortcut of only a couple of moves. Both solutions are working nicely, and the puzzle is definitely one for n-ary puzzle group and compendium.
Added on 2016-09-18
Yesterday I went to a small puzzle party to meet some nice puzzle friends, to play with puzzles and discuss them. I have also received some puzzles, most of them new for this IPP: from Dirk a Kyoto 2016 Disentanglement Puzzle and a Fishing Hook Chain 9-Ring, which is the first ternary chinese rings I have seen and therefore something new for n-ary puzzle group and compendium. From Christoph I received one of his Matryoshka Puzzle, which has 9 different symmetrical solutions, of which I was able to find just a few so far, and a shiny Metalised Egg 3x3x3 silver. Thanks a lot, guys, for the great time and the puzzles!
Added on 2016-09-16
Today a small surprise package from Switzerland arrived, continueing the series of variants of the Double Slideways burr, containing: Double Slideways Burr TSP+. The internal voids have been further reduced in this model via some complicated cuts and surprisingly you can still slide it together in a coordinate motion move. Thank you!
Added on 2016-09-12
Gi Joe locked King Tut in a Tomb! Today a big puzzle from the US arrived, which had its first appearance at the Rochester Puzzle Picknick this year. There are massive wooden locks, four of them, and each a bit bigger than the SMS box (in case you would like to get an idea about the size). These four locks are part of the puzzle Gi Joe locked King Tut in a Tomb!, which is a combination of several puzzle types: Sequential Discovery, Puzzle Locks, Puzzle Box. Before you can try to open the lid of the tomb, you have to solve the locks (or at least most of them if you really are in a hurry!). They lock the lid in place using nicely crafted wooden chains. A beautiful and lovely puzzle! However, I have some concerns about the name: Tracy always like to put something into the box to discover. From the title, it might as well be an egyptian mummy. Let's see what surprise I will find in there! Of course the locks are non-trivial and all different, as you can already see from the different configurations of buttons and dials on them. So far I do not own a solution of the puzzle, but that makes it all more interesting, doesn't it? I am looking forward to attacking this beast — alone or with a group of puzzlers. This is a big advantage: you can actually puzzle with several people on it at the same time. Time for a puzzle party! Wooden Locks
Added on 2016-09-07
Today two packages arrived. The smaller one from Hong Kong contained a rather big Twisty puzzle cube, the new Clover Cube. Very interesting assymetric turns!
The second came from Australia with some of the latest IPP36 Exchange puzzles: Ovolo, Murbiters Devilish Burr for IPP36, Dwarf Planet D, Holey 6 Board Burr II, and Double Image. With them, two of the IPP35 puzzles came: 2 and 2 Burr and Glitter. All of them interesting interlocking puzzles from wood and acrylic. Secret Box No 3 is the last one I missed from the series. Cannonball and Magic Wands are reproductions of well known puzzles. Chained Up looks like it is unsolvable, but it should be! From the last three disentanglement puzzles Dingo Trap, Airplane, and Caterpillar, two are to be found in n-ary puzzle group and compendium. Can you guess which?
Added on 2016-09-03
Today two nice puzzles from three designers arrived, who can be considered masters in their field: B-Box, Reactor is a puzzle box/burr of the n-ary puzzle group and compendium. Goh Pit Khiam designed the B-Box box, which can also be completely be taken apart as a burr. Inside is a small puzzle box by Eric Fuller, the Reactor. Please see the compendium entry for both closed and open pictures of the B-Box showing the Reactor, too. The Slant Cube has a piece that just falls off, or rather would fall off if Eric had not used a magnet to keep it in place. After removing this dark piece and another once, held in place by friction, the rest has some interesting coordinate motion and rotations to offer, designed by William Hu. Two (or three) very interesting puzzles!
Added on 2016-09-01
From Pelikanpuzzles in Czech Republic, I received some very beautiful wooden puzzles: Quad Slideways Burr is a new variation on the slideways burr and has a fascinating move, Wide Portico is a new, bigger version of other Portico puzzles, and Pontoon consists of two H's, a burr plate and two sticks. All non trivial puzzles and very well made.
Added on 2016-08-30
Early morning update with a new Twisty from Hong Kong: 3x3x3 Bagua Magic Cube. It has some cuts similar to the 3x3x3 Pitcher Octo-Star Cube, but can turn by 45 degrees on all sides.
Added on 2016-08-18
Digits' Compressor Today I received a puzzle directly from the IPP36 Design Competition. It is Digits' Compressor, the latest creation of Namick Salakhov. It is a very unusual looking puzzle and it also takes some moments to understand what to do with it.
The goal is to compress the stack of discs (AKA digits) as much as possibe (and not by force, but the right sequential move sequence!) and that at the end each of the red lines on the discs aligns with one of the four red marks in the top/bottom parts. Actually, this will give a nice spiral pattern from bottom via the red marks to the top, too — when solved. The construction is nice to play with and well made, and the design is excellent!
As with most of Namick's works the sequences you have to find relate to reflected Gray codes, which puts the puzzle straight into the n-ary puzzle group and compendium. However, it is not as easy as that: While the gray discs form a binary reflected Gray code (which is why I called them "gray" and not "silver"), there are also those black doing some other moves. There are several compressed / minimal height configurations, but in those the red markers do not line up and you have to go on compressing and uncompressing. There are also some dead ends of different length and when exploring the puzzle for the first time, I am sure, I also found these dead ends. After some time playing you will most certainly see some recursive structure in the move sequences and sooner or later you will recognize the binary Gray code in it. I like this unusual design and how Namick managed to create this implementation of the reflected binary Gray code.
Added on 2016-08-11
From Dirk I received his IPP36 Exchange puzzle: Four Playing Blocks. It is a sliding piece puzzle with some unusually shaped pieces and two different challenges, represented by the two different colours on the stickers. A nice puzzle idea. Thank you!
Added on 2016-07-30
Some new Twisties from Hong Kong: Carl's Bubbloid 4x4x5, Carl's Bubbloid 4x5x5. I have first played with some Shapeways printed versions at an IPP before, when Carl brought some for demonstration. Very unusual twisty cuboids!
Added on 2016-07-20
Today a package from South Africa arrived with some nice wooden puzzle in it, big nice wooden puzzles: Oktobox has 8 identical pieces in a frame and high level for such a simple concept. The pieces are arranged in pairs from both sides and it takes some time until you notice that it is not four, but actually 8 pieces in a frame. The Moluscub has sticks with a nice checkerboard pattern and boards in three dimenstions, serving as a frame of two parallel pieces in each direction. As usual for Johan's puzzles, they come with a nice stand to display them.
Added on 2016-07-07
Today a special surprise update: With issue 100 of Cubism For Fun (CFF) came two puzzles: CFF 100 Disc Puzzle is a puzzle that has to be reassembled correctly first, then turned to show "CFF" and "100". The other is the Jubilee puzzle and special to me: Disc + Crown CFF 100 Jubilee Edition Puzzle is a smaller version of my IPP34 Exchange puzzle and therefore also to be found in n-ary puzzle group and compendium. A very nice idea and both puzzles are very well made!
Added on 2016-07-05
Today I went to pick up a parcel coming from around half the world. It came with my recent subscription to the Mr Puzzle's wooden telephone network. I have not seen any indication about (un)limited data plans or call flat rates, but I doubt they are included. However, for sure there are unlimited disassembly and re-assembies of this puzzle per month, and I am sure that can be achieved with the nice looking end point device supplied: SMS Box. It is called a box, but it looks like a phone and you can pick up the hand set, and even the dial with the numbers seems to be working. I am sure there is a lot more to explore in this fascinating puzzle, but I already love the look of this old fashioned telephone. Not sure if it has a ringer or silent alert built in, but for sure many mechanisms waiting to be discovered and solved, and magnets. Of course, this will take some time. Thinking back to the Koala, which took me exactly 2 months to solve completely (and was a whole lot of fun!), this next Limited Edition puzzle should be another big challenge for some time. I am still wondering how to receive an SMS with that phone will be possible, but that is the main puzzle challenge.
Seems I have subscription number #44, but not sure if you can ring me via this number. Right now, there seem to be some SMS boxes available for sale after the first batch sold out quickly.
Added on 2016-06-22
Today I received a package with nice wooden puzzles from Turkey, containing: Hedgehog Burr, Fossil Burr, and Fossil Burr 2. The use of Shellac gives the dark part of these unusual designs a beautiful look!
Added on 2016-06-21
Today, an interesting puzzling object arrived: Directly from the 3D printer, and printed as a whole, the Articulated Cube II. The goal is to unlock and unfold the cube so that you see the star (peace) symbol in the round hole of the other part and put the stand down. This cube has many moving parts, but was printed in one go and you can play with it directly after arrival. Depending on tolerances, there may be a bit of breaking in necessary, as usual with 3D printed moving objects. The material is called aluminide and gives it a nice heavy feel. If you would like to see how this cube (and the other designs work), have a look for agentkurt's videos on YouTube. This cube reminds me of my favourite level "The Box" in the smartphone game Monument Valley.
Added on 2016-06-20
Today I picked up a newly arrived package with my latest auction wins. Some Indian trick locks with mechanisms I did not yet have (they still do exist!): PANCH - 7 Levers and Morex - 7 Levers. With it came a rather large exchange puzzle and sequential discovery puzzle box, too: Dovetail Burr Box.
When picking up the package at my neighbor's, it turned out there was another package from the Puzzlemuseum waiting for me. One main reason was a puzzle missing in n-ary puzzle group and compendium for a long time: Panex Gold. This puzzle has considerably more moves than the Binary Burrs and even the Delirium 13 I recently received. In the package were some other nice puzzles: The Orbik is another addition to the Twisty section after some time. The Tower of Torment I have solved at a friend's place before, but now I have my own, in my favourite colour. The Opal Puzzle Chess Set is not another chess set, it is a piece of art, the smaller version of the metal one, and an interlocking puzzle (actually two). The Miniature Keyless Brass Padlock is definitely the smallest padlock in my collection, it's cute! James added an interesting puzzle with six pieces for four puzzles: The Pythagorean Puzzle. One of the challenges involves demonstrating Pythagoras' Theorem, maybe there my Mathematics diploma will be useful. This puzzle is also interesting from a historical standpoint, as the design dates back to a puzzle sold in London in the 1840s. Thank you James!
Added on 2016-06-16
Today a package arrived with some special puzzles I have been offered. The Magma Plus is an old design, but probably the most normal among them. It is nice to have another one from Franklin Gonsalves after all those years.
The next one has many fathers and is more than a high level 18 pieces burr (see group page 18 pieces burrs group): Double Tiros. The name tells you what this puzzle is: two copies of high level burr Tiros joined and combined into one puzzle. While the Tiros design was a once world record puzzle by Alfons Eyckmans (a few years back), Stephan Baumegger first had the idea of joining two 18 pieces burrs (see Puzzle "Burrdos" below, which has two different, specially designed burrs combined), Guillaume Largounez arranged the two burrs in a double burr, and Maurice Vigouroux built it. This is a true beast and will be hard to solve, considering the effort which Stephan's Burrdos took me (but have solved it, with only one hint for the second burr for the fouth piece, after completely disassembling the first one and removing another three from the second one). However, I have been practising with the Tiros puzzle lately as preparation.
The next one is a whole series of puzzle from the n-ary puzzle group. That I put them into only one entry in the compendium hides the fact that I have never seen such a big set of different Binary Burrs in any one place: Binary Burr 3 small, Binary Burr 4 small, Binary Burr 5 small, Binary Burr 6 small, Binary Burr 7 small, Binary Burr 8 small, Binary Burr 9 small, and Binary Burr 10 small.
Now I only need some more time to solve all those recent acquisitions from the last weeks. At least, I have got one coin out of new Wil's box already and have solved one of yesterday's boxes.
Added on 2016-06-15
Today a box arrived from the US, from the Edenworkx shop (on etsy) containing another two boxes. These boxes look like beautiful vintage boxes found in places where some valuables and mysteries are stored. However, they are brand new. Only the wood used is a bit older and has once served as parts of barns and has recently been transformed into those nice boxes. The New puzzle box Worm Wood contains four sticks (and more) as lock. The Vintage treasure puzzle box has a sliding piece puzzle on top and will only unlock in the right configuration, and the correct pattern will change when you open it. Have not manage to open any of them yet, but hope to do so soon.
Added on 2016-06-09
From CU Japan I received some nice Japanese puzzles. The ALPACA is a tiny and interesting interlocking puzzle. Then I built some Karakuri boxes. Yes, you read right! However, not the expensive one the Karakuri craftsmen create with all sorts of tricks, but some Karakuri kit boxes. Even with this cheap variant of their works, you notice the very high quality standards they have. The pieces have excellent fit, are well prepared and easily fit together nicely. They come with instructions with a lot of schematics in them — and Japanese text I don't understand, but also did not need. The Camera has a nice unusual trick to open. The Frog Box consists of a small frog on top of a big frog and when you open or close the box, it will also make frog like noises!
Added on 2016-06-08
Today two packages with nice brand new puzzles arrived. The first one is a beautiful wooden puzzle: Canal House. This is a nice unusual looking puzzle, shaped like one of those Dutch houses close to the canal, and it is also fun to play with.
The second package brought Wil's latest creation: Pachinko Box. A heavy and nicely polished box which shows some of its inner workings, but does not want to reveal its secrets yet. I have seen some unusual mechanisms already and I am very curious how they interact to get that second coin out. Well, before the second coin, there will be a first coin, I am sure! Wil also included a little plastic container with something in it. This container is carefully sealed and although it is transparent, you cannot see the thing in it. The container looks like a small can, but it will not open like one, I am afraid. A lot of open questions to keep you busy for a while!
Added on 2016-06-03
The latest design in puzzle bolts arrived today. Maybe the smallest puzzle package I have ever received, containing a massive Nutty Bolt No. 1. It has indeed an interesting new mechanism I have never seen before!
Added on 2016-06-01
An unexpected evening delivery brought a beautiful puzzle with an interesting solution: Oh This
Added on 2016-05-28
From France a nicely built very high level board burr arrived, and it has an appropriate name for such a monster puzzle: Ultraburr
Added on 2016-05-26
Some older Hanayama Cast puzzles of different kinds: Cast Cuby, Cast Amour. High quality as typical for them and interesting to solve.
Added on 2016-05-20
Early morning update: Forever Lock Padlock. It is not a puzzle lock or trick lock, but has an interesting mechanism and it is a puzzle how to get the key in to unlock.
Added on 2016-05-18
Today a massive burr from South Africa arrived, which has been beautifully crafted from wood. It has level 5461.12 and is called Delirium 13. The 13 stands for 13 pieces: 12 special pieces and one slider across them all. Maybe this all sounds familiar? It is an n-ary puzzle and the nice first wooden version of an n-ary puzzle which was previously only 3D printed. Please have a look into n-ary puzzle group and compendium for more details. The compendium contains more information about Delirium 13.
This puzzle looks massive and does not hide its many moves. Will take some time to disassemble. What I like most about the look of this puzzle is that the pieces are glued from separate sticks and that you cannot see the pieces immediately, but have to find them while solving.
Added on 2016-05-12
My latest auction win with some nice and interesting puzzles from different countries: Nahnook Ani Puzzle is a cute vintage polar bear from the US. Sonneveld Cubed Burr is a Dutch-US-British co-production and a crazy 3 piece burr. The origin of Crazy Swiss Cube is easy to guess. SKIFFY is from Ireland and a small yet complex sequential discovery puzzle.
Added on 2016-05-08
As a gift from a friend, which travelled around half the world: Cubebot, a nice puzzle which can be changed into many different shapes.
Added on 2016-05-01
Today I went to Wil's to meet some puzzle friends, and of course I bought some puzzles there: Odd One Out and Troubled Burr
Added on 2016-04-29
Some nice new and unusual puzzles from Eric arrived today already: Janus is "only" a 4x4x4 interlocking cube without rotations, but a very interesting one, at a high level and interesting move sequences. Cubic Burr is also a cube, but with completely different piece shapes and beautiful wood grain. Cup of Coffee is usually something I have in the morning, but for this one, you should be awake already, before trying it! Padlock Burr is the first burr puzzle I put into the Locks category, guess why! Two Burrs in a Basket is maybe the most interesting of the update: Level 2.25 just to get the pieces out of the basket. With the 6 sticks and 6 boards you can build two burrs at the same time, and finally you can put the burrs (partly) back into the basket in an assembled state. A multi challenge puzzle, with several challenges in sequence! Most of these puzzles are currently still available at Cubicdissection.
Added on 2016-04-23
Today was German Cube Day and I met old and new puzzle friends there. It was a nice and very well-organized event and had even two lectures to offer. Of course I found some interesting old and new puzzles there: Rhombic Dodecahedron Puzzle was the giveaway puzzle, and very nicely made on a 3D printer, like the Puck Disentanglement. Some vintage puzzles, including some tiny keychain puzzles: 3D Burger Puzzle, Logi-VIP, Circuit Breaker, Keychain Die, Keychain Ladybird, Keychain Camera, and Keychain Heart. The Obscure Maze is also of a similar size, easy to store. The Planar Burr is a variant of the puzzle I already have, but more stable and easier to play with. My puzzle friend Michel took care of bringing a Elephant Wire Puzzle all the way from Australia to me (with the help of some international carriers, of course), and now I can add this interesting puzzle to n-ary puzzle group and compendium. It has 11 challenges and at first it is very confusing because of all the curves in the wires. Nina and 4 Caged Puzzle are two burr puzzles, while the following three are puzzle boxes: Magic Box, Triangle Trick Box, and Loopy Box. I also got a newer twisty, the Simplified Dreidel Magic Cube, which might look simpler than the original Dreidel cube, but it is definitely harder to scramble. My Dreidel cube is currently looking like a hedgehog, with all the tiny pieces sticking out, will have to solve it properly. I also found one of the Locks category: Maze Lock.
Added on 2016-04-15
Some nice puzzling beauties from Yavuz: El Regalo, Hublot 2, and Kyberna. The smaller the puzzle, the higher the level!
Added on 2016-04-13
Recently, a fascinating new puzzle lock was built and released, and quickly sold out. Luckily, I managed to get one via Wil, and now I have a Haleslock 1. Looks like a standard Abus lock with some extra screws, and the key comes with it so you don't have to look for that one. Have I mentioned that the key is securely fastened to the shackle? That is where the puzzling begins!
Added on 2016-04-11
Is it a puzzle? Is it some piece of art? Well, the 4L Co-Mo DD is definitely both! In the picture Johan's latest creation is shown half extended and on a stand. When you start with it as coordinate motion puzzle, it will be two concentric circles, to be extended in several coordinate motion steps. Not easy to get the shape in the picture, some careful alignment is required. A very nice unusual puzzle and well made.
Added on 2016-04-09
After the late night update, this morning some beautiful puzzles arrived from Brian Menold already. Two interesting designs by Goh Pit Khiam: The Letterbox is the second puzzle with that name in my collection, but completely different than the other. The Checkbox is a nice little puzzle similar to other recent designs by Pit Khiam. It came disassembled, so the first challenge was to assemble. Once you have worked out how to get the first three pieces in the box, the rest is quite easy. Logan's 3 Open Minds Solve a Problem is a variation on a three piece board burr in a box challenge, and it has quite a high level for such type of puzzle.
Added on 2016-04-09
The puzzle I received yesterday came in pieces and with a manual how to build it. Lots of pieces! I am not talking about another box kit, but a Lego set this time. I have found this fascinating set on the lego ideas web site some while ago and it was just released to the marked, so I directly ordered one in the Lego shop and it quickly arrived. It is the Maze set, which is the third Lego puzzle I have (which are the others, can you locate them? Hint: they are both in the same group.) It is a Lego implementation of the classic wooden marble maze, where you control two directions of tilting with two knobs, a maze/dexterity puzzle. I always had some trouble solving those, now what are my first impressions of the Lego model? I have just built it and played with it a bit and it is an excellent implementation in Lego.
While the original mazes had holes in which the ball/marble got lost, this puzzle has a quite heavy little plastic orange soccer ball and no holes. Instead, some black areas, and once caught in there the ball would not come out again, you have to pick it up and restart. Goal is to navigate from the green area to the red area without getting lost in a "black hole". How well does the mechanics and ball movement work? Excellent, in my opinion. I like it a better than the wooden ones. There are also some clever ideas which make me like this puzzle better:
First you have to build the frame, then the board with the maze you can see on the picture. Now comes the interesting part: you can simply take out the board, disassemble it and reassemble it into a second maze with little houses on it, which seems a lot simpler to solve. The maze even runs through some of the the houses! The instructions for the maze come with the puzzle, together with some pictures of a few other maze ideas. Of course you can create your own mazes as you like! Some nice details are also: the transport lock, to make transporting and storing the puzzle easier, and the container for the ball, or actually the four balls included. One might think that these extra balls are for careless people loosing a ball every now and then, but I have a better idea: Build multiple ball maze challenges, where you have to guide several balls in parallel mazes without getting any into a black spot. That is an idea I have to explore further!
If you would like to see a picture of the second variant and read some more about this set Jason Allemann has created, please have a look here: Lego Ideas Blog.
Added on 2016-04-05
Just in case I sould ever be in urgent need of a sarcophagus, I have just built myself one. The Sarcophagus is the biggest and most complicate one of the box kits offered by Myer's Craft and designed by Bruce Viney. Not the one with the most moves, but definitely with a very complicated move sequence to open and some secrets to discover. The theme relates to ancient Egypt and it is no wonder there is a secret compartment inside. There is still some mystery I have to solve. After having some recent exercise with building these boxes, this box is the most complicated to build, but luckily it comes with an excellent set of instructions.
Added on 2016-04-01
Had to get the missing padlock for the Pirate's Wallet, which arrived today: Stickman Padlock.
Added on 2016-03-19
After wood and plastic puzzles, today some new heavy metal stuff: Cast Padlock is the latest Hanayama Cast puzzle (which I put into Locks category for name and looks), and just a tiny bit older is Cast Moebius, which is a metal version of Moby Maze.
Added on 2016-03-18
Two beautiful puzzles arrived from Tabor: Arrow, Crosscut
Added on 2016-03-16
Today two more interesting twisties from Hong Kong, both definitely unsuitable for beginners: Dual 3x3x3 Cube, Insanity Cube, which is a metal version of Moby Maze
Added on 2016-03-15
Maybe you remember the excellent Spaceballs movie, and the secret that is unveiled in it: Merchandise is where money is to be made when talking about movies like Star Wars. The latest puzzle arrival is a good example: 3D Rubik's Cube R2-D2. Doesn't he look cute? As a puzzle, this droid is one of the simplest twisties, but surely it is a very decorative item!
Added on 2016-03-10
Today a package with a beautiful and unusual puzzle arrived from South Africa: No Nukes!, with an additional stand to display the puzzle on.
Added on 2016-03-05
Today a package with topic "locks and keys": Chinese Lock, Old Trick Lock from India are two interesting trick locks. Cublock (not to be confused with the puzzle with nearly the same name by Stephan) consists of two halves to be unlocked, and Simplified Keyholes in a Cage has some 6 keyhole pieces (and some others) interlocking in an interesting way.
Added on 2016-03-01
Two packages with some very interesting burr puzzles: FourTress Puzzle is a two dimensional burr. Then there are two old designs in newly crafted additions to the 18 pieces burrs group: 18-Piece II and Lattice
Added on 2016-02-27
In a new cooperation, a beautiful puzzle box was created. It has a keyhole, but there does not seem to be any key, so how to open the box? The name of the box is exactly about that: How?Box. It is a sequential discovery puzzle, so finding the key must be part of the solution. It was designed by Peter Hajek incorporating one idea by Rainer Popp, so I am guessing the lock component will be sophisticated. Three craftsmen were working on this box: Jakub Dvorak on the wood working part, Ivo Splichal on the lock, and Jiri Mejtsky on the key. Sounds like the box will be a lot of fun to solve, and certainly not easy!
Added on 2016-02-26
From Cubicdissection a package with some more of the fascinating New Old School burrs: NOS2 Transfer, NOS5 Crenel. Additionally, Elena's Burr by a new designer.
Added on 2016-02-23
Package from Brian Menold arrived already, with some beautiful wooden puzzles in it: Little Slide Plank is coordinate motion, Trikado does not tell you much about the distribution of the 6 pieces, Klaas Jan 23 is by a new designer, Sharp Belted is one of the Sharp puzzles, but with an interesting frame, and +4 looks like a standard framed 6 pieces burr. Well, it is 6 pieces in a frame, but that is where the similarity ends. Reminds me of an earlier of Greg's works.
Added on 2016-01-31
Last update for January: Just finished assembling the last of the box kits. The Little Box was much easier to build than the Black Nightmare and curiously the Little Box is nearly double the size. A nice and easy box. Mabye I should have started with this kit.
Update on 2016-01-29
Just solved the Alligator and put some more pictures and a review here: Burr Zoo: Alligator
Added on 2016-01-28
After the heavy metal package yesterday, today two with wooden puzzles: The first from Stephan. In it was Alligator, which is a beautiful addition to the Burr Zoo, and Burrdos, which has 34 pieces, so I will put it into the 18 pieces burrs group. Why that? you might ask. Well, it is a siamese 18 piece burr, where two 18 pieces burrs share two common pieces and have to be solved simultaneously. Just trying the first few moves I already noticed that they behave differently, so it is not two mirror copies of one, but two 18 pieces burrs fused together. Fascinating!
The second package came from the Czech Republic with some more nice wooden puzzles in it. The Mimicry has a name that tells you about the deception: It looks like it is a burr made of six wide pieces. In reality, it is a caged six piece burr with an interesting frame and beautiful woods. The Little Portico and Portico J are a smaller and a larger variant of the same basic design. One a bit more difficult than the other and both with a piece shape I have not seen before.
Added on 2016-01-27
Today a long awaited surprise package arrived. It was long awaited since it is the latest of the Popplock series: Popplock T10. It was created in the usual excellent quality Rainer Popp employs to build his locks, and the first thing to notice is the stack of 13 layers of steel similar to the ones used in heavy duty padlocks. Of course, here we are not talking about heavy duty requirements, so the layers must be for something else! Now to the surprises that hit me when unpacking the lock: First, Rainer used some new packing material and when opening the box, a gazillion little styrofoam balls were trying to jump out of the box spreading all over the room. A physiscs experiment showing how these little balls will adhere to every surface they touch then followed. After collecting all of them and returning them to the box, I inserted the key into the lock, and another surprise! I am already fascinated with the mechanism, but won't tell more here, not to spoil the surprise for others!
Added on 2016-01-26
The next of the puzzle box kits to be built was: Black Nightmare. This tiny box was surprisingly difficult to build compared to the others, high precision and a lot of sanding the edges required. Now it is moving nicely and has an interesting counter-intuitive solution.
Added on 2016-01-24
Just finished the next of the kit boxes. This time, it looks more traditional, and that is also the idea behind Merlin's Casket. It has two compartments, one well hidden and well locked.
Added on 2016-01-17
Today I finished another of the kit boxes, and again it is no secret box hiding what is inside. Istead, you can have a look through the transparent panels, which does not mean you can have a look at the mechanism and this one has even more moves than the "The Crate". Certainly it has very interesting looks: Window Box
Added on 2016-01-16
Recently I received some new puzzle box kits from Myer's Crafts and have already started building. It will take some time to build them all, so I am putting them on here as they are completed. The first one is a puzzle box, but definitely not a secret box. You can easily see what's stored inside The Crate, but it is not easy to get the box open.
Added on 2016-01-07
Today a well packaged package from Wil arrived with his latest puzzles: Sweta Cross, Heavy Metal Triangle. Beautiful heavy metal puzzle in excellent quality!
Added on 2016-01-05
Do you remember Game Craze? The puzzle box board game assembly puzzle with puzzle locks? Meanwhile I had the chance to play this game in several groups and received positive feedback for this unusual puzzle/game. Of course, the first comments are always about the size of the shipping box I use to transport the puzzle consisting of 5 boxes and 4 locks (and more). Beside the puzzle aspect and beautiful look of the puzzle, I have now seen some aspects of the game. Interesting was one group of players where each struggled with a different aspect, but was good in an other discipline: Throwing the die (have some luck!), opening the doors with the tools provided, assembling the towers. One player had really bad luck with the die most of the time, but then won the game because of his systematic approach assembling the (red) tower finishing before anyone else. I like it when games are good for such surprises!
A man's got to go The first puzzle arriving this year was built also by Tracy Clemons. After finishing the Game Craze, she started producing a small series of identical puzzle boxes, and I was lucky enough to be able to acquire one: A man's got to go.
The box looks like a trunk with handles on each side and some beautiful decorations applied, and it has a lock in the front. The lock looks unlike anything I have ever seen. I have some clear ideas how to open the lock, which is good for a start! I am assuming that there is more to it after opening the lid. I already had a little peek into the box (as much the lock would allow) and it is not empty. In fact, it seems packed with more puzzling mechanisms. I like what I have seen so far and I am curious to explore this fascinating puzzle box. Thanks Tracy, for building and offering this nice little box. *)little only compared to the other one :)
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.