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 (standard) jigsaw puzzles on these pages, may they be two or three dimensional.

News/Updates:

Added on 2020-12-02
After the puzzle last week, there is another one of the packing puzzles coming from a cooperation between Theo Geerinck and Symen Hovinga: Quadrille. This one is a bit like a 3D version of the Tetra Spinner puzzle. There is a box (instead of a frame) and a piece with two lids connected via a rod running through the box, and then there are four pieces to be packed into the box completely. When solving this one, it turns out to be quite different from Tetra Spinner, and it is a nice challenge that took me about 15 minutes to solve. I like this puzzle, it has some interesting ideas and the interaction between the double lid piece and the four packing blocks is more than I expected at first.
Added on 2020-11-28
For one of my recent puzzle acquisitions, today is good timing for presenting it on this web page: Dovetail Soma Cube. Just this morning Oskar published his video about this design on his Youtube channel "OskarPuzzle", so instead of writing any further I could just refer you to this video, which can be found via this link. The version I have is printed in beautiful dark blue instead of the various kinds of 3D printable wood (filaments with wood particles) which Oskar uses. It is a nice and stable puzzle, and like Oskar mentions it takes some examination of the puzzle to find the first move to take it apart. I like that the well known Soma Cube pieces have once again been used for a new puzzle, and that now it is not a packing puzzle, but an interlocking one.
Added on 2020-11-26
From my puzzle friend Theo I recently received a mail advertising a new puzzle design he had created together with a friend, and included a link where I could order the puzzle as well. The puzzle is one of those puzzles where you have to put all the pieces inside the box and then close the lid: Turn Them In. As the name suggests, some rotation is involved in the solution, and playing with it a bit, I found a nice solution that works well. Not only the box has some space, but also the lid has space that needs to be used, and overall this puzzles follows the series of Slide Packing and Penta in a Box designed a few years ago. This new one works well and seems to be a good candidate to be 3D printed, in 3D printed wood in this case. The puzzle is a nice and not too difficult challenge and fun to solve, and the lid closes with a light click that holds it in place securely.
Added on 2020-11-25
Recently, I spotted some new puzzles in the Knobelbox shop and then an order with some of them arrived (while the others are box kits to be assembled during the holiday season). The first one I have in the original 3D printed version already, now there is a beautiful metal version: Cast Love. It comes disassembled and when assembled the pieces click in place with a light click, to make a beautiful shining heart shape. The other is a pad lock where the goal is to open the shackle: Zahlenschloss. It looks like a combination lock, but after playing with it a bit, it seems to be completely different and won't open easily.
Added on 2020-11-23
At IPPs the exchange puzzles from Takeyuki Endo are always beautifully crafted wooden puzzles, and with nice new puzzle ideas to solve. The one I found in an auction recently is from last year, but does not seem to be an Exchange puzzle: San May. It is a frame with three sliding blocks in it, and you have to build continuous lines by sliding the blocks. However, there is more to it: The frame has two cutouts allowing to rotate a block, making it a whole new puzzle. There are different challenges, and they are to create one, two, or three continuous lines (which do not look interrupted somewhere) on these cubes. You can see the cubes from the top, bottom, and also the sides through the openings of the frame, following the meandering lines nicely inlaid into the cubes. So far I have already solved one of the challenges and will have some more fun solving the others.
Added on 2020-11-21
From Diniar I received a heavy package with many nice 3D printed puzzles inside (Thank you!) and I will work my way through the package putting the puzzles onto this page. The first one I picked is an expansion set for an existing one, consisting of additional pieces creating a whole new puzzle: The Enchanted Clock. It is an expansion for the Whirling Wheelies puzzle and has the same basic concept: A sliding block puzzle in a 4x4 frame with an additional layer on top. This time, the additional layer are some 12 cylinders representing the 12 hours of a clock face, and then a set of two clock hands to be mounted into one of the sliding blocks. Both the start and goal configuration can be seen in the picture and the objective is to reach the goal confihguration by sliding piecs around and rotating the hands sometimes. The two hands are blocked by the brown cylinders and for passing them, either the cylinders or the block with the hands will have to be moved. During the solution you will find some configurations to be impossible because of the size of the clock hands. We don't want the puzzle to be too easy, do we? There are two neutral slinding blocks, and you should keep them in the right places for supporting the solution. A nice puzzle and new concept, and not overly difficult and fun to play with. The same locking mechanism like in the original puzzle will keep all pieces securly in place, so that nothing will drop out accidentially.
Added on 2020-11-19
Right from the latest Cubicdissection update DHL express brought me a box today, with a box in it: Blah Box. This beautiful and very well made box came nicely wrapped in paper with some gift ribbon around, just like an early christmas present. There is not much I can tell about it so far. There are some holes, and some cuts that hint where an opening panel or sliding panel may be, but none of them opens yet. Probably those little holes have something to do with it. When picking it up and shaking it lightly, there is some rattling inside. Knowing Eric's earlier work, some of that rattling may be a red herring and be relating to the prize to be found inside after the box has been opened. Of course, no external tools allowed! I am looking forward to solving it, but I have no clue when that may be. One or another epiphany may help, but they usually come unexpected.
Added on 2020-11-14
From a recent auction, I received two old puzzles. The first one is an old trick lock with some tricks I have not seen (at least in this combination) before: Trick Lock 111. I don't know anything about it, but I could open and close it without a solution. The second one looks like it is a distant relative of Chinese Rings, and that is probably also the idea: The Different-storeyed meleda. In fact, this is too distant from Chinese Rings, so that I don't consider it to be n-ary. The rings are linked in several layers/storeys, hence the name. While it features some aspects of chinese rings in the solution, the overall solution is a short sequence of moves, and you have to make sure to catch the right rings at the right time. Two nice puzzles showing that also older puzzles can be good new acquisitions, even if they are not famous designs.
Added on 2020-11-13
Time for some happy puzzles on my web site! From Hungary the puzzles from another recent Kickstarter campaign arrived. There was a lot of suspense whether the campaign would be funded or not, but in the end it made it, and here they are: Grinnerz MINI, Grinnerz STANDARD, and Grinnerz MAXI. While at first only the standard one was offered, here is the full set of happy puzzles. The goal of each is to rotate the gears so that all the faces become happy, meaning that you can see through both the eyes and the mouth. It would be no puzzle if the gears were regular gears and all rotating in unison, but here we have some gears that are missing whole sections of teeth. Every other gear is missing a quarter of the teeth, and the other gears are complete. When the section without gears is oriented to a neighbouring gear, that one can rotate without catching the current one. However, there may be another path of interlocking gears the other way round the puzzle, and so the gears may be interlocked via that path again. Of course these puzzles only come with an even number of gears and it is not difficult to understand why. They are funny puzzles and not trivial to solve and very well made from acrylic with additional screws. After the campaign they are now for offer on their web site.
Added on 2020-11-11
Recently, a hybrid of a transparent 2x2x2 Rubik's Cube and a Perplexus ball maze was published. That one was mainly a Perplexus and during the solution, the 8 cubies had to be re-arranged using the usual 2x2x2 rotations to allow transitions of the little steel ball to the next part of the maze. It did not really work as a 2x2x2 twisty puzzle, since there were no coloured faces and no colour scheme to solve. Now there is a second one in this series: Rubik's Perplexus Fusion. That one looks like a transparent 3x3x3 cube, but in reality it is a 1x1x3 with three wide slices. This time, solving it as a twisty puzzle is possible and in the solved configuration, the mazes visible on each face will have one solid colour. However, being a 1x1x3, the solution is quite trivial. Of course, there is a more difficult aspect of the puzzle: the ball maze. This looks more complicated than the other hybrid's maze and features some sophisticated pathways, like staircases, arched bridges, pathways used on both sides, and many possibilities to drop the ball from the way somewhere. While the other had step numbers ranging up to 100, this one goes up to 225. Again, some rearrangement of the pathways is required by rotating the cube slices during the way from start to end, to make things more interesting. I am not really good at dexterity puzzles (and this one requires some dexterity at least), yet I am looking forward to play with it and solve the whole way one day.
Added on 2020-11-06
The first November update is a cute box from Australia: Coin Case. It was released before that big sequential discovery box recently, but I only decided to order it after that one. It is designed to be an easy puzzle box, and indeed it is not very difficult and only took me a few minutes to solve. If you think it can just be rotated open, like those traditional boxes, then think again! The Coin Case features new mechanisms and is excellently crafted, and fun to play with. After solving, you will find the coin giving the box the name, and while it looks like an original gold coin from some pirate treasure, I am afraid this coin is only an imitation not even made from metal. It is nice to find this little reward after solving, just to put it back for the next puzzler.
Added on 2020-10-31
Recently, some box kits arrived to be built, and today I built another one of them: Pandora's Box. This is originally meant to store cards for board gamers, but it is also a puzzle box. The locking mechanism with the red lever at the front only slides open and unlocks the lid if the internal locking mechanism is unlocked. The mechanism is assembeld from acrylic pieces inside the lid and creates a hidden maze that has to be tilted to open the box. Not an easy task to work out how to perform the opening sequence, so this is definitely a puzzle box! Assembly is not too difficult with the manual coming with the kit and the pieces are precisely cut.
Added on 2020-10-30
There are some Youtubers who are trying to solve puzzles and make videos of this, and some of these videos can be quite entertaining, especially if they are about puzzles you have already solved, or puzzles you will never try yourself. One of the bigger youtube channels has teamed up with Hanayama to create a puzzle based on the company logo, and the result is this: Chris Ramsay Puzzle. It has a similar idea like the Bike puzzle or the ABC puzzle, where there is a frame and a ring with a gap that needs to be taken off. This one here is not overly difficult, but features a nice trick to make it non-trivial. Production wise, it has the usual excellent quality of Hanayama puzzle, even though this one is a limited edition and more expensive than the average Hanayama Cast puzzle.
Added on 2020-10-28
Who would have thought that after yesterday's update, updates would continue here (already)? A parcel from the German Knobelbox shop arrived and very fast in their usual way. The main reason for this order was a new Constantin box: Void Box. As there was no "Spiel" fair in Essen this year, I was happy to see some new puzzles show up by Constantin. For this particular box, I only had to read the name and look at the knobs to immediately know how it would be solved. Sounds boring? Well, it may be, but not for me: It is a very well made and sturdy puzzle and fun to play with. I managed to get through the whole solution sequence quickly and opened the box. If you want to know more why this box was so familiar to me, you may want to have a look onto the "Puzzles" page of my compendium. This means it is n-ary, and then of course it will also be on the n-ary puzzle group page. The next puzzle is also a variation on one I already have: JP Lock. Actually it is the same like the one I have, but this time not with a transparent front plate and therefore much more difficult. The last one today by Constantin also looks like a well known puzzle box: Longbox. You may say that you exactly know how to open it and you have seen it many times? Well, not so fast! This one has an additional trick built in. Lastly, one puzzle where you can see everything, unlike the others presented so far: My Secret Lock. This is a new variation on the topic of lock with a sliding piece puzzle in it, to be operated with the key provided. For this lock, the goal is to remove the shackle completely. Four nice new puzzles for today.
Added on 2020-10-27
A special update today for people who like numbers. The puzzle I received today is Ternary Pin Burr from Aleksandr Leontev, and it is an n-ary puzzle, and those puzzles are mainly popular because of their number of moves. However, this puzzle is also related to another number, it is number 3000 in my collection. The puzzle looks a bit like a frosted little cake, so maybe put some candles on top to celebrate the numbers? It is nicely 3D printed in two colours and has some metal pins leading to the name of the puzzle, and additionally to an n-ary puzzle it is also a burr, with 35 pieces and level 162. Such a burr would be very difficult to disassemble, let alone assemble, but the ternary sequence makes disassembly a feasible task and within minutes, the first pieces come out. It is nice to play with and fun to solve, and I have now taken it apart completely, planning to get it back together without help. Let's see how that works out! Of course, this puzzle has received a spot in the two pages related to n-ary puzzles: n-ary puzzle group and compendium Ternary Pin Burr
Added on 2020-10-26
Today a box finds its way into my collection which I ordered early this month and which arrived from Russia some days ago already. It is a box kit, easily built into a nice puzzle box: Cheshire Cat. This box kit comes from a board game manufacturer, and they have some puzzle box kits for offer which can be used for your board game equipment. For example, this box here is meant to store part of your collection of dice you may have. The pieces are very well made, from HDF-laminate and using the instructions the box can be assembled and glued together quickly. Originally, I had ordered this box kit and some others for the x-mas vacation, but this one looked like a quick build, and it was. Depending on how you count, this box features an 8-step solution, which is quite good for the number of pieces.
Added on 2020-10-24
Today a parcel with puzzles from the US and Canada arrived, which was a joint order of some puzzle friends, and then the Pandemic came and made puzzle gatherings impossible. The first one is not a twisty puzzle (by name), but one of the TICs, crafted by Brian Menold in beautiful woods and designed by a master of TICs: TwisTIC. It seems that this is even the 4x4x4 design with the most rotations and moves, despite the low level of 3. Brian decided it was a good idea to make it an dissassembly/assembly challenge by putting the puzzle into the box in a partially assembled state. A certain puzzle blogger just his week commented on that and he found assembly to be less challenging than the disassembly challenge. Well, let's see how this works for me!
The second puzzle is a design by a late puzzle designer, and a new and 3D printed version of one of his puzzles: Crazy Elephant Dance. It is smaller than the MDF version I already have, and has two more elephants. However, they are easy to operate and it does not seem to take much longer to run through this longer solution sequence than for the original one. Actually, when Markus still had his home page, there was a Java version of this puzzle on it, and it allowed for an adjustable number of elephants, and 7 elephants was one of the challenges. Adjustable number of elephants, this sounds like an n-ary puzzle, and of course it is: Please also see the updated pages for compendium and n-ary puzzle group.
Added on 2020-10-15
Today's puzzle is a brand new puzzle, which has sold out already, it came from Australia, and for me, it is the best puzzle I got this year. What is it? Well, that is a bit difficult to classify. There was another puzzle from Australia where I had this issue: The Sequential Discovery Burr Box, and the name already lists the categories this puzzle could fit into. I have decided to put it into the Sequential Discovery category because this is the most prominent feature when solving. Now what could the brand new puzzle be? It is actually the Master version: SDBB Master. That does not mean that it has the same features and slightly enhanced, but is a completely new design with many unique steps to discover and locks to unlock. There are six compartments that have to be opened and all but the last ones will include some tools for subsequent compartments or mechanisms, but that does not mean it is a linear solve. At some points in the solution, you can decide in which order to progress. When the box has been solved and all the tools have been removed, you can also assemble the six pieces into a six piece burr, and it will not be a trivial one, but feature a nice trick. To keep this text free from spoilers, let's not uncover more details of this, but look at the tools. There is a lot of stuff coming out from this puzzle during the solution sequence, and again I will keep the number secret, just to mention that there is another item to be found at the end: An infinity charm as the ultimate goal of the puzzle. Before finding this, one has to operate many different mechanisms, some of them locking the six compartments, and of course some of these require the use of more than one tool simultaneously, or even sequentially. These mechanisms are all very well designed and after opening them, you can see inside each and verify that you did indeed find the correct solution. There are some visual hints to aid the solver to see which tool may go where, and all this design work is something that makes this puzzle special and this year's favorite to me. Have I already mentioned that it also looks beautiful? The six burr pieces are all made from the same wood, which comes in different shades (on the same tree) and this also explains the interesting variation in the colours of the burr pieces, and look at the list of woods used in the description! The fact that I have already solved it (being able to write this review) shows that it may be a bit easier than the Slammed Car, but the overall design is much more complex. A true Masterpiece, no argument on the name "SDBB Master"!
Added on 2020-10-12
From time to time, I participate in a crowdfunding campagin, and recently there was one by two puzzle friends, the Two Brass Monkeys. This was maybe the quickest campaign I ever took part in, and definitely one of the best organized ones, and they have already sent out all the puzzles part of this campaign. The puzzle is a heavy one and nicely machined from brass rods, and it comes in a nice little suitcase: The Kong Puzzle. In this suitcase, the pieces are neatly displayed, and when assembled, they form a 3x4x6 burr puzzle, a heavy one! And made of shining metal! It is not a trivial one and I still need to solve this puzzle, but I already know that the pieces have a nice feel to them and are fun to play with.
Added on 2020-09-30
The last September 2020 update arrived with a parcel full of beautiful puzzle from Pelikanpuzzles in the Czech Republic today. The first one is the third in Dr. Volker Latussek's Euklid series, and I am sure this one was not planned from the beginning: Euklid for Nick. As the name says, this was designed for Nick Baxter, who did not only solve the one solution of the original Euklid, but found 21 others. This one here is supposed to have a unique solution only, and with only two kinds of pieces (coming in quantities of 3 and 4 respectively), chances are good for a unique solution. The original Euklid is one of the puzzles that defeated me (yes, I am not good at packing puzzles with many pieces!), while the Euklids for Kids took a long time before an Aha! moment arrived and my solution finally worked and it is one of my favourite new puzzles this year. I am looking forward to see what this latest one holds for me! The next one is a new take on the classic SOMA cube. Having played with it in some virtual puzzle party a few weeks ago, I was able to find one of the 240 solutions. Quickly I could extract the pieces lying in some unorderly fashion in the bottom layers of the box and pack them into the box as the usual SOMA cube, as you can see in the picture: Shrinking Soma. This is a clever design, as the SOMA cube is clearly a shrinking one and easily fits inside the box, so even if you are not good at packing puzzles, or have a bad day, you should be able to get all pieces inside the box. Clever! — is it? Well, actually the challenge is much more wicked! The first step was correct, to get all pieces out of the box. But then you need to pack them inside the box so that they form some kind of lid closing this box. And when you are done with this, shake the box. A correct solution is supposed to withstand vivid shaking of the packed box (at least shaking horizontally), and not collapse. This is more like a design we would expect from this designer!
The next one I have already played with a little more than 3 years ago in the Design Competition, when I was attending IPP37 in Paris, where this design also won an award. This also explains that the name of the puzzle is in French: Galette. "Just" pack the set of tetrominoes into the box, not even a 3D challenge, like for the previous puzzle! But rest assured that not only the 3rd dimension will be required for this puzzle, but also some other tricks. Look at the shapes and positions of the openings of the box! For the last puzzle, I had some doubts whether to buy it, because I really do not like mushrooms. However, this is a nice framed 5 piece burr in reality, and the mushroom is made beautifully from wood and is attached to one of the burr pieces: Talisman. This puzzle has nice precise fit and even after only trying some moves, I already like this puzzle and look forward to solving it. And maybe that toadstool will also bring me a bit of luck? There is also an additional puzzle involved with this Talisman puzzle, when it comes in its original box. And those new cardboard boxes by Pelikanpuzzles are nice, too.
These puzzles will be showing up for offer on Pelikanpuzzles' shop very soon, and there is more: One of the nice zoo burrs I already have, and which was built for me by the designer, will also be available: Alligator. This is a great puzzle and fun to play with, and also a 2-in-1: Once you have taken the alligator out, you can also solve it as an easier puzzle without it. I only did not order it because I already have it, and what I have seen from pictures it will come in a similar beautiful version.
Added on 2020-09-28
Very recently, a variation on the classic Rubik's Pocket Cube was released, the Perplexus Rubik's Hybrid, which seems to be more for dexterity specialists rather than for cubers, now another new variation on a classic Rubik's puzzle: Rubik's Impossible. On the picture, you can see that the stickers (or tiles) are looking a bit strange, and this is due to an optical effect, so that (most of) the cubie faces will change between two colours, depending on which angle you are looking at them. The centers only have one colour, so you don't have to worry about the colour scheme. I have first seen a prototype which the designer Greg had brought to a Dutch Cube Day, and now there is the mass market version already. Once you have solved the cube, so that for each face from a certain angle it looks like a solid colour (like in the picture), you can go for the other solution, using the other colours of the face tiles. Quite confusing, as the angles are different for each face and so far I have only managed to see two solid colours at the same time, not more of them. Probably the puzzle got its name "Impossibly" as an exact description of the difficulty. I have seen a youtube video of the designer of this puzzle trying to solve it and he was struggling a lot! A fascinating design!
Added on 2020-09-16
After some additional aspects of puzzles already in my collection, a new puzzle from the UK from a new designer: Lock Out. Obviously a trick lock, and the two identical keys will not open the lock like for a regular padlock. After the "Lock'd in" puzzle, we are now locked out of this heavy modified Abus lock, and I guess it will take some time to open this lock. I have already made one important discovery (I think), which made me smile and look forward to the solution of this lock.
Added on 2020-09-14
Yikes! Spiders again! Time for another visit to the Burr Zoo group page today, after I had some very interesting time solving this puzzle, and also discussing it with some puzzle friends, some of which also had made their attempts in solving this puzzle.
Added on 2020-09-12
Rainbow is the other of the new n-ary puzzles from Aaron, and I have been solving it and playing with it enough to determine how the solution works. It is a simple, yet also confusing puzzle. Simple, because it is mainly three binary chinese rings chains, confusing because the rainbow arcs — once freed from the handle bar — may flip over and do not want to be put back in the right orientation without a fight. It is a nice puzzle to solve when you keep control over the rainbow arcs, and as usual everything is visible and you can easily plan ahead once you have reached an understanding of the puzzle. The compendium entry has been created and of course the puzzle is now also on the n-ary puzzle group page.
Added on 2020-09-11
Testing the new DHL shipping option, I quickly received a new puzzle from the Cubicdissection web shop: Space Case. This is a box beautifully built by Dee Dixon, and has a space theme, like the name hints. I have already clearly identified a rocket, an alien, a UFO (unidentified flying object — does this sentence make any sense now?). These seem to be some ornaments linked with the mechanism inside, and I am not giving away too much by telling that some of them can rotate freely, while others cannot, and when tilting the box, there are some noises coming out of it. This all may be part of the greater plan to open the box, but no progress for me so far. A beautiful box, and I am curious to see what is inside it!
Added on 2020-09-10
The Piano is the first of the two I have solved, and it is a nice and not overly difficult puzzle, mainly consisting of two binary chinese rings chains. Once the analysis is done, the solution is quite clear, but until then you have some opportunities to entangle the puzzle more than it should, e.g. by putting a ring onto the handle backwards and continueing with the sequence. The compendium entry has been created and of course the puzzle is now also on the n-ary puzzle group page.
Added on 2020-09-08
Today a second parcel arrived from Aaron, with some puzzles I had only seen on some pictures after placing the first order, and they are quite rare. The first two are Piano and Rainbow, and they look like they should be certainly in the n-ary category. To confirm, I will have to solve them first and then put up an update, like the next update below. For both puzzles it is quite obvious where the name comes from, just look at the pictures! For the Piano, look at the vertical bars only to see a keyboard shape, or at the bars and rings to see some notes. The third one is not made from wire, but looks like cut from heavy duty steel, and looks cool: Shoot the Moon. It is a remake of a vintage disentanglement puzzle and the goal is to remove both objects from the main frame with the arrows (without cutting the strings, of course!). I like the look of all three and look forward to solving them.
Added on 2020-09-06
Meanwhile, I was able to solve the Jack's Ladder and it was a very fun puzzle to me. A lot of possibilities to get the puzzles entangled in some ways that are unwise for the solution, but since everything is visible, one can derive what may be required for the solution, and what intermediate goals may be. Of course, during the initial phase I started with a wrong move, which caused some additional hassles at the end. However, while playing with the puzzle, I then figured out the different states of the puzzle and its components. There are some spoilers in the description in the compendium entry, and this raises the bar very high and in my analysis this is the first 10-ary disentanglement puzzle (considering the states), but only with a low number of special "pieces". A fascinating discovery, and definitely worthy of going into the compendium and n-ary puzzle group.
Added on 2020-09-02
The first September update brings some puzzles from Russia, two designs by Aleksandr Leontev: Gift is an older design and a caged 4 piece burr, beutifully made by Maurice Vigouroux. For the level to be reached in a unique solution, the puzzle should have some colour constraints added to enforce this solution. As the puzzle came assembled, it is still a level 34.8.4 disassembly challenge, quite high for this layout. The other one may resemble some other already present puzzle by the same designer, and has a very similar name, too: White Bow-Tie. This one is a smaller one that does not have a crazy number of moves, but offers other surprises. After first solving the puzzle and extracting the blocks, I determined it to be a much smaller ternary version of Black Bow-Tie. Taking a look at the sleeve with the blocks removed, I soon found out why this one has 8 exits, 4 on each side: While the Black Bow-Tie needed to be big to accomodate the space for the 9-ary mazes, this one has enough space to put in a 3-ary maze on one side and a 5-ary maze on the other as a second challenge. What a surprise! This nicely demonstrates one principle of n-ary puzzles, that the parameters can be varied, and this one has two different parameter values in one puzzle! Of course I tried to mix the bases and wanted to see what happens then, but it seems that the ternary mazes are not wide enough to allow for even the first few transitions in the quinary mazes. A nice addition to compendium and n-ary puzzle group, where the puzzle has been listed under the higher arity each.
Added on 2020-08-29
Today a virtual MPP (puzzle party) is taking place via video chat, and during the break between some of the sessions, a puzzle parcel arrived with an order I had placed, so it is like a virtual puzzle party with some new acquisitions. In it three new puzzle boxes ordered from an Etsy shop: Antares, Orion, and Altair. They are all made from laser cut wood, and have some moving panels and require different numbers of steps to open. They are nicely made and they have even applied some form of finish to the boxes for a smooth surface. I will start with the easiest one first, and then progress to the others. Hopefully I will be able to open all of them.
Added on 2020-08-26
It seems the Customs office and the delivery companies are catching up with the parcels being sent to me. Today two from different continents arrived. The first one from the US, with a new 3D printed take apart puzzle inside: Symmetrical Cross. This one reminds me of an alumninium cross puzzle by a certain Dutch designer, but it seems that this one seems to work differently. Goal is the same: Take the puzzle apart and then return to the initial shape.
The second parcel came from China, from Aaron, with some more of his new 2020 releases, designed by him and his friends. The first 4 are continuations of known series I already have. Scissors 3 and Scissors 4 — can you spot the difference between the two? Most likely the second one was a modification of the first design to make it easier/more difficult/more interesting/more complicated, and I have yet to find out. The other two ere two of the Grenade series and here the difference is more obvious (hint: count the number of decorations!): Grenade 3 and Grenade 4. The name of the next one clearly relates to the shape: Headset. This is a quite common utility these days and maybe after some solving attempts the puzzle will be as entangled as some real head sets? The No Return has an interesting challenge: You have to enter that handle piece into the maze in the lower opening and then traverse the whole maze and exit through the upper opening — no return, please!. The last one is Jack's Ladder and mabye the most interesting to me. It looks like it should be n-ary, but I will yet have to solve that puzzle to find out. At least, it does not seem trivial, as a first unsuccessful solving attempt showed. All these puzzles will be take some time to solve, and they are adding up to the backlog I already have, and there are other puzzles I have also been trying to solve recently, like the Spider Web.
Added on 2020-08-25
After various puzzles from various categories, today two packages arrived with puzzles from two additional categories: The first one is the heavy metal category of puzzle locks: 15 Step Extreme - 2 Key Puzzle Lock, coming from Puzzlemaster in Saskatchewan, Canada, and presumably built in India for them, and brand new yet following traditional India style. It is a more complex and more decorated than the similar lock I already have (built by Constantin and some partners in India) and like. Both locks have 2 different keys, one of this lock looking like a screw driver. So if external tools are allowed and you are missing this key, you know what to do. More decoration usually mean a more complex solution, and that seems to be a good assumption here, and this is a nice puzzle lock with an interesting solution with many steps. The improvement over the simpler (yet also complex) model makes it even better. Unfortunately, it seems that it has sold out already.
The other package did not come from far away, but from what would have been about an hour's drive under normal circumstances. Berhard spotted some interesting TIC designs and offered a few copies of them to me. The first one is by a new designer and came in pieces. Not because of careless handling, but because Bernhard thought it a clever idea to make this an assembly challenge. Oh well, I will see where that leads: Roots and Branches. My guess is that the big pieces first are joined in a complicated way (with strange rotational moves) and then the filler pieces added later. From the count of cubies, I can deduce that the level (move for the first piece to come out) must be 1! The other puzzles are by well-known designers: Geneva by William Hu with both rotations and coordinate motion and then there are some record breakers for their designer Andrew Crowell: TriumviraTIC is the highest number of moves for 3 pieces he designed, and look there are no visible gaps (also none on the backside) for this cube! LocomoTIC is the highest number of total moves for a 4x4x4 cube by this designer, and of course it involves rotations! With all these TICs I can see my head spinning around when trying to solve these puzzles!
Added on 2020-08-22
From Alfons a package arrived, full of beautiful wooden puzzles, with a variety of shapes, numbers of pieces, and levels. Goliath 2 is the second one in the series, and I already have the first one, both now on the 18 pieces burrs group page. Another special one is Spider Web, and like Spidernest this one has a spider piece inside, putting it onto the Burr Zoo group page. The next two are from the family of Lolly Boxes and are improved versions already, and are themed around a famous prison island: Alcatraz has 6 inmates that need to get out of this nice box. In Alcatraz Extreme, there are also 6 inmates, but they have to escape from a cage, and one can actually see into the cage from the sides. The name of the next one is obvious from the shapes, and this is also the one with the lowest level of this package: Crossing Rails 14. Like this one, the next one is also a six piece burr (but this time in a cage), with some additional extensions mounted to the pieces, so that the result is a closed box: Cuckold. I have been playing with this one a bit already and it behaves a lot different from your standard caged six piece burr! The next one is one of those that have an interesting shape that looks like it may fall apart any minute with those pieces visible from the outside: Scott's Woman. Of course, this puzzle is quite stable and requires over 20 moves for the first piece to come out, like most others from this package. The last one is a brand new design, with 8 pieces in a cage. 4 of them are sticks, and 4 are different shapes: Ghislina. I have played with this one a bit as well, and have already found a nice sequence of moves, leading into a dead end, as it seems. All puzzles are very well made and look beautiful. I am sure they will keep me busy for quite some time.
Another parcel arrived today with some auction win from a recent puzzle auction: Cricket Cage Violin. This is one of the small cricket boxes, and maybe that deserves some more explanation. This name has nothing to do with the game popular in Great Britain, Australia, and India, but relates to something that some people in China like: Keeping an insect as a pet. To give it a portable home, these cricket boxes were created, and most of them have openings that are not obvious, and that is why they became popular among the puzzle community as well. This particular one in violin shape features the following: A breathing opening so that enough air can reach the inside of the box, then a small feeding hole that allows to enter small portions of food without the insect being able to escape, then a main lid that opens a window so you can see the inside of the box and the inhabitant, and then an opening to fully access the inside of the box. Of course, mine did not come with any insect and I have no intention of keeping one inside! So this box may fall into two puzzle related categories: Puzzle box, and the so-called whatsits (objects with purpose to be determined).
Added on 2020-08-17
From Grigorusha a parcel arrived from Russia, with a brand new twisty puzzle, and a very old vintage one: The Special 2x2x3 looks like a 2x2x3, but has additional cuts and rotation axes, allowing it to shape shift in all kinds of strange ways, some of them blocking some moves even. Considering that the original 2x2x3 does not change its shape at all, this is quite an achievement! The puzzle is 3D printed and built in very high quality, with smooth movements and feels nicely heavy and stable. The vintage puzzle is a Fill the Circle coming in its original packaging, which says that it was sold for not even 1 Rubl at that time (only 75 Kopeks). It has two discs with holes for one ball each, and balls in three colours: red, blue, and yellow. The red and blue ones are visible in the front and back discs, while the yellow ones are in the inside middle layer.
Added on 2020-08-13
Another new wooden sequential discovery puzzle, this time a new puzzle from a new designer: Ansel. It is obviously themed to be a pocket camera and has about that size, and the goal of opening the viewfinder completely also makes sense with this topic. It is a bit bigger than the acrylic ones built by Rex, but still a nice pocket size, and it is made in a precise way, and has some beautiful decoration on the front face. And it comes at a very good price and in a nice custom made cardboard box. So far, I have managed to find the first step and tool, and then a couple of more steps, and I will not tell more to avoid any spoilers. So far, I like what I have seen and I am curious to see how the solution continues. These puzzles are built and sold in batches, and likely there will be another run soon on the Puzzled Wolf web site, so if you are looking to buy one, you could sign up for the newsletter there.
Added on 2020-08-11
Over the last few years, I have collected some nice small and complex coin trap puzzles made from wood and other materials. The initial contact I had with these at IPP37, and I like all of them so far. Then it was no question for me whether or not I was interested in the latest one as well, and now here it is: Free Me 8. Again, the goal is to remove a half dollar coin, and while it is not shown in the picture, you can see that goal from the beginning on, which is a nice common touch of the whole Free Me series. This one is much bigger than the others, a cute little box, and a beautiful one, and very well made from what I can tell so far. Look at the 5 reptiles sitting on top of the box, they are very decorative! According to the instructions, the two little ones actually are there for decorative purposes only, not part of the solution. Well, what does this tell us about the three larger ones, which are aligned in an Escher-esque pattern? Having played with this puzzle just a bit and found some very interesting things, I am putting it into the sequential discovery category, like the other Free Me puzzles, even though this is also a box to be opened. I am curious to discover what secrets it holds (aside from the coin I have already seen).
Added on 2020-08-09
Earlier this year, Aaron sent a new disentanglement puzzle to me which he wanted to enter into IPP and for which he asked for some comments: Three Coins — Thanks a lot! This is a nicely made and well designed puzzle, entirely made of metal. It looks like a circle with some S shape in it, some additional oval loops, and then a chain with two metal balls and three rings. The question now is for the objective of this puzzle, and certainly some of the other parts of the puzzle need to come off the frame. If you would like to know which part has to come off, please look at the comment field in the details page of the puzzle, to avoid spoilers. This puzzle is not an easy one, and only with some hints I was able to proceed to the goal and then return the puzzle to its original configuration. It is really surprising how difficult this puzzle can be and how well the various parts interact. All the parts have exactly the size required, and it seems that some of them were added during the design process to make the puzzle more difficult. A great and difficult desigm, and a well made puzzle, and fun to play with. Recently, Aaron has released his 2020 offering of new puzzles from various designers, and this one is the first of the 10 puzzles released. The puzzles are offered by Aaron via facebook, and usually will also show up on the Puzzleparadise market place.
Added on 2020-08-08
Recently, I have been playing with my favorite hybrid Twisty puzzle again, which is a hybrid of several twisties. Today, a new kind of hybrid arrived: Rubik's Perplexus Hybrid, which has just become available in the mass market. While I don't own any one of those Perplexus 3D ball maze puzzles (except for some tiny ones), in the past I have played with many of them at a friend's place and have failed miserably. But then I was told that they were supposed to be difficult ones. Compared with other variants, the Perplexus originals are nicely engineered and made, and this new hybrid puzzle seems to be of similar high quality. To solve, one has to start with the ball at the start position in one of the blue segments, and run though the maze passing all the numbers up to 100 in sequence, to reach the goal position, just next to the start position. For the transition between segments, one has to move the 2x2x2 cubes so that the correct segments are next to each other. After a first analysis an idea for solving this puzzle may be to arrange the complete 2x2x2 cube so that the ball can traverse the whole path. Wrong! I managed to set up the way from 1 to 17, and could easily navigate the ball all that way, but then 18 appears on a previously used segment on the back. Hence you will need to alternate between cube twists and ball moves during the solve, a true hybrid! Most of the cubes have two path segments, one on the front and one on the back of the way, but some others have more. So far, I have found one cubie with 4 different ways through it, that is going to be a challenge! This puzzle will require a lot of patience and steady hands.
Added on 2020-08-04
Recently, I found a new plywood box kit from a new vendor and now I had some time to assemble the Treasure Box. The result is a cute box with a key, two keyholes, a combination lock and two compartments to be found. At first glance, it looks like the box I already have from UGears, but this one has different mechanisms and is a bit smaller. Building is straightforward with the instructions, and it is a bit like building a Lego set, just that you need to wax and sand some pieces after extracting them from the wooden sheets, to make them work better. There are many gears built into this box, and only some of them are visible. A nice box and build!
Added on 2020-07-30
Today's puzzle arriving from France is a cooperation my puzzle friend Guillaume has been working on, together with Maurice Vigouroux. It is a massive 18 pieces burr: Matryoshka Burr, and similar to the other Lange Wapper by Alfons Eyckmans. Of course, this puts it into the 18 pieces burrs group, which is one of my favourite puzzle groups. Looking at the piece count, there seems to be something wrong with it, it is 46, and that is not counting the 4 cubes coming with it. Actually, this is 5 puzzles in one, with a Lange Wapper Casino as the big puzzle, and then some 4 cubic micro puzzles inside. These are all caged 6 piece burrs, and even though I already have most of them in a normal sized variant in my collection, I just had to get this puzzle set, it is a great idea and great puzzle (set). Meanwhile, I have disassembled all of them, and for some reason I could remember some parts of the solutions of the micro puzzles from when I solved their originals years ago and was able to correctly identify all of them. Fascinating! Three of them cooperated during the disassembly, but the fourth one, La Mente, made it as difficult for me as its greater version years ago. Despite the lower level, I would rate this as the most difficult of the lot, and that includes getting the first piece out. The micro puzzles are not the ideal size for playing, but fully functional and not allowing any unintended rotations, very high craftsmanship! At this scale they work surprisingly well and it is clear that this scale is not meant for a lot of playing. Like for the other Casino based puzzle by Alfons, this has to go into the Burr Zoo group page of course, and please take a look there to read more about my solving experience.
Added on 2020-07-23
When browsing one of the puzzle shops for some new building projects (puzzle box kits), I found some new Constantin puzzles in the Knobelbox shop and with the usual ultra quick service, they shipped them to me for solving. They are of the disentanglement kind, and without having tried them, I would rate them as the easier kind, good at the current hot temperatures. Telefon looks like the silouhette of an old fashioned phone, where you had to dial the number with a dial, and there was a separate handset connected to the phone via a cable. It seems that here the puzzle is to free that handset, and the dial mechanism reminds me a bit of a box by Constantin I already have (and solved). The Radl is a nice small bicycle on a wooden stand, and there seems to be a relatively big lock attached to both wheels, and as a challenge you have to at least remove the metal ring of this lock. Those two puzzles look like some fun easy puzzle, but they may as well turn out harder in the end!
Added on 2020-07-13
Today a puzzle in beautiful woods arrived from Scotland: Alastor. It is a six piece burr in a cage, but does not have the standard cross shaped configuration one would expect from a standard 6 piece burr. Instead, there is a frame with three crosses next to each other, and each of them consisting of a longer and a shorter piece. As an additional feature, the frame comes apart in two L shaped halves. The woods used give it a really beautiful appearance (and it is one of the rare Deluxe versions!), and some steel pins have also been added to make the solution unique. Solving wise, this is an interesting one. The two halves of the frame do not want to stick to each other, but slide apart in a lateral motion, each of them taking a couple of the other pieces with them. That will give you more room for your maneuvers, but not let you remove any pieces from the puzzle. That happens later, after running through the 16 moves for the first piece to come out. I must have something stupid different than the optimal Burr-Tools solution, as in my solution two of the shorter pieces would come out at the same time at opposite ends of the puzzle, while Burr-Tools tells you that 11 moves are needed for the second piece. This is not the first time I experienced something like that when solving a puzzle and now I can be sure I have "my" own solution! The third piece will still require some more moves to come out, so it does not get boring. A fun puzzle to play with, and the level is right so that you can indeed solve it (and possibly also re-assemble it).
Added on 2020-07-11
Diniar designed a variety of different puzzles, and among them are some where you had to stack some discs in a way so that their common cutout form a certain shape, and this type of puzzle dates back to older designs from many years ago. The title for the following puzzle hints what that its shape should be: Symmetric Shape. Here the four octagonal discs with the regular n-gon cutouts should be stacked so that you can see a symmetric shape. The puzzle comes in a nice 3D printed box and when stacking the golden discs into the box, the dark blue background makes it easy to see the current shape arranged. As the cutouts are not placed in a symmetric manner, each disc has 16 different orientations (half of them by flipping the disc over). One of the discs seems to be symmetric, though. Disregarding the bottom one, this amounts to a whole 2048 different possibilities to try — or use a more systematic approach! So far I have been unsuccessful solving the puzzle, and this does not really seem the puzzle type for me. But it I like how it is nicely made in a box with decorations.
Added on 2020-07-05
Today's puzzle addition is one from Diniar, and it is a predecessor of the Gears go! and in some way a prototype for that one: Dinilock 4. It is one in Diniar's lock series that all resemble padlocks and of which so far only the first one has been published. The Dinilock 4 has the same disc mechanism like the Gears go! and the goal is to rotate the discs in a way such that they no longer interact with the blockers in the frame side, and the middle slider can be slid out. It also comes with some additional pieces that allow for reconfiguration and with these a different arrangement of discs can be set up and there is also another frame piece that has a different configuration of blockers. A fun puzzle to play with, but like Diniar also mentioned: It is quite easy, as there is not a lot of space to set up complicated challenges. Comparing with the Gears go! one can see that that one has a bigger grid and more possibilities for frame reconfiguration, which allows many interesting challenges, more than in Dinilock 4.
Added on 2020-07-04
The current pandemic situation restricts many busineses, and among them the escape rooms. The German escape room company Escapewelt started developing an escape room in a box that you could solve at home alone or with your friends, and it is basically a puzzle box coming with some clues on the box to be deciphered. The shape is that of an ancient pyramid, hence the name: Escape Pyramide. It comes in a nice packaging and arrived quickly (within Germany) after ordering. The clues are hidden all over (and beneath) the pyramid and give you the required information to open the combination locks included in this puzzle box. Overall, it took me around 30 minutes, and was a fun experience. There seems to be a help site on-line, but I have never visited that one, and instead I retrieved the prize from the pyramid: A small puzzle with a (German only) quote on it. This is the second escape room in a box I have, and I like both a lot, while they are completely different when it comes to shape and solution. A nice high quality puzzle to play with on an afternoon at home (for example) and for a very affordable price! While the instructions come in both English and German, this seems to be mainly aimed at the German market at the moment.
Added on 2020-07-02
After a first puzzle of this kind earlier, today's update shows the second in this series of highly symmetrical puzzles: Senemmetry II. Of course, the picture only shows the pieces and not the solution, and again there is a shape to construct with 6 symmetries to be found. This one seems to be a bit easier than the first, and it also has less pieces than the first.
Added on 2020-07-01
Today's puzzle is a recent auction win, and an entry of both the IPP39 Design Competition and Exchange: Escape From The Bastille. Originally this was planned as an Exchange for the IPP in Paris, where I also had a Bastille themed puzzle. The puzzle features an internal maze and one (or more) steel balls, which repesent the inmates and guards of the prison, and goal is to maneuver the steel ball in the oubliette (the dungeon) to the window labelled with "Liberté". On the way, has to find a key and navigate down a spiral staircase and a secret passage. Through the windows, there is some limited visibility of the maze, and there is also a reset feature, but this could also lead to an early end of the escape!
Added on 2020-06-30
My last June update features a puzzle by Diniar and theme wise it may be something for a hot summer day: Cool your Cocktail. The orange box resembles a cocktail glass filled up to the top, something red inside — maybe resembling a drink with strawberries? Then there is a single ice cube to be put inside. That ice is not really a cube, but oddly shaped and looks more like an irregular crystal. Not hard to imagine that it will be difficult to put it in. The red top of the box consists of three rotatable lids, and after figuring out the possible orientation of the ice cube, you then have to rotate the discs to make the hole the right shape and size for the iceberg to drop in completely. The solution I found looks like it should be unique and there is no space to spare and the block of ice slides in nicely without having to melt part of it first. Of course, getting it out is close to impossible, and then the quick reset feature comes into play, which allows you to remove the ice from the (now cooled) cocktail and set it up for the next victim. Of course, this disassembly is only to be used for reset, not for pulling out the discs and testing them separately against the cube to make things easier! A nice and very well themed puzzle, and definitely not too easy!
Added on 2020-06-27
Today's addition has been on my web site for a long time, even though I never owned one and only played with the puzzle at a friend's place. It is one from the compendium, and after a recent auction win, I am now able to put it to this main page and the n-ary puzzle group. The puzzle is an Exchange puzzle from an early IPP: A Slide-Ly Tricky Tower. It looks like Tower of Hanoi implemented as a sliding puzzle, and it comes in a nice packaging showing the London tower bridge with 3 towers (instead of the usual 2). The basic shape reminds me of both Tower of Hanoi and the Panex puzzle. Compared to the Panex puzzle, there is only half the pieces, but an additional tunnel below the towers that can be used to slide blocks between the outer two towers, while the middle tower position can be blocked during the solution. There red blockers coming in different sizes which can be used to restrict the tunnel to only some size range of the blue pieces, so that the larger blocks cannot use the tunnel any more. The two extremes are equivalent to some well known puzzle: Without blocking pieces, this is like a Tower of Hanoi (obeying the rules, of course!). With all blocking pieces added, it is like a one tower Panex. A nice puzzle and auction find! Operation is excellent with the three orange rings to move the discs precisely.
Added on 2020-06-24
With my recent order with MINE, there came also another puzzle I am putting on this site today: I won the lottery and like it seems typical for Japanese lotteries, things got more expensive and I could spend some more money for another puzzle: CASSOWARY. It is one of those cute acrylic coin traps with a lot going on inside. First, I thought it was just a bigger version of the early version I already have, but in fact, it is not only bigger, but also has more pieces, more steps, and a nice new coin from Papua New Guinea to be extracted. While the puzzle has the perfect size to put it into the pocket for bringing it to puzzle meetings, it came in a bigger and fascinating packaging, which shows the puzzle levitating in the middle and has some resemblance with Lego bricks. A nice puzzle and not too difficult.
Added on 2020-06-20
Diniar has re-used a mechanism of one of his puzzle locks in a puzzle box, and the result is: Choc Box. This one has a lid with three interlocking pieces that need to be removed to slide out the lid. After accomplishing this, and opening the lid (and a second lid below), a packging puzzle appears. 11 identical pieces assume the role of "chocolates" in this Choc Box and can easily be extracted from the box. As they are inedible, it is best to put these "cocolates" back into the box, and that is where the packing challenge starts. Those pieces based on a triangular prism grid only go back into the box in one configuration, and having done that, closing the lid and locking it for the next puzzler is the rest of the challenge. A nice multiple challenge puzzle, with different challenges of a puzzle box and a packing puzzle. At the moment, I am not sure which one is the more difficult one, but for me at least it is the packing puzzle, as I am not very good at them! A cute box puzzle coming with some extra challenges! The box is very well made in a sturdy fashion using a 3D printer. Once you have solved everything, all the pieces are contained in this box (but not before!).
Added on 2020-06-16
From MINE I received a package with some of the latest crazy packing puzzles included. The first three are from IPP39, and that includes some award winning puzzles in the Design Competition: 4L Basket won big time, with two of the top prizes, and I am happy that I can now play with it instead of the earlier solving attempts only in my mind without a physical copy to verify. Like the other puzzles from this package, it is very well made and fun to play with, and a certain German puzzle friend may be interested to hear that I solved it within my usual 15 minutes deadline (after having forgotten about all the virtual attempts from last year!). I am not giving anything away by telling that this will need rotations to put all the 4 L pieces into the basket. What I liked about this one may also be explaining part of the success at IPP: Nicely built, an easy to understand challenge, and with some analysis and trying it is possible to solve it within a good amount of time, and with some insights what works and what does not. This is also the only one I have solved already, the others are yet to be solved: The Tetra Spinner was also in the competition and looks a bit strange as a packing puzzle. A 2D frame to pack the tetrominoes in, but then there are two lids fastened to the frame with a movable screw in the middle. At the beginning, you can move the top/bottom lid arrangement aside to insert pieces, but the more you pack into it, the less space you have for both maneuvering the pieces and the lids, which makes it increasingly difficult to insert the colourful pieces. The Legal Packing is the only of the bunch that actually comes with the pieces packed into the frame. Here, a quote from a Japanese puzzle friend I was allowed to assist during his IPP Exchange many years ago describes the situation well: "But this is not a solution!" Indeed, these pieces need to be packed into the frame without bending, and the current configuration requires exactly this when removing/inserting some of the pieces. The other two puzzles come with two challenges each: Packing Puzzle 4P has 4 nice dark blue P pieces (hence the name) and the frame has two sides for the two challenges. For a moment, I thought the second challenge might be to easy, but it turned out that I was too "clever" and had overlooked something, back to square one! The last one, called POCKET, has a different arrangement: One frame, with a slot on the side to enter pieces, and two different sets of pieces. While the blue pieces look easy and regular, the others look a bit more chaotic, but maybe they will give more hints on the actual solution in the end, who knows? These are nice puzzles, and maybe because of their Japanese origin, they have low space consumption, which is a good aspect for collecting, too! Stay safe out there and keep on puzzling, and all best wishes to puzzle friends currently impacted by the current pandemic!
Added on 2020-06-14
A puzzle from Diniar from last year's IPP, which was used as an Exchange puzzle: Five Ducklings. This is a tray packing puzzle, coming in a nice 3D printed version that even features a lid so you don't loose pieces when transporting the puzzle. There are 5 ducklings, one of them a bit bigger than the other 4. At the beginning, 4 of them sit in the bigger pool, while the last one has its own little pool. Goal is to pack them all into the bigger pool (in a 2D arrangement). The puzzle is fun to play with and while I am not good at packing puzzles, I found a solution within half an hour or so.
Added on 2020-06-06
A brand new puzzle by Diniar is a puzzle box: Gears, go!. It comes nicely decorated and 3D printed in stylish black with some ornaments on the sides, and some red disc pieces on top. To open the lid, the circle puzzle needs to be solved — while also sliding the lid out (or possibly back and forth in between). The lid is blocked by interaction between circle pieces and the black blocker pieces sitting in the box frame. Once opened, other challenges with other configurations of red disc pieces and blocker stones can be configured, and for this the puzzle comes with many extra pieces and additional challenges. Actually, most of the challenges are still in development, but a variety of difficulty levels seems to be possible. The puzzle is very well designed and made, and fun to play with. It is also used as a storage space, and there is no space left any more. All the additional pieces nicely fit inside. That makes perfect sense of course: To set up additional challenges with the additional parts, you will need to solve and open the current one anyway.
Added on 2020-06-03
A nice sliding piece puzzle from Diniar, which is also an IPP Design Competition entry: Moon and Star. At first sight, only seven quadratic pieces in a tray, some of them with a second white layer on top, depicting a crescent moon and a star. At closer sight, there is much more to it and this seemingly trivial puzzle is much more interesting: While most of the moon shapes are cut so that their borders are aligned to the blue square pieces beneath, this is not the case for the top part, and that sticking out part soon starts interacting with the other white parts and starts blocking moves. Well, interacting with allmost all parts — as we all know the moon and stars are at very different distance from earth, so those won't block each other and just pass. The first challenge is to move the star two fields up, next to the moon, while maintaining the rest of the layout. Having done that, there are 4 more challenges, and it is a good idea to just continue solving those. First of all, because it is a nice puzzle and feels like you should continue, secondly because the goal position of each challenge is the same like the starting configuration of the next, so you can simply "run" through them without any additional setup moves. The puzzle is a lot of fun to play with and not too difficult, but requires some insight and strategy for the solution. It also comes in a nice tray that can be used as a lid, keeping everything secure when stowed away. A fun multiple challenge puzzle for an afternoon!
Added on 2020-05-30
Lego puzzle boxes are becoming ever more popular these days and there are several designers with Youtube channels showing their designs. These boxes have the big advantage that when you have the building instructions and piece list, you can get all the pieces yourself and build such a puzzlebox for yourself, and also modify it if you like. Of course, there are some rules: Disassembling the puzzle boxes by removing lego bricks (or other pieces stuck to the box) is not allowed, and some designers will allow you to remove exactly one piece as a tool. In my collection there are now two of these boxes: Mouse House is quite easy and has some discovery elements. Only 5 steps, but multiple tools are involved in the solution! When it opens, there is a prize inside, that can be heard rattling all the time, and the color reminds me of some cheese, fitting the name of the box! The The Yule Box has typical Christmas colours (hence the name of the box!) and requires 9 steps to find a crystal inside. The mechanism is taking up a lot of space, so there is not much room for the compartment and it is only a small crystal. Box boxes are fun to solve, and the Yule Box is a bit more difficult than the Mouse House.
Added on 2020-05-26
Diniar likes to create designs from various different classes of puzzles. Today a simple looking one, a symmetry puzzle: Symmetric Shape. There are some edges of the same length which immediately led to some assumptions, and this puzzle is playing with these assumptions. To avoid any spoilers, no further details are described here, just worth mentioning that it is a nice and not very difficult puzzle that plays with your expactations. After solving I put the pieces aside, and shortly after, I tried to reproduce the shape and failed. So this puzzle also has some replay value! A good puzzle to try even after a work day in the evening.
Added on 2020-05-25
The next one from Diniar is an Exchange puzzle from IPP35: H Slider. I picked this one next because it reminds me of the "My Tower of Hanoi", which was a fun puzzle. And indeed, there seem to be some similarities in how the solutions work, and the H Slider seems to be a bit easier to me. When solving the first challenge, I had some nice insights how a systematic solution can work, and could then extend this to solutions for the other challenges. The first challenge is to interchange the red and orange pieces. The other challenges have different starting configurations, and the goal configuration is always the same like the start of the first: red number sequence left, orange right. This is a great idea, as you don't have to remember any goal configurations, but just set up the new challenge and start playing until you reach the known configuration. I made my way through all provided challenges quickly, and then tried to solve some random ones, by shuffling them and then putting them into the frame in random order. It seems that unlike for the 15 puzzle, here all challenges can be solved. A fun puzzle, giving you some not too difficult entertainment for an afternoon, and indeed I did enjoy this one!
Added on 2020-05-16
A new puzzle from Diniar: Whirling Wheelies. This is based on the classic 15 piece sliding puzzle, and adds another layer. On most of the white sliding pieces, there are some red disc pieces mounted so that they can rotate. They are discs with one, two, three segments cut out, and these segments allow interaction with neighboring pieces. The blue piece is a bit heigher than the white ones and interacts both with the white sliding blocks and the red discs, and the goal is to maneuver this blue piece to the corner marked with the same colour. As a pure sliding piece puzzle, this would be trivial, but the discs add another layer (sic!) of challenge to it, making it a fascinating new puzzle. Like for others of Diniars puzzles, the frame can be opened, and this is not only for a quick reset feature, but also for using some of the additional pieces that come with it (an additional solid white block, and several of each of the disc types). That way, some other challenges can be configured for playing, which is a really nice touch and gives you even more puzzling fun! 3D printed in high quality, this puzzle is nice to play with, and in particular I like those disc interactions while moving the white blocks. Those discs are not only able to rotate during some sliding moves, it also seems to be part of the solution!
Added on 2020-05-09
From Diniar, I received an expansion of his Sliding Tetris puzzle, the Sliding Tetris Hardcore Expansion — thank you! This adds 10 more pieces to the set to a total of now 25 pieces. Challenges with these pieces can be built into the box for now 125 challenges with up to 46 moves to get the ball out. To solve these challenges, the pieces need to be slid around, making way for the ball to move in this dynamic maze, and to reach the goal position which is the square opening big enough to allow the ball to leave the box. If you are more a friend of packing puzzles, then you may like the additional packing problems. close to 30 different target shapes are provided, most of them to be assembled outside of the box (because they are much bigger than the 3x3x3 box), and each of them coming with several sets of pieces to be selected for this. Overall, many packing problems to be solved, and some quick counting gives a number of around 235 challenges in total. It seems that this is an ideal puzzle for the current pandemic situation and isolation, just in case you want to spend your time solving many challenges of a puzzle, and they can of course be played from easy to challenging difficulty.
Added on 2020-05-07
From the latest Cubicdissection offering: a box with a funny name: Where's my Hammer. Maybe a hammer is not the best tool to open it, but I playing with it a bit, I have already found some other "tools" in the box — if they are tools, and I cannot tell yet. Tilting the box, it makes some interesting clicking noises, so something is going on inside. A beautifully crafted puzzle!
Added on 2020-05-05
After travelling quite some time from Florida to Germany, today a puzzle from a colleague and friend landed in my mailbox today: Swiss Cheese Puzzle. It is a tray packing puzzle where you have to arrange the four pieces of cheese in a way that also the mouse will fit into the square tray. Funny idea! Why would one pack a mouse and a cheese into a square box, but of course we all know how it works with mice and cheese! Only five pieces, and a mouse that will fit into the hole created by the half-holes in two adjacent pieces of cheese, should not be difficult? Well, when solving this puzzle, there is a nice Aha! moment that made me laugh out. I am not going to write any more, not to spoil the solution! A nice puzzle and very well made, I like it. Thank you!
Added on 2020-05-04
On Star Wars day a parcel with two boxes from Japan arrived, with two beautiful boxes with the theme "five": 5 times 5 times 5 is an extension of Iwahara's x-mas present and therefore in compendium and n-ary puzzle group. This time, the 6 panels move in one sequence, while in the previous one, the sequence was split into two groups of 3 panels. The Assymetric Cube -5- continues Kawashima's series of Bar cubes, and this box has some really nice Aha! moment.
Added on 2020-05-02
From my friend Diniar I received a package with some of his latest puzzles and also some older, yet still fascinating ones. While the current ones are created using some modern 3D printers, earlier models (like some of my IPP Exchange puzzles) were created using acrylic sheets and a laser cutter. Unlike my usual process of putting the puzzles all onto my web page here as soon as they arrive, I will put these puzzles up one by one, and after I had the chance to play with each of them a bit. The first one is maybe one of the oldest designs, from 1935, and a take on the classic 14-15 puzzle: Dustin. This puzzle has 7 peanut shaped pieces of two circles (AKA numbers) combined, and a single 15 circle piece. Unlike a regular sliding piece puzzle with pieces of length more than 1 and with a 1x1 gap, where most moves are blocked, this puzzle allows many moves by also rotating some pieces while sliding them. Pieces can slide around corner here and this changes their orientation between horizontally and vertically, and two such turns may even turn the numbers upside down for the piece. The goal is to find a sequence of sliding moves from the starting configuration shown to the usual one, running from 1 to 15 line by line. I have already tried it a couple of times and ways, and the fascinating thing is that for me always one piece ends up upside-down (i.e. two numbers swapped) at the end. Looking at some permutations/transpositions and their sign/parity it looks like this should indeed be a possible challenge for a regular 14-15 puzzle, but these peanut pieces add another layer of complexity. Hordern's book also lists this puzzle and says there are several different solution, but does not list a solution, so I should keep on trying!

Update: Solved! It was a nice and interesting solving experience and a trick seems to be required for the solution.

Added on 2020-04-24
Last weekend and this weekend, there would have been two nice puzzle meetings, which are not possible at the moment for obvious reasons. Instead of visiting them and buying puzzles there, I have now puzzles coming to me instead: From Pelikanpuzzles some of the latest puzzle gems that will soon be available from them (some of them already available!): Euklid For Kids is a nice packing puzzle of three blocks and a box with a restricted opening, and one idea behind the design was that I should take more than 15 minutes to solve this one. I received a prototype from Dr. Volker Latussek to try, and recently I picked it up and solved it within 15 minutes. BUT before that, for a long time I was not able to solve it and was quite confused what should be wrong with the puzzle (or me?) and I was convinced that these pieces would not fit into the box. I even took some measurements to confirm. Good that I proved myself wrong recently, and this production run version is of course much more beautiful with those nice colourful woods! From the last run of puzzles, I ordered a Pincers, which is not shown in the solved configuration here. Everything needs to be inside the box, nothing sticking out. A similar scheme is the base of the following 3 by Osanori Yamamoto, where all pieces need to be inside their boxes, and also cover the holes completely, showing a cube shape inside: Pumpkin 1, Triple 3, and Triangle Cube 3. The last one has some nice contrasting woods and is a new design from Belgium, from Lucie Powels: Rota #. I am curious to see if this name has anything to do with the solution. Of couse the # part refers to the target figure to build. Skipping the Cube Day, I also took a look for some new Constantin boxes, and at the Knobelbox web shop I found them and received them in their usual very fast way: Flohcircus probably has most parts of the solution going on on the lid, but the bottom has also an interesting feature and you can see from the picture that it just wont stand upright. I must admit that I mainly bought the Piano Box for the looks and topic, but then it also turns out to have a nice solution, and I won't mention more here to avoid any spoilers. When I first saw the Polaris Cube, I was wondering what kind of puzzle this is. Turns out it may be a "evil" relative of the Skewb, a Skewb that does not want to perform Skweb moves in the cubic configuration and with some extra edge triangles. Actually, there is a Skewb with extra edge triangles I have been playing with a lot, the Twins Cube, but they work a bit differently than on this one here. Time for some famous last words, like this one being easy to solve?
Added on 2020-04-04
From Sweden a small but heavy envelope arrived, containing one of the latest trick locks, just released last week: Her Key to the Treasure. The story is related to the Titan's Treasure Puzzle Lock by the same designer, and the presentation is great: It comes with a nice 3D printed stand to be assembled and to show the picture of Titan's wife, searching for the key in her "purse". The purse is a little Abloy lock with an unusual key, and of course the lock has been modified, so it will not open with the key only. I have already found some steps and a tool, but I guess that there will be more steps to be found until the key to the treasure is to be found. A great lock puzzle, and I am looking forward to solve it!
Added on 2020-03-25
Today a parcel with some nice new puzzles arrived from Puzzle Corner: After Puzzle Box 05 and 06, now the missing Puzzle-Box 04 in this series was available, and it comes with two wooden keys on a rope. Of course, one main question is whether these keys are part of the solution. Having solved the box already, I will not disclose the answer to this question, just mention that this box has a surprising new mechanism and is fun to solve. The second puzzle for today is one of Keith Winegar's sequential discovery puzzles with jigsaw puzzle piece shapes: Paper Clip. Not overly diffiult, but a nice puzzle to solve. The third one is roughly based on the Astrolabacus puzzle: Bananacus. Playing with some 3D printed prototypes at DCD, now I can play with a production version of this sliding ball puzzle.
Added on 2020-03-19
Today two beautiful wooden puzzles arrived: The first one containing a level 16 burr from a new craftsman: Premiere — the name tells it, it is Terry's first build, but then it is a bit misleading because he has been designing puzzles before, which were built by others. Now Terry has started building his own puzzles, and I was lucky to win a draw to buy one of these puzzles (like in the famous Japanese puzzlebox lottery, where winning costs you a lot of money and gives you nice puzzle boxes in return!). This first build is a beautiful one with great craftsmanship. A six piece burr in a strangely shaped frame, looks like this will be fun to solve, and at that level, it should be doable.
The second one arrived in the afternoon, and for that one, I had the chance to play with one before at DCD, and immediately knew I wanted to have one: Phoenix Family. This is a burr set for experts, or should I say "extreme puzzlers"? Unlike other burr sets to build 6 piece burrs, this is one for building many of the highest level standard 18 pieces burr currently in existence, and it contains the world record holder Supernova, and some other named ones like Burrly Sane for Extreme Puzzlers, Tiros. Jack has beautifully crafted this set and a nice storage/presentation box, which also contains overview cards for six named burrs and six unnamed burrs, all of these of level 134 and above. Again, the name of this puzzle is a bit misleading, as the original Phoenix burr is not included, but a note telling how this puzzle started it all. The lid of the box contains a beautiful phoenix inlay, so there is a phoenix involved indeed! Of course, only the selection of pieces is listed on the cards, and not the long solution sequences. For me, building these burrs from this information only and without help would prove an impossible task, but using Burr-Tools for the assembly and then trying to disassemble them is difficult enough. Just yesterday, I revisited the BSfEP and even those 152 moves to remove the first piece of this known puzzle are a good challenge and offer some training for what is to come with this set. Jack has built this beautiful set in a nice size, and it is only roughly double the size of the Premiere (and that includes the box), so this is also a very space efficient way to play with high level 18 pieces burrs. This will take me busy for quite some time, I am sure about that! This burr set has 45 pieces, not only 18, but certainly deserves a space (if not several of them) in the 18 pieces burrs group.
Added on 2020-03-18
Diniar sent me his latest invention, the Blindbox. This box completely made from 3D printed parts, in two nice contrasting colours, and features one dark frame, one central box with a lid (the actual box to be opened!), four lower maze sliders, and five upper maze sliders. Three of the upper maze sliders come mounted to the slider holders, while the four lower ones embrace the central box and interact with the upper maze sliders, a bit in a way like in the award winning Mazeburr-L. There are two extra upper sliders, and then also some extra challenges that can be configured. Goal is to run through the maze and extract everything from the frame, while the upper sliders interact with the lower sliders, and the lower sliders are restricted in their movement by the central box. A fascinating concept! The box arrives in a challenge with 25 moves for solving this one, and this is also also the maximal number of moves in the challenge set, difficult challenge to be solved first! Only after that, the box can be opened and reconfigured with a different challenge. Aside from the restrictions imposed by the central box moving together with the lower sliders, another aspect makes this puzzle challenging: Part of the maze is hidden inside the frame, hence the name of the box. A nice puzzle box, if you ask me, and very well designed!
Added on 2020-03-14
After the puzzle with many moves (including resetting the puzzle yesterday), today a puzzle of about the same size arrived and with around 14989 moves less, but each move / step being much more complicated by its own. It is a heavy puzzle and has a great, solid appearance: Popplock T12. The latest one of the Popplock series is a bit smaller than the legendary T11, and again with a key (this time one solid piece), but no visible keyhole. I am looking forward to solve this one, and I will take my time to enjoy the solving experience, and I guess it will take some time and headscratching anyway!
Added on 2020-03-12
The parcel the post man brought today caused a lot of work: Aleksandr did it again and after the Black Bow-Tie, he created another cylindrical puzzle based on an existing n-ary puzzle and taking the number of moves to a crazy yet playable level. After the slightly more than 13000 for the former, this one is only one move short of 15000: Vertical. As you can see from the pictures in the compendium entry, I took the challenge to run through the whole sequence to disassemble it. From the beginning on, the pieces move nice and easily, which allows for quite a pace when solving the puzzle. The sequence is systematic and when putting the puzzle down for a break (which you will need!), it is quite easy to determine which should be the next move. Of course, there is still enough opportunity to be confused and run into the wrong direction for some moves, but in the end, this is a puzzle, and it should have some challenge to be solved! A great puzzle, high quality in 3D print, and I enjoyed running through the sequence, and also like the colour scheme. More info can be found in compendium and n-ary puzzle group. Now it is time to re-assemble, but I think I will save this experience for another day, as 14999 moves (and some more) ought to be enough for one day!
Added on 2020-03-07
The first March update is no new puzzle, but about solving one. Another interesting excursion took me to the Burr Zoo group page, trying to find some spiders hidden in a block of wood.
Added on 2020-02-29
An update on February 29th is something special. This date only occurs every 4 years, and then there has to be something to be added to this gallery on this date. Seems I had a Feb 29 update before, in 2012, but that was the correction of a name, so today the first puzzle update with new puzzles on leap day. The puzzles added today travelled half around the world and are from the inventor of the framed 6 board burr (with two groups of 3 pieces). This time, we have three puzzles with two pairs of pieces each: Pinned Framed Burr S, Pinned Framed Burr M, and Pinned Framed Burr L. The pieces were made a bit more complex than one would expect from the outside, with the help of Juno's CNC Router. Each of the pieces has one or two pins and a maze, and puts these puzzles somewhere onto the border between maze and burr puzzles. Craftsmanship and movement is excellent and the pieces move easily. At the high number of moves for the first piece, a lot of chance to get lost inside these mazes quickly! There are some instructions coming with the puzzle, but they will not help you when lost in the maze, but seem to be aimed at the consumption and entertainment of the customs office, describing in detail what to do with the puzzles. The only downside is that these puzzles have sold out already, but that does not affect my playing with it, does it?
Added on 2020-02-14
From the US another puzzle arrived which is not available in the European market yet: True Challenge. Under a different name, this one won a Jury Honorable Mention award at IPP38 and is a puzzle with a new concept. On one hand, a twisty puzzle, where colored segments in two rings can be rotated around the equator of the puzzle and a half turn of the whole puzzle along an orthogonal plane is possible. The objective is to solve these colored segments, but in a way that all the magnets of adjacent segments attract each other, like shown in the picture. Three magnets are embedded into each segment and they produce some nice clicking sounds when turning the segments pushes them outwards and inwards again. A clever design idea!
Added on 2020-02-13
After finding a star in the Mindanao last week, it is now time for the first snow (star crystals) this winter. Not outside, of course, it is too warm here, but imported from Plaza Japan: Cast Snow. This is the latest of the famous Hanayama Cast series, and this time it is an easier one than the ones before, and a beautiful one! While this has just been released to the market in Japan, it will take a few more months for the regular world wide release. Solving the puzzle is a fun experience and consistent with the 2 star difficulty rating. While not being too difficult, don't expect the puzzle to be trivial, there are still some twists in the solution (literally) to be found!
Added on 2020-02-05
The latest of the fascinating pocket sized puzzles from the Philippines arrived today: Mindanao. It has a black and dark brown colour scheme, and it is slightly bigger than the others, but still pocket size. This one came without the usual sticky tape securing pieces from falling out, so I am guessing there are no such pieces that will come out easily or by accident. Not a lot can be seen from the outside, just a hexagonal white window, and a strange hole on the back side. However, tilting the puzzle is something that may lead to the first insight, and in my case it did. Soon afterwards it turned into a sequential discovery puzzle, and I can only guess how this mechanism is implemented. It has mulitple steps, and several interacting elements. Without completing I returned the puzzle to its original state for later examination, and to see if I can understand what may be going on inside, but then I was surprised to see that the strange hole on the back has changed its appearance. Seems I did not return the puzzle to its original state after all. From what I have seen and found so far, it is a great puzzle with some nice new ideas, some Aha! moments, and I am curious to see what else I will find. Not too quick, to enjoy the solving process a bit longer! Of course the screws and nuts are off-limits for solving the puzzle, but knowing the others that should be self-explanatory. A fascinating addition to the series, and I am curious to see what I will find in this puzzle and how the series will continue!
Added on 2020-02-01
No new puzzle today, but an extension of the Burr Zoo group page, about an excursion to solve a whale related puzzle.
Added on 2020-01-21
When looking at the IPP38 Nob Yoshigahara Design Competition, one entry was puzzling me. A shiny metal puzzle, looking very well engineered and a bit in the style of Wil's usual big boxes. However, knowing Wil, I was not aware that he had released a new design without telling anybody, and the inscription "J. Keegan" hinted that there must be a new designer in the puzzle scene. When it had become available and after hearing some positive feedback, I went to join the waiting list, and today a big shipping box arrived, and in it a nice wooden box, containing the: Jewel Thief. The puzzle comes with an instruction card made out of anodized metal and some additional extras, including a stand for the Lego Jewel Thief, to display her once she has been freed from her prison. The puzzle itself is also solid and massive, and seems to be as well made as the images would suggest. I am curious to give it a go, and it will be interesting, because it also includes some form of riddle solving. Seems like an escape room aspect. Probably this will take some time to solve, so let's put it to the backlog list — but more to the top of the list of puzzles to be solved, so the Jewel Thief is freed soon.
Added on 2020-01-18
In recent years, Volker Latussek became famous for his packing puzzle designs, and also published some puzzles where one had to match highlighted sections of wooden blocks while packing. In today's update, there is a Design Competition Entry having some similar constraints, to arrange pieces while matching parts of them: Mesh. Here, the matching parts are press studs and their sockets, and the goal is to arrange the puzzle into a 4x4 grid and closing all the 16 studs — not like shown in the picture, can you find the mismatches? After some initial trying of 15 minutes, I have made some interesting observations already, but without solving the puzzle. That will take a bit longer, I guess, and involve more analysis. A nicely made puzzle and fun to play with.
Added on 2020-01-09
On the way home, I could today pick up Juno's latest sequential discovery puzzle box, sent from the Pluredro shop directly to me: Ring Case. It is a cute beauty and the size is very friendly for collectors as well. The description on the web shop said that this may be something to befriend partners suffering from your puzzle collection activities, but after solving part of it, I strongly advise against using this box to propose. That may end up in a desaster! Removing the lid involves some nice sequential discovery steps, but then .... The ring inside looks expensive, even though it has no opal in it, but that is not the problem here. Like some other ring bearing boxes, there is a different challenge. Well, you get the idea! From comments I read from other puzzlers, I am not the only one looking to solve this challenge. This box is very well crafted and at the moment there still seem to be some available in the shop.
Added on 2020-01-07
First parcel of the year came from Hong Kong, directly from Meffert's, with a new golden puzzle: Golden Dodecahedron. This one is based on the Skewb mechanism, like the Golden Cube by Tony. While the overall structure and shape make look like a Skewb mod with triangles and squares, it is still a confusing puzzle. There is a nice click mechanism, but when the pieces click into place, that does not mean that the puzzle is in a solved state, or even close. Actually for one of the rotating axes, clicking into place means that the puzzle is definitely not solved. A consequence of this is also that you have to be very careful when picking up the solved puzzle — grabbing the wrong layers and the puzzle will rotate easily and escape your grip. What I like best about this puzzle is the nice solid feel, and the looks: There are cuts that look like you could turn the puzzle, just to notice that these cuts slightly change direction from piece to piece and will not allow any turn in this configuration at all.

Just noticing that the names of the Karakuri x-mas presents have been published, these have now been added to this site and one of them also went into compendium and n-ary puzzle group.

Other/Older updates:
Can be found on the update history page

Hints:

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.