Extremely Puzzling - Goetz Schwandtner's Puzzles - History

News/Updates:

Added on 2020-12-31
Last update for this year are two nice 3D printed puzzles, but of two different categories. The first one is an interlocking puzzle, and not too difficult: Knotty 6. It is nice to see what is possible with 6 identical pieces. The next one has more than 6 pieces, and not all identical: The Lost Duckling. One of them is bigger than the others, and another one is in its own little pond, and the goal is to join them all in the big pond, with the little space that is in this one, and that challenge is not too easy.
Added on 2020-12-26
After all those plywood puzzle builds, back to some beautifully 3D printed tray packing puzzles: Farm Fencing shows you a view of a farm, with all sorts of animals (and other farm parts) on the green meadows, and I like the various colours appearing on the green background. There are some brown blocks representing fences, and you can see that only the horses have been locked into some paddock, while all the other animals are free to go where they please, and also to leave the farm. This is not a very feasible situation and the puzzler's task is to pack the pieces into the tray enclosing all animals with fences, and that means that the frame border is not to be used as part of the fence. Of course that would not work with the fences already visible, and hence the pieces have back sides with some more fences or fences in other arrangements. The other puzzle is also a picture from the outside world, but not with any grassland, or even land: Arctic Puzzle. Here, seals have settled on some sheets of ice on the Arctic sea. Of course these sheets of ice would be moving over the time, and so the challenge here is to dump all the pieces out to simulate that, and then pack them into the tray so that no seal is cut into pieces, which would mean a big bloody mess on the ice! Both puzzles are nicely 3D printed and have some additional decorations on the outside and back of the box.
Added on 2020-12-25
Yesterday afternoon, before the start of the Christmas festivities, I had some time for another relaxing box kit build project: Casket Floral Fantasy. It is a bit like the bigger brother of the Casket I built yesterday and features a sliding piece puzzle on the lid, to be solved to open the box. This was also the feature why I bought those two box kits in the first place (from German shop Knobelbox.com). Again, the instructions did not leave any questions open and the pieces were all cut out well so they would come out of the plywood boards easily, to be assembled into this nicely decorated box. The sliding piece puzzle features a 22 move solution if I have counted correctly, and so far I have not found an alternate solution yet. Unlike the smaller one, this one has many different sizes of sliding blocks, and some of them are even bolted to the lid so that they cannot move at all. This is a nice puzzle, also considering the good price. Having some experience with these boxes, I recommend an additional tool for assembly: Some small pliers, to be used carefully to prevent any damage. Your fingers and hands will be thankful for this kind of support!
Added on 2020-12-24
Yesterday evening and this morning I built two more of the plywood box kits, and these are from the EU and the Ukraine, and this country seems to have a whole industry of wooden kit manufacturers. The Mystery Box is the bigger one of the two and features three locking mechanisms and comes with a key. Of course, not with a visible key hole. The first step reminds me a bit of a certain Karakuri box from years ago. The second one is much smaller: Casket Secret of Tiger. To open this one, you have to solve the sliding block puzzle on the lid, and there seem to be multiple solutions. Of course this is not the first one with such a feature, there are some classic boxes from US craftsmen and German designers which also feature a sliding block puzzle to open the box. This is a nice and easy box, and quick to build. Both box kits come with detailed instructions that don't leave any questions open, so that the build is a relaxing activity.
Merry Christmas to all puzzle friends all over the world and have some great holidays! While the current situation is quite strange, hopefully next year there will be puzzle meetings again, let's look forward to that.
Added on 2020-12-23
This update features some tray packing puzzles, all beautifully 3D printed, some of them even with colourful decorations on the bottom of the tray. The Ocean Puzzle features creatures of the sea on pieces with rectangular shapes and varying numbers of corners. What makes this more interesting is that some of the fish were cut into pieces when arranging the packing blocks, and of course they all have to be joined again. All pieces are double sided, and in some situations you may need to flip some of them over while packing. The second one fits the current season quite well: The Forest Puzzle contains double sided pieces with trees, and these pieces look a bit like Tetris pieces and larger variants. Unfortunately, when going for Christmas trees, someone has chopped some fir trees in the middle and left them there. The puzzler's task is to pack all the tectonic (?) plates of the forest into the tray and ensure all fir trees are up and well again. And this is not one of those vanishing puzzles where we end up with more trees than before! The third one is an interesting variation of the theme, as it comes in multiple layers: Save the Rainforest is trivial as a tray packing puzzle, as it only contains one layer of 1x1 blocks with trees and some with fire on them. However, that is not the puzzle, just the challenge to be arranged according to the problem set. Also included is a set of laminated one-sided pieces with trees and fire squares on them. A challenge consists of a certain subset of those laminated pieces and an arrangement of the blocks in the tray and the object to cover all the flames with trees. Of course, the paper pieces cannot only be stacked on top of the blocks, but also onto each other, and as all pieces contain at least one fire square, something special (but no folding!) is required.
Added on 2020-12-22
In todays update there are two updates in one, both about plywood puzzle kits from NKD Puzzles in France. Those come in laser cut boards and are very well prepared, but you still have a lot of work/fun to build them using a lot of glue, some sanding paper and wax. Today I built a sliding piece puzzle: Pyramido. This is actually the second pyramid puzzle from plywood boards I have, and this one is basically a 3x3 sliding piece puzzle. Of course, you first have to figure out how to turn this pyramid into the puzzle with 8 sliding pieces and also find a mummy on the way. Then there are several challenges to arrange the pieces into by sliding, like a small pyramid and two triangular buildings, an antique theatre like arrangement, and an "inside out" arrangement. While this was the smaller and easier build for today, yesterday I had already build a massive puzzle with roughly double the number of pieces — and finished too late to put up an update, the Scriptum Cube. This box is a lot bigger than the Silver City puzzle box by the same company and massive, much bigger than one would think from the picture. There are two compartments to be opened in sequence. The main compartment is locked by a combination lock with a complicated mechanism involving all 4 side panels, and the other compartment is a hidden one inside with two locks. Of course, no brute force guessing is required for the combination lock, but the puzzle box contains some hints on the combination. A tricky build, but the instructions are easy to follow and are documenting the build well. Beside the laser cut plywood boards with all the pieces to be punched out, this kit also contains some verneer requiring slightly different handling. Of course, after building the box, you will know how the mechanism works, but that is the case with most puzzle box kits. It is satisfying to see all the progress during the build and in the end you also have a nice puzzle box.
Added on 2020-12-19
In today's update a 3D printed puzzle with dovetails: Dovetail Cage. This one was designed by Oskar and just today he presented this puzzle in a Youtube video in a version in 3D printed wood. The version I have is printed in 3 nice colours and its assembled state, it is a stable cage with a 2x2x2 cavity inside. The puzzle comes apart in two "halves" and then the rest can be disassembled easily. Assembly from the pieces is a different story, of course, and you have to make sure that all the dovetail joint parts are properly aligned to slide together.
Added on 2020-12-18
Rex is well known for his pocket size acrylic sequential discovery puzzles, and here is the latest one: Sanib, which was available via Cubicdissection. With these gray/white colour scheme it looks a bit like a tombstone, and it has a ghost inside. The Halloween theme goes on: Not only is it the goal to exorcize the ghost, but starting with the puzzle, I have already found a tiny skeleton key and three tiny tombstones. I have not yet solved it, but it seems a lot is going on inside. There are six layers of acrylic plates stacked here, and then there is that hole on the back that looks like a keyhole of some sort. A lot of nice details, and I like the look of that ghost in its prison and I am looking forward to solving this nice puzzle.
Added on 2020-12-17
Today another one of the box kits finished, and there will be more in the next updates: Box of Septon. This box is made from laser cut panels with some decorations and even some golden stars, and it opens by sliding all the 7 sliders to the middle. Of course, these sliders don't move freely, but have to moved in a certain sequence and they are blocking each other. The kit is well made and not too difficult to assemble and after assembly is ready to play with.
Added on 2020-12-16
Today a nice 3D printed packing puzzle from a designer not yet present in my collection: Eight Crosses. Michael is one of the main guys on the Mechanical Puzzle Discord, has a Youtube channel, and also designs some puzzles. This puzzle comes in a tray with a lid, and 8 pieces to be packed into the tray, so that the halves of the 8 crosses are joined to form the eight crosses mentioned in the name. Usually, I am quite bad at such packing puzzles, and it takes me ages and a lot of luck to solve them. However, for this one, I seem to have had the right idea today, and after putting some of the crucial pieces into place, one after another the pieces would then find their way in to join the partial assembly nicely, and within a minute or so, the whole puzzle was solved. And I was very puzzled! It seems that this puzzle is well designed and does not necessarily require brute force computation, but some good ideas and then the positions of the crosses can guide you to the rest of the solution. This seems to be a packing puzzle for me! After solving the puzzle, I quickly worked out a way how to enter this into Burr-Tools, and that program confirmed to me that there is only one unique solution. Of course, there are mirror images of the solution, as the pieces are identical on both sides and can be flipped over (and the whole assembly being rotated). That aspect could lead to higher difficulty, and before solving I ensured that I mixed the pieces thoroughly and also flipped over some of them randomly. Just checked and it seems that I still have other challenges with 0 to 7 crosses joined to go. Let's see how those will work!
Added on 2020-12-14
This year, the Karakuri x-mas presents came in early. As usual, no name or solution coming with, but they come in their typical boxes which makes it possible for me to tell which one is by which designer. The first one, X-Mas Present 1, is Iwahara's latest work and it has a nice smell coming out of the box once the cardboard box is opened. It looks like this one has more than one compartment to find, and like some previous ones it has a drawer. The second one is Kawashima's latest box: X-Mas Present 2. It comes with a little note that you should look for the stamp (AKA Hanko), and this also hints that there is more than one compartment to be found. Both of these boxes are beautiful and very well crafted and fun to play with.
Added on 2020-12-12
On the WWW, there is also the Printable Puzzle Project (PPP) web site offering some very nice designs for free, for 3D printing. Two of these from Yavuz are in today's update and are modifications of the classic 6 piece burr deisgn, and of course neither of them has six pieces: Bandido is a six piece burr with a cubic core inside, but this core has also some cutouts allowing for additional moves and complexity. So the solution of this puzzle does not take place on the surface of the cube only, but some pieces also move into the cube a bit. Actually, the structure of that cube is that complicated that also one of the burr pieces is tightly locked to it most of the time. The Basket Burr has only 5 pieces, with two of the burr pieces being glued into the base of the basket. With 3 of the burr pieces having the standard C shape, this is an easy puzzle, but fun to play with, even purely as an assembly challenge. These puzzles on the PPP web site seem to be fun and I am looking forward to some more of them.
Added on 2020-12-09
Today I received a little dumpster in the mail, and some pieces to dump into it. It is one with those swinging lids that make it extremely difficult to stuff more into it when it has already been filled to some extent. Of course, this is a puzzle and the dumpster is a little box with a swinging lid attached and the stuff to put in are 5 triominoes/tetrominoes: Dump Them. So far, I have not succeeded in solving this puzzle, but I have only tried for some minutes, but longer than for the other two from the series. So, surprisingly this one seems to be the most difficult of them (at least for me). It is well printed and I like the look of the materials and colours fitting the topic perfectly. It is an interesting challenge and some first analysis ruled out a lot of cases already and gave me new ideas that all did not work so far. Let's see when I can get this little dumpster problem solved. I am not good at packing problems, so it may take a while.
Added on 2020-12-04
Today two more 3D printed puzzles, and two more with dovetail connections, like the Dovetail Soma Cube: Dovetail Cube and Hermaphroditic Dovetail Cube. The name of the second one is a bit bulky, but looking at it, you will quickly see why it is called that way and how those two cubes differ, and Oskar also made a video about the second one. They even have a different level: For the first one, a group of pieces can move (only in one direction!) and then another piece comes off that group. The second has a binary dissection scheme: First, two halves can be slid apart using only one of the three cutting planes. Then each half can be slid apart into two quarters each, again only along one of the cutting planes. Finally, the quarter can be separated into two eights. Rather than being complex puzzles, these are nice implementation of various kinds of dovetail joints in interlocking puzzles, and they are also printed nicely colourful!
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.

Added on 2019-12-30
Today there was a nice private year end puzzle meeting and we had greeat fun. From my friend Dirk also attending, I received his IPP39 exchange puzzle, which I only had as a prototype before: Chinese Soft Ring, which I incidentially had nominated as one of my top three new puzzles this year. Now I can combine the two to add additional challenges to be solved using all four metal rings. Of course, this means disassembling both puzzles before. The puzzle is part of the compendium and n-ary puzzle group, where more details can be found.
Added on 2019-12-23
Today the latest puzzles from Cubicdissection arrived. The first one is an old design from 2002 now available again: Secret Burr. Like the Ball Bearing Burr, this one has some extra pieces inside that need to be navigated before the first of the burr sticks can be removed. This burr is nice to solve once you have an idea what these moves may be, and several of the special moves are required to disassemble. The Confetti Box is the latest of Eric's box designs and looks very interesting, and I have found the first piece to remove already. When removing this, another mechanism is unlocked and then an interesting mechanism is unlocked. I wonder how the rest of the solution will look like and what the name of this box is about. I just cleaned up from the styrofoam peanuts that came in that parcel as well!
Added on 2019-12-18
Today I completed the remaining puzzle box kits and built two nice little puzzle boxes: Chinese Torture has two layers of sliders on each of the six sides, a fascinating concept and making it difficult to solve. Helter Skelter has more of a traditional look and mechanism and quite easy to solve. Then a parcel arrived with some puzzle boxes that have been assembled and built by master craftsmen from the Karakuri Creation Group: The christmas presents I ordered beginning of this year. X-mas present 2019_1* looks like a typical design by Iwahara, a cubic box and probably some complex mechanism interacting with the panels inside. The box has three light and three red wooden panels, and this should not be due to the available woods available in the workshop, but more likely a hint for the solution. The other one is X-mas present 2019_2* and immediately looks like last year's present by Kawashima, but of course the solution of that one does not work here. Four nice boxes for one day!
Added on 2019-12-16
The next box kit to be assembled is from the same company like the Mini Punk yesterday and works in a similar way: Assemble the pieces interlocking by their structure and glue. It is the bigger Silver City. Assembly was fun, but took a bit longer than I thought. The box consists of two symmetric halves, and each of these halves is symmetric again, so that basically most parts occur four times. In the manual, one starts noticing this when the magical "2x" or "4x" icons appear that make you start over with the second part again. The mechanism works well after assembly, and this box reminds me a bit of a Coffin puzzle: To join the two halves on closing the box, one has to be careful with the alignment to slide the parts together, and when opening it, one has to think about where to put the fingers to be able to pull it apart. After unlocking the locks, that is! A great DIY puzzlebox, and certainly an advanced one.
Added on 2019-12-15
Some time ago, I ordered myself some more puzzle box kits, to be assembled when I would have some time. Yesterday, I started building the boxes, and the first two of them have been completed already: Antique Box is a box assembled without any glue, but a fascinating mechanism. It has eight compartments and the first six of them open simultaneously and that is more an interesting mechanism rather than a puzzle. The last two are secret compartments to be found and to be opened, too. The other box is a smaller one, with a bit of a steam punk look: Mini Punk. To open it, several interacting mechanisms need to be operated to unlock the lid and open it. This box also has a coin slot with an extra cover. Both boxes are fun to assemble, and come with detailed building instructions, and the mechanisms of both boxes work nicely.
Added on 2019-12-14
Today two small and heavy parcels arrived from different countries in the world: Lock'd In from the US, with a new puzzle lock shaped puzzle,, which also participated in this year's IPP. However, I would not advise to use this puzzle as a padlock, because that may get you into trouble. The other one is from Israel: Fun-Lock. It is a new variant of the TRIP puzzle lock from many years ago and comes from the Feldman's, and it is fun to solve — as the name suggests. Both puzzle locks are very well made, work nicely, and are fun to solve.
Added on 2019-12-13
Yavuz Demirhan recently offered a whole range of packing puzzles. They are all beautifully made from wood, and include some acrylic restricting the opening of the packing box. In general, I am not too good at solving packing puzzles, and these have the additional challenge that most likely the pieces will have to move around a bit after packed into the box to allow enough space for the others to be inserted. From the whole offer, I chose about half of them, which looked interesting to me: Snake Pit No 1, Snake Pit No 2, Mushkila No 3, Mushkila No 4, Quadro. From what I have seen so far, for each puzzle there is exactly one shape of pieces (or mirror imaged pieces), and this shape occurs multiple times. At least one does not have to worry too much about exchanging pieces between positions in the process, as each puzzle only has one shape. However, The Mushkila seem to be an exception: Still same piece shape, but two different kinds of wood, and in the end you are supposed to create a nice pattern. Cute puzzles, and I am sure it will take me some time to solve them all!
Added on 2019-12-10
A surprise arrived from my puzzle friend Michel. A surprise because I did not know about it, and because it is a new puzzle: Senemmetry. After thinking about the goal a while and playing with the pieces, I found the solution, and it looks beautiful, and it is not shown in the picture of course! It looks nice also because of the 6-fold symmetry! A fun puzzle, thank you Michel!
Added on 2019-12-09
Today another IPP39 puzzle arrived, this time one from the Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition: Drawer Box IPP+ edition. It is not the same model like at IPP, but an improved version. First, I had no idea how it would work, but then I managed to start opening drawers a bit and was quite surprised. A cool mechanism, possibly inspired by a certain Japanese box, but then completely different. It even has a coin inside and even features a little sequential discovery element. A cute box and and great puzzle, and nicely decorated and making excellent use of the 3D printing technique!
Added on 2019-12-07
A puzzle related to IPP39 arrived today: The B-LOCK II. It is a very well made trick lock based on a Nabob lock, and it features a new trick I have never seen before. It was fun to solve and to figure out what was happening durinng the steps to open the lock. A great puzzle lock, and currently on offer via the etsy shop, too!
Added on 2019-11-30
Today I went to a private puzzle party a friend had organized, to meet some puzzle friends, solve some rare puzzles, and also to add some puzzles to my collection. When I came home, an order from NowStore was waiting for me with two of the latest twisties; Six Spot Cube is a puzzle with some similarity to the Ivy Cube, and it is nicely made and does not seem difficult to solve. The Bamianti Cube II is a face turning octahedron where the edges turn together with the faces, and therefore part of the twisty octahedra group. After these new puzzles, a vintage puzzle, and a noisy one: Twelve Edges. The metal pieces make a lot of noise when playing with the puzzle, and it does not seem trivial to disassemble. The other puzzles were all built by our host Bernhard: Pushbutton Burr was a Design Competition entry and I asked myself what was so special about it. Well, it has a lot of buttons and you have to push them in the right order for disassembly. It came with everything assembled aside from the button pieces, so it was a partial assembly challenge. As you can see from the picture, I have managed to assemble it, and now it will require pushing some red buttons before getting it apart again. Pushing some of these 10 buttons in the right sequence is fun, and I seem to understand why the puzzle was submitted to the competition. The rest of the haul are some more of Andrew's Turning Interlocking Cubes (TICs), and the first two also part of the Design Competition FantasTIC and PedanTIC. The others are new, and some of them I haven't seen mentioned before: LunaTIC, CatharTIC, KeyTIC, and MajesTIC. A lot of interlocking puzzles with many moves, and for none of them Burr-Tools will be of any help (aside from maybe finding possible assemblies).
Added on 2019-11-26
Today a an early birthday puzzle came from Meffert's, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its own design next year: Crystal Pyraminx. This puzzle is transparent to me in several ways. First of all, I know how to solve Pyraminxes and they are not exactly difficult puzzles. And secondly, the puzzle is of shining brightness when you look at it, and you can look inside and through it. A bit like puzzle pieces made out of diamonds. It not only looks nice, but has also the clicking mechanism we know from the Pyraminx making sure the pieces are staying aligned.
Added on 2019-11-23
From Australia, from Pluredro, a new puzzle arrived: Grooved 6 Board Burr #4. It is a 6 piece board burr, no sequential discovery puzzle, or puzzle box, just a burr. However, it is a nonstandard 6BB, with grooves and pins. It is the 4th in the series and bigger than the previous ones, and it is also a hybrid version of the placement of pins and grooves we have seen in the previous ones. It is very well made, looks nice and moves easily. Will be fun to solve, but also a challenge, at this level!
Update: Having solved this puzzle (complete disassembly and reassembly), I like this design even more. The moves enforced by the various pins and groves are unusual and fascinating. Similar to earlier puzzles in the series, one piece has to be parked in a position where it would just fall off it it was a regular 6 piece board burr. The grooves come in linear form without exits and some in angled or even cross shaped form, and while some of them pose the challenge to get the pin out, others actually help to understand where a piece will move within the solution while newly entering a pin into a groove. 28 moves with all kinds of restictions do not make the puzzle easy, so that during my first solve, I was suddenly surpised: How did that piece come out of the puzzle? A quick analysis showed that it must have been the intended way, with a sequence to leave a groove just a few moves earlier. Getting the piece back in and the puzzle into starting configuration was another challenge, and then I noticed something that would make this easier: Like for the previous one, there is a complex rotational shortcut, so that the same first piece comes out after 8 moves already, including two rotations, and one angled move. I consider this an alternate solution, which is also fun to find, and determining both solutions make it a nice challenge. After complete solve taking apart the puzzle into all six pieces, and back again, I disassembled the puzzle once more to confirm my soltion with Burr-Tools, and it seems I was spot on with my approach. A fascinating puzzle, and maybe my favourite of the series so far.
Added on 2019-11-22
From Pelikanpuzzles some of the latest, beautiful, wooden puzzles arrived today. They are some more of Osanori Yamamoto's ingenious packing puzzles (but with an interlocking component of some level) and some of Klaas Jan Daamstra works. Belt Cube 3 and W-Windows look like some of the other packing puzzles released recently, crafted from beautiful woods, and coming unassembled of course, so the challenge is to pack the pieces into the box, covering the holes. The Rattle Twist V is the 5th in the series, and the first few are well known from past IPP Design Competitions. The Little Hug is a cute puzzle, and the "little" in the name is to be taken literally! The Little Trick is a bit bigger and features three pieces in a frame. Five nice looking puzzles, and I am looking forward to solve them all!
Added on 2019-11-14
Today a parcel arrived with three beautiful and well crafted puzzle boxes inside. The first two are an extension of the current series: Small Box 3 - Nope Box employs many magnets and has some sequential discovery elements as part of the solution, and it just looks beautiful with the lacewood body. The Small Box 4 - Paradox Box reminds me a bit of Eric's first cigar box. Both of these small boxes come in a nice size and are fun to play with, and not too difficult to solve. The Lift Box is just a tiny bit bigger, but part of the regular box range. After quickly discovering that there is a lid that can be taken off, I have gotten nowhere so far. I made a discovery telling me what the final goal may be, but how to use the lid and how to apply the lift from the box' name? This one is going to be a much bigger challenge than the small boxes I would guess. Three nicely made boxes, and they are also in the perfect size to fit into the cabinet after playing with them.
Added on 2019-10-30
From my puzzle friends at Mr Puzzle Australia a parcel arrived after having travelled half around the world. The main reason for my order was Brian's new sequential discovery puzzle: ages. The central Customs Office had correctly identified the contents of the package as wooden puzzle, which may also be due to the detailed instruction sheet in German and English — a surprise and great service from down under! The instruction sheet details what can be done with the puzzle, but does not contain any hints at all, and no solution. What looks like a six piece burr or nine piece burr on closer inspection exhibits some other features, which are metal parts that can be seen through some of the seams. Locks and sequential discovery is included in this puzzle, as is a good sense of humor. After one of the first moves I tried, a piece slid out partially and a smiley face appeared. Should this be a dead end, or is it teasing me to follow this path to the solution? Time will tell, I am sure! The puzzle is nicely made and has a great size, too, which makes it stable and not too big for my shelf space after solving (The instructions explain that after solving it can be displayed for decorative purposes!). The next puzzle is much easier to understand, but also a famous one that received a price in this year's design competition at IPP39: Cast Rotor. This latest Cast puzzle has only two pieces, so how hard can it be? Well, a common misconception for a difficulty rating, and it took me already some time to find a first usable move and will surely take some time to solve. The other two are puzzle boxes from the inexpensive price range: Plum Blossom is a variation on the theme of classic Chinese puzzle box designs, and contains a drawer and two more compartments to be opened. This does not seem trivial, as it even comes with a tool (wooden stick). The last one has a funnly look like a trasure map: Caribbean Pirate Treasure Puzzle Box. It is rattling inside, and may that be the treasure to be found or part of the mechanism? As a puzzle box, it has quite an unusual look, that is for sure! Now I have some new puzzles that are waiting to be solved, as if the other recent ones weren't already enough of them, a lot of fun guaranteed! I am progressing slowly and steadily, latest solve being the Bracket Holes with a very interesting solution.
Added on 2019-10-24
Today the yearly visit to the Essen games fair "Spiel" was carried out and while a good deal of the day was dedicated to the ever growing selection of board and card games, there were also some puzzles, and the Constantin fair booth provided the main part of this. The first one is a new box, that looks somewhat familar: Six Keys Box, and comparing with puzzles we know, it should indeed go into the compendium and n-ary puzzle group. There is a subtle difference in the mechanism how this box and the Six Bottles puzzle work. This box has a more compact mechanism, not requiring one of those long sliders actings as synchronizing piece. The Five Symmetrical Shapes is a "make a symmetrical shape" puzzle, and while selecting one of the pieces for the first challenge, the other challenges are much more difficult. The Bracket Holes is an exchange puzzle from this year's IPP, and being such, I had already played with it, but not have not solved it yet. The task seems simple, but the additional holes in the bottom of the frame hint that there is more going on than just usual packing. The next four puzzles are trick locks: Trick Lock* looks and behaves a bit like classic German designs, but with something new. The Trick Lock Heart* has some nice decorations which are surely more than just decorative. The Trick Lock* could be used as an alarm system as well: When opening it, it produces as nice and bright ringing sound. The Trick Lock* is a variation on the Indian locks with many keys, but here some new key shapes have been introduced. This lock is quite heavy and sturdy and the pointy tip may allow to (ab-) use it as a weapon. From Hendrik's Puzzle-Shop, I got the BaiNiaoChaoFeng Megaminx, which is from the same theme and make like the cube with the similar name (which I had to copy&paste not to misspell it). It should be a fairly simple puzzle to solve (famous last words!), even though I don't believe the packaging that tells you that the puzzle is for ages 3+. The packaging also tells you that the faces can be rotated by 360°, which I don't consider a special feature for a twisty puzzle (even though there are very rare custom made puzzles without this property). The rest is written in Chinese, which I am unable to read and comprehend. The ClueBox was offered by their manufacturer on the fair, and it is the first time they use a box as a kind of ecape room. Like in an escape room, you have to find tools (e.g. keys) and clues, and follow the trace of clues to reach the final goal, to free Schroedinger's cat, which has been forgotten in that box after the creation of the famous experiment. Wait, wasn't that only a mental experiment? Maybe, and there is no real cat in this box, too. It is too small to be the home for a cat, even for a small one. However, it is a good theme for a great journey, which may or may not be considered a puzzle box! A great puzzle haul for a great day with lots of interesting games, people, and conversations!
Added on 2019-10-23
Today a parcel from Austria arrived with two real beauties inside. The Spheres was Stephan's entry in this year's IPP design competition and won him a prize. While I cannot tell much about the actual puzzle yet, which still needs to be solved, the craftsmanship is excellent. The puzzle came packed in a way to contain most of the pieces, but with no possibility to close the lid. Six pieces (of two mirror imaged shapes) and 3 balls need to be packed into the box so that the lid can be closed. We are leaving the usual area of rectangular piece packing puzzles here and are adding three spheres. The other puzzle is Dubstep, which was published on Puzzlewillbeplayed earlier this year. An 18 pieces burr in a frame, and with a very high level, which adds a new level section to the 18 pieces burrs group. At 82 moves for the first piece, this one will be quite difficult to solve, and take some time. After a few moves only, one of the pieces is sticking out of the frame only to be held by one layer of voxels, and my guess is that this may very well be a dead end.
Update on 2019-10-19
Another update already, but no new puzzles again! I have quite enough new puzzles to be very busy solving for the moment, and I have only solved about a handful of them. Today, there is an update about such a solve, about an interesting puzzle made from wood with a 3D printed piece inside. After Alfons had mentioned that, I was particularly interested to see how this looks like and how it works, so I went for solving the Lion King 2 puzzle. You can read my report in the Burr Zoo group page entry.
Added on 2019-10-17
Today some fascinating puzzles both from the IPP Design Competition (2010 and 2018) and the same Designer: Namick Salakhov. Globular Embrace 4 Rings is a puzzle consisting of four rings (or two pairs of identical rings), which can be assembled using a sequence of different moves, some of them obviously rotational and making use of the circular shape of the puzzle pieces. It is a nice puzzle and stable when assembled, and can easily be picked up without any piece shifting or falling off. This one was one of Namick's design before he started with the n-ary puzzles he is well known for. The next one is from the compendium and n-ary puzzle group, and a IDC entry of this year: Sluice and Ships 6:5/N12. It resembles a sluice with 12 ships in it and they are trying to move to the upper chamber to be able to leave the sluice via the upper opening. This one reminds me a bit of the Dispersed GC Lock from a few years ago, and indeed the sluice gates also have a spring mechanism that allows only certain ships to pass, and depending on the help (more technical: configuration) the other ships can provide. The puzzle comes with an additional block that can be put into the left end of the middle chamber, to change the size and behaviour of the puzzle, which is then called 3:5/N12. These are actually parameters describing this puzzle: 12 ships, the left gate is 6 ships (or 3 ships) wide, the right one 5 ships wide. For some more technical details and statistics, please look into the corresponding. compendium entry. It is a great puzzle and fun to play with and I like the mechanism working very well. If you are up for a greater challenge, then you can try the reverse challenge, to start with the board with ships outside the chamber and then getting to the bottom chamber as a goal. Then you have to decide at which point in time to move each ship from the top chamber to the middle (no need going back, unless you made a mistake), and to continue with the sequence. Unlike real sluices and ships, the cute ships in this puzzle will travel back and forth between the bottom and middle chamber a lot during the solution sequence. A very interesting puzzle!.
Added on 2019-10-16
This October has been very busy puzzle wise, an update nearly every day since last Wednesday, and there are more to come. I already have some special puzzles coming from the IPP Design Competition that deserve their own update, and this one is planned for tomorrow — who doesn't love a cliffhanger every now and then? Look forward to tomorrow's update! Today's parcel came from Pelikanpuzzles, with some beautiful wooden puzzles inside, from two famous designers. The Peamaru was part of the Design Competition this year, and won Volker Latussek a prize. It is a challenge simple to understand, just building a structure that will sit on the table without falling apart, and where the red dots touch in pairs. The pieces are quite big and very well made, which is good for the stability part of the solution. Only when you try to match the red dots, you will notice that all nicely more or less brick shaped solutions will not work and you will have to try something different. Ten minutes and an Aha! moment later, and there is a piece of art sitting on my table, and stable it is. A nice puzzle and a good difficulty level for the IPP DC. The other two are by Osanori Yamamoto. While Crystal Ring is one of his well known packing puzzles, like the Petit Pack from earlier this year. Just pack the three pieces into the frame so that both holes are covered. Easy? Well, that is to be seen! The Bisect Frame 2S is more a disassembly puzzle, and already the first moves show some unusual interactions between the frame pieces, but are the correct moves among them? With the precise fit of this puzzle, even these four pieces only may be able to conceal a required move.
Added on 2019-10-15
After some boxes coming from DCD (and not yet solved), more boxes appeared from the US. They were accompanied by one of the fascinating TICs, and I was surprised size-wise in two ways. The TIC was larger than expected, and the boxes smaller than expected, they are cute! The puzzles are: BioTIC (in pieces at the moment, will need to be assembled to be solved, and that is a real challenge at 28 moves with 9 of them rotations), and the two boxes: Small Box 1 - Window Box and Small Box 2 - Aha Box. All nicely made and the boxes came in nice little pouches.
Update: The BioTIC is now solved, which took a little more than an hour. A nice puzzle with some easy pieces and some very difficult pieces requiring some rotations. It can be solved by analysis and experimenting with the pieces and is a fun challenge to solve.
Added on 2019-10-14
The next update is coming already, with an a nice acrylic/wooden addition to the compendium and n-ary puzzle group: After the Ternary/Quinary Cube, the Septenary Cube. This one contains 4 acrylic boards in a box, and an additional block with a pin running through the mazes. It seems that when all boards are at the end positions, the pin can be extracted and then the boards be taken out. A clever solution!
Added on 2019-10-13
This weekend was a weekend of some long and very exciting days, when I went to the Netherlands to participate at the Dutch Cube Day (the biggest European Puzzle Party) and some private puzzle parties. A lot of meeting old and new friends, including some from Canada and the US, a lot of puzzles to play with and a lot of nice chat. I even witnessed some brass monkeys assembling their new "medium sized" puzzle prototypes, involving many rubber bands, helping hands, and even a hammer. Of course, I could also bring some puzzles home for my collection, and some adding entries to some of my group pages: 18 pieces burrs group and Burr Zoo group page. Of course the latter one needs to be updated when I have solved the respective puzzles and can provide a tour of the solution and some inside pictures of the zoo related contents. There may even be a third group page to be updated, but that has yet to be determined. The new puzzles are:
15 Interlocking Quads, the giveaway and joining in with the craze of unusual jigswaw puzzles (Yes, there are now some jigsaw puzzles on this page, but only very special ones! And this one has only 15 pieces and multiple challenges, so it should be OK). The first visit was to Alfon's tables to collect some pre orders and some others that are particularly interesting: Friend with a shield, Polidoor, Spidernest, Waltzing Whales, Lion King 2, Six Pack 2, Try Me, Try Me 2, The Box. Some of those are even calling out to solve them, so I had get them to try them. While all these are made from beautiful woods and now have their names engraved with a laser, there is one exception (Try to find out, it is documented on this web presence somewhere!) of a 3D printed piece, printed by Alfon's new 3D printer. He also had some purely 3D printed puzzles, like the Kruispunt. Puzzles of such 8 parallel boards are usually quite difficult even at low level, and look at what level this one has! Thanks for offering me these nice puzzles, they look beautiful!
The next two are from Jean-Claude Constantin's latest works and Wil had some of them, which are unmistakenly the new style, but unfortunately, I had to guess some names. The Rainbow Colour Box* is a small puzzle box, and then the Rainbow Colour Lock* is a hefty wooden lock that is no good for your credit cards and alike — very strong magnets! One of the magnets escaped when I dropped it, and I had to collect it from some metal part of my sofa at the other end of the room! Then there are some Siebenstein Puzzles Hendrik had for offer, and two of them are more puzzle boxes, in the series I already have: Puzzle-Box 05 and Puzzle-Box 06. When seeing the Tresor on a picture, I was immediately intrigued after having solved the traditional design "Combination Lock" a lot earlier this year. There seem to be some similarities, but also notable differences. The second puzzle looks a bit like a Panex or The Bell puzzle, but there is no completely empty column at the start: Samurai, and possibly multiple solutions. Makoto had some Benno's Magic boxes for offer, which I hesitated to order earlier on and now got a second chance: Companion Box, Dice Box, and Answer Box. In such a big haul with many burrs and puzzle boxes, I also managed to sneak in a twisty puzzle (for the Cube Day Theme) at last: 2x2x3 Minions, one of the easy puzzles made for a promotional campaign. A great weekend and a great puzzle haul!
Added on 2019-10-10
Rex Roxano Peres is well known for his pocket sized sequential discovery puzzles with a trapped coin to be released as a goal. The latest one is Visayas. This one is an exception in the series, as there is no coin inside to be freed. Instead, the goal is to "Unlock the star", and for this some parts of the puzzle need to be manipulated, but leaving the screws and nuts alone. There is a tool to be found that will serve to unlock one of the locking mechanisms, and this step is a particularly nice step and demonstrates how well designed the pieces are. Several locks are to be opened before unlocking the star, and the first one is the most complicated mechanim of them all. The puzzle is very well made as usual, and I like the screws, which make it possible to open the inside of the puzzle after solving, to see if the deductions about the mechanisms are correct. For these deductions, some parts of the mechanisms can be found by careful observation, so no blind guessing is required, and also no banging. A nice little puzzle and a great extension of the series, and not an easy one!
Added on 2019-10-09
What if there was a Dogic like puzzle, but in octahedral shape, not in icosahedral shape? Then this would look like the Hexic. The name of this puzzle is also supporting this hypothesis: While the Dogic has twelve tips, this puzzle has six of them — the rest of the argument is related to greek number words. Custom built as a 3D print with a regular cube in the center, and adding many magnets, this puzzle looks, feels, smells(!), and also moves very nice. The magnets ensure that not only the tips, but also the 2x2x2 corners click into place and everything is perfectly aligned. Like the Dogic, it is an easy puzzle, but does not pop like the Dogic. In fact, the pieces are held in place firmly, which I noticed when playing with it. During scrambling and solving (as a 2x2x2 with additional tip triangles), everything worked as expected, only that I accidentially tried some Diamond Skewb moves, which do not work, and are probably due to a lot of Skewbing with the Twins Cube recently. The Hexic is a great puzzle and fun to play with, and the latest addition to the twisty octahedra group!
Added on 2019-10-02
From Hong Kong, from Nowstore, one of the latest twisty puzzles arrived: Twins Cube. It looks like a Skewby Copter Plus and is indeed very similar, only that it has the extra cuts from the Curvy Copter Extreme. If they had been released in a different order, I may have skipped these two puzzles and directly bought the Twins Cube. To summarize what this twisty puzzle features and what it makes it a great puzzle: It works like a Skweb, then it works as a Curvy Copter, and even as a Curvy Copter Plus with the separated centers, and then it has the split edge pieces allowing extra moves including a simple sequence to swap two edges. This will confuse anyone solving this as a Curvy Copter (plus) only! Of course the special moves based on half Skewb turns and then edge turns, as demonstrated by Kevin in the video on his Puzzlemad blog, are also possible. This puzzle has a lot of moving pieces and moves surprisingly well, and offers a lot of possibilities. The only thing that it does not have even though it looks like it: It is not a 2x2x2 cube, and these 2x2x2 cube like cuts are only to separate the edges via Skewb turns. So far, I have scrambled and solved it as a Curvy Copter, then as a Skewb, and the next challenge is to go for something more complicated, probably leading to a crazy shape shifting puzzle over the time!
Update on 2019-09-18
Recently, I have been implementing some technical changes to the Compendium of Chinese-Rings-Like Puzzles. They can all be found on the big and ever growing Puzzle list page. The first change is a graphical overview with just the pictures on one page in compact form to quickly find a puzzle accessible via a link on top of the page. The second change is a bigger change: The puzzle list can now be ordered by various fields by clicking one of the links above the table on the page.
Added on 2019-09-18
Today I could pick up a package containing my "win" from a recent auction. The biggest puzzle inside is a beautiful wooden puzzle by Jerry I had been looking for for years, and never won in an auction: The Fortress This one fits nicely into my Quadlock collection, but is more massive, and also seems to have a more complicated mechanism than the Quadlocks, even though lock picking seems to be required. Looking at it, the name does not seem too far-fetched. I will add some solution parameters when I have managed to solve this one. The second one is a variant of the standard puzzle of the compendium and n-ary puzzle group: Catacombs. It is the first one I have with an even number of rings, and quite a high number. I should really have calculated the solution length before disassembling it, but luckily the solution sequence is simple and well known. This version is a nicely made heavy duty version, which may make it unsuitable for speedsolving in one of these competitions I have recently seen on the internet. It very stable and does not bend requiring more careful alignment than for a cheaper version. The next one looks like it is also one for the compendium: Devil's Halo. However, that is not the case, as it was designed by James not to be a binary puzzle, but to have an other solution (more details to be found in his Puzzle Museum). It is quite an old puzzle from 1974 and the arrangement of the loops makes it quite confusing compared to the binary standard variant.
Added on 2019-09-17
Today a parcel with a beautiful wooden house in it arrived. It is a small house (but quite big for a puzzle) for a small fairy, the Puzzleduck Pastures. It comes with a cute story narrating that Lil' Ms Fairy Pants has moved to a new house with many mechanical creations inside, but has managed to lock herself out. Not visible on the picture, but I have already managed to find the fairy and she is indeed locked out of her house (or rather to the outside of her house!). There are many moving parts that can be found on this box, but so far I have only found one interaction between two pieces to unlock one mechanism, far from unlocking the main door. The whole concept of the fairy door started some time ago when Mike Toulouzas made a fairy door and sent it to the IPP34 design competition, where I remember solving it with a lot of fun. Then, later on Shane Hales built the Goblin's Box in this theme. Now this new puzzle by Kel followed, and it seems the common aspect of these is to open the door for a fairy (or goblin). I am looking forward to see what awaits me when I open the Puzzleduck Pastures.
As a side note, I have quietly updated my compendium with an additional feature for easier navigation. You can find it on the upper part of the compendium puzzle list page.
Added on 2019-09-12
Earlier this year, Eric Fuller started a poll on facebook whether his some of ideas for puzzle box mechanisms should go into several smaller boxes, or one bigger box with all the mechanisms included. Most of the puzzlers including myself went for the one more complicated box, and meanwhile this box was built, released, and arrived today: Escalating Puzzle Box. It has beautiful looks, and indeed it is not a trivial box. Several mechanisms are to be opened, and it helps if you know others of Eric's works. While the first step is quite obvious, it is followed by some more difficult steps quickly. The next mechanism has some visible parts and after some analysis it becomes apparent how it may work, but there is more to it. It seems that there are some additional pieces built into this one that can be heard when shaking the box and moving the corresponding panel. However, the precise layout and operation of this mechanism still eludes me, even after I have managed to solve the then following last mechanism (some more rattling pieces, but also visible hints if you are really observant!), and have opened the box a couple of times now. There is something to that second mechanism still to discover! It is great that Eric has indeed combined these several mechanisms into one box, leading to a very interesting puzzle, with a lot of fun to solve. Aside from that mechanism mentioned, there are even some visible hints for the others, making the solving process even more enjoyable. As usual, operation and craftsmanship of this box is top notch, and at the moment there are still some available on the Cubicdissection website for order.
Added on 2019-09-10
A parcel from Russia, from Grigorusha's etsy store, brought some pentagonal prisms. All of these look like one side of the corresponding dodecahedral puzzles and that is where they got their names from: Slim Megaminx, Slim Gigaminx, and Slim Teraminx. All three are SLS 3D printed and move nicely and are very stable, well suited for playing with them and solving them. While I like to solve a Megaminx from time to time, these three will take considerably less time than the corresponding dodecahedrons I have, and they all come in a cute size, good for the display case as well. Unlike in the pictures, now they look all colourful and scrambled and are waiting to be solved.
Added on 2019-09-02
Today's puzzle addition is part of the ever growing compendium and n-ary puzzle group. Looking back to the beginning of the compendium, I was not sure if three digit identifiers would ever be needed, and this is now entry 207 already! This new puzzle is Black Bow-Tie and a brand new design by Aleksandr Leontev, who is well known for some other puzzles in the compendium. However, this one raised the bar with the number of moves even further, to a whopping 13122 moves, with only 4 moving pieces. Only 4 moving pieces and a maze, that sounds a bit like a Kugellager (which had one additional piece to be precise), and indeed this one is like a 9-ary Kugellager. Just in this case, the maze is on the inside of the sleeve, so you cannot easily see what to do next, but have to work out the sequence. With such a long sequence, there is a lot of opportunity to learn the sequence and at some point the moves can go quite fast. Luckily, I did some training on the original Kugellager and the Ternary/Quinary Cube in the past few days! The Black Bow-Tie is very well made from 3D printed pieces and some post processing, and there is no doubt where the name comes from. Actually, having those two black pieces is really helpful when solving the puzzle, and it has an excellent size to operate. Some more details of this puzzle are in the new compendium entry.
Added on 2019-08-30
Today some of the latest puzzles offered by the New Pelikan Workshop (Pelikanpuzzles.eu) arrived, all made in the usual nice craftsmanship and woods. The package did not contain the "Dunant", but only because I already received this one earlier, otherwise it would have been part of my order without question. The first two puzzles arriving look similar to some I already have by the same designer: Petit Pack looks like the Pack 012 from last year's Design Competition, but this one seems to be a bit more difficult. The Rattle Twist III has a name describing obvious features of the puzzle. Once you move the pieces out of their initial position, they can start twisting inside the frame, and there is some rattling going on, but only on a very limited level due to the excellent tolerances of this build. The last one is Party and a three piece burr sitting in the middle of a half open frame, by a different but well known designer. Also this one has nice tolerances and initially one of the three sticks can move, the others are securely held in place at the beginning, giving the puzzle a nice stable feel. I guess the name will become more apparent when solving this one, maybe some party dance for burr pieces?
Update on 2019-08-25
As mentioned below, I have been working on a puzzle leading to an update, and here is the updated compendium entry. This is about the last of the Corn on the Cob disentanglement puzzle series, and while others of this series took me much longer to analyze and solve, this one is the only one I have not solved completely. The structure of the solution is simple, so that is not the problem but the number of rings is, as it is similar to a Chinese Rings puzzle with 16 rings, and going to the Compendium and looking up the entry for the Chinese Rings puzzle, this will give you a formula for an estimate of the number of moves for this puzzle. This estimate is 43690, and depending on how you count the moves in the Corn on the Cob VI, the number of moves is quite close.
Added on 2019-08-22
Today I went shopping to the local customs office, and came back with three packages, or at least that is how it felt. Each of them is relating to a special group: The first one is relating to the twisty octahedra group, which I initially created because those octahedra were so rare once, and I am impressed how many more there are. The latest one arriving is a custom built one: Leaf Octahedron. After ordering it from their etsy store, ThePuzzleArtists made a great job creating this puzzle, which seems to be based on a mass produced core (4-Leaf-Clover Cube), and it is actually a hybrid of two puzzles: A 2x2x2, and (who would have guessed after some recent web site additions!) a Curvy Copter/4-Leaf-Clover cube, combining face turning and edge turning in a nice way. While FDM printing is not the top notch method for twisty puzzles, this one has an excellent quality, which may also be due to some surface handling and a lot of magnets stabilizing the 2x2x2 moves and leading to a nice clicking movement. While the 8 different colours on the octahedral faces makes it a trivial 2x2x2 to solve (i.e. always solved), the edge turning moves add some challenge. It turns out that not only jumbling moves are possible, but also some new moves of this kind, where even petals and centers interchange places, almost like in a Curvy Copter Plus.
The next puzzle is one of a very big and prominent special group on this page: compendium and n-ary puzzle group. The Ternary / Quinary Cube is a design by Aleksandr Leontev, and while we were discussing such puzzles earlier, he asked who might be able to actually build a series of one of his puzzles. It turned out Johan did! The puzzle comes in a standard configuration of all ternary, and can be reconfigured to use quinary mazes (and also mixed base setups as Jack found out, details in the compendium entry). The look and feel of the puzzle is overall very nice, but Johan gives two warnings, and both of them seem to be appropriate: Never disassemble completely, and some pins are very close to the edge of the blocks, so one has to be careful. A very interesting puzzle and made from nice and unusual woods.
The third group does not have a dedicated page here, but it is more a puzzle for the reader to find out all members: The IPP39 Design Competition entries. After IPP39 was over, Brian offered the IPP39 IDC entries he had built, and there is even one top 10 vote getter amonst them: Hat Trick makes you wonder how these pieces should all fit into this box, with the strange T-shaped slot. The pieces of Rules of Attraction come in a nice pouch, and this is for a good reason! They are made of "magnetic wood" and as soon as they land on the table, they will come alive and will move around like by magic. This makes the task of building a stable cube not exactly easier. The Cover Up explains the objective in its name: Just cover that one light piece with the others. Looking at Somaa, not only the name seems to be slightly off, but also the dimensions. Knowing Brian's skills, it is quite obvious that this is no mistake, but part of the design and a feature making it more difficult to form the cube (now cuboid!). I am sure that all these puzzles will keep me busy for a good while. Actually, I have another update on an existing post, but this post today is long enough already. Let's get back to puzzling!
Added on 2019-08-20
There are many new twisty puzzles appearing and I got two of them from Hong Kong: The Mini 6x6x6 is really mini size compared to the original Verdes cube. The Curvy Copter Extreme is a new variation on the theme involving the Skewby Copter Plus. The Curvy Copter Extreme is a hybrid of a Skewb and a second puzzle. Looking closer, one will notice the missing corners, and is it actually a hybrid of a Skewb and a 4-Leaf-Clover Cube. There are some more cuts making it look like a 2x2x2, but actually these work completely differently. If the edges are rotated to align these cuts with one of the Skewb cuts, then this edge can be split into two halves, and with this, it is quickly possible to interchange two edges, or do some other fancy moves. The special Skewb-Curvy-Cupter shapechanging moves are also possible for this one.
Added on 2019-08-17
This morning a parcel with a cute puzzle box in it arrived, and very quickly this time. It contained Jack in the Box by Jesse Born. This is the second box I have in my collection with this name, and while the other one inherited the name from the designer, this time a deck with playing cards (containing some jacks) is in this box leading to the name. Having the right size to hold this card deck, this box is beautifully made, especially the Yosegi inlays including the spades symbol. This one is easier to open than the other boxes I have from Jesse, and it is a fun solve! A great little puzzle box!
Added on 2019-08-15
Today a parcel with some of Eric Fuller's latest works arrived and contained two beautifully made puzzles: Harun Packing Puzzle is a packing puzzle by Volker Latussek, and knowing some of his designs I was interested in it, even though I am not an expert in packing puzzles. There are two simple piece shapes, and six pieces of each, and from the calculation of the volume, they could fit in there, leaving some extra space. I made a first deduction about this extra space and how it may be distributed, but so far the puzzle has stopped my attempts to find one of the two solutions. It is fascinating how difficult a puzzle with such simple pieces can be! The second puzzle is the Cam Box Improved. As written in the description, there are some sliding panels ready to move once you start playing with the box, but then these obvious moves don't lead to an open box. Having solved this box, I like it a lot and I am looking forward to other box designs to be released by Eric in the future.
Added on 2019-08-13
After some detour in Germany, today a package arrived from Wood Wonders with some of the latest TICs and a puzzle with an interesting frame shape. The one with the interesting frame shape is Bouquet, and not only the frame looks interesting, but also the burr pieces. These are unlike the usual sticks, but have an offset in the middle, and this all leads to a nice level of 23 moves. The others are two TICs by Andrew Crowell: For the X TIC, the puzzle came nearly assembled with one piece outside the puzzle. The pieces have quite distinguished shapes making it easy to determine which goes where. While trying the complete assembly, I did not find the original solution with the 3 rotations, but an alternate solution: The last piece goes into the puzzle in a diagonal move (straight move along a around 30 degree angle), then performs one rotation, and everything else comes together without rotations. This is not uncommon for rotational interlocking puzzles, as we are missing the means of an exhaustive search for solutions of those, like there is for the non-rotating interlocking puzzles. The MysTIC is still unsolved and what separates me from the solved state is a clearly illegal rotation which is just not possible, and may break the puzzle. So this one may take some more time to solve. All three puzzles are made from beautiful woods and have excellent fit.
Added on 2019-08-10
Today an even smaller parcel arrived from Sweden, just big enough to contain a padlock, and indeed that was inside: the brand new Titan's Treasure Puzzle Lock. It is a trick lock, but the goal is to get the Titan's treasure out (and locked up completely again afterwards), and there are some tools involved, so it is clearly in the sequential discovery category as well! The first tool to use is the small part of the broken key, and the bigger part of the key is glued to the instructions and just decoration, not to be used for solving. Of course the treasure is not big, as it has to fit into this lock, and also the tools are small, but very well made and they work nicely as they should. When solving this lock, I did not only discover additional tools, but also a trap that was mentioned in the advertising video. It was an additional challenge to get out of this trap again (with the provided tools) and I believe no solve is complete without figuring out how to escape this trap! Having solved this lock (both the opening and closing part), I am amzaed about how many steps this little lock contains, and that it can be solved by careful deduction — and some dexterity with the small tools. It is an awesome lock and in case you would like to accept this challenge too, you may want to head over to the designer's Etsy shop. I am curious what we will see from this designer in the future.
Additional update: After taking months for the previous one, I completed the solution of the Corn on the Cob V within a day, and it seems much easier to me, and a great puzzle. Some details of the solution are now found in the new compendium entry.
Added on 2019-08-10
Today a small parcel arrived with some of Aaron's latest creations. They are all disentanglement puzzles and all of them look very interesting, and will probably not be easy. Several of them feature the little clasps that can be unlocked, but while for earlier puzzles they were used as a quick reset mechanism in case something had gone terribly wrong during the solving attempt, now they are mainly used to set up different challenges. The Mammoth is the first one, and has such clasps for choosing between different challenges. The rope is quite long, and since the length of the rope is usually measured to fit the solution requirements, this tells me that Mammoth is a difficult puzzle. The next two only differ in the position of one of the additional connector and marble: Scissors I has this attached to the bottom ring, while Scissors II to the top ring. Grenade I is another mulitple challenge puzzle and for the first challenge, you have to remove the rope and marble completely, making it look like a more friendly puzzle for the beginning. While the other challenges look more difficult, it seems that Grenade II looks like an additional, more complicated challenge of the previous puzzle. In this case, the rope has been connected to form a double loop, which is not possible by just using the single rope from the first puzzle. Also, you may notice that the wooden ball is now sitting on the main frame, blocking the metal loop's way out. These great puzzles are currently available at Puzzle Paradise, together with some more, and the Chinese Soft Rings mentioned below.
Additional update: Just today I managed to solve Aaron's Corn on the Cob IV puzzle completely, after struggling for many months. With the solution determined, it seems quite easy actually, but that is the case for many of those. Some details of the solution are now found in the new compendium entry.
Added on 2019-08-04
Why an update on Sunday evening, and why new puzzles arriving (without me attending a puzzle event)? There is a big puzzle event currently in an other continent, and today the winners of the IPP39 Nob Yoshigahara Design Competition were presented. For one puzzle it was no big question to me that it would receive a prize, and indeed the Slammed Car by Juno Yananose has won a big prize. Now is the third time I mention this puzzle on this page, and at the time of writing this, there are still 12 available for offer. HoKey CoKey Lock and Mazeburr L won Jury prizes, and well deserved for both in my opinion. The last one I have of the prize puzzles in my collection is the recently received Cast Slider, getting into the top 10 vote region. As a side note, there are only 7 top 10 vote getters mentioned on the page, meaning that 3 of them received higher prizes as well. Now for the new puzzles I have mentioned to be added today:
Chinese Soft Ring is a puzzle from simple components, but very well designed: 7 rope loops, and two steel rings with an opening to narrow for the rope. I received fully functional prototype version early this year, and can only reveal it now because it took place in both IPP Exchange and Design Competition. It is fascinating how complicated such a simple looking puzzle can be, and how entertaining. Once you have worked out the basic structure — equivalent to the classic binary Chinese Rings — you only need to stay focused to solve this puzzle. In Competition/Exchange, it was set up as a simpler version with only 3 rope loops, and additional challenges were added for additional puzzling and entertainment. Some more details can be read in the entry in the compendium and n-ary puzzle group. The other Design Competition entry I received for an early look was the Dunant. From the initial setup, the theme is obvious, with the two pieces showing a red cross (Look up the name of the founder of the Red Cross to see the link!). However, these pieces are not packed into the box completely, and the goal is to pack all 5 pieces into the box. How this works is not obvious and can be worked out by careful analysis and experiment with the puzzle. Needless to say that just packing the pieces is not enough, and some special moves including rotations are required for this very entertaining puzzle. To my knowledge this puzzle will be available in the near future, in a very high quality build. The last of the three is not part of the Design Competition, but of the IPP Edward Hordern Puzzle Exchange: Rainbow Colour Tree. This is Wil's Exchange puzzle and nicely made and fun to play with. This is a brand new variation on the "Nur 8" puzzle, and here there are two rows of colour coded fields, and a set of pegs with the same colours. Goal is to move pegs from the matching colour alignment in the inner ring to the outer ring with matching colour alignment, and back. If you feel brave, you can also try more challenges, like using the outer ring's colour scheme in the inner one and vice versa. What makes this a puzzle is that there is one obvious gap in the frame allowing the transition between inner and outer circle, and then on the middle acrylic layer, there is a maze, which can be rotated around the central pin, and which limits the transitions between different positions. A fascinating sliding piece puzzle!
Added on 2019-07-29
Today two parcels from different parts of the world (but both east of Germany) arrived with some brand new puzzles. The first one is the latest Hanyama Cast puzzle: Cast Slider. While like the last one (and many before) designed by Finnish designer Vesa Timonen, this one is not incredibly hard like the previous two Cast puzzles, but a nice little challenge. Having 3 pieces and a 3 star difficulty rating, this rating seems to match this time. All this seems to be a good recipe to enter it into the IPP39 Design Competition, which has been visible since last week. The next one is an addition of the formerly very rare group of octahedra, and therefore added to the twisty octahedra group page: Edge Gear Octahedron is based on a Skewb mechanism, or should I rather call this layout the "pocket FTO", as it is basically a FTO with less layers?. The additional trick comes with the gear pieces placed on 6 of the edges of the puzzle. Following my initial analysis, these can be rotated whenever they form a closed loop of 6 gears —good that it is an even number of gears, so it works! Each gear turns into 4 different orientations allowing subsequent Skewb moves, 2 of them leading to some shape changing of the puzzle, so it is the first diamond skweb to shapeshift in some way! Additionally to the 6 initial gears, there are more gear pieces in the white and yellow face, offering further challenge. A fascinating puzzle and very well made!
Added on 2019-07-25
In the Knobelbox shop, I spotted some new Constantin puzzles and after ordering they arrived quickly. The first one is one of the boxes in a cooperation with puzzle manufacturers from India, and looks like an Indian puzzle box: Sliding Box. The second one is a variation on a sliding piece puzzle I already have (called "Schieblehre") and has a smaller version of this puzzle in the lid. This is a sliding piece puzzle requiring some analysis to get the balls through the maze of varying cutouts in the pieces and with a great interaction between the slinding pieces, balls, and maze below. This is a main component of the Two in One Box. Instead of one in the original sliding piece puzzle, there are now two balls in the sliding piece puzzle, and the box is two puzzles in one: After releasing the balls, you need to find a way to open the lid, and this has a sequential discovery component to it. Two reasons why this could be called Two in One. This box is not too difficult and not too easy to solve (quite right for these current record heat temperatures!), features a nice quick reset feature, and is my favourite of this lot. The next one is a sliding piece lock: Albert Einsteins Gedankenschloss. Actually, this uses the same piece layout like an old lock by Constantin, so it is another of his designs. The last one was a goodie added by the shop and is a wooden twisty puzzle by a well known designer: Tetraturn. It has two challenges and a nice clicking mechanism keeping the pieces aligned.
Added on 2019-07-06
Recently, a nice little puzzle box kit showed up and is for sale in an etsy shop. This weekend, I found some time to assemble it and built the Mini Puzzle Box - Ibhokisi. It only took me some wood glue and less than an hour to build the box following the detailed instructions. The box comes with some nice ornaments engraved, so there is no need to apply decoration or paint afterwards. The box features a hidden maze and some extra steps and is nice to play with, and it comes at an excellent price.
Added on 2019-06-28
Meanwhile, I have solved the Slammed Car and it is a great puzzle! While the initial progress was quick, I struggled with the last steps for some time (and it seems I was not the only one!) and eventually asked if I was on the right track, and I was! With some careful observations, I was able to solve the puzzle and get out the loaf of bread. One typical issue with sequential discovery puzzles is unintended shortcuts or second solutions, but I have found none here, everything works as designed. At the moment, there are still some available, so if you are looking for a new car (puzzle), this could be it!
Now for today's update some nice twisties arrived from Nowstore this morning, and one of them is a puzzle that was waiting for mass production for a long time: Rua. This is probably the most difficult of the lot, and it seems to be related to the FTO. The other two look quite easy, and could be nice and easy puzzles even solvable at the very high temperatures we currently have: The Seed and Evil Seed
Added on 2019-06-21
Last week, some new puzzles were offered in the Pluredro web shop, and today I have already picked them up at the local customs office. The first one is the third installment in a very interesting series of 6 piece board burrs, which have additional mazes and dovels. The Grooved 6 Board Burr #3 has a very high level considering it is only 6 board shaped pieces. After the first one in the series with level 22, the second one with level 25 added half step moves to be used in the solution, and this third one has now level 34, and 9 more moves for the second and third piese each, which is quite an achievement. This nicely made burr would have been enough reason for me to place an order, but then there is an even better puzzle in the parcel. After the Australian car industry went down a couple of years ago, we now see a new car designed and built in Australia, and so I got myself a new "hot hatchback": Slammed Car. This car is made from wood, and as usual, there are also some magnets involved. The puzzle could be classified as a puzzle box, with the goal to find the cavity with a small loaf of bread in it! A better classification would be as sequential discovery, as there are many tools to be discovered that have to be used in certain places. I have not yet progressed through the solution a lot, yet I have already found a tool, which literally looks like a tool involved in car repairs, and also a place where it can cause some fun effect. So far, it is a great puzzle and a lot of fun! Both puzzles are made in excellent quality and are still available via the Pluredro web shop at the moment.
Added on 2019-06-20
A second package arrived from one of these two big auctions, quite heavy and with some heavy metal puzzles in it. Those were two of the lots advertised with the help of a Standardised Puzzle Hamster and contained two Indian trick locks with their usual rustic look. The first one comes with one key and three keyholes: Trick Lock Indian Three Keyholes. It is a nice and easy trick lock and works very well. Obviously, the first step is not to put the key into the visible keyhole and turn, as this will not open the lock, and not even progress in the solution! The second lock is related in a way, as it has three keys (as opposed to three key holes), but no visible keyhole: Trick Lock Indian Three Keys. This is one of those "temple lock" style locks, heavy and sturdy in making and with huge keys. It requires several steps to open, and for those you have to determine which of the ornaments are actually part of the mechanism and which are red herrings. Two nice locks to add to my trick lock collection!
Added on 2019-06-14
Recently, two big puzzle auctions were held and my win from the first one arrived today. It is a beautiful, vintage wooden puzzle: Cage #1-216-14 Kodo, designed and built by D. Closterman in 2000, a designer I have never heard of before. The puzzle is beautifully made from wood and despite its age, all the pieces move smoothly and are neither too tight nor too loose. By classification, this is a serially interlocking puzzle, where 13 pieces are built into an 6x6x6 frame, and it takes 11 moves to get the first piece out. What is interesting is that during this sequence, each piece is moved only once and you can see how it unlocks the next piece (once you have determined that one), and each piece can be pushed from one of the six sides of the puzzle, no pulling required. After some moves, this big puzzle has a wild look with all kinds of pieces sticking out in the various directions. The name is taken from the inscription, and it seems to be a technical name hinting for one particular design in a whole series of designs, and the —14 may relate to the number of pieces. A beautiful and big puzzle, and maybe a bit of puzzle history, and definitely fun to play with.
Added on 2019-06-13
Earlier this year, a puzzle was announced and sold which quickly sold out and was available nowhere for some time. Now it is back in stock, in this case from HK Nowstore: the Skewby Copter Plus. As the name suggests, this is a hybrid between a Skewb and a Curvy Copter Plus. This is quite fitting for my current twisty solving activities, because starting last year, I took a closer look at the Helicopter/Curvy Copter family and learned how to solve them. They are all fascinating puzzles, and not too hard until jumbling comes into play leading to some massive shape shifting, and (for the people interested in solving details) also kicking pieces out of their orbits and into different orbits (compared to the non-jumbling version/solve). Jumbling was first discovered in the Helicopter Cube, and with the Curvy Copter, one could see how the cuts moved from puzzle to puzzle, and some parts being unbandaged. The Curvy Copter is the easiest one, and there is also its little sibling, the Curvy Chop. Then the next iteration is the Curvy Copter III, which moves the cuts over the center, adding some additional center pieces and petals. Then there is another extension, in form of an unbandaging leading to the Curvy Copter Plus, having extra center pieces, and weird things can happen, which made this puzzle the hardest of them all to solve. Actually, I am not completely done with solving this one, and have not started with an hybrid reaching into a separate family: The Flower Copter, a hybrid between Curvy Copter and Dino Cube (like), which I have first seen at IPP37. Now the latest one, the Skewby Copter is another hybrid, reaching out into the Skewb family. Those have been the ones I recently had a look into — solving wise — and I have mastered the two Master Skewbs (sic!) and the Dino-F-Skewb. The Elite Skewb is the current project and nowhere near solved or even reduced to a Master Skweb. The interesting fact about the Master Skewbs is that one is a master version of the Skewb, the other one a master version of the Dino-F-Skewb, which can be experienced in the solving attempts for the two puzzles. But enough about these others, the new Skeby Copter seems to have a lot more pieces than all the others, but it is a very stable mechanism overall and fun to play with. I have also tried to reproduce one of those particular Curvy Copter Plus configurations the regular Curvy Copter cannot do, and this nearly ended in a big desaster. This is the part of the Curvy Copter Plus I still have difficulties with when solving. The Skewby Copter Plus is a great puzzle and I am happy I found it.
Added on 2019-06-04
Today two recent orders arrived at the same time. While I still have not solved the previous one (the Hourglass), the latest Cast puzzle arrived: Cast UFO, which finally seems to be available in Europe (via Knobelbox in this case). Built in the usual very high quality, it seems quite obvious how to arrange the four pieces inside to slide the two outer pieces apart — just that it does not seem to be that easy after all! Looks like I should devote some time to catch up on solving some Cast puzzles. The other package was from Nowstore, with some of the latest twisties inside: The Rediminx should be a rather easy dodecahedron, which is a corner turning puzzle, and therefore a member of the Dino Cube/Redi Cube family, which contains many puzzles. The last one is bigger than I expexted it to be, but since when are Panda Bears small? Panda 2x2x2 Cube is a simple puzzle, and cute looking. In my collection, it is bigger than the ice bear and smaller than the Koala (technically not a bear), so the puzzles may be a bit off compared to the real scales and size ratios.
Added on 2019-05-28
Today two of the latest and greatest puzzles by Eric Fuller arrived already: Both of them boxes of about the same size and both look beautifully and very well made. Topless Box was Eric's contribution to the famous Apothecary Chest and it is a re-release of this rare puzzle. It has two lids that are not too difficult to find and to open. However, that does not seem to provide any access to the interior. Having managed to solve the box, I can say that I like the solution and the box will also give you hints how to open it, on careful examination. It contains some magnets and some of this fascinating "magnetic wood". No blind guessing required, and a clever design! Where the name of Multiball comes from should be obvious from the picture. It looks like a securely locked block of wood, but has a little acrylic window to look into some part of the box, and that part contains 4 steel ball bearings. When playing with the box, some magic happens in plain sight, and reproducible. I am sure this will be part of the solution, but still needs to be investigated further. This one contains magnets as well, and also gravity pins and sliding panels. Even though I have seen all that in action already, I am still nowhere nearer to opening this box.
Added on 2019-05-25
After the last update showed a new puzzle to the twisty octahedra group page, there is another addition to this group today already: Mini Octahedral Kilominx. This puzzle arrived from one of the specialists in custom octahedral twisty puzzles: Raphaël Mouflin. The puzzle is of great quality and fun to play with. While I am able to solve the standard Kilominx/Megaminx series, I am not sure how easy solving this one will be, because of the unusual piece geometry. When turning the pieces, it quickly becomes apparent why they have these strange shapes with the gaps in between, to allow movement without bandaging. An excellent addition to my Octahedra group!
Added on 2019-05-14
Today a parcel from Russia again, but not with many thousands of moves in it, but with some nice twisties, both falling into categories I like. The first is from the cuboids category: Slim 1x7x7. This is a higher order floppy cube, but not much bigger than an originial Floppy Cube. It has a handy size and it is very nice to play with, even though it may not be suitable for speedcubing, but it will be too simple for speedcubers to solve anyway! The second one is from a group that has even its own page on my web site: twisty octahedra group page. It is the Jewel Octahedron and based on the Alexander's Star. It has a different colour scheme than the original puzzle, with each triangle having the same colour, not each pentagonal (here square) side. Actually this is how re-arranged my painted Alexander's Star, but that does not seem to be possible completely, so there are some mismatches in the colour scheme on the back side. Two nice and both pocket-sized twisties and fun to play with!
Added on 2019-05-10
Today a small but thick envelope arrived, and it a cute little puzzle: Apolaki, the latest creation by Rex. It may be small enough to fit into an envelope, but actually it is the tallest of the series, taller than its 5 friends, a lot of space for additional mechanisms and traps. After carefully removing the wrapping, I noticed that I noticed nothing for any obvious first step, like a piece sliding out a bit, or dropping out after tilting, like it happened with some of the others. In fact, I found nothing helping me for my first step, just the coin rattling inside, wanting to come out, and some other pieces rattling which I could hear after holding the coin in place. Only after a while, I made a little discovery and I found a way to interact with some inside pieces without being able to touch or to even see them. Fascinating! That cannot be a coincidence and must surely be part of the mechanism to be solved. Like for the others, this puzzle has been made in very nice quality, is not expensive, and if I do the extrapolation of Rex' other puzzles right, it will be quite challenging. Unlike other puzzles with hidden mechanisms, this puzzle and the others in the series have a great advantage: After (!) solving them, you can unscrew the nuts and carefully disassemble the puzzles to find out how the mechanism works. This is an aspect I always look forward to, because I am always amazed about discovering all the mechanics going on inside the small puzzles. Right now, there are still a few for sale at Puzzleparadise, just in case you would like to try one of these, too. A great puzzle so far!
Added on 2019-05-09
Last year, on Ishino's page, I saw a new n-ary design with a lot of moves: Sequence cube design, with a quarternary structure and a binary solution length function. Later, on my friend Kevin's PuzzleMad blog, I saw that a version of this cube had actually been build as a 3D printed puzzle, and soon after that I got in touch with the designer Aleksandr Leontev. He offered to build a cube for me, and some time later, today I received this amazing puzzle. The Sequence Cube is actually a variant called the "136 Minutes Cube", relating to an estimate for the time needed to solve the puzzle. Only the first piece can be removed, the others are built non-removable for additional stability of the puzzle, and the puzzle indeed works perfectly. I did run though the sequence and after I lost track several times — which is not good in a 8190 move sequence — I attached little stickers to the pieces and numbered them from 1 to 12. Then I started solving from the beginning and timed the solve. It ended after 97 minutes for me, so I had beaten the estimate. However, I had a lot of training with n-ary sequences, with some Barcode Burr variants only recent examples. It was a nice solve and it almost felt like some form of meditation, but after I finished, my fingers and hands did hurt a bit. The puzzle comes with an additional piece, that can be inserted as first piece in an alternate solution and it increases the overall number of moves — to a whopping 12282 moves to remove the first piece! A great puzzle and nice addition to my compendium and n-ary puzzle group. The puzzle has been realized as a 3D print, and the pins and connectors are solid metal pins, and the puzzle has a nice solid feel to it. Thank you, Aleksandr, for building this nice puzzle for me!
Added on 2019-04-28
Today I went to the yearly puzzle party at a friend's house in the Netherlands (AKA "King's day Puzzle Party") and had a great time with puzzle friends and also solving some unknown puzzles. The puzzles I acquired there for my collection are all from the sliding pieces type: Q-Borg is a nice and interesting variant on a well-known concept. The sliding pieces in 4 colours can slide around the central axis in a rotational movement. Then two halves of the core are able to rotate by half a turn, and then there is a special move: The central core pieces can slide up or down by one unit, so that pieces from different layers can mix. The other two are classic and well made puzzles: Slide 11 Disk. Here you have to exchange the yellow and green piece, and the only moves possible is rotating the circle of pieces, or pushing the slider that runs through the 4 and 9 pieces. The Triple Slide Egg is another one of them, and it is already scrambled, meaning that I will have to figure out how to solve it and then proceed with the solution. Looking at the green 3 piece shows something that surprised me a bit at first, and I was not sure whether the puzzle could be solved at all: The pieces can also be rotated upside-down!
Added on 2019-04-21
Yesterday I went to the German Cube Day (GCD) to meet some puzzle friends and also to collect some puzzles. I received some presents (thanks to Frank and Christoph!): Jump Choreography as a welcome gift, and Monster High Cube. I also found some brand new puzzles, some of which had played before at an IPP design competition, others completely new to me: Free the Marble, Japanese Lock Copper Front. Aside from that, I was catching up on some vintage puzzles from IPPs and others: To Open Space, Coral + Sweet, The Tangle of Amathus, Sunflower, Smart Alex. Diniar had two puzzles for me. The first one is a reproduction of a design that is over 120 years old: Combination Lock. The second one is brand new and has mulitple challenges that can be set: Maze Burr L. Not having played with it a lot yet, I can already say that it is a nice and interesting puzzle. You have to push the pink sticks to make way for the ball to move through the maze, and of course the pink sticks are interlocking! A great day and great puzzle haul!
Added on 2019-04-17
From Nowstore a parcel arrived quickly with some of the latest twisties inside: Overlapping Cube is actually an older design and now mass produced. As can be ssen on the picture, it is a hybrid of a 4x4x4 and a 5x5x5 and I have already scrambled it to solve it later today. The BaiNiaoChaoFeng Cube (I copy&pasted the name from the web site to be sure I get it right) first looks like a new edge turner, but at a closer look it is basically a Fisher cube variant with a strange colour scheme. This colour scheme leads to some interesting effects. For example, it seems to be possible to swap one piece from the red layer with one from the yellow layer, something that would not be possible on a standard 3x3x3 Rubik's cube. This situation only involves moves keeping the blue layer intact, and then you can also scramble the whole puzzle by mixing all the layers.
Added on 2019-04-04
In a recent auction event, I won the Swiss Cube #2 Hard. This one is of a similar make and by the same designer/manufacturer like the US cube, but much simpler. Three pieces looking like cross shaped columns are sitting in a cube to come out, and of course they are interlocked with each other. Like for the other cube, the cube itself does not come apart. I have seen many cheap wooden variants of this cube for offer on ebay, but this is the original, and it is nicely laser cut from acrylic sheets.
Added on 2019-03-27
About half a year ago, the Grooved Board Burr #1 was released in which Juno took the standard 6 piece board burr (6BB) to a higher level (also literally!) by adding grooves and pins. The main tool used for this was a CNC router, and one could also see some of the grooves from the outside. Now the second one arrived beautifully created in wood again: Grooved 6 Board Burr #2. This time, the grooves are hidden in the starting configuration of the puzzle and the level is even higher. Even the first handful of moves contains some that you would not expect from a standard 6BB. Several moves later, it is obvious that this is no 6BB, as there are configurations of the puzzle that would be trivial on a standard 6BB with pieces falling off, but not in this case! Seems to be a worthy family member indeed, and a very interesting puzzle!
Added on 2019-03-26
Years ago, Kagen Schaefer (now Sound) created the Maze Burr, which is a cube with 6 sides and 12 moveable boards on these sides, interacting via pins running in little mazes. Later Derek Bosch created a rhombic version, the Rhombic Maze Burr, which I was happy to pick up at a past IPP. Today the latest puzzle in this series arrived, Derek's Split Maze Burr, nicely crafted by Eric Fuller in beautiful woods and shiny acrylic. It is a cube again, but instead of having 12 panels atteched, there are now 24 panels in two layers, and two of each running on the same side next to each other. This puzzle comes with a solution requiring 31 moves to remove the key panel, and there are in total 50 challenges coming with the puzzle, with a variety of move counts, ranging up to 382. For this, the opened puzzle can be reconfigured with the help of the screws running in the mazes. The overall challenge is to solve a maze, and while you can see the little mazes on the panels, the real maze is actually much bigger and requires you to plan ahead around all sides of the puzzle. A beautiful and interesting puzzle, and quite challenging! Unfortunately, it has sold out within less than one hour, but maybe there will be a second edition, who knows?
Added on 2019-03-15
Today a package arrived from Nowstore with some of the latest Twisty Puzzles: Fangshi Venom Cube is a hybrid puzzle, consisting of a 2x2x2 and turning edges. The edges are implemented in a wireframe way, so one can still see inside to solve the inside 2x2x2, and this also describes a solving strategy. A fun and not too difficult puzzle! The Elite Skewb is the next bigger Skewb after the Master Skewb, with two diagonal bands rotating in the middle between two opposite corners. The 4x4x4 Curvy Dino does not have anything to do with a 4x4x4, but it is more related to Dino, Redi, and in particular Mosaic Cube. Actually, it is like a Mosaic Cube with additional sets of center pieces, which are quite easy to solve. A nice little solving challenge which I have just finished.
Added on 2019-03-04
Of the coordinate motion variants of the Barcode Burr, I have already solved 6 of the 10, with the most complicated remaining to be solved. As the contest has already been closed, it is only solving for fun, and these puzzles are great fun playing with. Today a brand new sequential discovery coin trap arrived: Walang Galang. This one is the latest creation available from Rex Rossano Perez and has the similar nice form factor of the other ones, only that it is thicker than all before, meaning: It has more layers and more mechanisms built in! I have just started playing, but have already found a strangely shaped key inside, and a key hole, which partially explains the shape of the key. No simple key hole, but to be used in different ways and interacting with other mechanisms. While the previous one had a difficult solution with many steps, this one seems to be of a similar kind. I like a lot what I have seen already, and I look forward to the things to come during the solution. A nice addition to a great series of pocket puzzles!
Added on 2019-03-01
A package full of puzzle pieces arrived today, but no complete puzzle. All the pieces arriving are in fact inserts for the Barcode Burr (printed), which had already been upgraded by the Barcode Burr Master Set Upgrade. Having solved all of those (at least as disassembly challenge), there is now some time for new challenges: Barcode Burr Master Sets Upgrades. This set consists of several sets that can be ordered on Pacificpuzzleworks' etsy page, and are the following 10 puzzles: CrossCode Burr #1 — #4 (white) and #5 (golden) are similar puzzles with variants, getting more and more difficult, and overall not too high level (3 for #1 — #4, with 5.7.6.5.5 for the #5), and involving coordinate many motion moves of many pieces. The GreenCode Burr series consists of four puzzles with coordinate motion moves, and level up to 9.9.4. The PurpleCode Burr may very well be the most difficult one, having coordinate motion and level 27.18.13.10.6. The puzzle pieces are well made and come with a lot of nice paperwork again, but no solutions! Instead, there is a challenge card included asking to participate in solving these puzzles and publishing the shortest solution. While these are not n-ary puzzles as such, the compendium entry has been updated to note these extension sets. A lot of pieces and 10 puzzles to work through, meaning: Disassemble the existing one, disassemble the pieces, set up the pieces in the new configuration, then try to assemble the new puzzle. I am expecting hours of fun, and from the description cards Lee provided, there will be different aspects involved, including some dexterity. Remembering the fun I had with the original puzzle and the first master set, this will be a lot of fun and I am curious to see what will show up in this category in the future!
Added on 2019-02-26
Today there was a big box waiting for me at the Customs Office, a box with a big box in it: The latest numbered Stickman Puzzlebox: Dwemer Construct Puzzlebox. It looks like a beautiful wooden box, with some strange mechanism sitting on top of it. It is like someone had decided that it was a better idea not to hide the locking mechanism, but make it visible to whoever would want to play with the box. Starting with that, there are some big wooden discs, and each of them carries additional elements, including some wooden gears. All these interact when moving some of the parts, and soon some more parts become visible. It does not only look like a complicated mechanism, indeed it seems to be complicated! And it is massive, leading to the next puzzle: where to put it on display after playing with it? Well, that puzzle can be psotponed, since there are more puzzles to be solved. First, one has to open the mechanism and open the box. Inside there are some parts that can be used for an alternate mechanism, and of course one will have to find out how they need to be arranged to create this mechanism — another puzzle! After that, the box will need to be locked with the alternate mechanism, which leads to another challenging puzzle. Only opening the box up again after that should be a bit easier, after building and locking the mechanism. Having only started playing with the box, it is hard to put down again. I have a slight idea what the goal of the first stage is to unlock the lid, but how to get there may be a completely different story! Beside from some brass screws, the whole mechanism seems to be made from wood, as usual for this puzzle designer, and which is always a fascinating aspect.
Added on 2019-02-15
Today a parcel with the latest release of beautiful wooden puzzles from Pelikanpuzzles arrived, and at the moment they are all still available in their shop and you can get some nice new puzzles there. The first one is Angelus, a puzzle from the category of two pieces in a frame. This may be a smaller example in this category, yet the two pieces still perform a nice dance before coming out of their frame. The Math is an addition (sic!) to the Addition puzzle by the same designer and craftsman, introducing some more mathematical symbols. It has a nice solution and you have to maneuver all three pieces carefully to get the first one out. Aracna is a 12 piece burr at first sight, with an additional piece hidden inside, so I put it into the Burr Zoo group page, with my experiences of solving that puzzle described on that page. This is an easier one of this category, and therefore it may be a good start if you want to have a look into the Burr Zoo category and proceed with a puzzle that is not incredibly difficult to solve!
Added on 2019-02-05
Today by coincidence two packages arrived at the same time. The first one contains some nice wooden puzzles built by Bernhard, and are some of the latest and greatest TIC puzzles (TIC=Turning Interlocking Cube). They are all designs by Andrew Crowell and have some rotations. The first one is GiganTIC, which was available in a different version from Brian Menold earlier, and on which I missed out. It has a high level of 10.10 and several rotations, and interesting moves. I have also found an alternate solution with only 7 moves for the first piece to separate, but that is probably due to the angled edges in this version. So this version has actually two different challenges! The PenTIC does not have that many moves, but one more rotation and some really interesting move sequences and moves. The PackTIC #2 came disassembled, and as an assembly challenge. I got it together after some time, and my solution has the same number of rotations and overall moves as advertised, so I am assuming I found the correct one. What puzzled me most is the last piece to come out/first piece to go back in, which is actually the most difficult one. For the assembly, you first have to solve the entanglement puzzle to get this (dark) piece into the frame, and then put in the other pieces with some more rotations and many more moves. Now I know why these TICs seem to be so famous at the moment, they are great puzzles and very interesting for 4x4x4 cubes.
The other package was a package from Knobelbox catching up on some older Hanayama puzzles, most of them just being two entangled pieces each, but that does not say anything about the difficulty rating: Cast S and S, Cast Hook, Cast Baroq, Cast Medal, and Cast H and H. The order also contained a trick lock: Push Trick Lock 5. This is a variation of a well known trick lock design.
Added on 2019-01-18
Today the latest puzzle from Australia arrived, and it is the second puzzle box in shape of a crocodile I have: Chubby Crocodile. It is a nice looking and very well made wooden crocodile and has even room for a belly containing a treat. The objective of this puzzle could therefore be described to open the box, or to find the treat included, and to make things better it also contains some sequential discovery elements. When you first touch the crocodile, it may be that it starts moving some of its legs, like it was trying to attack (or run away?), which is a nice surprise. This is of course one of the key elements, and overall the puzzle is fun to play with and not too complicated to solve. Definitely a great addition to the recent line of boxes Juno has been creating, and at the moment, there are even some left for sale on their Pluredro web site!
Added on 2019-01-08
The first puzzle delivery for this year came from my puzzle friend Diniar, with nice golden puzzles. They are not actually made from gold, but 3D printed, but with a nice golden look, and as usual they look better in reality than on the pictures I have taken. The theme for the first two is: puzzle box with sliding piece puzzles to be solved to open the box. The Crucibox has some two-layered pieces and then a whole lot of one layered square pieces. The first surprise you may see is that there is no visible hole to perform the first move, and this is not the only trick in this design. The shape of the cross piece is another, and then the box is also reconfigurable and comes with 30 challenges! The Treebox looks a bit like a Japanese puzzle box, due to the nicely printed tree on top of the sliding pieces. Those pieces actually have three different colors of material, demonstrating advances in 3D printing. You may wonder where the hole is to perform the first move of this sliding piece puzzle, and this is the first trick to be found. The second observation is made after moving some pieces around and seeing how the mechanism to open the box might work. This leads to another challenge to be solved before the box can be opened. The last one is a maze puzzle, with two circular mazes to be entangled into one cross-like structure: Mazy. The picture shows the puzzle already assembled, and during the assembly process it becomes obvious that this is a visible maze, where you can plan ahead instead of performing blind guesses. The pieces nicely interact with each other in a nice and new way, and especially with the golden color, I can imagine this to be produced in a cast metal version, maybe this is a good candidate for a future Hanayama Cast puzzle? All three puzzles are fun to play with (thank you, Diniar!) and at the moment there is actually one such design for offer on Puzzle Paradise.
Update on 2019-01-07
Names of the Karakuri x-mas presents added.
Added on 2018-12-28
Yesterday there was a small private puzzle meeting at a friend's place and I even got two puzzles there. First, I acquired the Printable Interlocking Puzzle 4, which is strange to see in wood, as the name tells that the pieces of this one can be 3D printed without the need for a support structure. Dirk presented me his IPP38 Exchange puzzle, the TRIROD, nicely implemented and close to the original prototype. This one had been designed by late Markus Goetz many years ago and much later in the early 2000s, the prototype with the hand written instructions made an appearance at IPPs, and the basic principle later showed up in other designs by other designers. This route finding puzzle is a nice one to remember a great puzzle designer and puzzle friend.
Today, the Karakuri Christmas presents showed up at the local customs office for import. As usual, I don't know the names for most of them, to be added later on. The first one is Silent Cat and a nice little cat figurine in the typical style for this designer. Not too difficult, but some funny steps. The X-mas present 1 is a drawer, like last year, but this time it does not open immediately, as the last one did (with the secret still hidden). The next one is X-mas present 2 and has some trees on it. These trees were used by the designer in several puzzles in the past, and they always gave a very specific hint for the solution. Based on this, I have a vague idea, what may happen here, too! The X-mas present 3 looks like a caged 6 piece burr, but it is actually a box, and behaves like one. I have only found some steps so far, but they are typically for the designer, and I am looking forward to finding many more steps before the box opens!
Added on 2018-12-27
Yesterday I had a Christmas visit by some good friends, and one of them also brought a puzzle as a present: Stadtpuzzle Muenster-Rathaus. He had been in the German city Münster and there this puzzle was offered showing the architectural features of the city hall (hence the German name of the puzzle). It has only around 40 pieces, but all of them having the same colour and only different shapes (many of them!), it is not a very easy puzzle. One fascinating aspect is that the picture on the manufacturer's web site is different from the actual frame shape, so I will be completely on my own when solving it. Luckily, the wood grain helps a bit, and I already managed to match the first few pieces. Thanks for the nice challenge!
Added on 2018-12-20
Only a week after their release, some of the latest puzzles from Eric Fuller arrived, and this time, the usual extra high precision was not only visible on the puzzles, but Eric also included a card stating this, and some instructions on the puzzles. Instructions how to store and keep them, not how to solve them! The first one has an unusual look and is a three piece burr, as the name suggests: Just 3. The other two come from a designer with a name well known from the IPP Design Competitions over the last years: Hajime Katsumoto. The Burr with Rings looks like a caged six piece burr, but is actually similar to Stephan Baumegger's "Frame Me Up" burr, where six of the 18 pieces have a ring attached. Here, all pieces have a ring each, and the wood is really beautiful (maybe not on my picture)! The last one is another variant of Soma in Case, and there are several other puzzles where you have to pack the Soma pieces into a cage, and I also have one of them. However, this adds a special element: The box has a lid to be closed and that lid has an extra cubie attached, on the inside! We have seen the success of the great 5L Box in this year's IPP Design Competition, and this Soma based puzzle employs this element, too. Something tells me this will be a real challenge for the holiday season.
Added on 2018-12-10
Today a small delivery containing two cute little sequential discovery puzzles, both with the objective to free the coin (Some more coins from the Philippines!): Rizal was the first one, that started the series and maybe a smaller one in the series. Several steps are required to get the coin out and it seems I still need to work on the solution for the first steps. The Kusing 25 is possibly the largest one, and definitely the newest one in the series available so far. Looks like there is a lot more going on, and I have already found a piece that wants to come out and there seem to be some other parts of the puzzle where it fits in nicely. Not yet solved, but very interesting! These puzzles are fun and high quality puzzles for a small price tag and form factor, and they are a recommendation, all four of the series.
Added on 2018-12-05
Today a package arrived with puzzles following two themes: They are all nicely crafted from beautiful woods by Pelikanpuzzles, and they are all about some interlocking pieces dancing in a frame. Addition has six plus signs, one on each side, and after the pieces dance through the frame for a while, one of them comes out — with the others in their original positions! Tom Pouce looks like a block strapped by two wooden rings, but actually there are two central pieces, leading to a total of four. The first piece to come out has interesting moves, some of them not easy to find, but the second pieces seems to be stuck in the puzzle forever, until one finds a clever move sequence to get it out. The next two puzzles are by the same designer and follow some of his recent schemes: Triad has some letter shaped pieces, in this case three letters L are visible in the assembled state. Like for the other puzzles, the pieces perform some strange dance before the first one is finally removed. Even though it sometimes looks like a rotational move may be possible there does not seem to be any intended or unintended rotation. The final puzzle of this package, Wing Hangar, has the lowest number of pieces: Two identical pieces and a cage. I wrote "and" because the puzzle came in disassembled state and for the picture I had to find a solution to assemble it. Even at the level of 20 moves it has, it is still possible to assemble the puzzle from scratch without help. Luckily the stick pieces are identical and both the pieces and the frame are symmetrical, limiting the number of possible assemblies.
Added on 2018-11-28
At the customs office I picked up another new six piece burr coming from Australia, or at least so it seems. The puzzle definitely looks like the standard six piece burr, and like a bigger of them. After disassembling it, there are indeed six pieces. However, there are different aspects that are more interesting: Some people might call it a puzzle box (with just a little cavity inside), but for me the sequential discovery aspect is the strongest for the Sequential Discovery Burred Box, so I am putting it into that category, and this may also help some of the non-box-puzzle collectors out there (correct, Kevin?). The sequential discovery solution of this puzzle box (sic!) is not very difficult, but extremely well designed and makes good use of the overall six parts of the puzzle. In fact, several of the sequential discovery steps will require that you combine two of the tools to perform the step. Whithout saying too much about the solution, there is also a nice sequence of steps where you use one of the tools to extract an other tool and then combine both in one of the next steps to progress. Another fascinating property of the solution is that there is a point where several steps can be carried out, both using the tools, but only one order or performing these steps will lead to success. What may be the best distinction to a puzzle box is the visibility of clues and mechanism parts that enable you to solve the puzzle without any blind guessing at all. A very clever design and unfortunately, it seems that it has sold out already.
Added on 2018-11-24
The Hanayama Cast Puzzle series, now coming in the "Huzzle" brand offers great designs in a nice and sturdy metal implementation at a very good price. The latest of the series is not yet available in Europe, but fortunately, it can be ordered in some other parts of the world already: the Cast Hourglass. The designer is well known for some other Cast puzzles and also IPP Design Competition entries in the past. From the picture, it should be obvious where the name comes from, and like several other puzzles from the series, it consists of four metal pieces which need to be disentangled and re-entrangled afterwards. The difficulty rating is at the top of Hanayama's scale with six stars and from what I have heard from others, this rating seems to be justified.
Added on 2018-11-16
Like yesterday a parcel with something special arrived. This time, it was not an exquisite beautiful small puzzle box, but a big set to construct many fascinating puzzles: The Barcode Burr Master Set Upgrade. This one extends the recently arrived Barcode Burr with an additional cubic burr with a different set of (blue) inserts already mounted, so that the result is a binary coordinate motion version of the puzzle. I have already solved this one, and it is a very interesting combination of concepts: a binary sequence and coordinate motion. In some way it reminded me of the Confetto Box 2 by Hiroshi Iwahara, but then the sequence is quite different. After understanding the sequence for removing the first piece, finding which piece would come out second and after which sequence was an additional challenge. For the third piece, the sequence was now obvious and to my surprise, the last three pieces came apart like in the original binary Barcode Burr. The other inserts offer various other assemblies of higher level, some of them following a ternary or quaternary sequence, others having more irregular sequences. To avoid spoling the puzzle set for others, I will not explain more about the set, but more details about the contents (and an additional picture) can be found in the compendium entry. This also includes a good amount of high quality paperwork, a great set, and a very good deal for the price! A great addition to compendium and n-ary puzzle group (do you notice something unusual there?), and it will take some time until I will have built all the configurations and solved them.
Added on 2018-11-15
From Jesse Born I received a parcel with a small puzzle box in it, just slightly bigger than a typical smart phone: Saifu Puzzlebox. This is a beautiful and well crafted box and comes in different materials to choose from. When ordering this box, one could choose between different woods for the various pieces of the box, and between Yosegi and brass for the sliders, and if I understood correctly, all of the boxwes have been different so far. The sliders are the first interesting thing to note: They seem to be locked into their respective grooves without having any visible link to the mechanism below. However, they behave like they are in fact interacting with this mechanism, and each of them seems to be behaving a bit differently. I wonder how this all relates to the solution and I am eager to find that out.
Added on 2018-11-11
Today I went to a regional puzzle gathering to meet some good puzzle friends and to play with some new (or even newer) puzzles. Of course, there were also some puzzles for my collection. The main theme of today's update is IPP puzzles, and there are some puzzles with the same name like some I already have, but in fact different puzzles. The first handful of puzzles are actually some designs which showed up in the IPP38 Design Competition. From Dr. Volker Latussek, I received a Cubemaker, the 2018 version with four angled pieces. Last year, I had already played with a 3D printed prototype and found some solutions for the different challenges. This wooden version features some of the harder challenges, and the goal is to build a stable figure out of the four pieces, in which eight of the darker piece parts meet to form four dark cubes. There seems to be one more straightforward solution, and a creative one, and I am looking forward to finding both of them. The next one has a spectacular name: Rollercoaster. Only three pieces to be packed into the box completely, easy? It is not allowed to put your fingers inside the box, and maybe that is for a good reason, as I have been told that some of the moves required actually resemble rollercoaster like movements. The transparent box helps you to see what is going on inside and also to quickly detect when something is going wrong and there may be a rollercoaster accident in the box. The next is one of those simple puzzles where you only have to pack 5 L shaped pieces into a box and close the lid, hence the name 5L Box. As you can see from the picture, there is one of the pieces outside the box, and after inserting it into the available space in the box, I could not close the lid for some reason. On a second glance, I noticed why this was the case and now I am beginning to understand why the puzzle won a first prize in the competition. The Pack 012 is another one of those easy "just pack three pieces into that box" puzzles. The opening seems to be wider than just for one of the cubies, but I have the bad feeling it may still be way too small for a straightforward approach. The name of the designer and the prize in the competition make me reconsider and may not be an easy puzzle after all! From the name, the next one is a recycling puzzle that can be created from some leftover square sticks, yet not enough to form a complete cube. Hence the name: Leftovers. This was no spontaneous build, as this was also an entry into the competition at IPP38, and after playing with it a bit, I am slightly worried that I might have put it into the wrong category. The next few puzzles are for catching up on past IPP Exchange puzzles: The Tangled Dovetail is definitely in the Disentanglement Puzzles category (like the one before?), or isn't it? Trying to solve it, it looks like there might be a tiny little bit more to it than just disentangling the usual knot and then sliding the dovetail halves apart. The MIKSLOK is one of the rare trick locks in the Exchange (until very recently, that is!). I haven't seen one for a while, and upon first inspection it seems to be a regular lock that has been doctored with, as some people would say. Of course it does not open by simply inserting the key and turning it. The next one is a key by name, the Hysteresis Key. I already have the simpler production range version, but this seems to be a lot more interesting. Some longer dead ends to run into than in the other version. This puzzle also has a maze with more dimensions than at first look. You can move the key in one dimension, but it is actually a 2D maze. Very recently, I have received another puzzle with such a dimension jump: A box with two sliders, yet a 3D maze. Can you spot which it was, and guess how the third dimension was implemented? Big Wheel is another such case of a seemingly 1D maze which is more complicated at a second glance. The wheel will rotate forwards and backwards until it hits some obstructions, and then there is also another kind of wheel movement required to progress in the 2D maze. For solving this, you may need to remember that sometimes not only dentists should examine the teeth!
And now for something completely different: Non-IPP puzzles. The GELO 1234 is one of those numbered designs, and with just three pieces in a frame it is not overly difficult, but reassembly from scratch may be a bit more challenging. The Printable Interlocking Puzzle 4 made out of wood is a curiosity, as Richard has specifically designed it to be easily printable on a standard 3D printer without the need of support structures. Still it is a nice puzzle in wood and has some nice move sequences. Why, why, why, oh why does the next puzzle have the name "YyYy", you might ask? Having a look at the pieces, this will become clear, as they are clearly Y shaped. It is the second puzzle of this designer in this update, and one may have expected more like just level 13.3 with linear moves, like some fancy rotations. Starting to play with it, this puzzle will demonstrate some nice and usual move sequences, and level 13.3 for such simple pieces is actually quite high. The last puzzle is from a designer I have not heard of before, but searching for his name, I came accross an ACM paper about "Recursive Interlocking Puzzles" which I had read some years ago. The puzzle is a cube related to this article: Singapore 5x5x5. Not one of those fancy animal shapes, yet an interesting demonstration of the concept.
Added on 2018-11-06
Today I received the first coins from the Philippines I have. They are embedded into some nice small puzzles made from laser cut acrylic sheets held together by some screws, which both have an excellent size for storage in the display cases or even the pocket when bringing them somewhere. The first one is the Aguinaldo, which is a hidden maze puzzle, with a maze to be solved before the coin can be released. However, Rex has added a nice additional trick to it, in shape of an additional piece that takes part in the solution at some point in time. The Barasoain is a sequentially discovery puzzle, where you have to find and unlock some tool to progress in the solution. When that tool is found, it is quite obvious where it may help (It looks like a key!), but that is not all you need for solving the puzzle. There is an additional trick before the coin is released. An interesting observation is that the key actually solves as one of the locks in the beginning, a clever idea! Two nicely designed and nicely made puzzles, which are fun to solve and not too difficult. They are not the first ones to be released in this series, so let's see what Rex comes up with next. It is great to see such interesting mechanisms packed into this cute form factor!
Added on 2018-10-29
Today's package brought two nicely made wooden puzzles from Australia, and one being the completion of the trump card series puzzle boxes: Spade Case. This box looks like the Club Case, but the mechanism works quite differently and in a new way, in fact: I have never seen this kind of trick. I would be giving to much away of the solution by mentioning details, but it is notable that this mechanism has more dimensions (in a mathematical sense) than you would expect, and at some point in the middle of the solution, you can actually see more of the mechanism. If you have not yet formed any theory how to solve the puzzle, that is the right moment during solving. This one may be the most box-like of the case series, having the biggest storage compartment of all four. The Grooved 6 Board Burr #1 looks like a nicely made 6 Board Burr, but it additionally features some bamboo dovels and some grooves, increasing the level to a very high 22. Playing with it a bit, I immediately noticed that this grooved version behaves quite differently from the standard version, featuring configurations in which a piece would simply drop off in the corresponding standard 6BB. Not in this grooved design, of course! Clearly, this has been the result of Juno playing with the router again, and I am curious to see which other creative puzzle ideas will come out of this in the future!
Added on 2018-10-24
Yesterday I went to the biggest board and card game fair in Essen, and as usual I visited some puzzle friends to look for new puzzles. At the Constantin booth, there were some brand new vesions of known n-ary puzzels: Voidlock Metal is a heavy and nicely made full metal version of the voidlock, and Steuerrad-Kiste* (Steering wheel box) uses the puzzle as a lid. You have to solve the puzzle on the lid (or at least most of it) and then you can unlock the lid, which uses a simple, but clever mechanism. Two nice additions for compendium and n-ary puzzle group! The Two Side Sliding Lock* is a sliding piece puzzle in the shape of a lock, which uses pieces that can move in one way only. Some only horizontally, others only vertically, guided by grooves in the front and back side of the puzzle. A confusing and unique puzzle idea! There were also two items offered which were designed by Katsumoto, who is well known since IPP36: Spiral Square is a puzzle consisting of 4 identical parts to be taken apart (without opening the screws, of course!) and putting it back together, which proves to be the greater challenge. The Framed Jigsaw has a name and look that would immediately disqualify it from being shown on this site (please look at the introduction above!), but this one is not a true jigsaw puzzle, more like a combination of complicated packing, interlocking, and sliding piece puzzle. There is only a small opening in the top in the middle, where everything has to enter the puzzle, and obviously the task is to put all the pieces into the frame. Looking at the piece left over and the space remaining in the frame, the question immediately pops up, how this could be done, as the piece does not even fit into this gap. Well, some clever re-arranging of the pieces already inside might help. Rombol is also on my usual list for the fair in Essen, and they had some nice puzzles to offer. Kardan is a serially interlocking puzzle. The next two are designs by Dr. Volker Latussek, who appeared successfully in recent IPP Design Competitions (for example with the overwhelming success of his Casino puzzle this year, and the Marble's Cage a bit earlier): Six-T-Puzzle and SOMA Pack have the goal to pack everything into the box. Six T pieces (not 60), five of which are already inside, and then the whole Soma cube piece set for the other puzzle. Of course this is not achieved by simply creating a packing outside the box and then putting it in one by one, but the small openings will require a bit more to solve. The last visit was to Hendrik's Puzzle Shop, who is a good contact for the latest Cast puzzles and exotic twisty puzzles. He had the Cast Arrows for offer and then a variety of other nice puzzles. Molecube mini is actually shown in the solved state and is a cute mini version. The next three are serially interlocking with the same piece layout and solution, however the different puzzle shapes and symmetries make them vary in difficulty: Small interlocking cube*, Small rounded interlocking cube*, and Small interlocking barrel*. From the same unknown manufacturer was the Time Machine Variant*, and then there were small and tiny variants of the known Magic puzzle: Mini Magic Heart* and Micro Magic Skeleton*, which reminds me a bit of the Lucasarts Adventure "Monkey Island 2: Le Chuck's Revenge" with the groups of bones. The last one is actually a 1x2x3 and simple twisty puzzle, but also some decoration for the x-mas season to come: Zcube Christmas Tree
While creating this update, one of the latest works from the Karakuri creation group arrived: Visible 5-Ary Drawer (Quinary). As one may guess from the title, this is clearly part of compendium and n-ary puzzle group and fun to solve, with a smooth mechanism. Unlike many other Karakuri boxes, the n-ary mechanism of this box is in plain sight beneath an acrylic cover, allowing to follow what happens easily. This is actually the 200th entry in the compendium, and there are even more puzzles in it if you count all the variants!
Added on 2018-10-24
When you are busy, time is flying by, and so I did not yet expect the arrival of some of the latest works by Eric Fuller ordered last week. They are beautifully made as usual, and unusual in their designs: Okto Cube by Yavuz is a six piece board burr in a cube, easy enough. However, the cube is assembled from eight identical pieces (hence the name) and comes apart. A clever idea! When solving the puzzle and moving the boards around, after several moves, two of the cubies will drop off the puzzle, so you have to be careful when solving, or you are in for a surprise! The Pin Block Case first showed up at IPP37 and quickly afterwards it was available in the signature series, and now re-released in the artisan series. Four identical pieces with a pin and groove each, to be packed in a box through its opening, how hard can that be? Not very hard, but a clever design by Hajime Katsumoto, an expert and IPP prize winner for his packing puzzles, and fun to solve! While packing into the box, the pieces interlock in a nice way, which is why I put it into the interlocking category.
Added on 2018-10-15
Last weekend, the biggest European puzzler's meeting took place in Voorburg again, the Dutch Cube Day (DCD), and I attended to meet many puzzle friends from all over the world and also to add some puzzles to my collection. It was a great event, as every time! Right at the beginning, each participant received two presents from the organizers: Double Dutch as a welcome gift, and then a small version of the Utopian Cube, as a present to remember the late Markus Goetz. Alfons was there with a lot of beautiful wooden interlocking puzzles, some of them being: Greyhound, Long Skirt, Lolly Box (the original one, which I did not have in my collection so far), Four in a Box (a much more complicated variant of the same concept), the Moira's Cube (one of the cubes, this one being named after a cat), Madia, Missing Link, and a few of the Happiness Cube series which are older designs, but have been quite popular lately: Happiness Cube 169, Happiness Cube 95.2, and Happiness Cube 20.2 (which I have in a tiny 3D printed version, too!). Jack had some older designs newly made and looking beautiful: Sixticks (thanks for this one) and Crossing. That last one has been on my compendium web site for some time, but I never had one of these fascinating sliding piece puzzles. It is an n-ary sliding piece puzzle without a long control piece, which all earlier designs had, for example also the next one is also one: a vintage SpinOut mini in a version I have never seen before. Both puzzles are on the n-ary puzzle group now. This one and the vintage Gamma puzzle were offered from my late puzzle friend Laurie's collection. The next two puzzles are brand new designs, one of them taking part in the IPP38 Exchange: Gyrotwisty (do you remember the Gyro Twister toy, looking similar and promising to strengthen your wrists?) and the African Mask, which has two layers of sliding pieces, with the top layer being round, arc shaped pieces. The Curly Cube is a nice design which was around for some time and which I finally picked up, and it looks just beautiful and comes apart in an unexpected way. The Two Piece Cube is one of the rare puzzles by the German puzzle designer Carsten Elsäßer, which I had seen a couple of time and was now for offer — no need to think twice here! Maybe I will have to think more than twice when solving the puzzle, as I have already found some interesting first steps and interactions with outside and inside parts of the puzzles, but nowhere near a solution. The Turtle's Heart and the Kowloon Seal Luban Lock are some IPP Exchange puzzles from earlier years and this year.
Added on 2018-10-01
Before picking up the puzzles for this update, I revisited two rotational interlocking puzzles again: The Shield and Square Target. A puzzle friend mentioned that his solution works differently than what I had described, and indeed for The Shield, I found a solution to get the first two pieces out without rotations, and then the other two pieces requiring some rotations. With rotational puzzles, it seems to become more difficult to find the "best" solution, as one cannot simply take the one from Burr-Tools or a similar program. The puzzles arriving today are also in the interlocking category and also not in the standard Burr-Tools category. One of them is an addition to n-ary puzzle group and compendium, and both of them are 3D printed versions of IPP Design Competition Entries (this year and in the past). The first one is a nice coordinate motion cube extending Ray Stanton's Slideways series: Slideways Cube (printed). Three identical pieces with some angled cuts make it ideal for 3D printing. The other one is the one with the many moves and has more 3D printed pieces, the Barcode Burr (printed). It moves nicely and after quickly finding the right triangles to push, the sequence starts flowing and soon afterwards the first piece is released. Disassembling the cube completely, unveils that each piece is created from three 3D printed pieces and some screws. Printing each piece in three parts seems to have several advantages: Much easier to print and less support structure (if any) required, and the long bars can be printed having a smooth surface. This technique makes the puzzle very nice to play with, and then the n-ary sequence can be found during playing, confirming what is summarized in the corresponding compendium entry. Two very nice and high quality 3D printed puzzles, and also quite inexpensive. So if you ever wanted to get (a version) of the Barcode Burr, now is the chance!
Added on 2018-09-22
Today a surprise package arrived from one of the experts in 18 pieces burrs, from Yvon. It contained a very well crafted 18 pieces burr with an interesting color scheme, and it took me some time to identify which one it is. My conclusion (and I hope it is correct): Burrn. It was helpful that I was discussing this design with the designer Stephan earlier this year, so I had already seen an electronic version of the puzzle. This one has a moderate level for the first piece and opens up a new category in my 18 pieces burrs group. Having seen a picture of Yvon's collection of 18 pieces burrs (all built by himself), I must admit that his collection of 18 pieces burrs is far more impressive than mine. On that picture, they were covering the floor of a whole room! Now back to this puzzle: When discussing this earlier on, it seemed a nice and interesting design to me. The level 15 for the first piece is manageable, and then it gets more difficult. Having played with the puzzle to identify it, I have already seen some very interesting moves of groups of pieces, especially when removing the second and third piece of the puzzle. Some of Alfons' 18 pieces burrs I played with recently also had some unusual moves, but somehow the moves in this puzzle are different. Maybe the "handwriting" of the designers can be seen here? The Burrn may not have an overly creative name (and it should not mislead you to burning it!), but the moves are quite unusual for an 18 pieces burr, I like it a lot. Thank you very much, Yvon, for this nice surprise puzzle!
Added on 2018-09-10
Today I could pick up a big and heavy package at the customs office. It was so heavy that the moment I went into the door, the officer asked me if I had brought a dolly with me to transport the package. It contained one big wooden 7.3kg puzzle, so I could also manage without a carrying device. The puzzle is the result of a Kickstarter campaign which I supported roughly 2 years ago and which was run over by so many backers that they had to close down the sign-up early. After a long time, it arrived today — like a surprise birthday package you did not expect. So what is this big puzzle? It is actually a puzzle book: Codex Silenda. While I have a shelf full of puzzle books, this is puzzle book is special one, because it has only 7 pages, and they are various kinds of puzzles. The first page is a sequential discovery puzzle with several steps, and you can only turn each page after unlocking it by solving its puzzle. So far, I am on page three of the story, and the story also seems to be related to the puzzles in the book and to provide some background. This is a massive puzzle and it will probably take some time until I have worked my way through all the 7 pages. At the moment, they are still working on fulfilling the Kickstarter campaign, but after that it seems to be planned to put the original 5 page version into mass production. More details and also pictures of the pages and puzzles can be found on the Codex Silenda web page.
Added on 2018-09-09
This weekend, some of us puzzle collectors decided to go to the international lock collector's meeting held in Cologne, because we also collect and/or design trick locks. Beside some old puzzle friends (including two of the best trick lock designers), I met many friendly lock collectors there. This seems to be an overall term, as some of them only collect keys, and others collect huge safes, which are a bit like massively built trick boxes, among them some requiring many steps, tricks, and several keys to be opened. It sees that our little invasion was a benefit for both groups, as we puzzlers were able to see some fascinating lock craftsmanship from older time, and have interesting conversations about safe and lock topic, while the puzzlers brought some puzzles to the lock collectors, especially as additional entertainment during dinner. Meeting some puzzle friends / lock designers also meant that I could return with some more challenges for my collection. Having pre-arranged before, I was able to pick up the brand new Haleslock 5, which is quite unusual looking lock, based on an Italian product. So far I have found only some easy first steps, and something that may be part of a later trick, but I am nowhere near a solution yet. Shane also brought a pair of locks for me, which are some more pieces of IPP38 coming my way: a pair of IPP38 Exchange Locks. They look very similar, yet have subtle differences and were exchanged by different puzzlers: Silver Lock Exchange #1 and Goldilock. Those were the new trick locks, which I all will need to solve and I am looking forward to solving them! The others came from the Lock Exchange at the lock collector's meeting, and are also not regular locks and can easily be classed as trick locks: Braun's Patent-Sicherheitsschloss looks like a land mine, but this lock does not have rust or stain on it and is in excellent condition, keeping in mind that it was produced in the first of the 20th century (and never made it into large scale production, as far as I remember). The first trick is to find the key hole, and there is one obvious place where to look for it, and then to open the lock with the key, which has a shape I have never seen before. Only turning the key does not work, and that definitely makes it a trick lock! The Old German Tricklock (my guess, please let me know if you know more) looks like it is a bit older, and while there is a typical place where to look for the kay hole, it is not easy to actually find. Also this one does not open after inserting the key and turning it, and that might be a big surprise; another step is required. The last one could be from India, but actually I do not know and it looks quite old and a rusty. The key seems to be a new replacement key and I used its shape to name the lock as Lock with Hook-Key — not "HoKey" which is related to different excellent lock design from IPP38 I have solved with a big A-Ha!
For the other new entries, we have to focus our attention on non-lock puzzles again. The first one may not be the best example: Dinilock No. 1 was published at IPP38, where the world's foremost and best known collector of Trick Locks from India chose it as his Exchange puzzle. This 3D printed lock does not only look like a lock, but it can also serve as a true padlock. As it has a reasonable difficulty and is fun to solve (as I can tell from my own experience), we were able to start the possible puzzle collecting career of some participants of the lock collector meeting with this nice puzzle. What is a bonus is that unlike most trick locks, this is an open puzzle allowing to see everything and solving by deduction rather than blind guessing. Currently, there is some available at Puzzle Paradise at a very good price, so it is easy to give it a go! The other puzzles were some brought by Wil to be dinner table entertainment and kept puzzlers and lock collectors busy for quite some time: The Coin Puzzles - Selected by Iwahiro is a variation on a classic scheme, transforming figures obeying certain rules. The puzzle is nicely implemented allowing it to be easily carried around in the pocket for the next occasion to try. While the first challenge seems easy at first, it is not, and the others are indeed challenges that can be solved, but require some thoughts and creativity. The Make a Square - Cover the Centre consists of a set of nice wooden pieces on a nice board, where you have to place them creating a full square, without a hole in the middle, At the beginning some pieces seem to provide hints as to where they may or may not be placed, pending the evaluation of these hints after I will have solved the puzzle. Thanks for the nice puzzles!
Both from a puzzle collecting perspective, and the event, with all the people involved, the experiment of joining a lock collector's meeting proved to be a great idea and it was a fun weekend and well organized! Cheers to the organizers!
Added on 2018-09-03
Recently I spotted a picture of Allard Walker's IPP38 Exchange puzzle, and it was based on an old patent, rediscovered by Michel van Ipenburg and produced by Robrecht Louage. It is not the first one from this category, for example my own IPP34 Exchange puzzles was created in a similar way, and I knew that Michel would pick interesting designs, and if Allard had decided to make it his exchange puzzle, it was surely interesting. When I reached Allard to find out if he had some available, he quickly send one to me, and it arrived in a beautiful package, together with a gift Allard had been handing out at IPP38. The puzzle is B. Dorstrom Puzzle 2018 and looks unusual, interesting, and nicely manufactured from Trespa. The objective is to remove the ring that runs over the star shape diagonally, and does not look like it would come off at all. When I picked it up to give it a first try, I could do some expected rotational moves around the central axis, but then some shape shifting moves appeared that led to a first idea how this obviously impossible task of removing the ring may be accomplished. Having written that, I am currently nowhere near a soution at the moment and it will require some more observation, experimenting, and ThinkTM, which incidentially is one of the well known components of Allard's blog. Meanwhile, there is the other puzzle for some distraction: Find your P's, Q's ... and T's. The letters stand for three differeent geometrical groups of shapes (like "T" for "Triangle"), but the puzzle does not only come with three challenges, but a complete total of 14 challenges! All those need to be constructed only using the three triangles provided. So far, I have already found some of the easier ones, like right-angled triangle, a scalene triangle, a rectangle, some two parallelograms, a trapezium, and a convex quadriliteral. A very clever design considering how simple those pieces look like, and it is fun to seach for all those different shapes to construct. Maybe I should have started taking pictures, so that I can keep track about which ones I have already found and which ones to hunt for next. Two great puzzles, and fun to play with, thanks a lot, Allard! (Also for bringing a bit more of IPP38 to me!)
Added on 2018-08-31
From Pelikanpuzzles, I received some of the latest rotational interlocking puzzles made beautifully in wood. They are all by the same designer, who is an expert in this genre. Trap-R2 Has an interesting look, with the round piece sandwitched in the box. Can you guess how many pieces there are? There are overall four pieces, two carefully hidden by the beautiful wood pattern. So far, I managed to pull out some of the pieces a bit and now have something that could be described as a wheel on a turning axle, interesting! The Shield I have solved already, and it consists of four identical pieces in a frame. How difficult could that be? Not too easy, but also not too difficult, as it seems. In my solution, the first two pieces come out utilising some rotations, while for the other two pieces only linear moves are required. After I had completely disassembled the puzzle, I misplaced some of the pieces and had to find out how they fit into the frame. At that point it turned out that the frame is surprisingly supportive for this task, and soon afterwards I had everything back in the starting configuration. The Square Target also has four pieces in a frame with an additional stand, but here only three pieces are identical, and the fourth one is slightly different. It is also this piece causing some confusing during the solution. After some moves I even had some trouble putting all the pieces back into the initial positions. My solution then used something that seems to be part of the design: Some nice rotations before the first two pieces come out, and the trick for the first piece is then repeated for the second one. After complete disassembly, you can see where those pieces have the possibility to leave the frame, and there are not many possibilities. Some nice puzzles from this category, and the designer has once again proven that he creates interesting designs.
Added on 2018-08-29
Some years ago, Louis Coolen started some small 3D printed trick lock designs heavily exploiting the advantages of 3D printing and the material used, and created a series of excellent little trick locks. Having solved and enjoyed the locks from 2015, 2016, and 2017 in the past, I was waiting for the latest one, and here is the Trick Lock 2018. It has the same form factor and material like the previous ones, and this may very well be my favorite of the series. As it happened for the others as well, Louis has stored the key in or on the lock, and in this case it is securely fastened, and obviously one challenge will be to get that key out. The lock has a key hole and the key will fit in once you have extracted it. The solution has several stages (one is to get the key released) and a new and unusual mechanism. Even though the main body has been 3D printed in one piece, there are enough openings to get some look into the lock while solving, so it is not about blind guessing, but about making observations and a plan for attack. There was also room for some little additional features making the solution more challenging! Having solved the lock I am surprised about the complex solution built into this lock! At the moment, there are some for offer on Puzzle Paradise, and this may be a chance to get a great little trick lock.
Added on 2018-08-27
Today a small package from Shanghai arrived, with a very high difficulty density of puzzles inside, four complex wire puzzles in a small box. The first one is another entry into the IPP38 Design Competition (and I can assure you, won't be the last!): Mobius Ring. The theme of this puzzle is the Möbius Strip, a strip being twisted and having only one surface. The frame's wire of this puzzle is only onle wire running around all edges of the frame and has been manufactured to have no gap or visible opening. My feeling is that this will not make the puzzle exactly easier, but luckily, Aaron has fitted this one with a quick reset mechanism. The next one does not have a quick release mechanism and is called: Double Scissors. It looks like this concept could be enhanced by adding more and more scissors to the end of the chain, making the puzzle more and more difficult — or not, I have to find out! The The Snail B and C has the easiest rating of the four. Instead of 10+ and 10 (of 1 to 10), it is only level 9, so I gave it a go. Never underestimate such puzzles! Instead of disentangling, I managed to get an additional knot into the puzzle, so my guess would be that I only have to reverse what I have done, twice! Not sure if that will work, as I have only a rough idea of some steps I have performed and will need to reconstruct the rest. The Chinese Lanterns II looks very interesting, when it comes to the challenge. Of course, some of the metal parts have to be removed from the rest, but when that would usually be the big handle, this is not the case here. This puzzle needs to be split into two parts roughly in the middle, and I am sure the handle will play an important part in the procedure.
Added on 2018-08-22
Today a nice new addition to the twisty octahedra group page arrived: The Master Octahedron (MCTO) is a master version of the original Magic Octahedron, adding one more layer of pieces. One could assume, that this puzzle is therefore bigger than the original Magic Octahedron, but in fact it is about the same size, maybe a tiny bit smaller even. The quality is great and the pieces turn nicely, which I already used to make a stripe pattern (not in the picture!). A great little puzzle to add to my collection!
Added on 2018-08-21
Some additional IPP related puzzles arrived today: From the UK, I received a package with a nice greeting on a tongue depressor in it. That could of course only mean one sender, and I was happy to see that beside the tongue depressor, there was also Steve's nicely built IPP38 Exchange puzzle inside: The HoKey CoKey Lock. It seems I missed Steve's and Derek's performance at the IPP Exchange for handing over his exchange puzzle, but you can google to see that's what it's all about (if you don't know Hokey Cokey). The lock comes with a nice bottle opener that acts both as a label with the details and as a key fob. Does not seem to be the easiest lock, and I have not made any progress, but already one observation which may be more important later on.
A second parcel brought some old and new puzzle designs from the US, all very nice and well made. After his successful "Free Me 5" showing up in the Design Competition last year, I have now received some older models and a newer model from the series. The Free Me 2 is the oldest one and there is a lot of sliding going on. Yet alone 5 different dovetail connections keep the various parts together, and you can slide some a bit, and also move the rod in the bottom block. After having briefly played with that one last year at DCD, I will now try to solve it and work out how to get the half dollar out. The Free Me 4 also has the characteristic dovetails, but looks a bit different than the others. While the others are flat, this has more like a box shape, but in the end also a half dollar coin is secured and has to be released. The latest one is Free Me 6, which I first spotted on the Design Competition Website. It is a tiny bit bigger than the Free Me 5, and some initial moves seem to work similar like in that model. Some others don't, however! There is a lot going on in those pocket puzzles, I can tell even without having solved them.
Added on 2018-08-18
Another day, another package, another IPP Deisgn Competition entry. Today, Namick's third entry in the competition arrived, and it is from the same family of puzzles that we have been discussing for many months now: Entwined Loops Lattice. This one has a very interesting look, a bit like a heavily entangled forest or shrubbery, and beside the usual white colour, it has also nice yellow, silver, blue, and red elements. The blue one is the rope to come out and the red triangles denote the starting position. Having some experience with the other two puzzles and based on our long discussion, it was a nice and not too difficult exercise to solve this one. Like the Quadrupled Quadlooplet, this puzzle gives you some hints what you might want to do next, just that you have a clear view of the whole puzzle at any given time, because it is flat and not arranged in a circle. From the solution, those two puzzles are quite similar, and not all elements are actually used for the solution. This is maybe one first idea one has ot get to be successful solving. Despite the good view of everything, my solution did not go only the optimal way, but I managed to take some wrong turns and had to backtrack. With everything visible at one glance, it is quite easy determine what to do next and how the plan of attack looks like. A great puzzle, fun to play with, and a nice solving experience! The puzzle is of course on the n-ary puzzle group page, but if you like to know more details, please have a look into the compendium!
Added on 2018-08-17
Today two packages arrived, one from Australia, the other from Russia. The first one contained the latest box created by Juno: Meanders Box. It is a puzzle demonstrating the possibilities offered by a CNC router, with a visible maze. The lid of the box has actually two mazes, one on each side, and this leads to four challenges in total. The box comes in the configuration with 348 moves, achieved by these mazes and steps at the sides of the sliders. There is another variant having only 172 moves, and following the goal to design a box with at least 100 moves, Juno created this version with 348 moves (and at least 260 moves in the other configurations). This increase in the number of moves was introduced by doubling the number of steps and halving their size on the four sliders on the side. While the 172 box was planned to be solved and the 348 move version only for people looking for a bigger challenge, my impression is that the box is still solvable by hand in a reasonable time. Having solved the initial challenge and the other one on the same side, I like how the pieces move and interact. It does not take as long as you would first expect, as a gentle push onto all four sliders allows them to move back into their initial position, with a nice rattling sound and over 20 moves in a second. Of course, not all the moves are running that quickly, and the maze on the other side seems to be shorter, but having more possibilities to get lost in the maze by taking a wrong turn. So far, it looks like the two sides behave quite different. A very nice box, with a great working mechanism, and very well crafted!
The other package contained some plastic puzzle. The first one I remember from IPP34: Six Cube. It looks like it is a six piece burr in bright plastic. So why did I put it into the Twisty Puzzles class? Well, it is actually a heavily truncated 3x3x3 design lacking all the corners and some parts of the edge piececs. A very clever idea! If you perform the standard checkerboard pattern, you will be disappointed, because the colour scheme does not lead to anything really new. However, if you take a look at some of the internal pieces visible through the gaps, you will notice some part of a checkerboard pattern after all. Truely a puzzle not behaving like a standard 3x3x3. With it came an old vintage puzzle, having an imprint stating that it was sold for 3 rubl some decades ago. It is a Pyraminx From Tula, a Pyraminx version I have never seen before. Thank you, Evgeniy/Grigorusha!
Added on 2018-08-13
In the last few days, the big puzzle spectacle happened in the US: IPP38. While I was not there, I could play with some new IPP puzzles that could not make it onto my web site until IPP was over: Goodie was a nice little present from Stephan (thanks!), which looks like a cute packing puzzle. While it comes in a 4x6x6 pack in the packaging, the goal is to create the unique 5x5x5 pack as solution. Some pieces have additional cutouts limiting the ways how pieces can be packed, and I am not sure if that makes it easier or harder. Probably harder to solve. His second new puzzle was Stephan's entry into the Design Competition: Hydrant. This could be classed as a puzzle box, as you have to operate several mechanisms and locks to open the puzzle to find the fire hose. The puzzle is beautifully and very well made, and resembles one of the American Darling B-62-B fire hydrants found in the USA. Not only an eye catcher, but also an interesting puzzle, too. When you solve it, there is an additional surprise for you. This puzzle won a top 10 votes prize at IPP38. Also in the IPP38 DC were two of Namick's latest creations: Loopary Branch and Quadrupled Quadlooplet. Those are fascinating disentanglement puzzles and nicely demonstrate n-ary puzzle concepts. They look quite different, yet are related and have the same basic structure. When you have a solver for such puzzles, it is actually only a different parameter set. The Loopary Branch is good to learn the basic idea of such puzzles, and you can clearly see the whole puzzle during the solution, as it has a flat structure. The Quadrupled Quadlooplet has a structure that looks much more complicated, yet is a very regular structure at closer observation. When trying to solve this puzzle, it may seem complicated at first, but quickly one realizes that the puzzle design actually guides the solving process. Two excellent examples for n-ary puzzle group and compendium!
With the Design Competition results announced, I can finally write something about those puzzles. During the competition, I had the possibility to play with 13 of the entries — can you spot them in the List of all puzzles? Aside from the ones I mentioned above, there are some prize winners I already had in my collection for some time:
Quartet Box was a top 10 votes prize and I was sure it would win something, as it is just a fascinating puzzle box. A very unusual mechanism, some sequential discovery elements that nicely interact with each other and which require multiple senses to solve, followed by a final step that was so well hidden that it eluded many puzzlers. The Cast Trinity won a 1st Prize and this is a puzzle I still need to solve, and it does not seem too easy. Just three pieces to take apart! Then there is the Casino puzzle. You may know my review from my entry below, or from the Pelikan Puzzles web shop, where it has sold out quickly. When we first discussed that puzzle and how well it would fit into the Design Competition, we did not imagine what happened yesterday: The puzzle won both the two big prizes of the Design Competition and therefore became "Puzzle of the Year", something that had last happened in 2008. A well deserved prize!
Added on 2018-08-01
When visiting the web shop from Nowstore in Hong Kong, there is a good chance that you will see some of the latest Twisty Puzzle releases there. Today two of them arrived quickly. Both puzzles may be some of the latest releases worldwide, but are actually based on older designs. Container Puzzzle is the first mass produced version of this puzzle, and has a designer which is not often found among twisty puzzles: Jean-Claude Constantin. According to Tony Fisher, Jean-Claude sketched the design and then Tony built it as a hand made modification based on the common Skewb puzzle. Years ago, I saw it on Tony's web page, and now this mass produced version appeared, making the design widely available. The Barrel Redi Cube clearly states its origin in the name, the Redi Cube by Oskar van Deventer. While the Redi Cube design had been around for years, it was only mass produced last year, and for me it triggered revisiting the solution of this family of puzzles. Beside the cylindric barrel shape, the transparent colours caught my eye when I first saw this barrel shaped one on a picture.
Added on 2018-07-26
Today a parcel from Yavuz brought some beautiful and very unusual interlocking puzzles: Fenced Burr looks like six piece burr caught in a boxing ring. The two vertical pieces are mounted to the bottom plate and the metal rods of the fence lead to some nice interactions with the moving burr pieces. Of course, this unusual shape immediately caught my attention and it is definitely an eyecatcher — and a burr with a surprisingly high solution level. The other puzzle has some shiny brass rods and it is immediately clear where the name comes from: Abacus. When trying to solve, the first moves will also remind you of an abacus, moving the "beads" up and down. However, this is a burr puzzle, so most of these pieces won't move and you will also not get very far with these moves. Then comes the Aha! moment that offers a whole different set of moves, and I am not referring to rotations here. Because of the round brass rods, some pieces would like to rotate, but let's be assured that the solution is possible without rotations, even if there may be some rotational shortcuts at some points. When the solution sequence is finished, the three boards lying in the bottom of the Abacus will have come out and then it is another challenge to get them back in. Both puzzles benefit from the nice choices of materials and design details Yavuz has chosen.
Added on 2018-07-25
In his latest update, Eric offered some really unusual interlocking / packing puzzles, and all of them are built in beautiful species of wood and at top notch craftmanship. The first one is the Combined Burr and clearly an interlocking puzzle. Not so clear are the mixed shapes of the pieces, which come in 3 different pairs. The first few moves to remove the first piece are easy enough and already show the strange piece shapes involved. The 18 moves to follow for the next piece are very high for a 6 piece burr. The others are some form of interlocking packing puzzles: Half Lid Box is by a designer who surprised us with some creative and unusual packing puzzles in the IPP Design Competition 2016, where he managed to win two prizes. The lid is only covering half of the 3x3 opening and is actually a slider not coming out of the box. The other pieces can come out, only that the remaining half opening seems to be too small for some of them, or maybe even most of them. The puzzle came assembled, and it seems to be a respectable challenge to unpack this packing puzzle in the first place! The Obstacle Box follows a similar scheme, only that there are three sliders inside, and each only covering a third of the 3x3 opening. The amazing thing is that one of them acts like a partial lid on the top layer, while the second one is turned by 90 degrees and acts as a middle separator, and then there is one separating the bottom layer from the rest, in the orientation of the top sliding plank again. This puzzle did only come partially assembled, so I am guessing it might not be as difficult as the other one. However, you still have to get the remaining pieces in and of course it looks like the pieces already inside the box have cunningly been placed in there in a configuration that leaves not enough room for the others. So the full challenge seems to be to remove all the pieces, find a suitable assembly, and put everything back into the box again. Cubyful 2 came fully assembled, and upon first inspection I managed to get some of the small pieces out. There is one piece imprisioned in the box and not wanting to come out completely, so you will have to find your way around this piece for the rest of the solution. Sounds familiar? There is your common scheme of the packing puzzles in this update! The imprisioned guard piece in the Cubyful 2 puzzle has a nice interaction with the small blocks. The more you take out of them, the more that piece is able to move out and eventually move to other places — but not outside the box! When removing the first small pieces, gravity is your friend to get them out, but then they may come out in greater number than expected and for reassembly you have to determine their exact positions and sequence, and interaction with the guard piece. After seeing various interlocking cubic puzzles and packing puzzles by Lucie, these are her first box packing puzzles I have noticed, let's see what comes next!
Added on 2018-07-21
The newly arrived Master FTO (Master Face Turning Octahedron) is a nice version of this puzzle made possible by the use of 3D printing. Evgeniy implemented a design by Timur creating a master version of the FTO with four layers in each direction instead of the three in the FTO. This is of course a nice addition to the twisty octahedra group page, which has grown much larger than I expected when I started this page. The Master FTO turns nicely considering how many pieces there are in this puzzle. I have been told that there is now a second, improved version, which is even better. So far, I have only tested simple patterns on this puzzle and it might help that I revisit the FTO before trying to solve this one. Some standard cube patterns look quite irregular on the MFTO at first sight, so it seems to be easy to scramble this puzzle. It is great that GRIGoRusha is offering these nice puzzles in his shop, which would otherwise be unavailable or only available as 3D printed parts that have to be dyed, assembled, stickered and broken in. I know this from early Shapeways puzzles, and this is one of the reasons I don't have many of them.
Added on 2018-07-18
Today is one of those days! After waiting for several packages to arrive one after another for weeks now, three of them from three different countries and continents arrived at the same time. The first from Nowstore in Hong Kong brought some nice twisty puzzles. After successfully solving some of the previous releases of this designer and manufacturer recently, I thought a nice looking easy twisty puzzle was a good idea and I ordered the Chinese Coin Cube. This is a well made puzzle and the inside circles turn nicely, and indeed it is easy, so easy that I have solved it just some minutes ago. With it came a Fisher Skewb, which is basically a Skewb, but cut into a cube in a different way. I have seen many shape mods based on the Skewb mechanism over the years, and this one is also shape shifting. Last year, I met John at IPP and shortly before I had ordered his fist numbered Pyrigan puzzle, the model #808. Recently, he released the Pyrigan Puzzle Model #360 and it looked nice and beautiful. After my experiences with the previous model, I did not require a lot of thought to go for this one, as well. It is a beautiful and heavyweight puzzle and even without solving it, I can see the high attention to detail in this puzzle. Only a limited series of a 100 will be made, and at the moment there are still some available. That was the package from the USA, the next one came from Australia, and the first puzzle was some by-catch for my order. A Drive Down Lombard Street is a dexterity puzzle (and I am not good at that), but it intrigued me for some time, so I decided to finally order one while there were still some available. It is nicely made and having walked up Lombard Street myself in the past, I really like how this was implemented in this puzzle with nice details. And of course, this puzzle can be a bit mean at times, but that is the idea behind dexterity puzzles, isn't it? The main reason for my order were the next two. Puzzles looking like simple pairs wooden blocks bolted together with three or four massive brass bolts. The first one was a limited release of a puzzle I have already seen and played with a bit: Birthday Surprise! This one was originally named "Tweedledum and Tweedledee" to match the theme of the Jabberwocky project created in a joint effort by 15 well known puzzle designers, a puzzle chest with many puzzle boxes in it, all needing to be solved during the solution of the Jabberwocky chest. Brian Young's contribution to this project also went to the IPP37 design competition, where I had the chance to play with it and where it managed to win a prize being among the top 10 vote getters. The 3 Wise Bolts seems to be of a similar kind, but according to the description, it may only have 3 bolts, yet a higher difficulty level. I am curious to solve all those new puzzles and will see what surprises they will have to offer. A great day for me and my puzzle collections, and I got a birthday surprise, even though it is not my birthday!
Added on 2018-07-06
I have known Jack Krijnen for years, in the beginning for high level 18 piece burrs, and for the number of moves in this category, he is the current world record holder, together with Alfons Eyckmans, see 18 pieces burrs group. In a joint research with Goh Pit Khiam, Jack then worked on designing n-ary puzzles, and quite successful, as you can see in n-ary puzzle group and compendium pages. Various different designs were discussed focusing on puzzles without a long synchronizer piece. At some point in the discussion, I mentioned puzzles with multiple discs like the Spin-Out or the Crazy Elephant Dance, and quickly after that Jack came back with a mechanism for n-ary discs without the need for a synchronizer piece. Some time later, Jack mentioned that he was working on something new: a puzzle box project, and of course I confirmed that this was interesting for me. To my surprise, Jack had not only designed a sequential discovery puzzle box, but also had implemented that n-ary wheel mechanism into it. Now I was really interested and was happy to play with a prototype Jack brought to last year's Dutch Cube Day. I only found the first step, but I stopped there as I did not want to spoil later solving attempts at home. Today this box has arrived and it looks beautiful and very well crafted, and even better than the prototype, as you can see in the picture of Jack-in-the-Box — the name hinting at some surprises? I already managed to repeat the first step and found several other interesting things, which I don't want to mention here, not to spoil anything for other puzzlers. A great box and a lot of fun waiting for me!
Update on 2018-07-08: Having now solved the box, I understand the various parts of the short description Jack added to the box: "It's sequential discovery, it's riddle solving, it's ternary, and in the end it is challenging." The challenge in the end is a real surprise and a real challenge, I must admit. If you ever get stuck on the box, reread this hint, it may help. Some parts of this puzzle are easier, some are more difficult, and alltogether it is a very good challenge to solve that may keep you busy for some time. Now seeing all the parts and pieces, I know where those rattling noises come from that sounded like maybe close to 20 pieces of the mechanism rattling in the box. That does not mean that this box has any loose tolerances. On the contrary, it has precise fit for all parts and I especially like the ternary part and how it works. Jack implemented a clever solution here to avoid blind guessing and allow you to appreciate the ternary disc mechanism. I can only repeat myself: A great box and a lot of fun for me!
Added on 2018-07-03
Rececntly I read some articles about some interesting Hanayama Cast puzzle designs and so I decided that I should get some more of these inexpensive but high quality puzzles by well known designers. The German Knobelbox.com shop had them for sale and delivered them very quickly. Most of them are older designs, but there is also the latest design currently available among them, can you spot it? They are: Cast Chain, Cast Duet, Cast Enigma, Cast Equa, Cast Horse, Cast Radix, Cast Trinity, Cast Vortex, and Cast W-U. Having played with some disentanglement puzzles lately (more or less successful), I decided to have a look at some of those wooden disentanglement puzzles from Romania a puzzle friend mentioned (and ordered!) some time last year. To have a good overview of them, I decided to go for the whole set of those puzzles in a wooden frame. Now I have two aspects to solve: the disentanglement/entanglement puzzle aspect, and then the packging aspect trying to figure out how to store those massive puzzles. Here is a list with the whole lot: IQ Games Rope Puzzle Evolution 1, IQ Games Rope Puzzle Evolution 2, IQ Games Rope Puzzle Evolution 3, IQ Games Rope Puzzle Evolution 4, IQ Games Rope Puzzle Evolution 5, and IQ Games Rope Puzzle Evolution 6. Being a good customer I received an assembly cube as a present, and the following picture serves as a prove that I have indeed succeeded assembling the Cube 3D Knobelbox. A big package with a lot of interesting puzzles, indeed!
Update on 2018-06-22
Some of the recent additions I have started solving, but not completed yet. For example, the Rotoprism 2 looks nearly like the original starting configuration, only that one of the triangular faces has a wrong orientation. I am not sure if it was a clever idea to scramble it, as the moves are heavily restricted by design (i.e. the mechanism). This puzzle turns really well and is fun to play with and I will not give up until it is solved again. In the Frame Me Up I have already discovered interesting move sequences, especially with the pieces having a frame loop attached. Far from being solved, but I knew it would take some time, and it is fun to play with. Following my recent activities, I have also solved one of the Chinese 99 Ring series: Double Image. After some initial confusion, this one seems to be much easier than the others I touched recently. Still being a challenge, this one clearly shows its heritage of a (binary) Chinese Rings chain, and the additional elements add some nice local effects. At first, the forward secondary rings, pointing into the "wrong" direction need some solution to be developed, but after that the rest starts going easily. The puzzle has definitely more moves than the classic binary version, but is still manageable and nice to play with. I have updated the entries in n-ary puzzle group and compendium accordingly, and the compendium entry contains some more details of the solution.
Added on 2018-06-20
Stephan has been playing with the concept of self framing burrs in his designs before, and this one is the latest addition to that group: Frame Me Up. It is an 18 pieces burr and with its level 53, it managed to fill a gap in the 18 pieces burrs group. The beautifully and precisely crafted pieces are either standard burr sticks, or a burr stick and one loop of the frame attached. Even from the start on, some interesting moves are possible, by which some parts of the frame are pulled out a bit. Of course it will not be an easy puzzle at that level, and I noticed some other interesting aspect: When some of the pieces with frames are sticking out, it is a bit harder to reach some of the other pieces through the extended frame. A very interesting concept and a beautiful puzzle. Time to start solving 18 pieces burrs again!
Update on 2018-06-16
Before playing with Mountain Trail II, I tried the previous one, Mountain Trail. They are both from the same designer and manufacturer and look similar, but to my surprise they behave quite different. For the Mountain Trail, there are some simple rules which together with an overall understanding of the puzzle allow to solve it nicely and it does not take very long after the solution sequence starts flowing a bit. The Mountain Trail II is a different story. Forget about those rules, as only the general idea remains the same! The secondary chains have now a completely different detail structure and are not just one ring longer than in the first one, but for solving you explicitly have to disobey the rules for the first one (see compendium entry of that one for reference). In the MT II, the secondary chains are truely parallel binary chains interacting with the primary chain in a way that makes the solution a lot longer. Also for this fascinating puzzle, the solution starts goiug easy after a while, and with the long solution there is in fact plenty of time for practising. At certain spots you have to be careful to decide for the right way to continue, and have to be sure not to miss those solution steps. Please see the compendium entry for this puzzle shows more details about the solution and the puzzles' characteristics. I have updated the entries in n-ary puzzle group and compendium accordingly.
Added on 2018-06-15
A package from Russia arrived today, with some special puzzle in it: Rotoprism 2. The Rotoprism brought a friend, a vintage Minus Cube in original packing, and this one looks like one of the versions in the Twistypuzzles museum even! Thank you Evgeniy! I first played with the Rotoprism 2 at IPP32 in Washington DC a few years ago and beside its unusual shape, another aspect caught my attention. It was hard to scramble, or to perform long move sequences at all. Only later I found out that this is the intended way of working for this innocent looking puzzle. What you don't see is that it is deeper than origin cut and has a 3 layered shell mechanism, which cleverly enforces restriction to piece movements. The Rotoprism is very well made and all moves work nicely, with the typical sound of 3D printed puzzles. A very good job, including the stickers, and the behaviour of blocking and unblocking moves is fascinating.
Added on 2018-06-14
Today's delivery brought a vintage puzzle from the 18 pieces burrs group: the Eighteen Piece 6x6x6 Burr. It is indeed vintage: Not only does a marking say that it is from 2001, but the design also bears the typical aspects of an old one, designed before computer optimization of burrs started. It has multiple solutions with level 3 and above, and in fact the original assembly it came in has a level 4 solution. Twelve of the pieces are simple identical "cage" pieces in two colours, and the other six pieces are different, which is also a typical form for older 18 piece burrs, like the Grandfather of 6x6x6 (van der Poel Burr) or the Lovely Burr. While this puzzle looks like a typical 8x8x8 grid, it is actually a bit bigger. While analyzing I found out that in an 8x8x8 grid, it would be a level 1 puzzle. The pieces are actually a bit longer, leading to a 10x10x10 grid and a level of 3. It is a well made and not very difficult puzzle and a feasible challenge for both disassembly and reassembly, taking a complete total of 25 moves for disassembly.
Added on 2018-06-12
My god, it's full of hearts! And that is a good thing for the third one of Juno's card suit boxes which arrived from Pluredro in Australia today: Heart Case. It is heart shaped from the outside and beautifully made, but there are more hearts to be found inside, including a small heart with the Juno logo on it. That one is part of the mechanism and plays an important role in this sequential discovery box. Recently, I received Juno's Quartet Box, which has a fascinating mechanism, with its four wooden gears on top, and also some interesting mechanism parts below the lid. I must admit that I needed a little hint for the very last step, as I missed out some obvious step there, but it is still an excellent box. That hint also made it quickly clear to me what the first step of the Heart Case might be, and it worked. Then, he did it a again! Movements started to appear in this box I have never seen before and just studying them distracted me from the solution for a while. Overall, it is an easier box (as the description says) and it did not take me long to open it. The unusual shape and mechanism make it a great box despite it lower difficulty level. The sequential discovery part with several tools is nicely implemented and I don't see any shortcut possibilities (aside from unruly strong force which you would never apply to a wooden puzzle, maybe). Those two recent boxes (Quartet Box and Heart Case) are a great continuation of the sequence of boxes created by Juno recently. Both seem to be available from their store at the moment, and I will keep my eyes open for more to come, may it be a (Framed) Burr like box, one like Ixia / Quartet boxs with gears, or the last one from the card suit series, the Spade Case (just a wild guess or extrapolation?).
Added on 2018-06-11
Today some of the latest twisty puzzles arrived from Now Store in Hong Kong. Professor Skewb is the next greater one in the series of the Skewb and Master Skewb. 4-Leaf-Clover Plus is a hybrid of a 4 Leaf Clover cube and a 2x2x2. Both of the original puzzles are not too difficult, but this hybrid may be a completely different story. I just verified that shape shifting Clover moves in combination with 2x2x2 moves are possible, and this will not making things easier, I suspect. On the other hand, I am expecting the Professor Skewb to give me more headaches than the 4-Leaf-Clover Plus.
Update on 2018-06-10
Today I quickly solved another fascinating one from Aaron's Chinese 99 Rings series: Disordered Chinese Rings. Like the name says, this one has some irregularities in the arrangement of rings and some rings skip over the next two connectors, one even over three connectors. This leads to some rings being stacked over the same connector, while coming from the next and one but next connector. During the solution, one has to be careful which of the rings actually need to follow the binary sequence, and which of those stacked rings will not be on the handle for most of the time. The most interesting point in the sequence of rings is the one where a ring skips over the next three connectors, while there is one on top only over the next connector, and above that one over two connectors. This creates a really disordered position in the sequence, which can also be spotted on the picture by the one ring that just won't like to fit into the rest of the chain, but potrudes a bit. This ring is the regular chinese rings member floating on top of the one skipping three connectors and is also the position most difficult in the whole solution. After realising how to deal with the anomalies, the solution is quite easy and it only took me minutes for the complete disassembly, and then only a few more for the reassembly. A nice puzzle trying to get you confused, but which can be mastered by some analysis. I have updated the entries in n-ary puzzle group and compendium accordingly.
Added on 2018-06-06
After they have been travelling for quite a while and going through customs inspection, today I was able to pick up some of Eric Fuller's latest offerings, all beautiful and precisely made wooden puzzles. Most of them are from the interlocking kind and it takes some time to get them apart and more time to get them back together again, but there are also two complex packing puzzles. Bramble Box remdinds me of the Lolly Boxes by Alfons, but in this case the "lolly" pieces have two openings to choose when peeking out: top and bottom face. The Aquarius+ is an innocent looking puzzle, where you see two pieces in a frame, but there is a third, smaller piece packed into the puzzle that tends to dance around the puzzle while solving, directed by gravity and the other pieces. Stumbling Blocks is another great packing/sliding/interlocking puzzle by Pit Khiam. It comes disassembled and I do not expect it to be easy. Not sure if the little details (corners) will help me solving or limit my approaches. The X Cage has a fascinating look. A box wide open with an acrylic top and little pillars at the side. Packing all 5 pieces into that box will be the challenge and then it will quickly turn out which of the openings can be used to add pieces to the inside. One quickly realizes that there is only one useful opening on top, the spaces between the pillars on the sides are just not wide enough to be useful for inserting pieces there. The Coniburr is maybe the most unusual 8 piece burr I have seen for a long time. The first movements already show how unusual the moves are, despite their only linear nature. Some really interesting puzzles that will be fun to solve!
Added on 2018-06-01
After the recent offer of the great Ixia Box, Juno has now created the Quartet Box. It also has some gear shaped pieces on top, but four, two more than the Ixia box, and first playing already showed that they sheem to work a bit differently from the Ixia box. At the moment, I am not sure if it is really a puzzle box or a creative and unique puzzle mechanism, I have already found some unexpected features. Maybe this will help some collectors who do not officially collect boxes. There seems to be a lot going on in this box, but I will have to solve it first, before I can tell more. It seems that Juno has again employed two tools he likes: his CNC machine and a lot of magnets. What is for sure now is that it is well made and looks beautiful and fascinating!
Update on 2018-05-31
Today I quickly solved another fascinating one from Aaron's Chinese 99 Rings series: Second-order Chinese Rings. This one is a modification of the classic Chinese Rings with each ring going over the next two connectors instead of only the next one. A very interesting obserrvation is that the solution sequence is the same like for the Dispersed GC Lock, which has a completely different implementation. Quickly analyzing and trying this puzzle, I noticed this similarity in the solution sequences and then everything went on quickly. After initially writing about this puzzle, it occurred to me to pick up the next variant, too, the Third-order Chinese Rings. This puzzle was one of the rare cases where I exactly knew how to solve it before trying it for the first time, as it is a natural extension of the previous one, with each ring going over the next three connectors (instead of one or two). Disentanglement went smoothly and quickly, keeping track of which ring to free next and counting the prerequisite steps/rings to allow for each of the rings dropped from the handle bar. I have updated the entries in n-ary puzzle group and compendium accordingly.
Update on 2018-05-30
After giving the rest of the Corn on the Cob puzzles a break, I solved another one of Aaron's Chinese 99 Rings puzzles: Reverse Chinese Rings. While this looks like a Chinese Rings with all the rings backwards, it has in fact an ordinary Chinese Rings puzzle as secondary chain. This will be mainly used for the solution and for each ring of the primary chain, the corresponding standard Chinese Rings chain in the bottom of the puzzle has to be solved, then the ring is dropped. When disassembling the puzzle, one should take care to remember how the ring from the primary chain comes off, as this may be the most difficult aspect of the puzzle. Without properly remembering this, re-assembly might be a lot more difficult. With this basically being a binary Chinese Rings with some extensions, I have classed it accordingly in n-ary puzzle group and compendium. Difficulty wise it has been labelled as Level 10+ like many of the other Chinese 99 Rings puzzles, but I personally would rate it easier than e.g. the Corn on the Cob series. One interesting aspect is also the look of this puzzle while solving. From the end of the handle, a really long chain of rings and connectors will hang down, getting longer as you progress. It is a fascinating puzzle, and while I have not seen this one, there are some others currently available at Puzzle Paradise and you may want to have a look.
Added on 2018-05-16
Today another beautiful box made entirely from wood was ready for pickup at the customs office: Hexagram Puzzlebox. This one is one of the famous numbered Stickman boxes, and this one is numnber 33. It is a cute box, and very space efficient, a bonus for every puzzle collector! Maybe I can store it within the Pi Puzzle Box? Before storing, however, I will try to solve it. And knowing the designer, it will not be an easy task. I am sure I will have some A-Ha! moments during the solve, and I have already noticed some odd behaviour that hints it is indeed not a solid block of wood. Only minutes later — indeed the first "Eureka!" This is going to be fun!
Added on 2018-05-13
Coming back from a short trip, a package was waiting for me, with a beautiful puzzle box in it: Pi Puzzle Box. This box was created by Jesse Born, who is getting more and more popular for his beautiful and creative puzzle boxes, including an IPP design competition. The box has beautiful Yosegi pattern on top, which must have been a lot of work to create, and the whole box is nicely crafted from various species of wood. The name relates to the mathematical constant π ("pi"), and while it seems related to the box, the similar sounding word "pie" looks well represented, too: The top has a round mechanism with pie slice shaped pieces. Those have to be manipulated to open this beautiful box, and it seems to be non-trivial. A fascinating box!
Update: Having now solved the box, I must say it is not only beautiful, but also has a clever mechanism inside, and I now know why the name is Pi Puzzle Box (and not Pie Puzzle Box). I won't tell more to avoid spoilers, just that it is a great puzzle box and very well crafted. The mechanism can be opened carefully and reveals that all parts of the box are made from wood. More pictures and information can also be found on Jesse's web page.
Added on 2018-05-08
From a recent auction I received a puzzle from the 1990s: Dutch String Puzzle. It is an entanglement puzzle (or was it "disentanglement puzzle"?). Most of the time, when I play with this kind of puzzles, they end up more entangled than before, instead of being disentangled. This one does not seem to difficult — famous last words!
Added on 2018-05-07
Today a package with some of the latest works by Brian Menold arrived, two nice designs by the French designer Greg Benedetti, whom I have met at several IPPs, including the one in Paris last year. He is well known for interlocking puzzles picking up classic themes, or bringing crazy rotational and coordinate motion moves into puzzles. The first one consists of four identical pieces in two different woods, and features a move qualifying both as rotational (i.e. non-linear) and coordinate motion-like move: Pif Paf With A Turn. The second one is a classic six piece board burr: S.O.B.B.#1. No fancy rotations here, but it may well be the first puzzle I have, which was made from three "hearts" of wood species: yellow heart, red heart, and purple heart. It looks beautiful, and completely different in artificial light with flash and sunlight, and the solution colour scheme is not what you might expect.
Added on 2018-05-05
Today a book arrived from the US: Cube Index. This was a kickstarter project last year and is a big catalogue of many mechanical puzzles, focusing on twisty puzzles (hence the name). It has many pictures in it and beside some well known ones, I also found some puzzles I have not seen before. Will be interesting to look at all those over 6500 pictures! While the kickstarter project has ended, it seems that on their page you can still pre-order the book if you want one. With the book came a little surprise puzzle (OK, it was announced, but I forgot, so it was a surprise to me): OoO RING is a 3 piece puzzle ring designed by Oskar. It is 3D printed in a nice and sturdy way, and must have been printed in the configuration that can be seen on the picture. There is a locking frame around it, and that does not have a visible gap, so it looks like everything was printed in this way. Of course, after removing that additional frame, the three pieces of the ring can be easily disentangled, and I have also managed to entangle it again.
Added on 2018-04-29
Today I visited Wil for his Kings Day puzzle party, and met many puzzle friends there. A lot of conversation, puzzle solving, and also puzzle buying was going on there. Jaap presented my his latest G4G gift, where you have to combine 8 polyominos with 1 to 8 units into a square: 1 to 8 Squared. From the latest run of Karakuri offerings, I finally picked up one of Miyamoto's A Chance Meeting, nicely made and a very nice trick!
Added on 2018-04-22
Yesterday I went to the German Cube Day to meet some puzzle friends, for some puzzle-related conversations, and of course to look for interesting puzzle additions. The GCD 2018 Giveaway was the welcome present for each attendee and it shows a nice application for 3D printing. The goal is to assemble the pieces to a shape that looks like the letters G, C, and D from three different sides. There were some vintage puzzles for offer, which completed my collection of the "Electro" series. The first one is more obvious, how to operate, while the second one is a bit confusing to entangle and disentangle: Electro 2 and Electro 3. One of them is part of the n-ary puzzle group and compendium. I also got a Funny Puzzle (thank you!) — some dexterity involved, as well as phyiscs — and a vintage design from the Hoffmann book: The Barrel Puzzle. The Clover is one of those entanglement puzzles (or was it rather "disentanglement"? I mostly remember them tangling up into various difficult knots, instead of coming apart). It was created by a very creative designer in this area, and participated in IPP37 last year. Advanced Solution Ring 3 Chain* looks like a triple version of a classic Chinese disentanglement puzzle, where you have to remove 3 rings instead of just one. At this GCD, there were also some newly made cubic interlocking puzzles available. Both Rotpack 2 and Intertwingly come from designers known for interlocking puzzles with some twists, and both of them are actually in the TIC (Turning Interlocking Cube) category. They consist of 2 pieces each, but the rotations are complicated and make them very interesting. The Juha's Interlocking No.1 is also a TIC, and it also extends the series of puzzles I have from this designer, would not have expected that! The Maze is a clever design, which can be solved without rotations, but interesting moves. The next two are rare designs from Japan: PtZ and KOPA. I first tried the KOPA when Allard brought it to DCD last Autumn. The goal is described quite easy: Assemble all the parts into a closed box. Or the longer version: There is a box with one part of the cover attached already. Then there is the second half of the cover to be added, and then a drawer for the inside. When adding the second part of the cover to the box, one can close the box completely. This is not the solution, one needs to add the drawer inside. With this drawer, the challenge becomes much more difficult, and during DCD last year, I saw several people fail this challenge, and so far I have not solved it either. There was one puzzle friend at DCD last year who actually solved it, so I know it is possible. The last two are unusual small puzzle boxes added to the Philos production range: Greek Secret Box Good Luck end Japanese Secret Box Good Fortune
Added on 2018-04-20
At the customs office I could today pick up one of the latest creations from the Karakuri group and it lead to some confusion amongst the officers. Is it a box, to put jewlery in? Is it a puzzle? Is it a toy? Luckily one of the officers knew me already and knew how to put a handmade wooden puzzle box into their classification system. The box is in fact related to some other interest of mine: buses. If you have seen my home page (German part only, sorry!), you may have seen that I built/modified some scale model buses in the past. So the name of the box is quite fitting: Bus stop. It is my first puzzle by Osamu Kasho, and I really like it! The mechanism is not too tricky, but also not too easy, but what made me smile is how it works. Imagine a bus arriving at a bus stop (first step!), but not quite arriving at the sign yet. Imagine all the passengers standing around blocking the way. What to do now? If you can figure out a solution to this problem, this might also solve this box. A great part of their "Travel" exhibition, and in the usual excellent quality, of course!
Added on 2018-04-13
Today a parcel with two beautiful puzzles from South Africa arrived from IntellectualCraft, with two interesting designs by Alfons: Enak and Pollux. They come in different woods and while the Enak is quite lightweight, the Pollux is a heavy puzzle, which may also be due to the high number of pieces. I already played with the Enak and the three burr sticks interact with the six plates in an interesting way. After a few moves, it is already possible to look into the puzzle, and then a few moves more, there are pieces sticking out in various directions. The Pollux does not give away that much for the moment, only a few moves seem possible at the beginning.
Added on 2018-04-06
Recently, I was trying to solve the next one of the Corn on the Cob series: Corn on the Cob III. After a while I understood how it worked and now the puzzle seems really easy to me. There is a set of simple rules to follow, if you would like to solve it, and I have outlined those rules in the compendium entry. Whenever I screwed up the puzzle and brought it into a more entangled position than I wanted, I later found out that I had broken one of those rules. Of course, it was some work to find these rules first, and with 9 ring pairs there are many possibilities to perform the wrong moves leading directly to dead ends, some of them into detours that would land you in the initial position after a while. A nice and interesting puzzle, and fun to solve.
Today I also received some brand new puzzles from the Twisty Puzzle section: Chromium Cube and Chromium Cube Super Stickers. This is a new implementation based on a design idea that had been around for many years. I have seen a version based on pieces with magnets attached to a central ball core, but this seems to be the first implementation without such tricks and going to be mass produced. What is so special about this puzzle? The design is also known as the "24 cube", relating to the 24 triangular face pieces on the outside. It is a deep cut puzzle, and the only rotational axes go right through the center, with a cut also right through the center. So unlike the similar looking Dino Cube, the two triangles next to each edge are actually separate pieces. While the puzzle looks simple from the outside, the deep cuts require a complicated mechanism based on multiple stacked spherical shells inside. Of course, these shells may become misaligned and then rotations around the intended axes would no longer be possible. To keep the shells aligned, the designer has implemented gravity pins, and consequently this is a twisty puzzle where care has to be taken on the orientation of the puzzle before performing turns. Tilting the puzzle, those pins make rattling noises, which is a bit unusual and for other puzzles you would think that something must be broken loose inside. Alltogether, the puzzle has a high number of 360 pieces. With all this, the puzzle is of course not a speedcubing puzzle, but the ones I have turn nicely, had no lockups or popping pieces so far, like I heard from other puzzlers. Beside the regular version, I also ordered one with Super Stickers, and the regular version quickly showed me why: Just a few moves done, and the colour scheme is mirror imaged. The puzzle can be ordered from the designer's shop website and comes assembled and stickered at a very good price, which does not only include shipping, but also replacement sticker set, a bag with replacement gravity pins and with replacement springs, and a nicely made pouch for each puzzle. I am happy that I ordered this interesting puzzle, even after initially hearing about some problems others had.
Added on 2018-03-28
Today I received a package from Pelikanpuzzles in Czech Republic, and it contained some very beautiful puzzles, very well crafted from nice woods. Keep an eye on their website, these puzzles (and more) are going to be available soon! The first one is Casino. Dr. Volker Latussek is known for elegant packing puzzles where you have to get (usually 6) identical pieces into a box (or remove them from a box), that just would not let you do it. When I got my hands on this latest great design, I could not resist and play the Casino. There are six discs reminding me of chips used in a casino, and the challenge is to pack them securely into the box provided. With the box having plenty of room to offer and a large slot opening on top, this should be an easy task, but trying this, I soon found out it was not that easy after all. All the dimensions of the puzzle parts are carefully chosen to prevent you from just inserting the discs into the box. Now thinking and systematic analysis was required! This eventually lead to an Eureka! moment, which put a big smile on my face. Using a clever move, all those discs will start fitting into the box, and no blind guessing or trying is required, nor any dexterity. A great puzzle, highly recommended!
The next two puzzles are some puzzles I have already played with: Mini Lock and Spiral Lock. Both were available at a puzzle meeting last year as 3D printed prototypes and Christoph was looking for feedback and unintended rotational shortcuts. I did not find shortcuts, and liked both puzzles. The Mini Lock is a nice and easy puzzle with a good level for only three pieces in a frame, while the Spiral Lock is more challenging. In my soluition the shackle comes out as first piece — like it should be for a padlock! Those pieces have an interesting move sequences dancing around a central void. Both puzzles are beautiful in the woods chosen by the guys from Pelikanpuzzles, and the Mini Lock is really cute, a perfect match for the name.
The other two are by a well known designer for complicated interlocking puzzles with rotations Osanori Yamamoto: Neo Saturn and Aqua Toto. After solving Lucida recently, and taking a lot of time for that, I am not expecting those two to be easy. The Neo Saturn puzzle has a nice layout with the red dot embedded in the top, and it has some interesting moves right from the beginning. Trying a few moves, I was close to removing the first piece, but my plan was a few milimeters off and did not work. The Aqua Toto reminds me of the Top puzzle by the same designer released recently (still resisting to be solved!) at first sight. However, here the rings have extra cubies attached to make them interlock and restrict the movements, and after a few moves I found out that the two boards don't even have openings big enough to release the two inner pieces. Expecting some interesing rotations!
Added on 2018-03-23
Today three of the latest twisty puzzles arrived from Nowstore, from three different manufacturers: Laurustinus Puzzle is a puzzle that goes into the easier category of Dino Cube like puzzles. It is basically a hollow sphere, and turns nicely, with the pieces clicking in place. The Geary Cube does not have any visible gears (aside from those depicted on the stickers), but gears in the inside make it a fascinating variation of the classic 3x3x3 concept. Probably most 3x3x3 solving algorithms will fail miserably on this one. The Grilles II is also based on a 3x3x3, but then has also other cuts allowing moves known from the Redi Cube, Mosaic Cube, and Bubbloids. It is a nice combination of face turning and corner turning mechanisms.
Added on 2018-03-19
Just a few days after ordering the fascinating Ixia Box, Pluredro had a new interesting offer on ebay. I managed to win a (second grade) pre-production T-Slot Burr and it is a really interesting puzzle. It has seven pieces, which are a central core and six plates running in rails around the core. Those plates interact via pins and grooves in the sliding blocks, and to make things easier, there is an identical set of grooves visible on the outside. At level 18, it is not too difficult to remove the first piece, but a nice move sequence. To me, it feels more like one of those Karakuri boxes, the Mechanical Cubi in particular, than a burr. Seems Juno has been very busy trying designs with his CNC router recently, and this one is a great idea for using that machine. The groove pattern on the otside gives the puzzle an interesting, technical look.
Added on 2018-03-16
Today a recent auction win arrived from The Netherlands: 2PBB Two Pieces Boxed Burr is a boxed burr with maybe the minimal number of pieces — assuming the box has no special features and the level should be greater than 1, that is. With it came a heavy Tricklock No. 665, with two pairs of keys. It is not difficult, but unlike any design I have seen before.
Added on 2018-03-13
After solving the nice box from Australia a few days ago, today a package with new and very nice wooden puzzles arrived from Cubicdissection, with designs from various designers: Burr of Nine Boxes has an unusual shape and the solution seems to be equally unusual. Prison Burr may look like another boxed 6 piece burr, but the bottom of the box is closed and you have to operate the pieces from five sides only. The 4L is a packing puzzle and therefore does not belong to my favourite category, but it looks very interesting with those assymmetric L pieces. The Overlap has 5 pieces and two are looking out from each of the ends of the box, and the pieces seem to be interlinked in an intersting way. To make things more challenging, there is a small fifth piece inside, and it can be moved. The Chinese Knot is Christoph's latest design and a six piece burr with a plate fixed to one end of each piece. It looks beautiful and the level makes it fun to play with. The Sextboard looks like the six pieces could only move up and out, but they interact a lot and lead to a high level for such a puzzle.
Added on 2018-03-07
It is time to add a puzzlebox to my collection — after yesterday's update. Today from Australia a brand new and beautiful puzzle box arrived: Ixia Box. The name comes from the two three-coloured ixia flower shapes on top of the box, and they are not only decoration, but also have some interesting movement at the beginning. Playing with the box, I have already found some red herrings and some Aha! moments — and a fascinating mechanism. Seems those flower shapes are not a nice interpretation of a blossom, but also serve some other purpose, and soon after that discovery it becomes obvious how those pieces might fit together, truely a sequential discovery puzzle (box). People with thin and nimble fingers may be able to persuade some of the elements to perform a shortcut, but that would only spoil the fun of handling this mechanism, and believe me, you will like it once you managed to assemble and operate it. To avoid blind guessing, the designer Juno has also included some windows in the box, so you can see what you are doing. Being a puzzle box, of course this only refers to parts of the solution, so there is still some imagination required about what might be going on inside. Update: Meanwhile I have opened the box completely and found a note revealing a surprise. This is a great box with some clever ideas and mechanisms. The best part is that it can be solved without blind guessing, and no need for hitting or banging. There are several components reused during the solution, which is why I would more class it a "sequential discovery puzzle", however it is still a box, and I really like it (despite the shortcut).
Added on 2018-03-06
Today some of the latest Karakuri boxes arrived. The first one is Kickake and while it was available last year already (and sold out in the first run), the designer is the latest member of the Karakuri Creation Group. It looks unusual and it also opens unusually. During the solve, there are some colour changes in the puzzle, which is a nice effect. The box also managed to surprise me a bit before I finally managed to open it. The colour changing theme has become the main theme of the next box: Color-colo. It is themed to be a 4x4x4 Rubik's cube and you have to rearrange the colours so that each side is one solid colour. It is a nice mechanism, but no twisty puzzle. One very interesting fact about the puzzle is that at the beginning each hole is filled with a colour and at the end, too. Now how can those colours be manipulated to open the box? The New Secret Box IV is the fourth in the series, and it breaks the sequence of 6, 12, and 18 moves of the first three. This one has 32 moves and is actually a Cubie in disguise. A nice new addition to n-ary puzzle group and compendium.
Added on 2018-02-28
Today some of the latest puzzles built by Brian Menold from Wood Wonders arrived, in beautiful woods, as usual. The first one also contains some acrylic windows and two steel balls, and those two steel balls are actually the only pieces to come out, hence the name: Box with Two Balls. With the two balls starting near the bottom of the box, there are many moves of all pieces required to get the two steel balls out. Through the side windows, the pieces can be seen and the solution can be planned and executed, but many steps will require gravity to manipulate the pieces behind the windows. The steel balls are nicely heavy and are fun to move around. End of last year, I met Chris and he had some prototypes around for testing, which I liked, but this wooden/acrylic/steel version handles much better than the others I tried before. The Kamelle Box is based on the idea of the Caramel Box puzzle, and while the name sounds similar to that other puzzle, it will only be understood in some parts of Germany. The box has two openings, one at the top, and then one at the bottom between two acrylic plates. Comes unassembled and is not an easy puzzle, but a nice one. The Havannas 1 is one basic design by Alfons which later lead to other puzzles, like the Big Havanna's I have. The wood of the box is really unusual and beautiful, with some beige colour with pinkish and light green grain parts. The Cross in Cross is built from two beautiful and unusual woods, and has some interesting interaction between the outer frame pieces and the three central burr sticks during the solution sequence.
Added on 2018-02-24
Bernhard offered a new interesting puzzle from Lucie Pauwels and with it some more nice puzzles. Tumbler is a TIC (Turning Interlocking Cube) and beside a lot of rotations separating the last two pieces, there are some interesting moves before. The Tube Cube consists of only three pieces with interlock in an interesting sequence. The Rota Cube is the new puzzle from Lucie which is a TIC with some additional features. The main frame consists of two spiral pieces that have to be rotated with a sequence of several rotations to come apart, there are some half notches, so that it is only a 4x4x4 cube from the outside view.
Added on 2018-02-07
Bautifully built by Maurice Vigouroux, the Love Cube is a new variation on an older puzzle and it is a cubic version of the Love's Dozen six piece burr. Both have six pieces and level 12, and follow the same solution sequence. The original six piece burr pieces can easily be seen in this design, as they are made from Difou wood, embedded into extensions made from Utile. Stephane Chomine created this design based on an earlier one by Jean Carle: Love's Dozen as a Cube. That one has one piece more, adding up to 7 pieces. This piece is a filler piece coming out first in one move and then the sequence is nearly identical to the one of the new cube, just that an extra move is required at the end. There are some more copies of the nice Love Cube currently available on Puzzle Paradise.
Added on 2018-01-27
Has been some time since the last update, and then today 3 packages arrived during the day. The first one are some brand new puzzles from Aaron Wang, from his chinese 99-ring series. They will go to n-ary puzzle group and compendium after I have solved them and confirmed their properties. I am still trying to solve some of the previous ones, so it may take some time. They all look nicely complex and very well made. The Mountain Trail II is the second with that name, and a variation on of my favourites in the series. There was a series of 3 I have not completely solved yet, and which are getting more complicated as numbers in the names rise. The next three continue this series: Corn on the Cob IV, Corn on the Cob V, and Corn on the Cob VI. In the Double Image, every second of the rings in the chain has two rings attached below, going forwards and backwards to adjacent connectors. For the next four, the idea is immediate from the name: Reverse Chinese Rings has everything reversed, which reminds me of the Astry puzzle by the same desigber. In Second-order Chinese Rings, every ring goes over two connectors instead just the neighbor, and in Third-order Chinese Rings over three neighbors. The Disordered Chinese Rings are a combination of these two in a regular pattern, and looks a bit chaotic at first. The Boxing Glove is obviously not from this series, but has the sturdy look and feel of the Tavern Puzzles. A beauty and definitely not easy!
The second package is from a recent auction win ("win" as in are "you are allowed/obliged to buy the items", not getting them for free): Patchwork Box and Pink Ivory Ring are two beautiful interlocking puzzles in exotic woods by a renowed craftsman and two well known designers. The Flange 99A is a nice little puzzle in a 3D cross shape and non-trivial to assemble. The third package was a win at another auction and is a classic by a well known puzzle designer Sonneveld 9 Piece Board Burr who does not like to give his designs names, and so it has a more technical designation. A beautiful piece coming with its own stand for display.
Added on 2018-01-06
Today a puzzle friend was visiting me and brought a nice present for my interlocking category: Rail Box #1. It is a nice little puzzle and fun to solve. Thank you!
Added on 2018-01-05
Today a second package from Hong Kong with some of the latest twisties: Multi-Cube. This design started its life as "Multi-Skewb" which refers to the primary mechanism visible from the outside, that of a Holey (Master) Skewb. The inside seems to be a Compy Cube, which is a tip turning cube related to the Dino/Rainbow Cubes. This puzzle is actually two in one. The TriCube looks like three intersecting cubes, and with each move, pieces from two of the three cubes will be moved (initially, until they are scrambled and each such cube contains more than one colour of pieces. There are also other colour variants available, another three coloured one and then one with six different colours, where each cube consists of two colours.
Added on 2018-01-03
The first puzzle package to arrive was from Hong Kong, containing some of the latest twisty puzzles: Crazy Comet Is a rhombic dodecahedron with strange moves, some of them shapechanging. The 2x2x2 Transform pyraminx BaMianTi is based on a 2x2x2 and has small circles in the corners. It is the lastest addition to the group of twisty octahedra. The Seven Star UFO is a collection of 7 little 2x2x2 balls, and an additional rotational axis to mix these seven puzzles by rotating the UFO halves. The Infinity Cube is a folding cube making different shapes.
Update on 2018-01-01
The first update of this year is around some puzzle solving. During the holidays, was working on the puzzle solving backlock a bit, and today I have solved the "Casino 2" and have put my solution review on the Burr Zoo group page. A nice burr puzzle of medium difficulty. Happy new year to all readers following this web site!
Added on 2017-12-27
From a private deal with a puzzle friend I received a puzzle which has been missing in my collection for some time: Juha 10. This is one of the nice Juha cubes series, but one that was not mass produced by Philos. As usual, it has some small pieces to fill holes, and this one resembles some similarity with the Juha 12 puzzle, with a stair shaped piece in the middle. The alternative name of "Zig-Zag Burr" is a well matching name for this aspect.
Added on 2017-12-26
A good friend visiting brought me a Sudoku-Cube as a christmas present: 3x3x3 Sudoku V-CUBE. Of course it was immediately scrambled, and it is a really tough challenge to solve. Needs some recognition of the patterns to be arranged on the sides, and then some planning ahead and some concentration. Thank you for this nice challenge!
Added on 2017-12-25
Beside the recent x-mas activities in the last days, I also had some time to assemble some new plywood kits, which are very well prepared and easy to assemble. One of them is a safe with a functional three digit combination lock (no puzzle), another is a puzzle box: Treasure Box. After having fun assembling this box without any glue required, I can now enjoy the puzzle box aspect. It is a sequential discovery box and some of the mechanism can be seen from the outside with the wooden gears turning. Those gears are related to the name of the company producing these kits: UGears, from Ukraine. While most of the kits are no puzzles and the instructions make it easy to assemble them (and not a puzzle how things might fit together), they already start showing up in various bigger and smaller puzzle shops. If you would like to see how this box works, there are also some videos online.
Update on 2017-12-22
As a christmas present to all readers of this website, today an update is launched, with a new feature: Interlocking Explorer. You see the yellow box that appeared in the changed menu above? You can always start this view via that button. At first, it will only show you all pictures of the interlocking category on one page, and this is nothing new. What is new is that you can click on links to sort by number of pieces or by level (in descending order). Additionally, you can filter for solutions with rotational moves (or without), and same for coordinate motion moves. This can all be combined, and for example if you are interested in all interlocking puzzles on this page with a level 6 solution with rotations involved, click on this link here.
You will also notice new fields in the puzzle detail pages for the interlocking puzzle class, providing information about the number of pieces, the solution level, and also rotations / coordinate motion moves. Fell free to click on those links, they will take you to the corresponding view of the Interlocking Explorer. Please note: everything works only for the interlocking puzzle class, no others.
The implementation of these new features was not the only task, collecting the data for the entries was also a big task, and is still ongoing. Of course, this only works for puzzle entries with the corresponding data amended, and so far, I have managed to collect this data for a good deal of the around 1000 entries in the interlocking category. Hopefully, the interlocking class of puzzles on this site will now be easier to navigate and it will be easier to find a certain puzzle. This was also my main motivation, after I spend some time flicking through all the pictures of the whole class when searching for the name and other details of a particular puzzle. I wish you happy holidays and all the best for the new year!
Added on 2017-12-19
Today a package from Czech Republic arrived, with some of the latest works from Pelikanpuzzles. Recently, the nice looking "Knot on my watch" was released, a beautiful puzzle, and from the same designer now another beautiful shape: Recede. It looks like a cube with one corner (and a bit more) removed, leaving a wide opening. The core consists of three burr sticks, and then there is a frame to trap them, augmented by some additional pieces filling up the puzzle and restricting possible moves considerably. The other two are difficult designs by Osanori Yamamoto, and of course have some rotations involved: Top and Lucida. From both, there exist versions from other craftsmen, which were offered at IPP, and which allowed me to play with them on a puzzle meeting around DCD. Unlike the current ones, those came disassembled and many puzzlers tried to assemble them without success, only very few succeeded. Especially the Lucida is a mean one: After solving, a typical comment was that the solver did not know exactly how he did it, and even worse would not get the puzzle apart again quickly. After not solving those two earlier on, I hope I will be more successful now. Two pieces in a cage, how hard can it be? Famous last words!
Added on 2017-12-18
Two new beautiful and clever puzzles form Australia today: Being the inventor of the original framed burr with 6 pieces, Juno has now created a tough level 24 one with 4 pieces only, which is more open and allows you to look inside a bit: Visible Framed Burr. This reminds me of the Framed Burr Box I picked up at IPP this year, containing a framed burr that would allow you some looks inside, once you started solving. The open frame is not the only trick involved in the Visible Framed Burr, there is more to it, increasing the level. After the Diamond Case was the first cute box with a card suite theme, the Club Case is the second one, and the design is as unusual as for the first one. When looking through the club shaped window, you will see some mazes, obviously a result of Juno's recent experiments with the CNC router. You will also see a design feature I have never seen in a box before, and which has to do with the sliders in the lower layer, right below the lid. A quick inspection shows that there are two independent sliders directly below the lid, which means they should be crossing each other and therefore blocking. This design gives a clever idea to this mystery, and makes it a puzzle box, which is not only nice looking, but also an interesting challenge to solve. Luckily it is not one of those requiring blind navigation in a maze, but to some extent you can see what is happening.
Added on 2017-12-15
Today two packages arrived with one puzzle inside each, both puzzles quite different in comparison. From Yavuz a wooden interlocking puzzle, based on boards: Transenna. It is actually two puzzles: One is with all pieces as shown in the picture, the other assembly is leaving away three of the bigger, darker boards to build a shape more like a three dimensional cross. From Diniar I received a 3D printed puzzle in colourful plastics, and he seems to explore the possibilities for 3D printed puzzles, and which types can be created. The Sewing Box looks like one of those storage containers in which various colours of thread are stored on spools, for sewing, hence the name. Of course the actual puzzle has nothing to do with sewing, but it is a take apart puzzle. It is well made with very good tolerances and right now, it does not seem obvious how to take it apart. The coloured columns have each a different stair-shaped cut, dividing each into two pieces each, but they are locked by the upper and lower rim of the container. I already have some idea how to progress, but have no idea if that will work and if it will lead to the solution of the puzzle, will have to carry on playing. The size is about the same like some of such sewing boxes and is nice to play with. An interesting new puzzle idea!
Added on 2017-12-13
Recently, on the Twistypuzzles.com forum, there was a new non-twisty puzzle released. This puzzle reminds me of the Daedalus puzzle and has some pegs and internal mazes on the pieces, mazes that are reconfigured by shifting the pieces. The puzzle is: Titan and is 3D printed. The puzzle is a 4x4x4 cube with no holes in it (if you don't count the grooves for the mazes), and quite high level of more than 14, which is all I know. It came from the 3D printer disassembled with the pieces enclosed in some wire like structure I had to open to separate the pieces. This seems to be a way to limit the number of separate pieces in the 3D print to reduce the costs. The pieces fit into each other nicely and I have already found several configurations with all but one piece assembled into a cube. The puzzle might seem a bit small, but it has a nice size and weight for playing and excellent tolerances. One nice aspect is that you can see what interactions there may be between grooves and pegs, will still be a good challenge to assemble!
Added on 2017-12-12
It is that time of the year again. Quite early this year, and much earlier than expected, I received a package from Japan with the latest Karakuri X-mas presents in it. Four cute puzzle boxes in different shapes, and not too easy of course: X-mas present 1, X-mas present 2, Aquarius Drawer 2, and The Pig. For the first two, I don't know the name yet and will add it a few weeks. The Aquarius Drawer 2 looks certainly different than the existing puzzle without the "2", but it says in the description that this is intended. This one has the usual scheme of the bean bag drawers by the same craftsman: a drawer with two compartments and you have to open them both. Kamei's new box was a bit of a surprise to me, as it does not look like a puzzle box at first. Kawashima's box seems to be cutting edge puzzle box design, it contains a warning that it has sharp edges. The last one with the same warning was the Popplock T11, but that one did not hurt me during solving, so I will be careful here. The Pig is a nice addition to the series of animal boxes in Yoh's typical style.
Added on 2017-12-06
Today is Saint Nicolas Day here in Germany and kids are surprised with people dressed up as santa clause and bringing small presents, like chocolate santa claus, gingerbread, and nuts. Instead of that, I received two packages from abroad today which arrived in Germany quickly. They contained beautiful new wooden puzzles and incidentially, each also one puzzle by the same Dutch designer. The first one from South Africa, from Johan's Intellectualcraft workshop contained the first four. Three of them are monster burr puzzles, when it comes to the number of pieces. Instead of the usual 6, 12, or 18, they have 24 to 30 pieces: Colossus, Barriere, and Grand Barriere. All designed by Alfons Eyckmans and nicely crafted by Johan. You would expect that those are also monstrous in size, but Johan has devised a new technique here, which allowed him to build these puzzles in an excellent size. Big enough to play with them and still enough room in the cabinet. According to Johan, they are all a challenge to assemble, with the high number of pieces and require some dexterity. Well, before thinking of that experience, I will have to disassemble them first, and that is a challenge on its own. Johan also included a surprise puzzle, the Archives by Klaas Jan Damstra, which I had noticed on his web page earlier. Looks like the "ring" inside has in reality some extra pieces and cubies glued in making it more challenging to move most of the pieces. A nice little puzzle, and of course this one comes with a stand. Thank you, Johan!
The second package arrived from the US, where recently Brian Menold was working on some fascinating new puzzles, all in beautiful woods, too. I knew that the Liliput would soon be available, as Chris told me at Dutch Cube Day. A small puzzle, with two pieces in a frame, but a high level. I wonder what the maximum may be for two pieces in a 4x4x5 frame. The Castle has an unusual look with a central frame and is from Klaas Jan, too. It seems that he is currently experimenting with strange frames, like the one that was published on Puzzlewillbeplayed today. The last two don't need a frame. They are 6BB, meaning 6 Board Burr, consisting of boards. To make it more interesting, they are from the subgroup of Bent Board Burrs, where each piece has a solid block at the end, spanning over two pieces in the assembled state. There have been others before, and I already have some from Frans, who is the expert for this kind of puzzles, but those are new in my collection: Bent Board Burr #4 is a non-trivial example in this group and has a quite high number of moves for the first two pieces. The other one is a variation, the Bent Board Burr #4 Too. It has two assemblies, and the first one has even more moves for both first pieces than the original one. With the uniform choice of woods, it can also be assembled in a lower level assembly.
With those puzzles to solve, there is no need to worry that I might be bored in the near future, in particular as there are other puzzles to solve, like that massive new lock which arrived last week.
Added on 2017-12-05
Christmas is approaching, and so are the first themed puzzles: Tea Box - Santa's Workshop arrived from Canada and is the latest of the Granny's Tea Box series. It is a cute little box and requires 5 moves to open. It has three knobs allowing to manipulate the lock, and it seems this is in line with Kelly's recent designs. I think for solving, it best goes along with a good cup of tea, just that the tea will probably be empty before the box is open!
Added on 2017-12-02
Today I went to a very nice local puzzle meeting Bernhard held at his place, where I met some puzzle friends for a lot of puzzle related chat, and also playing with some new puzzles, and I got to play with some fascinating possible future IPP Design Competition entries, too. There was also an offer of Bernhard's latest works, which are mainly coming from two creative and active designers, and are mainly cubic interlocking puzzles, some of them "TICs", the Turning Interlocking Cubes. The first designer is Andrey, with some interesting designs with and without rotations, some of them just published on Puzzlewillbeplayed.com: 16 Bar Cube 1, Toughie I, Toughie II, Tube Cube, Identity 4a, and Identity 4b. For these puzzles, the names give you a very good basic idea. If couse I could not resist another of Tom's designs: Loopy Cube. In the last couple of years, Lucie Pauwels has appeared as a new puzzle designer, with a variety of different designs. Her Open Cube is a typical TIC, and it is just the right difficulty level to assemble from the pieces in a reasonable amount of time (confirmed by myself during the puzzle meeting). Like the one before, most of her interlocking puzzles seem to have a name with "Knobbel" and then the number of the design, like the following three nice TICs: Knobbel 24, Knobbel 26, and Knobbel 28, which date back to 2015, but have been built for offer for this year's IPP for the first time. I have not heard from Franklin Gonsalves for a long time, and was surprised to see one of his older designs: Loopy Loops Junior, which is a nice and not too difficult puzzle, and quite big, by the way! Thanks to Bernhard for the nice meeting and great puzzle offer!
Added on 2017-11-26
This weekend, a package arrived from a recent auction. The two puzzles from this auction are nice little Japanese puzzle boxes: Packing Box (mini) II from a well known Karakuri Craftsman, and then from unknown origin: Twist Box - Kiasa. Both boxes are unusual compared to the traditional Japanese trick boxes.
Added on 2017-11-22
Today, I expected one puzzle package to arrive, but then it became four! Thanks to training at events like DCD or IPP, I could cope with this puzzle overload, but it is not only the number of packages, but some of the puzzles are brand new and special. Just a few days ago, a puzzle was officially announced to the collectors, which I had once seen at IPP earlier this year, when I met Rainer Popp there. After his T10 had been the biggest lock in his series so far, he was very busy working on the next one and when I first saw it, it turned out to be an impressive, big, and heavy puzzle (at around 2.5kg). I was very lucky and today already one of those beauties arrived, a Popplock T11. It comes with a key, and the key looks like a piece of art by itself. Should I mention that there is no keyhole visible? This lock comes with some rules to protect the puzzle, and one of them is that you should first find a keyhole before using that key. Well, let's put that key away again and focus on the rest. I played with the lock a bit already, and noticed several interesting things, but could not really progess yet. That will definitely not be an easy challenge, and one to look forward to!
The next package was actually an envelope from Jerry Loo's newly opened web shop with some light puzzles inside: Planex and L(8)tice-2. For the lattice puzzle, the target shape is obvious (not shown in the picture), while the Planex has a name resembling the one of a well known puzzle. It is actually a small version of the big Panex puzzle and therefore goes directly to n-ary puzzle group and compendium. It may be much lighter than the Popplock, and may have considerably less parts, but the mathematics behind it is more complicated. This is a nice pocketable version of the Panex which can be solved in reasonable time, too, and has enough pieces to demonstrate the basic ideas and algorithms.
Also around the globe, from Hong Kong, Nowstore had sent a package with some of the latest Twisties: The Curvy Ccopter+3x3 says everything by its name. It is a hybrid of Curvy Copter and 3x3x3 Rubik's cube. It has the regular face turns of the one, and the half turns on the edges of the other, but then there are also the shape shifting moves, now combined with the 3x3x3 moves. The Pentacle Cube is also a modification of a 3x3x3 cube, this time with circles, but unlike a circle cube, they come in a pentagram shape, limiting the available moves considerably. The 4-Leaf-Clover Cube is edge turning, and similar to the Curvy Copter+3x3, those can be half turns, or shorter turns leading to shapeshifting and blocking more and more moves. The Grasse and the perfume was a side order in another package and is a nice easy interlocking puzzle.
Added on 2017-11-20
Dutch Cube Day was a month ago, but today I am presenting two puzzles I received as a gift by my friend Christoph on that occasion: Torus 3D 16 pieces, Torus 3D 24 pieces. Of course these nice mathematical objects came disassembled in a small package each and required careful assembly. The smaller one was quite easy and quickly assembled, but the bigger one cost a lot of concentration and dedication. It is very easy to get some of the cuts misaligned and hard to get all cuts of a piece aligned with the crossing pieces. Luckily, this one came with a small strip of transparent as a helper tool, which made this assembly task possible. Now those two are both assembled and they look just beautiful. Despite being created from thin cardboard, they are surprisingly stable in the assembled form. Thanks for the puzzzles, Christoph!
Added on 2017-11-17
Today two packages arrived with nice puzzles inside. One contained one of the latest works from Pelikanpuzzles: Knot on my Watch. It looks indeed like a wristwatch and as it is an interlocking puzzle, there is also a knot of some sort involved when disassembling. It cannot be worn as a watch and it will not show the correct time, but it is a beautiful puzzle and fun to disassemble and reassemble. I wonder if the other interpretation of the name has some meaning for the designer, maybe relating to the story mentioned, about the wristwatch he was not able to repair.
The second package had a longer way coming from Taiwan and contained brand new puzzles for n-ary puzzle group and compendium. These puzzles are all variations of the classic "The Brain" puzzle, just with 6 instead of 8 sliders. David took that design and modified it to be a ternary and quaternary version, too: xBrain binary, xBrain ternary, and xBrain quaternary. These three puzzles nicely demonstrate two asspects of n-ary puzzles: They can be transformed to other arities and different number of special pieces. They are 3D printed and high quality, and fun to play with, and the size is even better to handle than the old puzzle. Of course for the pictures (more in the compendium!), I had to solve them all, and they operate well. They have a shortcut, but that wasn't used here. David has improved the original concept in several ways and made some really nice new puzzles here. Thank you for building them for me!
Added on 2017-11-10
A puzzle lock does not need to be big, heavy, or made from metal, to be an interesting and complex trick lock. Louis has proven this with his excellent 2015 and 2016 designs (which are currently for offer at one of the big puzzle auctions), and now there is a brand new one: Trick Lock 2017. I have first played with some prototypes at DCD a couple weeks ago, and that convinced me that I wanted one for my collection. Not wanting to give away any spoilers, let me just remark that the solution is unusual in several ways. A really nice challenge in this little puzzle!
Added on 2017-11-05
From Australia, Stuart sent me a box full of nice little puzzles, all made by himself. Buggin is one for n-ary puzzle group and compendium. This is a variation of a binary disentanglement puzzle, by creating two copies of it, and joining them at the end. The first steps confused me a bit, but after having a closer look, I managed to run through the sequences and solve the puzzle. The two binary puzzles meet at the end, so for the second copy, you will have to traverse through the end of the first one many times, but luckily those two sequences are basically traversed one after the other. The next two are nice variations on classic disentangelment puzzles (names unknown), and the goal is to move both beads onto one side of the loop, and then onto separate loops again: Move the beads 1* and Move the beads 2*. The Broken Jewel looks like a nice jewel shape, until you try and disassemble it. After that you will end up with a ring of pieces to be entangled into the jewel shape again. A variation of this in cubic shape is the Checkered Steady Cube. The Butterfly Puzzle is sometheing completely different. The pieces consist of hex sticks of length one and two, and you should build a butterfly shape of height two from them — or some other shapes if you like. Four Square is like a "Sudoku" puzzle with colours. Use the L and I shaped pieces to form a square, so that each row and each column has no colour occuring twice. Shape Maker also consists of cubies on a string loop, and the challenge is to create some 8 shapes provided with the puzzle, and others if you like. Six Corners* consists of six identical pieces with two cubies and two boards each. After trying to disassemble this shape, the goal is to restore it, of course. Thank you for these nice puzzles, Stuart AKA "Puzzle Man Australia"!
Added on 2017-11-03
From Austria, from Stephan Baumegger, a package arrived today, and in it was a very interesting design made of beautiful woods: Pandora. It looks like a caged 6 piece burr at first, but there is much more to it: the cage consists of boards of three different woods, and everything comes apart — eventually. Before that, a solution has to be found for disassembly, and the level tells you it is not easy. For similar puzzles I have seen so far, like Alfons Eyckmans' "Al Capone" puzzle, first one or more sticks come out before the first board can be removed. In the Pandora puzzle, the boards have additional guides attached, making them harder to remove. Despite that, in this puzzle three of the boards come out before any stick can be removed. Luckily this is a very beautiful puzzle, so you can enjoy it as a piece of art before actually solving it.
Added on 2017-10-26
Today I went to the "Spiel" in Essen, the biggest games fair for board games and the like, and it is getting bigger every year. The main focus is on games and I acquired quite some new games there, and test played some more, but there are also well known puzzle shops/manufacturers there, and I met some puzzle friends also being on the hunt for puzzles and games. The first puzzle was Crown Shape Lock, a huge lock in traditional Indian style commissioned by Jean-Claude Constantin. From Hendrik's Puzzle-Shop, I got one of the last Redi Cubes I missed out so far. A well known puzzler got the last one after me. A nice and not too difficult twisty, as it seems. Famous last words? We'll see! Rombol had nice puzzes by various designers for offer, but this time I concentrated on designs by Volker Latussek, most of them being part of the latest two IPP Design Competitions: Curling Box, Bastille, and Black and White Antislide. The House of Tangram I have never seen before and it seems to be a classic Tangram, once you get the pieces out of the "house". Of course you will have to put them back in after playing. Or maybe this is still part of playing, actually! One of the winner puzzles of the IPP36 Design Competition is also offered: The "Marbles Cage". There is a wooden version available by the name "Tower of London" via their web site.
Added on 2017-10-23
Yesterday, the biggest European puzzle meeting saw another incarnation in The Netherlands, the Dutch Cube Day. Of course, I attended this event and several side-events to meet many puzzle friends, see new (and old) puzzles, discuss excellent prototypes with the designers, and also enjoy solving puzzles not usually available to me. One new puzzle is Sixfold, a set of six folding puzzles by Markus, and one has also a picture of the Crazy Elephant Dance on it! This was the present for all attendees. One intended side-effect of DCD is a haul for my collection, which has a clearly noticable bias: More beautiful but difficult wooden puzzles from Alfons. The following wooden puzzles extend some of the group pages I have on my web site. The Burr Zoo group page is extended by Casino 2, which does not really have animal pieces inside, just two dice, but is one of the designs that started this group of puzzles. Ignoring those two hidden extra pieces, it is also part of the 18 pieces burrs group, as are the following ones: Earrings, John's Goliath, and Hooks 2. That last one is an 18 piece burr mounted to a base plate via four hooks in the corner, which we have seen in the Dog Catcher puzzle before, which was a 12+3+1 piece puzzle. Similarly, the Hooks is a 12 pieces burr mounted to a base plate with four hooks. The puzzle Silene looks like it also has four supporting pillars in the four corners, but this time, those more look like an exoskeleton, and the four long sticks are firmly held in place by the crossed sticks in the middle. An interesting looking design and two very beautiful species of wood (the picture not doing them much justice). Plaza caught my attention because it looked like an easy puzzle with an unusual shape, which also allows you to see inside the puzzle while solving. This view is an advantage, especially when it comes to the unusual third move I have already found. The next two are very similar puzzles of two halves in contrasting woods: Oximoron and Siamese Twins. After this series of two, there is one of three, all very recently released: Tricolor, Tricolor 2, and Tricolor 3. They all have four central sticks and four L-shaped boards locked onto them. Two of the L-shaped boards are a bit bigger than the other two. While the first and third puzzles have a mirror symmetric look, the second one is point symmetric.
At DCD, I also met the host of this year's IPP and he had one of the missing exchange puzzles with him for me, after it had been caught in German customs earlier this year on the way to IPP. Now I also have Euro Star on my Edward Hordern Puzzle Exchange page.
There were several n-ary puzzles for offer, similar to existing ones in n-ary puzzle group and compendium. The one I chose to add is: The Bell, which is like a Panex puzzle with only 6 levels. There were also some IPP Exchange puzzles for offer, like the The Moose Ball. Leaving the DCD without a twisty puzzle feels strange, and those two are simple and basically a 2x2x2, but look very nice: Hex-X 2x2x2 and 2x2x2 Mini Fisher Cube. The Saturn is a vintage puzzle with not so obvious goal and solution. A novelty is also the Floppy Ghost Cube, which may have better been named "Floppy Ghost Megaminx" or "Ghost Floppy Pentagonal Prism" in a more technical fashion, considering that it is based on a pentagon, not a square.
After wood and plastic, there is also another material category, the heavy one: Cast Dot is the latest Cast puzzle, flat, but folding into interesting shapes before coming apart. Cast Beta Capsule is a remake of some hedgehog puzzle in a different setting. The 3 Circles and Cross the Ball come from one of Wil's business partner in China.
Finally, there is also one trick box in this update, an IPP 36 Exchange puzzle: Bolt. It is a box from Japan, and from this country are also the following not quite so standard sliding piece puzzles: Tricky?, neo SLIDE-9, Easy?, and SOLO are well known designs by one expert of such puzzles: Minoru Abe. The "Easy?" has also made it in several puzzle games I have seen on mobile platforms, where it was used as a mini game, but in an easier version without the red square piece. Making the "Easy?" puzzle easier? Probably that was a good idea for those games, where not everybody is a puzzle solving expert.
This DCD was a great event and I will have some fun working myself through all the new puzzles. No chance to get bored anytime soon!
Added on 2017-10-17
Today I picked up two packages at the customs office ordered on the same day, arriving on the same day, but one from far east and one from the west, an interesting coincidence! The first one contained what you would easily identify as the traditional not so cheap Japanese puzzle box, and it is therefore called The Traditional. So this must be from the east? Wrong! This is Robert Yarger's latest release of Stickmanboxes. After playing with it a bit, you will soon notice that it looks like a traditional Japanese box, and has some similar elements, but then also something typically not found in such a box. Will take some tricks to open the four compartments.
From the east, from Australia, a package arrived with Juno's latest works. The A Mazing Burr was offered as a prerelease in a charity auction and I was lucky to win one. It was labelled "second grade", but looks like a high quality puzzle and is certainly not a normal six piece burr. There are mazes inside which lead to coordinate motion moves appearing in sequences and regular moves, raising the level to 17 for the first piece. A well deserved name for this puzzle! The Diamond Case was thought to be a small box after the big Framed Burr Box (see below on this page), and not so difficult. That does not mean it is trivial, and it is definitely a cute little box. The Skewed Six Piece Burr* will support Juno's reputation for unusual six piece burrs. This one has a crazy look and hints that something has gone horribly wrong with the angles of Juno's saw and jigs. At a closer look, you will see the nice symmetry. It is only level 1, but the odd shapes make it difficult to re-assemble. Still being a prototype you might want to keep a look on the Pluredro shop for this one to be released in the future. Thanks for the nice puzzle!
Added on 2017-10-10
Today some beautiful wooden puzzles arrived. The first one gave me a slight headache because it came disassembled, and it has a fitting name: Migraine It did not take me too long to work out the positions of the pieces in the solution, and to start assembling it. With a nice click the first 4 pieces slid together forming a cube, leaving only room for the L shaped piece to be added last. But then I had a hard time developing into a slight headache adding this piece, because the others wouldn't open any more. After some time, I found that special move and now I know why it is sold disassembled. It is just so much more fun that way and gives you the "ah-ha" moment mentioned on Eric's web site. A nice addition to Ken's two Little puzzles! With the others, I have only started playing, but they all don't look too normal or too easy: Amulet adds some cubies/cuboids to raise the level of the six piece burr, and has very interesting move sequences. Board Burr Rack has more pieces than it looks like. There are two additional cubes inside, blocking the board pieces. Wedged has some four burr sticks packed into a corner box, and has the highest level of this update.
Added on 2017-10-09
From time to time, some new twisty puzzles catch my attention, and today a package quickly arrived from Nowstore with such twisties inside. At IPP, at the banquet, I joined a twisty puzzlers table and saw some of the latest mass produced ones from China. I was happy to receive the easier one (the Honey Copter), which is a nice easy puzzle, but which I have seen fool some of my puzzle friends. The other one was another copter puzzle, this time not corner turning, but the traditional copter edge-turning: Flower Copter. To be completely honest, this is also corner turning, so it can do both kinds of moves to confuse puzzlers. A nice looking puzzle which feels it has many movable parts. The second new puzzle is the Fisher Yileng Wheel of Time, and if you have some knowledge of twisty puzzles, this name exactly describes how it works. It is a nice shape changing variant of the Wheel of Time puzzle by the same company. The last one I just had to order, because it enhances my collection of twisty octahedra a bit more: Octahedral Mixup. Looking like a Greenhill's Octahedron, this one is also capable of Mixup moves by only 45 degrees.
Added on 2017-09-17
From a little puzzle meeting this weekend, I got the Clamped Cube from a puzzle friend. A nice little variation on six piece burr, with two cubes made of beautiful wood. Thank you!
Added on 2017-09-12
Today a parcel arrived quickly from the US with a nice little puzzle in it: In a Cage. It is an entry of this year's IPP Design Competition, and also an award winner! It is a tiny box caught in a frame, which explains the name. This well crafted Japanese puzzle is not an easy one and offers a nice challenge. After first playing with this puzzle at IPP, I was able to win this one in a charity lottery. Thank you, Matt!
Added on 2017-09-06
Today a small parcel from the U.S. arrived with a very nice puzzle inside. It is an entry to this year's IPP Design Competition, and not only that, It is one of the prize winners, too! After my experiences with this puzzle in Paris I agree that this is a well-deserved prize. It is an interesting multiple step sequential discovery puzzle, and I have seen it hitting some seasoned puzzlers by surprise with some steps. Well, the instruction sheet warns you that there are some pieces that could come out and try to vanish, but I like the last part of the instruction most: "No banging, bending, or burning required". Time to reveal the name, details, and picture of the puzzle: Free Me 5. It is a nice pocket-size puzzle offering a lot for its size. Mine came in a different wood than the one in the competition, brighter and not well suited for the heavy use during the competition, but more beautiful, I think. Once disassembled the matching wood grain of the part will leave no doubt how it should be reassembled. However, the real difficulty of that are the inner parts not to be seen in the picture. It will be interesting to see what Joe will come up with in the future.
After latest count, this is number 16 of this year's IPP Design Competition entries I have in my collection, and one more will be on its way soon. If you haven't noticed yet, the Puzzler's Award winner is also in my collection, just created by a different craftsman and added last October and I had some good fun with it since.
Added on 2017-09-02
The first September package contained some beautiful new puzzles from Pelikanpuzzles: Camera Conundrum is a re-relase of the puzzle from the IPP23 design competition, which was sold out for over a decade. This second edition has an additional piece and an additional step, a very nice touch. The other puzzle is Scotsman 2, a puzzle on its own, but also the tender to the steam locomotive puzzle by the same designer and craftsman. Both are gorgeous puzzles for looking at and also for playing with them. It seems that unfortunately the Camera Conundrum has sold out already, but the Scotsman 2 is still available, together with some other nice puzzles.
Added on 2017-08-30
Today a small package from the US was available for pick-up at the customs office, with my first order after IPP in it. Two interesting and beautiful wooden puzzles, the first being the Worm Cube. This 5x5x5 cube has pieces mostly coming as worm-like shapes with a 90 degree bend in the middle. Even without rotations, this puzzle seems to be quite difficult to disassemble, and even more to reassemble. The basic concept is "pull the pieces away from the center by one unit until one comes out". Well, it looks pretty chaotic after some moves and this is not all that there is to remove the first piece. The pictures on Eric's page made me curious and I am not disappointed! The Dinlas reminds me (and not only me) of one of my favourite additions this year: MINE's Cube in a Cage. In this case, we only have one challenge (not 8), but the grid is bigger being 4x4x4 rather than the 3x3x3 of MINE's puzzle (and 2x2x2 of the smaller variant). It is nicely made in beautiful woods and I was only brave enough to remove three pieces from that frame, and to put them back inside. Even then I found a little surprise in the design hinting for a complex overall puzzle, and it seems getting those three out was easy part of the solution.
Added on 2017-08-25
The first update after the huge IPP update is about the last puzzle I ordered before going to IPP. It ia s new puzzle from a new designer, and I was quite puzzled to meet him at IPP as a greenhorn. His puzzle is the Pyrigan Puzzle Model #808, which is a puzzle built from custom made metal parts and looks very nice and professional. As a puzzle, it has more to offer than one might think at first. It has several different settings for complexity, which can be set when re-assembling the puzzle. Coming in the easiest setting, I was able to open it and the solution works nicely reproduceable, no luck involved. I appreciate the different challenges, which give the puzzle a really nice touch. It is nice to play with and there is only a small warning I would like to give: If you open it, be careful not to loose a small part of the mechanism coming out. A nice and well designed puzzle, looking forward to explore the other, more difficult solutions!
Added on 2014-08-13
Usually once every year since 1978 the biggest puzzle related event takes place: the IPP (International Puzzle Party). I have just come back from this amazing event where I met many old and new puzzle friends and brought back some nice puzzles. About 100 puzzles are from the Edward Hordern Puzzle Exchange, where you bring about 100 copies of a new puzzle and exchange with 100 other puzzlers. Please see the special page for these puzzles. My puzzle in the Exchange was the Bastille EscapeRing, combining the two concepts sliding piece puzzle and ring maze into a new one. IPP34 Exchange
Beside the great haul of Exchange puzzles, I also took some more with me, some of them being presented to me, others bought directly from the designers, and then some more. From the IPP team, I received The Paris IPP Cube, which consists of several pieces of pre-cut and pre-folded paper and which can be folded into three dimensional pieces for an assembly puzzle.

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

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

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

With so many puzzles to solve, I am just starting to solve and will replace the pictures with solved versions once I have solved the corresponding puzzles. This may well take some year or more. I noticed that I already have 14 puzzles of this year's Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition in my collection, among them 4 prize winners. Can you spot them and name them all?

Update on 2017-07-30
Last week, I mentioned a puzzle of the the Chinese 99-ring series causing me some headaches: Corn on the Cob II. After looking at an easier puzzle first, I picked up this one again, just to be confused again. Only this time, I soon reached a better understanding of the puzzle and in the meantime I have solved it. Like the first puzzle of the Corn on the Cob series, it is a complicated binary puzzle, meaning it has "only" binary sequences to offer, like in the original Chinese Rings puzzle, and then some additional features to confuse people. The confusion can be reduced by discovering another similarity of I and II: while the primary rings are arranged like a Chinese Rings puzzle, the secondary rings forming a zig-zag chain together with the connectors are only touched once per ring during the solution. Okay, it is a bit more complicated than in CotC I, but in CotC II, just a little more binary sequencing is added. If, however, you try to run the secondary rings through a sequence, you will soon end up in a confusion and special disentanglement puzzle waiting to be restored to a meaningful configuration again. Both CotC I and CotC II are two very nice extensions of the classic binary Chinese Rings puzzle, and the second one adds a bit more difficulty to the game — or a lot more difficulty if you don't get the point of the solution in time. A nice series of puzzles and now I have some idea what to expect from CotC III to be attacked next. Before that, CotC will need proper reassembly, but now I feel confident that I will not be confused a lot any more. With the corresponding comments, the puzzle has recieved a compendium entry.
Update on 2017-07-23
Of the Chinese 99-ring series I have played with, the Corn on the Cob II proved to be more difficult than expected. I got five of the ring pairs of the loop before getting confused, and decided it needed more analysis. In the meantime, I have managed to get it back to the starting configuration. Postponing that one for a later time, I decided to go for an easier one, which has been labled "Level 8" instead of the 10 or 10+ of the others: Bald Eagle. Finding the first move was more difficult than expected, and after a short conversation, Kevin tried the puzzle and his comment was that it was indeed an easy one. Trying again, I found the missing moves and solved it. While it has components of the others from the series included, like the zig-zag chain of rings and connectors, the solution is surprisingly an easier one: Each of the rings is only traversed once, leading to a linear solution. With the corresponding comments, it has received a compendium entry. It is a nice puzzle with a surprising difficulty: Finding the first move is the challenge, not the sequence.
Added on 2017-07-06
After successfully solving the first couple of challenges for the Sliding Tetris, today a new multiple challenge puzzle arrived, and it is huge, in size and also in the number of moves: Num Lock (mixed base). Nicely built in beautiful woods by Johan, it comes with a frame, with 9 sliders in it (and 16 of the small knobs), a stand, and additional 13 pieces, adding up to 22 slider pieces alltogether. Those pieces come in arities 3, 5, 7, and 9 with different counts, and allow you to combine up to 9 of them in the frame, mixing their bases as you like. The common piece (C) is always the rightmost piece and the first to move, and has only two different positions. With the pieces of highest arity used, this set has 50009399 moves to remove the first piece. Maybe not something to try for yourself, it will take a long time, very long! After playing with the ternary only setup it had in the beginning, I started off with the configuration of arities 9,7,5,3 and common piece, one of each kind, with 9 as the leftmost piece. I only managed to run through the sequence lifting the arity 9 piece by two steps, but that felt like many moves already. Luckily Jack Krijnen has already derived a formula for the number of moves and Johan provide some sheets with the number of moves for the various configurations, and it seems my choice would require 4199 moves (had I run through to the end of the sequence). There are smaller versions of this puzzle Johan made, and this big one comes with a health warning, and all move counts of above 34991 (maximum of smaller version) are highlighted in red. One fascinating aspect of Jack's formula is that it has the arity of the "start block" (i.e. leftmost) included and then only the product of all other arities involved, which means it does not matter in which order you arrange them. For example the configuration 9,7,7,5,5,3,3,C will have the same number of moves for the first piece to come out like 9,5,3,7,7,3,5,C. What I have not explicitly explained so far and what is not shown on any picture is how setting up the frame with less than 9 pieces work. It is a nice solution, and Johan made it an additional puzzle to figure that out. Unlike Tom's version, the frame cannot be opened, but this additional mechanism serves also as a reset feature. This puzzle is of course part of n-ary puzzle group and compendium, and the mixed base approach and the variable number of pieces nicely demonstrates this fact. There are more pictures and some mathematical background information to be found in the compendium entry. A nice and beautiful puzzle, and a challenge both in theory and implementation. Now I only have to solve a different puzzle, and this relates to puzzle packing and display cases, and the available space.
Added on 2017-07-04
From Diniar I received a nice small package today, with a lot of puzzle in it. It is his newest creation Sliding Tetris, which consists of a frame with transparent walls with holes in it, a ball inside, and some three dimensional tetris like shapes, all very nicely built. Goal is to move those pieces and the ball in such a sequence, that the ball can go out through the one bigger hole in the cage, which can also be seen in the picture. A nice puzzle and pushing those pieces around works nicely and smoothly. The puzzle is the collectors edition coming with many more of those tetris like pieces. Well, they are actually three dimensional, not two-dimensional like in the original Tetris, and most of them are more complex shapes. They are no spare pieces, but used for additional challenges, for which the frame can be opened and an alternate setup be created. 15 challenges are provided with the puzzle, with up to 37 moves, which leads to a lot of puzzling fun!
Added on 2017-06-30
Today a package arrived with a key puzzle for n-ary puzzle group and compendium: The Key Puzzle. Sorry for the pun! This is the original version of the binary key puzzle, which lead to the new version and the ternary version later on, and many others listed in Goh Pit Khiam's article "The Design of N-ary Mechanical Puzzles", which can be found as reference item [12]. It is not only a nice and well-made puzzle, but also an interesting piece of puzzle history.
Added on 2017-06-23
Today a package arrived from Eric Fuller with some of his latest creations: I already have "Wunderbar Inspriration" in a 3D printed version, now I also have a beautiful wooden version: Wunderbar Inspiration. It looks like 18 wooden sticks, but to see the true structure, you have to look for the different species of wood. The sticks of each species are glued into one piece, 6 pieces overall. The 3D printed version has a different colour scheme with 3 colours only, and came disassembled with the 3 colours as a hint for assembly. Siamese Burr II is an unusual fusion of two standard six piece burrs, and it has one longer, common piece in the middle. Repair The Cube came assembled, and maybe then the name of the puzzle is misleading. There is a frame and two pieces and they have to be assembled into a cube. A nice version in beautiful woods. Boxes And Frames is much smaller than the others, a pocket size puzzle. Those three burr sticks and three frame plates have some nice interactions. Maybe I will not spend too much time on those puzzles today, as another item arrived, a beautiful puzzle book to read.
Added on 2017-06-15
Today's update features three puzzles from Wood Wonders. The first one, Trenta, is a beautiful wooden puzzle with a very interesting concept. There are three pieces in the frame with a level of 30 to remove the one piece coming out. There is also a rotational move, shortcutting this to 24. The puzzle came disassembled and to insert the free piece, the other two had to be rearranged, even involving a rotation. A very tough challenge. I did play with some design prototype earlier, and had several conversations with Christoph earlier. It is fascinating how difficult such a puzzle with 3 pieces in a 5x5x5 unit frame can be. The fact that the two remaining pieces cannot be removed, seems to add more room for complex moves, leading to this high level. Chapel #1 is another beautiful puzzle in a well known category demonstrating new complexity. In this puzzle, the pieces are two units longer than for the usual 6BB puzzle, allowing for many more moves. The last one, Tourelle, could also be classified as a packing puzzle. The pieces have to be packed into the frame in a particular order, with some multiple move sequences, which makes it more complex than just a packing puzzle.
Added on 2017-06-14
From Hong Kong, from Nowstore, some nice new twisties: The lastest tetrahedron: 5 Layer Mastermorphix. And then various cuboids: 2x2 Windmill Cube, Super 2x2x4 Cuboid, 2x2x5 Cuboid, and 2x2x6 Cuboid
Added on 2017-05-28
Coming home from a short trip over the long weekend, I have just found a package from Puzzle-Shop at home, with the three of the latest Siebenstein puzzles: Euro-Falle 1 looks a bit like Euro-Falle 2, but works differently. It also solves the mystery why there were the models 2, 3, 4, and 5 but no 1. Puzzle-Box 03 is the next form the series with the jigsaw puzzle shape on top, and also not opening with a mechanism like in any of the others. Lock 64 they claim to be their most difficult trick puzzle.
Added on 2017-05-22
Today a package arrived with Wil's latest creation, the: Revenge Lock named The Wanderer. It is a new version of the Revenge Lock, which was Wil's answer to Gary Foshee's Lunatic Lock. This new version of the Revenge Lock is not only a lock, but it comes enclosed into a metal block. There is also another new part in the lock, the Wanderer mentioned in the name, making it more difficult. There are several steps to solve in the puzzle, with the first one finding the number, and the last one restoring everything back to the beginning. That last part sounds familiar from older puzzles by Wil, also one with a lock, and there it showed how challenging the puzzle really was. I am expecting something similar here, and while I have found the number (first challenge), already I am unable to restore it to the initial state, and there are more challenges in between. There seems a lot to be going on inside. A very fascinating puzzle! It comes with a nice story and is beautifully made.
Update on 2017-05-21
The third puzzle from the Chinese 99-ring series I solved and analyzed is Corn on the Cob I. After playing with it a bit, I recognized some well known sequence and noticed that there are only a few additional elements to it. I have created a compendium entry with more details. I have started playing with the II puzzle, the next in the series. It has more links between the different loops, and seems to be much more complicated. At the moment it is all tangled up and I need to find a way to untangle. A typical issue for disentanglement puzzles, will take some time until the next update.
Added on 2017-05-19
Today a parcel from Alfons arrived, with one of his latest creations in it: Alken/Kenal. It is a box with a lid and offers many challenges, which is actually more than one puzzle. The puzzle Kenal comes with a lid that can be used in two orientations and leads to two solutions, one with 135, the other with 257 moves. Alken is the same puzzle, but with the other lid piece, and two solutions, one with 135 (again), and one with 321 moves to remove the lid. The shapes and positions of the sliding pieces is similar to the ones in the B-Box, and indeed most of the solution of Alken/Kenal is similar, and binary too. This puts the puzzle into n-ary puzzle group and compendium. However, with the two lid pieces and their irregular shapes, there are many new moves to discover, which are deviating from the binary sequence. They add some up to 6-ary elements to the puzzle. Take a look at this picture to see the lid pieces and their structure. In some way, the 135 moves configurations are more difficult, because at the end of the solution, you have to find exactly the right position for the last few moves. Otherwise, you will be going into a dead end. For the Kenal piece, this also offers an interesting aspect: Instead of performing the last few moves to remove the lid, you can also slide it open widely, like a puzzle box without removable lid, as seen in this picture. This is a very interesting and well built puzzle, and one of the rare cases where I have examined the puzzle including all solutions before putting it into this gallery. Have a look at the compendium entry for more technical details.
Added on 2017-05-12
Today two packages arrived from different continents: 3 Piece Burr Cube 50 from South Africa is a beautiful wooden interlocking puzzle, or better than that: It is two puzzles in one. You can assemble the whole puzzle with all pieces, or you can just assemble the three fame piecs as three piece plate burr with a nice level.
The second package came from Hong Kong and contained some brand new twisty puzzles: Deformed 3x3x3 Centrosphere looks like a sphere in a cube, and it needs two looks to see why it is called "Deformed". The Clover Octahedron Fragmentation is a massive puzzle, the biggest so far in the twisty octahedra. The whole group of mini octahedra can easily sit on top of it. The COF is wildly shape-shifing, and this is surprising, as the groups of pieces around the tips of the octahedron only have tiny overlaps in the center of each edge. So far, I have only found moves also possible on the non-fragmented version, but I will keep trying.
Update on 2017-05-11
The second puzzle of the Chinese 99.ring series I have completely analyzed and solved is Reflection. At the beginning, I was only able to perform a handful of moves before getting stuck. In a "Heureka!" moment I found what I called the "double ring" configuration, which is a central part of the solution. With this, the puzzle basically becomes a classical chinese 9 rings with some extensions (and a much longer solution sequence). I have created a compendium entry with more details. With this insight it is much easier than the Mountain Trail, which is less regular. It is a fine example of an implementation of the n-ary sequences, and it forces you to actually develop a solution idea right at the beginning, a very nice aspect. The name "Reflection" is also a very good choice to describe the solution sequence.
Added on 2017-05-09
Today a package from Japan arrived, with some of the latest Karakuri works. Aquarius Drawer looks like it has many drawers to open, but there are only two of them, the rest are "5 devices", as mentioned in the description. These function in a ternary scheme, which puts this nice puzzle into n-ary puzzle group and compendium.
Update on 2017-05-07
The first puzzle of the Chinese 99.ring series I have analyzed and solved is Mountain Trail. Its main structure is binary, with some short additional chains leading to ternary and even some quaternary elements. I have created a compendium entry with more details. Before understanding it and gaining some routine, this puzzle can be quite confusing at times. As a general rule: if a little force is required for a move, even after rearranging the rings, it is not part of the solution sequence.
Added on 2017-05-05
Today a small package arrived and inside was a small, but very beautiful puzzle: Mini Mirror Octahedron. Like the other mini octahedra, this one was created by Raphael Mouflin and is built at very high quality, turns nicely and is a real beauty. Obviously is part of the twisty octahedra group, which is growing beyond what I was expecting years ago. While the Mirror Blocks (as a cubic puzzle) has 90 degree turns, this one is based on 120 degree turns, and therefore plays quite differently. One fascinating thing is that you see a different number of pieces on the faces, as the deeper cut ones introduce little triangles from the truncation of some of the pieces. Only two sides roughly look like a classic FTO side, all the others don't.
Added on 2017-05-04
Today a package from Brian arrived with some of his latest creation in beautiful woods. The first two are to extend the collection of Tom Jolly puzzles. Mean Cube has an interesting name, and Burr Box 1 is a box with some burr sticks in it, which have to be shaken out a bit by gravity as the first move. 4x4x4 Elevator is a relative of the Elevator puzzle I already have. Y6BB #1 adds to the growing collection of six piece board burrs. Trilogy is three puzzles in one: depending on the order of the boards, a different solution with different level appear.
Added on 2017-04-30
Today I went to a private puzzle event and met many old puzzle friends there. We had a lot of fun discussing new and old puzzles, playing with puzzles, and solving them. Aside from that, I was able to add a nice puzzle to my colletction: Pod. It is a small box with many moves, some of them unusual, and none of them directly leading to obvious progress. A nice challenge, and well-made as expected from this craftsman.
Added on 2017-04-28
Last year I heard from a new master of higher order chinese rings puzzles: Aaron King (Wang Yulong). I already have his Fishing Hook Chain 9-Ring, which is a ternary version of Chinese Rings, has very many moves, and can confuse you deeply, if you are not careful. A very interesting puzzle and well made. This puzzle and the following (non n-ary) puzzles are available via Felix Puzzle from Hong Kong: Lucky Lantern, Beyond the Ying-Yang, and Detachable Ball and Chain. This last one has two special features: It comes with a quick release hook and 6 different challenges to try, of different difficulty. Another one available in that shop is Astray, which looks like a chinese rings version, but with three extra rings adding an element to it, which may be ternary or even higher order. I have yet to find out and confirm, and this is one challenge I have with this update: Higher order chinese Rings puzzles with some other more or less regular elements in it making it a puzzle to classify them, requiring the appropriate amount of time to avoid any mis-classifications finding their way into n-ary puzzle group and compendium. You will certainly appreciate my approach to gradually put these puzzles in their respective category.
Why all the fuzz? Maybe just a look at the rest of today's update will convince you of the sheer complexity of those puzzles, which are from Aaron's "Chinese 99-ring" limited series: Bald Eagle may be the easiest one, my fist guess is binary, but it is already a challenge to pass the first couple of rings. A very unusual puzzle with the big ring being foldable in the middle, becoming a crescent moon like shape. Reflection looks ternary at first sight. It has pairs of rings, of which the top row look like the usual chinese rings chain, but there is the middle row of rings carrying the bar. This gives the puzzle a reflected look with rings above and the small rings below, not a far-fetched explanation for the name. Mountain Trail seems to be a distant relative of Astray, with a binary chain, and some pairs of rings raising it to a higher order puzzle. There are three chains of two rings each attached to the basic chain, so that makes it ternary? Quaternary? I have to find out.
The next three bear the same name and have 18 rings each, arranged in a zig-zag pattern on the main bar. These rings are connected with little metal pieces with two loops at the ends. So they are basically the same puzzle? Not from what I have seen so far: Corn on the Cob I looks and plays like a typical ternary puzzle. Each pair of rings shares one connector, and each pair of rings is surrounding the adjacent connector. Corn on the Cob II seems to have a more complicated pattern. The top ends of the connectors have two rings connected each, one going forward and one going backwards. The bottom connector holes have only one ring, connected not to the next lower one, but skipping one and then connecting to the one-but-next top connector loop. The other rings in the top connector holes "only" reach over the central bar and have only one connector attached. Corn on the Cob III features also connectors with two and with one rings in their loops, but in an alternating pattern. Instead of just going top-down and skipping, those rings form a continueing zig-zag-chain to the next top or bottom connector loop, respectively. The other rings are just linking the main bar with one connector hole. So far, I have figured out how those rings are arranged, but that is only the very first step in the solution. Playing with those puzzles and unlinking the first couple of rings from the main bar each, provided me an idea how different those puzzles really are.
What they all have in common: They are very well made and at first sight you see that they are complex puzzles requiring a systematic approach, not trial and error. Will keep me busy for some time to analyze and solve them all! Very nice puzzles and those great puzzles show that there is potential for new ideas based on chinese rings.
Added on 2017-04-22
Today I went to German Cube Day (GCD), a yearly meeting well organized by Frank Tiex, where I met many puzzle friends, and enjoyed puzzle collecting, puzzle solving, puzzle talks, and many nice conversations with puzzle friends. For the puzzle addiction: Wunderbar Inspiration is a new design based on Stewart Coffin's Wunderbar puzzle with a nice easy solution involving rotations. D-ICE is a puzzle linking with another hobby of mine, board games. However, this die seems unsuitable to generate random numbers, but is a nice heavy metal puzzle. I also got some IPP exchange puzzles from this year and earlier Board an Cube Burr (Katsumoto Cube) (serially interlocking with a secret inside), Vapors Puzzle (the missing piece in the Helical Burr series), and Cross-Keys puzzle (a one-dimensional projection of a 2D maze). Oskar's Disks is also such a projection of a maze on lower dimensions, but now with round pieces. Hex Pyramide is one of Diniar's latest creations and a fascinating new interlocking puzzle based on a triangular grid. Cast Shift is the latest in cast puzzles, still to appear on the European market. An old design with unknown name is W disentanglement puzzle*, which Jan created for Wil Strijbos. Brass Pin Bolt is a nice addition to the bolt collection. On a smaller scale than the others it offers a similar challenge, to be solved! Alf 3 is an easier one from the 18 pieces burrs group, should not be difficult to solve — famous last words! Thanks everyone for the nice event and chats, puzzles and puzzle deals!
Added on 2017-04-21
Today two different packages from two different countries and both arrived very quickly, right in time for some puzzling before the weekend. The first one was lighter and contained beautiful wooden puzzles from Pelikanpuzzles: Big Quadrox is actually smaller than the Quadrox I already have, but only because it uses a smaller unit size, and has more units in its grid overall. That makes up for a more complicated version and the first few moves I have seen so far look very promising. Tribord is just three sticks in a frame, but with a catch as you are going to find out when trying to solve it! Tower looks like the ice pillar puzzle by Osanori Yamamoto, but the wider 3x3 piece crossection allows for more complicated moves.
From the German Knobelbox shop a smaller, but much heavier parcel arrived, which is no wonder considering all the nice heavy metal in it: Swing Trick Lock 8 and Side Trick Lock 4 are two Constantin trick locks with JCC written on them. I have seen a similar traditional lock from India like the Side Trick Lock now. They both are not overly difficult, but have nice and new tricks (new to me!), which is hard to find in this category of trick locks. One of them has even multiple mechanisms you have to solve and operate before opening! They came together with some nice small metal disentanglement puzzles, hopefully easier to solve the ones I got recently: Remove the U-Stick and Carousel on Stand*.
Added on 2017-04-19
Today a package arrived from Eric with some of his latest work: Burr Lock E and Rift. The Burr Lock is well known to me. End of last year, Christoph brought a 3D printed prototype to a puzzle meeting and I could play with it. That was when I discovered the rotational shortcut leading to level 13. There was an easy fix to save this design: change the key starting position form horizontal to vertical (which looks more like a typical padlock in my opinion), and have the key stick out to the other side. So far, I have not found a rotational shortcut for that one (before the first piece comes out). It is interesting to see the puzzle in different materials, and both are nice to play with. I have put this puzzle in the Locks category, but of course it is also a high level interlocking puzzle, and a very nice one! About the other one I nearly know nothing, but it looks quite unusual, and the first moves I have seen are also unusual.
Added on 2017-04-15
Today a package from the US arrived, and it seems there must have been some very wet weather somewhere and DHL had to repackage it. It contained the latest of Tracy's latest puzzle box: Stuck in Limbo. It is a nice looking, massive box and probably the name is hint on the solving experience, meaning that it will take some time until it is open. There should also be an interlocking puzzle inside, but before I can have a look at that, I need to open the box, and that does not seem easy. There seems to be a knob on the top turning just a little bit, and then the box makes all kind of noises when you tilt it.
Update on 2017-04-10
Today I finished another visit to the zoo, to see some big and wild animal, read more of my experience with Rhinoceros on the Burr Zoo group page.
Added on 2017-04-03
In a recent auction, I won a mysterious green box I have never seen before: Knowhow Emerald Puzzle Box. It comes with a key, two keyholes and a lid to be opened. Shaking it, you can hear some more components inside and it seems to be a challenge to open it.
Update on 2017-04-01
After around a week, I have already solved two of Alfons' new puzzles and one is from the Burr Zoo group, read more of my experience with Dog Catcher on the Burr Zoo group page. A very interesting puzzle!
Jack sent me a picture of a puzzle he made based on Pit Khiam's design, for the compendium: Double Helix
Added on 2017-03-24
Today a package with some beautiful and complex interlocking puzzles arrived from Alfons. These are all new puzzles, designed within the last half year or so. The first one is an easier one to start with: Agapan. This is one of the group of three sticks in some ring shaped pieces, with an additional hidden piece, of which we have seen works from other designers recently, too.
The 5 next puzzles all go into the 18 pieces burrs group: Rombak is a traditional 18 pieces burr in a frame. Eiger has a detachable frame of 4 boards added to the 18 pieces burr, and the first part of that frame can be moved as the first move, so it is all but static. Phoebe comes with four additional pieces, too. In this case, they are four additional smaller sticks in some corners, leading to an interesting symmetric shape. Smeagol is an 18 pieces burr guarding his preciousss — a wooden ring, and of course the solution is heavily influenced by that ring. A fitting name for such a puzzle! While the puzzles so far were traditional 18 pieces burrs with some extra pieces, the next one has only 17 pieces, and that is including the stand: Gateway has a base plate with a gateway of two adjactent burr sticks attached to it.
The remaining two puzzles are 12 piece burrs with / without a frame and additional pieces inside, perfect to add them to: Burr Zoo group page. 12 piece burrs can have a lot of storage space in them. Maybe the biggest additional animal piece put in such a burr is the Rhinoceros. The Dog Catcher contains three dog pieces, like the "Beware of the Dogs" from last year. However, this time, there is an additional frame involved mounted to the base plate. This puzzle also comes with a small metal tool reminding me of a dog lead, so it seems that these dogs will need some convincing to be freed!
Added on 2017-03-07
Last weekend, a puzzle friend visited me and he had some nice old Constantin disentanglement puzzles for offer. For two of them, I don't even know the name, and I have not found them on the internet yet, so I had to guess. They are: Binary Ladder Disentanglement*, The 23rd Labour of Hercules, and Disentanglement Puzzle S61*. For the first one, I chose a name, which makes it obvious that it should go into n-ary puzzle group and compendium. It has some binary sequence, but with two alternating intermingling rows of rings, it is designed to be more complex than the average binary disentanglement puzzle. There are also some other new pictures in the compendium, of a prototype of a well known puzzle. It is a bit smaller and thinner than the regular version, and I am happy I could take some pictures of it. All three puzzles are definitely not easy and I am in danger of entangling them rather than disentangling.
Added on 2017-02-27
Today some nice and new puzzles from Pelikanpuzzles, all beautifully made in fine woods. The puzzle Sucrier looks like one of the typical four sticks in a frame puzzle, but there is more to it: The frame comes apart in two pieces and the sticks have internal extensions, very interesting. The Two-Tone Zero is one of Osanori's designs, this time with two frames, and of course involving rotations to make it more interesting. For the other three, they all are not what they seem at first: Proteus has four (not two) pieces in a frame, Campanus has an extra piece well hidden, and whithout which it would not move at all, and Confluence has two large brackets and three sticks in a frame. All very well built and beautiful puzzles!
Added on 2017-02-22
Today's puzzle concludes the series of daily puzzles. It is an IPP Exchange puzzle: 6GA Six Gates Arranged. This burr could probably best be described as an L-burr, where each of the 6 pieces is combined of two more or less L shapes, but in different layers. While the long parts of the Ls are glued on top of each other, the shorter parts are distributed over two layers for most of the pieces. A nice little puzzle and not too difficult.
Added on 2017-02-21
Today's puzzle is another unknown puzzle, a puzzle box, which does not seem to open. No obvious ways to open it, an interesting challenge: Metal Puzzle Box*. Unfortunately, I do not know anything about it.
Added on 2017-02-20
Today's puzzle is an unknown puzzle with an unknown name: Wooden Coin Trick*. The aim is to get the coin out, which you can clearly hear rattling inside, but there does not seem to be an obvious way of reaching it.
Added on 2017-02-19
Today two puzzles which do not seem to be what they actually are. The first is a burr puzzle of 12 sticks, but not a 12 pieces burr, and the second a burr puzzle of 18 sticks, but not an 18 pieces burr. Both look like 6 piece burrs and that is closer to what they really are: Nesting 6 Piece Burr and 3set Nesting 6 Piece Burr. The first is one six piece burr nested in a second one, both to be solved separatly, and the second burr to be assembled around the first one. The other design takes this puzzle (in a much smaller version) and adds another 6 piece burr as a third layer around it. Not very difficult burrs with level 1 and 2, but a very interesting idea and well implemented.
Added on 2017-02-18
Today's puzzle is an old design from 2003, a 3 pieces burr with level 19 without rotations, or 16.3 with rotations: Grand Giga Burr. From the outside, it looks like the Giga Burrs, but when opening, you see the reason for the higher level. Instead of a 5x5x5 grid, it is based on a 6x6x6 grid. One piece looks quite complicated, while the other two look quite simple. Together they assemble into a very interesting puzzle.
Added on 2017-02-17
Today a package from Hong Kong arrived, with an Armadillo Cube. This is a 3x3x3 twisty cube with an interesting colour scheme and an easy reset mechanism. When solving this with the usual 3x3x3 algorithms, you might run into some interesting parity problems.
Added on 2017-02-16
Another break in the daily puzzle series for the completion of another series. From Eric Fuller came the last 3 of Greg Benedetti's NOS burrs. "NOS" that is for "New Old School", and a corresponding old school 6 piece burr might be the U-Nam-It-Burr. The series of NOS burr is anything else than old school, but features crazy designs, which no one before Eric dared to build: NOS4 Go Back has a unique (?) solution with level 15 including 4 coordinate motion moves. NOS6 Dodge has "only" level 10, but it features both coordinate motion moves and a rotation of one piece. I played with a 3D printed version of this last year, and it is my favourite of the series. The NOS7 Seizaine tells you more by it's name, it is an amazing level 16. Of course including coordinate motion, and Eric built it in a beautiful wood. If you would like to know why nobody dared to build these puzzles before, have a look at the piece shapes at Puzzlewillbeplayed and try to understand them. Currently, there are some left in stock in the Cubicdissection store, so you might better order some while you can!
Added on 2017-02-15
Today a second plywood burr by Vesa and Matti, the Vesa Burr 8. This one has 8 pieces and several assemblies. The level 13 assembly is the one with the IPP letters on one side, and 25 on the other. A nice little puzzle.
Added on 2017-02-14
Another break in the ongoing series for a major coincidence: Two packages arrived from two far apart countries. From Japan: Slide Packing and Penta in a Box, two of the top puzzles in the IPP36 Design Competition last year. Cute puzzles and both with a clever solution. Just pack the pieces into their box and close, how hard can it be? The second package contained some carefully crumpled Canadian newspaper, which I had ordered. Surprisingly, someone put two small puzzle boxes in that box with the newspaper, too, and for that surprise, I immediately forgot about all the nice newspaper. The boxes are the cute number 5 and 6 in Kelly's Granny's Tea Box design series. I already have two early designs from that series, and two more: Tea Box - Sugar Bush and Tea Box - Lil Lunchbox. They look cute and unusual. One like a little sled with runners and a bench, and it also has a painting of a horse sled on the sides. The other like a lunch box with a sturdy handle, a tool and some mysterious holes in the side. Four very nice puzzles!
Added on 2017-02-13
Today's puzzle originates in Finland and was an Exchange puzzle from a Finnish guy: Vesa's Four consists of only four pieces, but requires 14 moves to remove the first piece, quite impressive!
Added on 2017-02-12
Yesterday I was at a small private puzzle gathering and was offered a very nice puzzle for sale of a spare copy. It is excellently made by Tom's usual standard and the design by Pit Khiam is very clever, too. It seems that other puzzlers thought so, too, as it won an award at the IPP35 Design Competition. It is Number Blocks, a sliding pieces puzzle with only four pieces, where you have to re-arrange the numbers as shown in this picture of the solved state. How hard can it be? Well obviously, one piece comes out directly, then another has to be moved only by one position and re-inserting the first piece, you are done. If it only was that simple! That second piece does not move and there are two additional tricks needed to solve this puzzle. As a said, a very nice puzzle!
Added on 2017-02-11
Today's puzzle is Triple Play, which looks like a three piece interlocking puzzle where someone forgot some notches and built it too loose. When you know Eric's precision, you will realize that this loose fit can only be on purpose. And indeed a rotational move is required to solve that otherwise unsolvable puzzle. It is a nice idea with three identical pieces.
Added on 2017-02-10
Today I am interrupting my series for a package from Gregory Benedetti. It contains the series of three packing/interlocking puzzles. They are all based on a 3x3x3 goal shape and consist of pices with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 units, alltogether 27 units. To make things more complicated, the biggest piece of each puzzle is glued to the base plate, which has no or only a few openings, making the puzzles a nice challenge to assemble. This challenge also has to be taken, as they arrived in a different assembly with the 2 unit piece outside and no chance to fit it into the assembly. As you can see from the pictures, I succeeded with the correct assemblies. Speaking of pictures, here they are: Stand By Cube 1, Stand By Cube 2, and Stand By Cube 3. Greg made these nice looking puzzles in his own 9m2 workshop and did an excellent job.
Added on 2017-02-09
Today's puzzle is six board burr from the expert for those puzzles, but this time in a cage: Boxed Six Board Burr. It is a nice little puzzle and not too hard to reassemble. One interesting fact is that the frame consists of six pieces like the board burr pieces, which gives the puzzle a unicque look. This puzzle has a second challenge: assemble the burr outside the frame!
Added on 2017-02-08
Today's update consists of two little puzzles made from Corian material, which is typical for puzzles created by Frank Chambers, and those two nice puzzles are no exception: Wheel and Axle and Captive Coin. Very well made and sturdy. Cute puzzles, but not simple to solve.
Added on 2017-02-07
Today another classic burr from the master of six piece burrs: Computer's Choice. When solving this nice burr, I was immediately reminded of the Mega Six burr, which is also designed by Bill and has also level 10. Both have a very interesting solution sequence and the Mega Six only differs by having more (false) assemblies and being more complicated to assemble from the pieces. If you are interested in six piece burrs, getting one of the two is definitely worth trying and it is your choice which. Both are currently available: via Bill's homepage, and two different wood/size variants via Mr Puzzle Australia's shop page.
Added on 2017-02-06
Today two nearly identical puzzles: Double Locked Briefcase Puzzle and Bowling Alley in a Briefcase Puzzle. At least from the outside they look identical like nice little briefcases. However, the solutions are quite different. The Bowling Alley came with an interesting article about the history of Bowling in Boston (where IPP26 was held) and the oldest Bowling Ball in the US. Not helping to solve, though!
Added on 2017-02-05
Today's puzzle is a variation of a well known puzzle. Variation of Illegal Burr is a variation of the Illegal Burr version designed by Dic Sonneveld and modified by Trevor Wood to have 5 pieces. This version also has 5 pieces, and the biggest piece only has one voxel missing compared to Trevor's version. However, the "illegal" solution with rotations is replaced by a traditional solution here. It is fascinating what difference one missing cubie makes!
Added on 2017-02-04
Today's puzzle Secret Coin Box is like one of those boxes for collecting coins in temples in Japan, called "Saisenbako". The idea is that you can throw a coin into the box without seeing the money already inside and more importantly without getting it out again. The bottom panel is supposed to come off in some way, but it only moves a bit. It is a puzzle box!
Added on 2017-02-03
Today's puzzle was not easy for me. Not easy in several ways: First to disassemble and reassemble. Secondly to classify it properly. It is an interlocking puzzle, but the solution has rotational moves involved and you can disassemble it in a way that more reminds you of a disentanglement puzzle. It is the very nice Triple Cross Burr. Nicely built by Tom Lensch in his usual top notch quality. Designed by Dic Sonneveld, based on an idea by Oskar van Deventer, and the solution discovered by Willem van der Poel involves the graphical skills by Derek Bosch. There were surely many puzzlers involved to create this puzzle, and it not easy, but very a very challenging and interesting one!
Added on 2017-02-02
Today's puzzle belongs to the group of 6 pieces board burrs and is well-known for his rounded edges and the angled cut: 6 board burr #1. This puzzle is based on Juno's IPP17 Exchange puzzle and is a variation on some other 6 piece board burrs. It has very similar piecces, just the one with the angled cuts making for an angled gap make this puzzle unique. The solution starts off deceptively easy, just to get interesting after removing the first piece, when you notice that skewed gap.
Added on 2017-02-01
The first puzzle for this month is a very nice interlocking cube requiring rotations for the solution: Tango. Luckily, there is Puzzlewillbeplayed.com, so I could identify this interesting puzzle. Several of the pieces require rotations to come out, and it is more difficult than the level suggests.
Added on 2017-01-31
Today's puzzle of the day is another nice design by Bill Cutler: Eight is Enough. It is a six piece burr and the level is not hard to guess — it is part of the name. The pieces are made of three different woods, but there is only one unique solution, with or without these colours. Disassembling the puzzle is quite interesting for a 6 piece burr with level 8. There are interesting interacting sequences, and there are also dead ends of a couple moves, a nice puzzle in Bill's style.
Added on 2017-01-30
Today's puzzle is a classic design by Bill Cutler: U-Nam-It Burr. This is a 6 piece burr, where Burr-Tools will not help you, and it is also an ancestor of Greg Benedetti's NOS Burr series. Requires coordinate motion and other moves to disassemble.
This and the other puzzles from the current daily series were offered to me by Markus Goetz. He is now offering some more of the fascinating and rare puzzles from his collection on eBay and there are some very rare pieces to be found there, among them many IPP Exchange puzzles from many past IPPs. The link to the eBay auctions can be found on Markus' home page. Make sure to have a look, and stay tuned for his future auctions! He has added several lots of puzzles recently.
Added on 2017-01-29
Today's puzzle is a nice wooden version of the Lock Nested Burr made by Tom Lensch. 3 identical pieces assemble in a level 6 interlocking puzzle (updated).
Added on 2017-01-28
Today's puzzle is an unusual 6 piece burr in a cage designed by the expert of 6 piece burrs: Burr In A Cage has a cage with four usual openings and two bigger ones on two sides. This also allows you to store the pieces in the cage in the unassembled state.
Added on 2017-01-27
Today I am interrupting the ongoing puzzle series for a small package from far east, containing the lastest Hanayama Cast puzzle: Cast Dial. It looks very interesting, a bit like some of those kitchen timers, but the puzzle will not open just by turning the dial. There is more to this little beauty!
Added on 2017-01-26
Today's puzzle is a nice looking 3 piece burr in two contrasting woods: Uncoated Burr. It was an IPP Exchange puzzle by Andreas Röver years ago, and maybe you have heard that name before? He is the developer of the excellent Burr-Tools software!
Maybe you are wondering where I got those nice puzzles for my daily puzzle series from? Time to disclose the secret: I acquired them from my puzzle friend Markus Goetz (same name like mine, just first name vs. surname), and there are more where those came from. He is now offering them in lots on eBay and there are some very nice and rare pieces to be found there. The link to the eBay auction can be found on Markus' home page. Thank you, Marcus, for offering all those puzzles!
Added on 2017-01-25
Today a burr puzzle with relatively low level, which is maybe more challenging to disassemble than to assemble. It is also not very clear what the actual level of the puzzle is, even with a burr toos file! How was this achieved? There are two steel ball bearings inside that have to be maneuvered without knowing where they are and where they have to go. Maybe you have guessed already? It is Bill's Ball Bearing Burr. Maybe not a six piece burr for everyone, but in my opinion it should be part of each collection with 6 piece burrs. Coincidentially, at the moment, there is one for offer in that well-known auction in the Netherlands.
Added on 2017-01-24
Today a nice puzzle box: Acorn Box. It is a cute little box with a wooden acorn and an interesting trick.
Added on 2017-01-23
Today's "puzzle of the day" I am adding to this collection is actually a whole puzzle set. It has the technical name MINE's CUBE in CAGE 333. The basic concept is that there is a cage of three linked wooden rings (not coming apart) and into the core you can assemble each of the eight smaller puzzles. Maybe you will first try to assemble them outside the cube, because getting them in adds a lot of additional challenges with multiple moves, including rotations, as you can see listed on Ishino's page (the standard comprehensive archive for interlocking puzzles). The version shown in the pictures is the IPP edition and actually a collection of three subsets of the frame and: I. mini cage and mono-cube (front), II. cubes a-d (on the left), III. cubes e-g (on the right). This all makes up for 8 puzzles in one, each with an easy and a difficult challenge (outside vs. inside the cage), and each with 3 pieces. If you are still not convinced that this is a great puzzle (set), let me mention that it won the IPP23 Design Competition. If you like one, have a look at the usual puzzle auctions. Actually, there is one for offer at one of the well known puzzle auctions right now.
Added on 2017-01-22
Today I am adding the first version of the L-Burr made by Pelikan. In this design, Junichi included complicated rotations, which make it more difficult than the low level 4 suggests. A few years back, I received an improved version by Brian and Junichi, which is even more difficult to solve. Both versions are fun to play with and the first one is currently available in an auction.
Added on 2017-01-21
Today a nice wooden version of Frans de Vreugd's IPP18 Exchange puzzle: Japanese Wood Joint Puzzle. It is very well made and comes with a storage box repeating some of the piece shapes. Not a difficult puzzle, but a nice little challenge from the disassembled puzzle. At first analysis, you will wonder how it can fit together until you notice some more details.
Added on 2017-01-20
"A puzzle a day keeps the doctor away." — sorry for the pun! To make up for that, I will later watch an episode of The Doctor and show you three new puzzles today. They are not new, but in fact they are all from around 2002 and belong to the group of 6 piece board burrs, all designed by Frans, the expert for such puzzles, and one in cooperation with Bill. The Chocolate Dip Burr is the most famous of the three and has the highest level, for the first piece. Just at the moment, it is listed in an auction again, and you may want to bid on that interesting puzzle with entertaining move sequences. The Chequered Board Burr is a burr with different successors. In my collection alone, I have two variants, the Doppelknoten without colour constraints and therefore different solutions, and then Chen's 6BB, with slightly different pieces and very sharp edges prohibiting illegal rotations. While Frans' version was to be solved without rotations according to the rules, the cheaper one-coloured version allows two different solutions with rotations (one of them illegal), and Chi-Ren's version can be solved with one of the rotational solutions. Then there is Tricolore, with an interesting colour scheme. It has a high level for the second and third piece, and some fascinating move sequences rarely seen in board burrs.
Added on 2017-01-19
Today two nice puzzles found their way into my collection: Cubie Burr, Cubie Burr #2. I have been looking for these classic puzzles for some time. They are not difficult (I was able to disassemble both and also later reassemble from scrambled pieces within a few minutes each), but they are interesting designs and well made. The piece layouts definitely help to see how the puzzles work and to reassemble.
Added on 2017-01-18
Last year, I ordered some new puzzles from Eric Fuller. It was probably the smallest package, I have ordered from him for a long time, and this is probably due to the size of the puzzles inside. Only one burr puzzles is about the usual size you would expect, and even that is small for burr puzzles. The small acrylic puzzles are nice additions to the ones I already have, and should I mention that this package also contained a tiny, but tricky puzzle box? I leave it to you to find out which is which: Small Button Box, Loopy Burr, Tamino, Band Cube, and Conclusion. Surprisingly, this package was not only small, but it also took some time to arrive, but now I have these tiny but difficult puzzles.
Added on 2017-01-16
Today a tiny puzzle package arrived, with the latest invention in the field of "Locks unfit for securing something, but really cool puzzles": Louis Coolen's Trick Lock 2016, which is already the second in his series.
Update on 2017-01-04
Lately, I have been trying to catch up with solving puzzles quite a bit and the first update of this year is a review of the Dragon's Cave on the Burr Zoo group page.
Added on 2016-12-28
Yesterday I went to a local puzzle meeting and met some puzzle friends there. I also had the chance to add some new puzzles to the collection. From Bernhard I got some nice wooden interlocking puzzles: Little Bruce, Twisty Hollow, Spiral Cube #2, and Bandocub. Christoph presented some of his new designs and also designs from other authors. I got Yell-Oh Puzzle (only available in yellow for some reason) and Seven Mini Folding Puzzles (3x3). Thanks for the nice puzzles.
Added on 2016-12-16
Merry Christmas Today a small package with a big puzzle set arrived. A wooden Christmas tree model? Merry Christmas? No! Merry-go-round! This is the latest development in variable stage mixed base n-ary puzzles. The puzzle is based on the Power Tower and while my copy of the Power Tower has 5-ary pieces, this one includes two 6-ary pieces! After successfully solving the maximal configuration of that Power Tower earlier this week, with a total of more than 15600 moves, I now felt ready for this new challenge. First surprise: There was only one type of pieces of each arity, unlike the mirror-symmetric pairs in the Power Tower. For the puzzle to work, the pieces have to be put into the slim tower in a helical pattern, and there is the first puzzle: Which way round? Both are initially possible, but only one orientation will work. Luckily, you have a good visibility of the pieces during solving, and many spare pieces to look at the details and determine how the pieces interact. That sounds like a systematic and easy approach, but in reality (late Friday evening), this puzzle lead to some confusion and I was sometimes going back and forth not completely understanding all moves. Compared to other n-ary puzzles, there are also many small dead ends in the move sequences and you have to take care not to end up in them. They will lock the puzzle with various pieces locking each other until you get back out of them again. First, they look like shortcuts, but they are far from that. After a while, I got used to the usual sequences in this implementation, a very nice n-ary puzzle! More pictures and some technical details can be found on the puzzle's compendium entry.
Of course the puzzle can be found here, too: n-ary puzzle group and compendium
Added on 2016-12-15
This year I received some very early Christmas Presents from Japan. The are ranging from mechanically complex puzzles to cute ones, and all look very nice. I still have to solve them, and also the names for most are only guesswork, to be changed when I know the real names. Bean Bag Drawer 3*, String Box 4*, X-mas Present 2016*, Twin 4*, Ursa Major
Update: Meanwhile, I have solved all of them and as expected Iwahara's newest work has taken me longest. Amazing, how many different concepts they put in those boxes this time. My views of the boxes range from little "look, that is cute!" details to mechanisms I find fascinating. This time, you can also see part of the mechanism in the most complicated box, which is quite unusual.
Added on 2016-12-14
Today a package with one of the latest twisty puzzles arrived: Ivy Cube. This cube is a nice looking and easy to solve cube, not requiring any complex algorithms or sequences to solve.
Added on 2016-11-26
Today two vintage puzzles from a recent auction: 4x4 Puzzle looking a bit like Quadlock 4, but different, and Impossible Cube, which looks like two locked pieces cut out from a wooden block in an impossible way.
Added on 2016-11-24
Today a very beautiful puzzle arrived. It is a high level burr, but that is not the main aspect. It is quite big, but still not the main aspect. It is a beautiful puzzle resembling a famous train locomotive, The Flying Scotsman (Wikipedia), and on that page you'll find a picture of the locomotive. Now after viewing this picture, you may want to have a look at the picture I have taken of the puzzle: The Flying Scotsman. Now compare the two pictures (I am not talking about my poor pictures!) and find all the little details that have been incorporated into the wooden puzzle! The wheels of the puzzle don't turn, but they interact with the puzzle solution and are vital for it. This beauty has been crafted by Jakub and his colleagues from Pelikanpuzzles, based on a first implementation in wood by Stephan Baumegger, which also looked beautiful. The original design of the puzzle and its burr-solution is by Terry Smart. I am not sure what this is: It is a beautiful piece of art, a little bit a scale model, and also a puzzle. The high level convinces me that it is also a puzzle to be solved, not just an object to look at. Well, after a couple moves, it is not a scale model or classic piece of art any more, but looks more like a modern art sculpture with the parts of the locomotive all in wrong places. But you can be sure to have a nice looking model train at the end again — if you manage to solve it!
Added on 2016-11-23
At DCD, Jaap schowed me an interesting sticker mod of the 3x3x3 cube. It has circles on it (therefore the name) and looks like this: 3x3x3 Circle Sticker Cube. The stickers are distributed in a way, that each cubie has at most one sticker on it. As a consequence, no two circles touch. This mod is not easy, but hard to solve. Determining where the stickers should go is the first challenge. For the stickers with fixed positions, they have to be put in the correct orientation, maybe the easiest part, but not found on the standard Rubik's cube.
Added on 2016-11-22
Today I received the second of the new Hanayama Cast puzzles, which are finally coming to Europe. It is the first Hanayama Cast puzzle to appear in n-ary puzzle group and compendium, and not even in a low arity position! The puzzle is the Cast Infinity, which of course does not have an infinite number of moves or configuration, but looks like an infinity symbol. It plays nicely and is of excellent quality, and I would class it as an interlocking puzzle, with two interlocking discs in a frame, and many moves to take apart. My favourite among the new Cast puzzles.
Update on 2016-11-20
Today I have solved the beautiful puzzle Beware of the Dogs, please find my review in my Burr Zoo group page.
Added on 2016-11-13
Iwahiro is known for his excellent and crazy coordinate motion puzzles. Recently I spotted one that was now available via a German manufacturer: Hexahedroom
Added on 2016-11-11
Today I could add some new puzzles to a group which had not seen any updates for some time: twisty octahedra. At DCD I had the chance to play with the latest inventions in this group and when they became available in a mini version this week, I quickly contacted Raphael for: Mini Axis Octahedron and Mini Ghost Octahedron. They are cute little puzzles and beautifully made and of excellent quality. Even with their small size they are fun to play with. They might look cute, but they are both evil shape shifters. Lovely puzzles, I like them!
Added on 2016-10-31
Last weekend I went to the biggest European puzzle event, the Dutch Cube Day in Voorburg and met many old and some new friends there. Of course, I came back with some puzzles! The Ichthus and the sticker set to build a 3x3x3 Maze Cube were this year's giveaways. Michel has dug into the archives of very old vintage puzzles to create two nice modern reproductions: The Three Times and Out Puzzle and Circular Maze Puzzle*. Jack has managed to form a burr from some letters in the nice CFF Burr, which was his entry in the CFF100 puzzle design challenge. He also had some of his traditional puzzle areas for offer: Assembler's Challenge, Bottom Line, and Simplicity are small 18 pieces burrs. For his Power Tower puzzle, he created a set of quinary (5-ary) pieces for me, so that this puzzle nicely demonstrates the n-ary concept. The Power Tower has now 2-ary, 3-ary, 4-ary, and 5-ary pieces, and all of these can be combined in challenges. Stay tuned for more n-ary puzzles to come from Jack! Jaap is usually known for Twisty Puzzle solutions (which we discussed at the event), but his Gathering for Gardner present is from a different category: Ziggy. From this year's IPP Exchange puzzles I was able to obtain two visually very interesting ones: Bram's Magic and Vivaldi Burr. To catch up in the heavy metal category, the Morris Bolt 1 and the Haleslock 2 found their way from the UK, accommpanied by the latest nod to literature with the Oliver. Not hard to guess which character the name Oliver of this twisting burr relates to! Alfons visited the DCD again and this time he brought even more of his old and new designs with him, all of them beautifully crafted by himself in wood. Frankenstein is an 18 pieces burr with quite irregular pieces and an appropriate name. In the 12 piece burr Beware of the Dogs a lot of space was available to add three additional dog shaped pieces, each different and in a different wood. I am going to write more about it in the usual place after solving. While Pappos is a high level caged 6 piece burr, Toban is the new traditional 18 piece burr I just had to get for that category, accompanied by the caged Full House 2. Lalibela misses this category by just one, it only has 17 pieces, but an interesting look. Jacket has 14 pieces and an unusual shape. Gargamel has only 8 pieces and it is surprising how high the level for these 6 sticks and 2 loop pieces is. With the last two, I added two more to the Schoolbus series: Schoolbus 2 and Mini Schoolbus. Thank you all for the puzzles offered to me, including the nice presents among them!
In this update, there have been updates to several group pages, feel free to browse through them to find the updates: Burr Zoo, 18 pieces burrs group, n-ary puzzle group, and the compendium.
Added on 2016-10-26
Today a package from Japan arrived with the latest inventions in Karakuri works. Well, latest? Maybe not the basic design, but I would guess the following design neither from its size nor from its shape: Super-CUBI (small). Yes, it is one of those famous boxes belonging to n-ary puzzle group and compendium, but much smaller and as a much more delicate version. The mechanism is well built and I was able to run through the 324 move sequence quickly. I have played with the original size version and King-CUBI, and I must say that I liked playing with this one most. The size makes it nice to handle and it almost gives you a feeling of speed-CUBI-ng (sorry for the pun!). Please have a look into the compendium entry for a picture of the mechansim in this version.
With it came two more Karakuri boxes, which look a bit different, but that is because I have built them myself! Treasure Box and Newton Box are nice and easy to build and unlike traditional Karakuris they allow you to see more of the mechanism.
Added on 2016-10-22
Today I visited a nice puzzle party nearby, held by my puzzle friend Bernhard. Beside meeting nice puzzlers there with a lot of fascinating puzzle related conversation, I also got the chance to play and solve an excellent puzzle from Greece winning a honourable mention award at this year's IPP Design Competition. I leave the puzzle to you to figure out which one it was. From that meeting, I brought a copy of the grand jury's award winner of this year's Design Competition: Marbles Cage. I first played with one around one year ago, but now I can take my time to get those six marbles out of that simple cage — sounds easy enough! From Bernhard, I got several puzzles he had built, some of them brand new and just published on Ishino's Puzzlewillbeplayed page: Cage Amovable, Twisting Cubes, Cubic Lock, Get in the Box!, Five O'lock, Happy Dance, and Identical Twins. A guest from far away was Jim Kerley, who presented me a Two Star Puzzle. Thanks, Bernhard and Jim!
Added on 2016-10-14
Yesterday I visited the world's biggest fair for games (like boardgames, card games etc.), the "Spiel" in Essen. There are also some puzzlers there, for example Jean-Claude Constantin. His newest designs include the following nice ones: B-Nary is a ternary puzzle with a hidden mechanism, but after playing you can guess how it must look like under the hood. You can clearly see the name B-NARY beautifully incorporated in the design, but not all those ball bearrings, including the one that has to go from starting position to the goal position (reset feature included!). Especially that one can add some confusion to the second part of the solution, making the puzzle more challenging, and when you thought you had understood the puzzle after the first half, there is a new component to it! The JUNC reminds me a bit of the N522 series, only with two major differences: The design is obviously simpler. You can unlock and remove the top acrylic lid and then rotate each of the little square pieces with the mazes in them. There are some simple ones, like in the picture of this puzzle's entry, but there are also more complicated ones. In the compendium you can also find a picture of a configuration adapted from the N522 and with a similar solution sequence (only binary, not ternary!). Both these puzzles are part of n-ary puzzle group and compendium.
The others are nice new trick boxes: Triangle Trick Box 2 is a variation on the Triangle Trick box theme, Z-Box and Push Drawer Box are new designs and shapes. The Locked Puzzle Chest is a design by Constantin and built in a cooperation with a second manufacturer. For all of them, you cannot see what is going on and how to open them, and I don't know the correct names, so I may update the entries later.
On his tour through various game fairs and puzzle meetings, Hendrik also came to Essen with his Puzzle-Shop and had the following nice and interesting puzzles for me: Cast Cake, Eurofalle 5, Puzzle-Box 001, and Puzzle-Box 002. While the first of these Siebenstein puzzle is a continuation of a series, the other two have the theme "puzzle" nicely incorporated in the design of their lids. Two of these three share a similar mechanism and all three of them are nice little boxes I have already solved. For some reason, the storage space in the Eurofalle is so small, that it does not contain the usual Euro coin, but only a 20 cents coin.
Added on 2016-10-10
From Austria a beautiful new puzzle arrived: Entropie. It consists of a cage, with three wide piece trapped in it, and around there are 12 more burr sticks in 3 different woods. If you have a look at the level, you will notice that it is a difficult puzzle with many moves. An interesting puzzle, indeed!
Added on 2016-10-06
After those delicate and fragile looking wooden puzzles recently, today a heavy and sturdy puzzle arrived: Nutty Bolt No. 2. It looks very similar to the first one, but this bolt seems to have a different solution. A nice heavy metal puzzle!
Added on 2016-10-05
Today a beautiful puzzle made its way to me from South Africa through customs despite the dangerous name with "Explosion" in it: Triangle Explosion. It is a coordinate motion puzzle with a nice stand and as usual for those puzzles, it is unclear whether it should be displayed as puzzle or nice piece of art.
Update on 2016-10-04
In the picture to the right you see G.I. Joe and King Tut. Sounds familiar? Maybe you don't remember any sliding pieces puzzles with that name, but more something wooden, with big locks and wooden chains?
You remember right! Below I announced Gi Joe locked King Tut in a Tomb!, and now I have managed to solve it (after asking for a hint on a trick in the box!), and I finally had a look at G.I. Joe and King Tut. I expected King Tut to be in the tomb in some wooden form, but instead I found both those guys. They must have had a fight in there, both icons completely scrambled, not in their original state, and in need to get all their pieces rearranged.... After solving those two nice vintage sliding piece puzzles I now know how the American super hero and the Egypt pharao look like!
Before that, I had to solve those four locks, unlock them, and then find and perform several steps of the puzzle box. First, it seemed to me, that one lock was not working as reliably as the first time I opened it, but then Tracy told me that there is actually a trap in it, on purpose! Hidden locking mechanism, a dial to turn, a trap — does that sound familiar? It does, and that concept is also part of another puzzle I have just solved (with a few peeks into the first part of the solution): SMS Box — an excellent puzzle! Now back to topic: Having solved that complicated box, I have managed the four locks and box, and indeed, there are some nice tricks built in. Different locks for different difficulty challenges. A nice feature is that resetting the open locks for the next puzzler does not require all the way back (only if you like to), but there is also an intended shortcut.
Overall, I have to reclass this puzzle now as: Puzzle lock(s), Puzzle box, Sequential Discovery, Hidden maze, Sliding Pieces. I will keep this big and fascinating puzzle in its main category in my gallery. It is obviously a box after all, and a very nice and fun one, too! Still love those wooden chains giving the puzzle a unique look!
Wooden Locks
Added on 2016-09-29
Today I received four shipments from three different delivery companies, two of them being puzzle packages. The first one from Hong Kong contained one of the latest Twisty puzzles, a 4-axis 5-rank Cube, which is also called "Master Skewb" in the shop. However, it is different from the Master Skewbs I already have. While those are symmetrical and add one layer in the middle compared to the Skewb, this one has an assymetric internal structure and behaves more like an F-Skewb. To be precise, like an F-Skewb with two combined inner layers instead of one. Thus a more fitting name would be: Master F-Skewb / Master Dino Skewb (that latter one also not following nomenclature exactly).
The other package contained some vintage wooden puzzles from a recent auction. The Berserk BurrCirc was on my list for some time, and it is an unusual puzzle. With only level 4 for removing the first piece, you have to move those two circle pieces early in the solution, unlocking several pieces in some of the 4 burrs around the circle. The Mechanic Cubi is mechanically equivalent to the Small Cubi puzzle I already have, with some differences to be noted immediately and some hidden. The mechanic cubi is the inner part of the Cubi / Small Cubi showing the mechanism and letting you explore the binary sequence and showing you how the trick works that successive moves are on opposite sides of this box. It is good that you can see what is going on, because extra care has taken not to damage the puzzle, as the whole mechanism is made of wood, no metal inside! For those wanting to be extra careful not to break anything, Kamei also included a second solution, a shortcut of only a couple of moves. Both solutions are working nicely, and the puzzle is definitely one for n-ary puzzle group and compendium.
Added on 2016-09-18
Yesterday I went to a small puzzle party to meet some nice puzzle friends, to play with puzzles and discuss them. I have also received some puzzles, most of them new for this IPP: from Dirk a Kyoto 2016 Disentanglement Puzzle and a Fishing Hook Chain 9-Ring, which is the first ternary chinese rings I have seen and therefore something new for n-ary puzzle group and compendium. From Christoph I received one of his Matryoshka Puzzle, which has 9 different symmetrical solutions, of which I was able to find just a few so far, and a shiny Metalised Egg 3x3x3 silver. Thanks a lot, guys, for the great time and the puzzles!
Added on 2016-09-16
Today a small surprise package from Switzerland arrived, continueing the series of variants of the Double Slideways burr, containing: Double Slideways Burr TSP+. The internal voids have been further reduced in this model via some complicated cuts and surprisingly you can still slide it together in a coordinate motion move. Thank you!
Added on 2016-09-12
Gi Joe locked King Tut in a Tomb! Today a big puzzle from the US arrived, which had its first appearance at the Rochester Puzzle Picknick this year. There are massive wooden locks, four of them, and each a bit bigger than the SMS box (in case you would like to get an idea about the size). These four locks are part of the puzzle Gi Joe locked King Tut in a Tomb!, which is a combination of several puzzle types: Sequential Discovery, Puzzle Locks, Puzzle Box. Before you can try to open the lid of the tomb, you have to solve the locks (or at least most of them if you really are in a hurry!). They lock the lid in place using nicely crafted wooden chains. A beautiful and lovely puzzle! However, I have some concerns about the name: Tracy always like to put something into the box to discover. From the title, it might as well be an egyptian mummy. Let's see what surprise I will find in there! Of course the locks are non-trivial and all different, as you can already see from the different configurations of buttons and dials on them. So far I do not own a solution of the puzzle, but that makes it all more interesting, doesn't it? I am looking forward to attacking this beast — alone or with a group of puzzlers. This is a big advantage: you can actually puzzle with several people on it at the same time. Time for a puzzle party! Wooden Locks
Added on 2016-09-07
Today two packages arrived. The smaller one from Hong Kong contained a rather big Twisty puzzle cube, the new Clover Cube. Very interesting assymetric turns!
The second came from Australia with some of the latest IPP36 Exchange puzzles: Ovolo, Murbiters Devilish Burr for IPP36, Dwarf Planet D, Holey 6 Board Burr II, and Double Image. With them, two of the IPP35 puzzles came: 2 and 2 Burr and Glitter. All of them interesting interlocking puzzles from wood and acrylic. Secret Box No 3 is the last one I missed from the series. Cannonball and Magic Wands are reproductions of well known puzzles. Chained Up looks like it is unsolvable, but it should be! From the last three disentanglement puzzles Dingo Trap, Airplane, and Caterpillar, two are to be found in n-ary puzzle group and compendium. Can you guess which?
Added on 2016-09-03
Today two nice puzzles from three designers arrived, who can be considered masters in their field: B-Box, Reactor is a puzzle box/burr of the n-ary puzzle group and compendium. Goh Pit Khiam designed the B-Box box, which can also be completely be taken apart as a burr. Inside is a small puzzle box by Eric Fuller, the Reactor. Please see the compendium entry for both closed and open pictures of the B-Box showing the Reactor, too. The Slant Cube has a piece that just falls off, or rather would fall off if Eric had not used a magnet to keep it in place. After removing this dark piece and another once, held in place by friction, the rest has some interesting coordinate motion and rotations to offer, designed by William Hu. Two (or three) very interesting puzzles!
Added on 2016-09-01
From Pelikanpuzzles in Czech Republic, I received some very beautiful wooden puzzles: Quad Slideways Burr is a new variation on the slideways burr and has a fascinating move, Wide Portico is a new, bigger version of other Portico puzzles, and Pontoon consists of two H's, a burr plate and two sticks. All non trivial puzzles and very well made.
Added on 2016-08-30
Early morning update with a new Twisty from Hong Kong: 3x3x3 Bagua Magic Cube. It has some cuts similar to the 3x3x3 Pitcher Octo-Star Cube, but can turn by 45 degrees on all sides.
Added on 2016-08-18
Digits' Compressor Today I received a puzzle directly from the IPP36 Design Competition. It is Digits' Compressor, the latest creation of Namick Salakhov. It is a very unusual looking puzzle and it also takes some moments to understand what to do with it.
The goal is to compress the stack of discs (AKA digits) as much as possibe (and not by force, but the right sequential move sequence!) and that at the end each of the red lines on the discs aligns with one of the four red marks in the top/bottom parts. Actually, this will give a nice spiral pattern from bottom via the red marks to the top, too — when solved. The construction is nice to play with and well made, and the design is excellent!
As with most of Namick's works the sequences you have to find relate to reflected Gray codes, which puts the puzzle straight into the n-ary puzzle group and compendium. However, it is not as easy as that: While the gray discs form a binary reflected Gray code (which is why I called them "gray" and not "silver"), there are also those black doing some other moves. There are several compressed / minimal height configurations, but in those the red markers do not line up and you have to go on compressing and uncompressing. There are also some dead ends of different length and when exploring the puzzle for the first time, I am sure, I also found these dead ends. After some time playing you will most certainly see some recursive structure in the move sequences and sooner or later you will recognize the binary Gray code in it. I like this unusual design and how Namick managed to create this implementation of the reflected binary Gray code.
Added on 2016-08-11
From Dirk I received his IPP36 Exchange puzzle: Four Playing Blocks. It is a sliding piece puzzle with some unusually shaped pieces and two different challenges, represented by the two different colours on the stickers. A nice puzzle idea. Thank you!
Added on 2016-07-30
Some new Twisties from Hong Kong: Carl's Bubbloid 4x4x5, Carl's Bubbloid 4x5x5. I have first played with some Shapeways printed versions at an IPP before, when Carl brought some for demonstration. Very unusual twisty cuboids!
Added on 2016-07-20
Today a package from South Africa arrived with some nice wooden puzzle in it, big nice wooden puzzles: Oktobox has 8 identical pieces in a frame and high level for such a simple concept. The pieces are arranged in pairs from both sides and it takes some time until you notice that it is not four, but actually 8 pieces in a frame. The Moluscub has sticks with a nice checkerboard pattern and boards in three dimenstions, serving as a frame of two parallel pieces in each direction. As usual for Johan's puzzles, they come with a nice stand to display them.
Added on 2016-07-07
Today a special surprise update: With issue 100 of Cubism For Fun (CFF) came two puzzles: CFF 100 Disc Puzzle is a puzzle that has to be reassembled correctly first, then turned to show "CFF" and "100". The other is the Jubilee puzzle and special to me: Disc + Crown CFF 100 Jubilee Edition Puzzle is a smaller version of my IPP34 Exchange puzzle and therefore also to be found in n-ary puzzle group and compendium. A very nice idea and both puzzles are very well made!
Added on 2016-07-05
Today I went to pick up a parcel coming from around half the world. It came with my recent subscription to the Mr Puzzle's wooden telephone network. I have not seen any indication about (un)limited data plans or call flat rates, but I doubt they are included. However, for sure there are unlimited disassembly and re-assembies of this puzzle per month, and I am sure that can be achieved with the nice looking end point device supplied: SMS Box. It is called a box, but it looks like a phone and you can pick up the hand set, and even the dial with the numbers seems to be working. I am sure there is a lot more to explore in this fascinating puzzle, but I already love the look of this old fashioned telephone. Not sure if it has a ringer or silent alert built in, but for sure many mechanisms waiting to be discovered and solved, and magnets. Of course, this will take some time. Thinking back to the Koala, which took me exactly 2 months to solve completely (and was a whole lot of fun!), this next Limited Edition puzzle should be another big challenge for some time. I am still wondering how to receive an SMS with that phone will be possible, but that is the main puzzle challenge.
Seems I have subscription number #44, but not sure if you can ring me via this number. Right now, there seem to be some SMS boxes available for sale after the first batch sold out quickly.
Added on 2016-06-22
Today I received a package with nice wooden puzzles from Turkey, containing: Hedgehog Burr, Fossil Burr, and Fossil Burr 2. The use of Shellac gives the dark part of these unusual designs a beautiful look!
Added on 2016-06-21
Today, an interesting puzzling object arrived: Directly from the 3D printer, and printed as a whole, the Articulated Cube II. The goal is to unlock and unfold the cube so that you see the star (peace) symbol in the round hole of the other part and put the stand down. This cube has many moving parts, but was printed in one go and you can play with it directly after arrival. Depending on tolerances, there may be a bit of breaking in necessary, as usual with 3D printed moving objects. The material is called aluminide and gives it a nice heavy feel. If you would like to see how this cube (and the other designs work), have a look for agentkurt's videos on YouTube. This cube reminds me of my favourite level "The Box" in the smartphone game Monument Valley.
Added on 2016-06-20
Today I picked up a newly arrived package with my latest auction wins. Some Indian trick locks with mechanisms I did not yet have (they still do exist!): PANCH - 7 Levers and Morex - 7 Levers. With it came a rather large exchange puzzle and sequential discovery puzzle box, too: Dovetail Burr Box.
When picking up the package at my neighbor's, it turned out there was another package from the Puzzlemuseum waiting for me. One main reason was a puzzle missing in n-ary puzzle group and compendium for a long time: Panex Gold. This puzzle has considerably more moves than the Binary Burrs and even the Delirium 13 I recently received. In the package were some other nice puzzles: The Orbik is another addition to the Twisty section after some time. The Tower of Torment I have solved at a friend's place before, but now I have my own, in my favourite colour. The Opal Puzzle Chess Set is not another chess set, it is a piece of art, the smaller version of the metal one, and an interlocking puzzle (actually two). The Miniature Keyless Brass Padlock is definitely the smallest padlock in my collection, it's cute! James added an interesting puzzle with six pieces for four puzzles: The Pythagorean Puzzle. One of the challenges involves demonstrating Pythagoras' Theorem, maybe there my Mathematics diploma will be useful. This puzzle is also interesting from a historical standpoint, as the design dates back to a puzzle sold in London in the 1840s. Thank you James!
Added on 2016-06-16
Today a package arrived with some special puzzles I have been offered. The Magma Plus is an old design, but probably the most normal among them. It is nice to have another one from Franklin Gonsalves after all those years.
The next one has many fathers and is more than a high level 18 pieces burr (see group page 18 pieces burrs group): Double Tiros. The name tells you what this puzzle is: two copies of high level burr Tiros joined and combined into one puzzle. While the Tiros design was a once world record puzzle by Alfons Eyckmans (a few years back), Stephan Baumegger first had the idea of joining two 18 pieces burrs (see Puzzle "Burrdos" below, which has two different, specially designed burrs combined), Guillaume Largounez arranged the two burrs in a double burr, and Maurice Vigouroux built it. This is a true beast and will be hard to solve, considering the effort which Stephan's Burrdos took me (but have solved it, with only one hint for the second burr for the fouth piece, after completely disassembling the first one and removing another three from the second one). However, I have been practising with the Tiros puzzle lately as preparation.
The next one is a whole series of puzzle from the n-ary puzzle group. That I put them into only one entry in the compendium hides the fact that I have never seen such a big set of different Binary Burrs in any one place: Binary Burr 3 small, Binary Burr 4 small, Binary Burr 5 small, Binary Burr 6 small, Binary Burr 7 small, Binary Burr 8 small, Binary Burr 9 small, and Binary Burr 10 small.
Now I only need some more time to solve all those recent acquisitions from the last weeks. At least, I have got one coin out of new Wil's box already and have solved one of yesterday's boxes.
Added on 2016-06-15
Today a box arrived from the US, from the Edenworkx shop (on etsy) containing another two boxes. These boxes look like beautiful vintage boxes found in places where some valuables and mysteries are stored. However, they are brand new. Only the wood used is a bit older and has once served as parts of barns and has recently been transformed into those nice boxes. The New puzzle box Worm Wood contains four sticks (and more) as lock. The Vintage treasure puzzle box has a sliding piece puzzle on top and will only unlock in the right configuration, and the correct pattern will change when you open it. Have not manage to open any of them yet, but hope to do so soon.
Added on 2016-06-09
From CU Japan I received some nice Japanese puzzles. The ALPACA is a tiny and interesting interlocking puzzle. Then I built some Karakuri boxes. Yes, you read right! However, not the expensive one the Karakuri craftsmen create with all sorts of tricks, but some Karakuri kit boxes. Even with this cheap variant of their works, you notice the very high quality standards they have. The pieces have excellent fit, are well prepared and easily fit together nicely. They come with instructions with a lot of schematics in them — and Japanese text I don't understand, but also did not need. The Camera has a nice unusual trick to open. The Frog Box consists of a small frog on top of a big frog and when you open or close the box, it will also make frog like noises!
Added on 2016-06-08
Today two packages with nice brand new puzzles arrived. The first one is a beautiful wooden puzzle: Canal House. This is a nice unusual looking puzzle, shaped like one of those Dutch houses close to the canal, and it is also fun to play with.
The second package brought Wil's latest creation: Pachinko Box. A heavy and nicely polished box which shows some of its inner workings, but does not want to reveal its secrets yet. I have seen some unusual mechanisms already and I am very curious how they interact to get that second coin out. Well, before the second coin, there will be a first coin, I am sure! Wil also included a little plastic container with something in it. This container is carefully sealed and although it is transparent, you cannot see the thing in it. The container looks like a small can, but it will not open like one, I am afraid. A lot of open questions to keep you busy for a while!
Added on 2016-06-03
The latest design in puzzle bolts arrived today. Maybe the smallest puzzle package I have ever received, containing a massive Nutty Bolt No. 1. It has indeed an interesting new mechanism I have never seen before!
Added on 2016-06-01
An unexpected evening delivery brought a beautiful puzzle with an interesting solution: Oh This
Added on 2016-05-28
From France a nicely built very high level board burr arrived, and it has an appropriate name for such a monster puzzle: Ultraburr
Added on 2016-05-26
Some older Hanayama Cast puzzles of different kinds: Cast Cuby, Cast Amour. High quality as typical for them and interesting to solve.
Added on 2016-05-20
Early morning update: Forever Lock Padlock. It is not a puzzle lock or trick lock, but has an interesting mechanism and it is a puzzle how to get the key in to unlock.
Added on 2016-05-18
Today a massive burr from South Africa arrived, which has been beautifully crafted from wood. It has level 5461.12 and is called Delirium 13. The 13 stands for 13 pieces: 12 special pieces and one slider across them all. Maybe this all sounds familiar? It is an n-ary puzzle and the nice first wooden version of an n-ary puzzle which was previously only 3D printed. Please have a look into n-ary puzzle group and compendium for more details. The compendium contains more information about Delirium 13.
This puzzle looks massive and does not hide its many moves. Will take some time to disassemble. What I like most about the look of this puzzle is that the pieces are glued from separate sticks and that you cannot see the pieces immediately, but have to find them while solving.
Added on 2016-05-12
My latest auction win with some nice and interesting puzzles from different countries: Nahnook Ani Puzzle is a cute vintage polar bear from the US. Sonneveld Cubed Burr is a Dutch-US-British co-production and a crazy 3 piece burr. The origin of Crazy Swiss Cube is easy to guess. SKIFFY is from Ireland and a small yet complex sequential discovery puzzle.
Added on 2016-05-08
As a gift from a friend, which travelled around half the world: Cubebot, a nice puzzle which can be changed into many different shapes.
Added on 2016-05-01
Today I went to Wil's to meet some puzzle friends, and of course I bought some puzzles there: Odd One Out and Troubled Burr
Added on 2016-04-29
Some nice new and unusual puzzles from Eric arrived today already: Janus is "only" a 4x4x4 interlocking cube without rotations, but a very interesting one, at a high level and interesting move sequences. Cubic Burr is also a cube, but with completely different piece shapes and beautiful wood grain. Cup of Coffee is usually something I have in the morning, but for this one, you should be awake already, before trying it! Padlock Burr is the first burr puzzle I put into the Locks category, guess why! Two Burrs in a Basket is maybe the most interesting of the update: Level 2.25 just to get the pieces out of the basket. With the 6 sticks and 6 boards you can build two burrs at the same time, and finally you can put the burrs (partly) back into the basket in an assembled state. A multi challenge puzzle, with several challenges in sequence! Most of these puzzles are currently still available at Cubicdissection.
Added on 2016-04-23
Today was German Cube Day and I met old and new puzzle friends there. It was a nice and very well-organized event and had even two lectures to offer. Of course I found some interesting old and new puzzles there: Rhombic Dodecahedron Puzzle was the giveaway puzzle, and very nicely made on a 3D printer, like the Puck Disentanglement. Some vintage puzzles, including some tiny keychain puzzles: 3D Burger Puzzle, Logi-VIP, Circuit Breaker, Keychain Die, Keychain Ladybird, Keychain Camera, and Keychain Heart. The Obscure Maze is also of a similar size, easy to store. The Planar Burr is a variant of the puzzle I already have, but more stable and easier to play with. My puzzle friend Michel took care of bringing a Elephant Wire Puzzle all the way from Australia to me (with the help of some international carriers, of course), and now I can add this interesting puzzle to n-ary puzzle group and compendium. It has 11 challenges and at first it is very confusing because of all the curves in the wires. Nina and 4 Caged Puzzle are two burr puzzles, while the following three are puzzle boxes: Magic Box, Triangle Trick Box, and Loopy Box. I also got a newer twisty, the Simplified Dreidel Magic Cube, which might look simpler than the original Dreidel cube, but it is definitely harder to scramble. My Dreidel cube is currently looking like a hedgehog, with all the tiny pieces sticking out, will have to solve it properly. I also found one of the Locks category: Maze Lock.
Added on 2016-04-15
Some nice puzzling beauties from Yavuz: El Regalo, Hublot 2, and Kyberna. The smaller the puzzle, the higher the level!
Added on 2016-04-13
Recently, a fascinating new puzzle lock was built and released, and quickly sold out. Luckily, I managed to get one via Wil, and now I have a Haleslock 1. Looks like a standard Abus lock with some extra screws, and the key comes with it so you don't have to look for that one. Have I mentioned that the key is securely fastened to the shackle? That is where the puzzling begins!
Added on 2016-04-11
Is it a puzzle? Is it some piece of art? Well, the 4L Co-Mo DD is definitely both! In the picture Johan's latest creation is shown half extended and on a stand. When you start with it as coordinate motion puzzle, it will be two concentric circles, to be extended in several coordinate motion steps. Not easy to get the shape in the picture, some careful alignment is required. A very nice unusual puzzle and well made.
Added on 2016-04-09
After the late night update, this morning some beautiful puzzles arrived from Brian Menold already. Two interesting designs by Goh Pit Khiam: The Letterbox is the second puzzle with that name in my collection, but completely different than the other. The Checkbox is a nice little puzzle similar to other recent designs by Pit Khiam. It came disassembled, so the first challenge was to assemble. Once you have worked out how to get the first three pieces in the box, the rest is quite easy. Logan's 3 Open Minds Solve a Problem is a variation on a three piece board burr in a box challenge, and it has quite a high level for such type of puzzle.
Added on 2016-04-09
The puzzle I received yesterday came in pieces and with a manual how to build it. Lots of pieces! I am not talking about another box kit, but a Lego set this time. I have found this fascinating set on the lego ideas web site some while ago and it was just released to the marked, so I directly ordered one in the Lego shop and it quickly arrived. It is the Maze set, which is the third Lego puzzle I have (which are the others, can you locate them? Hint: they are both in the same group.) It is a Lego implementation of the classic wooden marble maze, where you control two directions of tilting with two knobs, a maze/dexterity puzzle. I always had some trouble solving those, now what are my first impressions of the Lego model? I have just built it and played with it a bit and it is an excellent implementation in Lego.
While the original mazes had holes in which the ball/marble got lost, this puzzle has a quite heavy little plastic orange soccer ball and no holes. Instead, some black areas, and once caught in there the ball would not come out again, you have to pick it up and restart. Goal is to navigate from the green area to the red area without getting lost in a "black hole". How well does the mechanics and ball movement work? Excellent, in my opinion. I like it a better than the wooden ones. There are also some clever ideas which make me like this puzzle better:
First you have to build the frame, then the board with the maze you can see on the picture. Now comes the interesting part: you can simply take out the board, disassemble it and reassemble it into a second maze with little houses on it, which seems a lot simpler to solve. The maze even runs through some of the the houses! The instructions for the maze come with the puzzle, together with some pictures of a few other maze ideas. Of course you can create your own mazes as you like! Some nice details are also: the transport lock, to make transporting and storing the puzzle easier, and the container for the ball, or actually the four balls included. One might think that these extra balls are for careless people loosing a ball every now and then, but I have a better idea: Build multiple ball maze challenges, where you have to guide several balls in parallel mazes without getting any into a black spot. That is an idea I have to explore further!
If you would like to see a picture of the second variant and read some more about this set Jason Allemann has created, please have a look here: Lego Ideas Blog.
Added on 2016-04-05
Just in case I sould ever be in urgent need of a sarcophagus, I have just built myself one. The Sarcophagus is the biggest and most complicate one of the box kits offered by Myer's Craft and designed by Bruce Viney. Not the one with the most moves, but definitely with a very complicated move sequence to open and some secrets to discover. The theme relates to ancient Egypt and it is no wonder there is a secret compartment inside. There is still some mystery I have to solve. After having some recent exercise with building these boxes, this box is the most complicated to build, but luckily it comes with an excellent set of instructions.
Added on 2016-04-01
Had to get the missing padlock for the Pirate's Wallet, which arrived today: Stickman Padlock.
Added on 2016-03-19
After wood and plastic puzzles, today some new heavy metal stuff: Cast Padlock is the latest Hanayama Cast puzzle (which I put into Locks category for name and looks), and just a tiny bit older is Cast Moebius, which is a metal version of Moby Maze.
Added on 2016-03-18
Two beautiful puzzles arrived from Tabor: Arrow, Crosscut
Added on 2016-03-16
Today two more interesting twisties from Hong Kong, both definitely unsuitable for beginners: Dual 3x3x3 Cube, Insanity Cube, which is a metal version of Moby Maze
Added on 2016-03-15
Maybe you remember the excellent Spaceballs movie, and the secret that is unveiled in it: Merchandise is where money is to be made when talking about movies like Star Wars. The latest puzzle arrival is a good example: 3D Rubik's Cube R2-D2. Doesn't he look cute? As a puzzle, this droid is one of the simplest twisties, but surely it is a very decorative item!
Added on 2016-03-10
Today a package with a beautiful and unusual puzzle arrived from South Africa: No Nukes!, with an additional stand to display the puzzle on.
Added on 2016-03-05
Today a package with topic "locks and keys": Chinese Lock, Old Trick Lock from India are two interesting trick locks. Cublock (not to be confused with the puzzle with nearly the same name by Stephan) consists of two halves to be unlocked, and Simplified Keyholes in a Cage has some 6 keyhole pieces (and some others) interlocking in an interesting way.
Added on 2016-03-01
Two packages with some very interesting burr puzzles: FourTress Puzzle is a two dimensional burr. Then there are two old designs in newly crafted additions to the 18 pieces burrs group: 18-Piece II and Lattice
Added on 2016-02-27
In a new cooperation, a beautiful puzzle box was created. It has a keyhole, but there does not seem to be any key, so how to open the box? The name of the box is exactly about that: How?Box. It is a sequential discovery puzzle, so finding the key must be part of the solution. It was designed by Peter Hajek incorporating one idea by Rainer Popp, so I am guessing the lock component will be sophisticated. Three craftsmen were working on this box: Jakub Dvorak on the wood working part, Ivo Splichal on the lock, and Jiri Mejtsky on the key. Sounds like the box will be a lot of fun to solve, and certainly not easy!
Added on 2016-02-26
From Cubicdissection a package with some more of the fascinating New Old School burrs: NOS2 Transfer, NOS5 Crenel. Additionally, Elena's Burr by a new designer.
Added on 2016-02-23
Package from Brian Menold arrived already, with some beautiful wooden puzzles in it: Little Slide Plank is coordinate motion, Trikado does not tell you much about the distribution of the 6 pieces, Klaas Jan 23 is by a new designer, Sharp Belted is one of the Sharp puzzles, but with an interesting frame, and +4 looks like a standard framed 6 pieces burr. Well, it is 6 pieces in a frame, but that is where the similarity ends. Reminds me of an earlier of Greg's works.
Added on 2016-01-31
Last update for January: Just finished assembling the last of the box kits. The Little Box was much easier to build than the Black Nightmare and curiously the Little Box is nearly double the size. A nice and easy box. Mabye I should have started with this kit.
Update on 2016-01-29
Just solved the Alligator and put some more pictures and a review here: Burr Zoo: Alligator
Added on 2016-01-28
After the heavy metal package yesterday, today two with wooden puzzles: The first from Stephan. In it was Alligator, which is a beautiful addition to the Burr Zoo, and Burrdos, which has 34 pieces, so I will put it into the 18 pieces burrs group. Why that? you might ask. Well, it is a siamese 18 piece burr, where two 18 pieces burrs share two common pieces and have to be solved simultaneously. Just trying the first few moves I already noticed that they behave differently, so it is not two mirror copies of one, but two 18 pieces burrs fused together. Fascinating!
The second package came from the Czech Republic with some more nice wooden puzzles in it. The Mimicry has a name that tells you about the deception: It looks like it is a burr made of six wide pieces. In reality, it is a caged six piece burr with an interesting frame and beautiful woods. The Little Portico and Portico J are a smaller and a larger variant of the same basic design. One a bit more difficult than the other and both with a piece shape I have not seen before.
Added on 2016-01-27
Today a long awaited surprise package arrived. It was long awaited since it is the latest of the Popplock series: Popplock T10. It was created in the usual excellent quality Rainer Popp employs to build his locks, and the first thing to notice is the stack of 13 layers of steel similar to the ones used in heavy duty padlocks. Of course, here we are not talking about heavy duty requirements, so the layers must be for something else! Now to the surprises that hit me when unpacking the lock: First, Rainer used some new packing material and when opening the box, a gazillion little styrofoam balls were trying to jump out of the box spreading all over the room. A physiscs experiment showing how these little balls will adhere to every surface they touch then followed. After collecting all of them and returning them to the box, I inserted the key into the lock, and another surprise! I am already fascinated with the mechanism, but won't tell more here, not to spoil the surprise for others!
Added on 2016-01-26
The next of the puzzle box kits to be built was: Black Nightmare. This tiny box was surprisingly difficult to build compared to the others, high precision and a lot of sanding the edges required. Now it is moving nicely and has an interesting counter-intuitive solution.
Added on 2016-01-24
Just finished the next of the kit boxes. This time, it looks more traditional, and that is also the idea behind Merlin's Casket. It has two compartments, one well hidden and well locked.
Added on 2016-01-17
Today I finished another of the kit boxes, and again it is no secret box hiding what is inside. Istead, you can have a look through the transparent panels, which does not mean you can have a look at the mechanism and this one has even more moves than the "The Crate". Certainly it has very interesting looks: Window Box
Added on 2016-01-16
Recently I received some new puzzle box kits from Myer's Crafts and have already started building. It will take some time to build them all, so I am putting them on here as they are completed. The first one is a puzzle box, but definitely not a secret box. You can easily see what's stored inside The Crate, but it is not easy to get the box open.
Added on 2016-01-07
Today a well packaged package from Wil arrived with his latest puzzles: Sweta Cross, Heavy Metal Triangle. Beautiful heavy metal puzzle in excellent quality!
Added on 2016-01-05
Do you remember Game Craze? The puzzle box board game assembly puzzle with puzzle locks? Meanwhile I had the chance to play this game in several groups and received positive feedback for this unusual puzzle/game. Of course, the first comments are always about the size of the shipping box I use to transport the puzzle consisting of 5 boxes and 4 locks (and more). Beside the puzzle aspect and beautiful look of the puzzle, I have now seen some aspects of the game. Interesting was one group of players where each struggled with a different aspect, but was good in an other discipline: Throwing the die (have some luck!), opening the doors with the tools provided, assembling the towers. One player had really bad luck with the die most of the time, but then won the game because of his systematic approach assembling the (red) tower finishing before anyone else. I like it when games are good for such surprises!
A man's got to go The first puzzle arriving this year was built also by Tracy Clemons. After finishing the Game Craze, she started producing a small series of identical puzzle boxes, and I was lucky enough to be able to acquire one: A man's got to go.
The box looks like a trunk with handles on each side and some beautiful decorations applied, and it has a lock in the front. The lock looks unlike anything I have ever seen. I have some clear ideas how to open the lock, which is good for a start! I am assuming that there is more to it after opening the lid. I already had a little peek into the box (as much the lock would allow) and it is not empty. In fact, it seems packed with more puzzling mechanisms. I like what I have seen so far and I am curious to explore this fascinating puzzle box. Thanks Tracy, for building and offering this nice little box. *)little only compared to the other one :)
Added on 2015-12-29
Yesterday I went to a small puzzle meeting and received Charpentiers Illusion as a present. A very interesting trick! Thank you, Christoph! Bernhard had some new interesting TICs for me: Threaded Cube and Ka'apuni. This morning a package with Eric Fuller's latest creations arrived, containing the Liberal Cube, NOS1 Compressed, and NOS3 Round Trip. These NOS ("New Old-School") burrs are fascinating coordinate-motion puzzles and hard to build as well as to solve.
Added on 2015-12-23
Just before Christmas the very nice Karakuri Christmas Presents 2015 arrived. X-mas present 1, X-mas present 2, X-mas present 3, X-mas present 4, X-mas present 5, and X-mas present 6. I did my usual guess about the craftsmen, please see the details pages. For two of them I already know the name, and the Bean Bag Drawer 2 seems to be an extension of my favourite present for 2013 with nearly the same name. These boxes look very nice and I am expecting different mechanisms with little surprises.
Added on 2015-12-19
A heavy package with some nice Indian style trick locks from Canada arrived, from Puzzlemaster: Heart Shape Brass Puzzle Lock has some new tricks I have not seen in a lock before and it will take some time until you even find the first key hole, Brass Square Puzzle Lock has a simple, but new mechanism, and Brass Figure Puzzle Lock Lion is simple but beautiful trick lock.
Added on 2015-11-30
My latest auction wins: 4 Direction Drawers is an interesting interaction of drawers, the The Arabi Gun is a sequential discovery puzzle design dating back to 1890s and before! The US Cube is a boxed burr, in which you have a clear view from the outside. The Heart Spin Box I do not know much about yet. Some of these puzzles I have wanted for some time.
Added on 2015-11-23
Some of the latest puzzles built by Eric Fuller: Cubloc looks very interesting and is the bigger brother of the beautiful Cubloc S. The mysterious Packira extends the four sticks in a box with 6 orthogonal sticks, and the Tulip has a 7th piece inside, and has a different level without that piece.
Update on 2015-11-21
I have finished my Game Craze Feature Page. Enjoy reading and viewing the detail pictures!
Update on 2015-11-18
Update on the fascinating Game Craze, please see the next part of the story on my Game Craze Feature Page.
Added on 2015-11-17
After the wood puzzle overload recently, today a package arrived from Cubezz: The Curvy Chop is basically a Curvy Copter chopped in half (and finished by closing the cut). I have a spare Curvy Copter lying around here to build this puzzle, but never got around. Now I had the cance to buy the finished puzzle. It came together with two others, one new, one older: Mastermorphix and Football Magic Cube
Of course, I am continueing with my "big puzzle project" and have made considerable progress on GAME CRAZE. Wait for an update soon!
Added on 2015-11-15
GameCraze Today a huge package arrived after a fast journey from the USA. In it was one puzzle consisting of five boxes created by the creative Tracy Clemons. Very well crafted, beautiful and much more. A fantastic puzzle to be explored. Of course, there is the usual puzzle page (Game Craze), but I also set up a special feature page with an initial description, where I will add more and more after I have played with the puzzle and discovered everyting. Please click on the following link to the Game Craze Feature Page.
Added on 2015-11-07
Today a nice puzzle event: GPP at Bernhard's place. He had some interesting puzzles to offer, including some prototypes. Some of them are new interlocking cubes, including some by Ken with half unit pieces and complicated rotations. Today's haul are: Konstrukt A, 2 Halves Cube, 2 Halves Pack, Popp, Tronc Commun 3, Meandros Cube, and Gravity. Thanks, Bernhard, for the puzzles and the nice event!
Added on 2015-10-30
Today some nice new puzzles from the Czech Republik arrived: Serflex, Cross Imprisioned, and Vauban H 5. The last puzzle is one from the Burr Zoo: Dragon's Cave. It has a little dragon inside trying to get out. When Stephan showed me the Burr-Tools file some 1.5 years ago, we were discussing how to implement the puzzle so that you can look in. I like the solution they found with the round holes in top and bottom of the frame. Let's see how this impacts the solution, if at all.
Added on 2015-10-19
Yesterday I went to the Dutch Cube Day to meet many puzzle friends, see some interesting new puzzles and of course to buy some puzzles. As first puzzle, I received this years DCD present, the Red, White and Blue, nicely 3D printed with country colours and name of the event. It started with catching up with some IPP puzzles, first from Robrecht: 50 Cent Labyrinth and 8 Stars Labyrinth. Then some new and old for n-ary puzzle group and compendium: Bin Laden Too and Elephant SpinOut.
Alfons had a huge selection of his nice wooden puzzles for sale, so I could not resist, of course! First, in the 18 pieces burrs group there is Hell (with 12 frame pieces, similar to Stephan's Fortuna or his Burrison), Mountain (designed by Dan, and with an 18 piece and 6 piece burr combined in one puzzle), and Knudde (which uses the unusual shape to hide some more pieces inside). Belopo is something similar for a six piece burr: with additional clamp pieces (similar to Stephan's Plankton). Tarpan is similar to Skunk I had so much fun with recently, and maybe that is why Alfons presented me this 12 piece burr with 3 frame pieces. Vera is quite new, but not as unconventional as the following ones: Box of 12, Rampart 2, and Jail Bars 2 are all some burr sticks within a cage so trapped that it is hard to guess how to get them out. Doender has similar piece configuration like the Rampart 2, but between two stacks of boards.
To continue with some more IPP35 exchange puzzles, I got myself some: Quadrant 1, Forgotten Piece, Smiley Burr, TrickLock 2015, and Pole Dancer. In a recent auction, Steve offered also the Twiddle Dum Helical Burr and Twiddle Dee Helical Burr. Now I have all 6 of Derek's twisted burrs and have to be careful not to get my brain twisted during solving. Ella Propella is also about twisting (or rather turning): You have to unlock the propeller so that it turns freely. The next three puzzles were some I wanted to add to my collection for some time: Secret Box No 2, Dino Star, and Leesho. It seems that Hungary (represented by Olivér) is still a good source for vintage Twisty puzzles. One of the interesting talks was by George Miller about his Cubigami puzzle and the countless nets forming shapes created from cubes, kindly handing out a Cubigami Net 4x1x1 for demonstration.
The last puzzle arrived this morning and is the latest from the Naked Secret Box series, the Naked Secret Box Purple. Beautiful and an interesting mechanism!
A big thank you to all of you who offered me these nice puzzles, ensuring that I will have some puzzle fun in the next time and will be extremely puzzled by some of them!
Note:In this post, I have just named the reference puzzles I already have, not linked to them, to avoid confusion which are new and which are old.
Added on 2015-10-16
Today a huge package arrived from Brian Menold, and after opening I saw the reason: The Proxima Centrauri is a big frame of two pieces with some four smaller pieces in the corners. Looks beautiful and impressive! The other puzzles also look beautiful, but are of a more normal size: Altair, Quadrox, Stairs Cube, and Four Mirror One. Alltogether some stack of nice puzzles interesting both in solution level as well as the woods used.
Added on 2015-10-14
Today a package from Stephan with some of his latest creations. The l'Unifolié looks beautiful and excellently crafted, must have been a lot of work! It was Stephan's entry into the IPP 35 Design Competition. It has the same basic principle as the Caught Heart, the Rammelkast, and the Hazelgrove-Box, but an additional stick that has to be manipulated from the outside while solving the box. The other beautiful puzzle is one from the 18 pieces burrs group: Burrner. This beautiful burr has extensions on the sides of the 6 middle pieces, which makes it a very interesting puzzle with a high level. Maybe not the highest level for the first piece, but certainly impressive for the first 5 pieces combined.
Added on 2015-10-02
Today a small parcel with many puzzles was waiting for me to pick up: Diamond Entanglement, Key Shaped Puzzle Lock, Secret Box No 4, Mini Secret Puzzle Box, Bird in the Nest, Euro-Falle 3, and Euro-Falle 4. Some are IPP puzzles from IPP35, and then there are some nice others.
Added on 2015-09-22
Maybe you remember the DITWIBIN by Namick Salakhov? A nice puzzle in the n-ary puzzle group and therefore also in the compendium. That puzzle has a clever mechanism and is fun to play with, and is a simpler relative of what arrived today: The MixTer-MaxTer. It was an entry in this years IPP Design Competition, and I think it is a brilliant design! You "just" have to guide the little red sliders from the outer disk with two slots and collect them in the other outer disc with many slots. My discovery of that puzzle went through three main stages:
  1. Try to move the discs (which are moving simultaneously!) and get some of the sliders moved to other discs. Feeling confused.
  2. After a while, my hands seem to do some moves automatically and I am beginning to see a pattern. Could this be a n-ary puzzle with base 7 (like 7 discs)?
  3. Now I have understood where each of the sliders can go, and each can only go to three discs! The puzzle is a ternary puzzle in disguise, including a hidden locking mechanism interacting with the little red sliders. Very clever design!
The name seems to be a technical term referring to the ternary nature of the puzzle, but then it is also a Scottish word describing my initial experiences with the puzzle very well — please have a look into a dictionary if in doubt! Excellent puzzle, thank you, Namick!
Added on 2015-09-14
I am not good at tray packing puzzles and rarely collect them, but today I got myself one. Very difficult and multiple challenges by Wiliam Waite. However, it is also a puzzle box! The latest of the famous Stickman Puzzleboxes by Robert Yarger. You may have guessed already — it is an Edelweiss Puzzlebox, and it's a real beauty, isn't it?
Added on 2015-09-12
Earlier this year I had some conversations on variants of the Double Slideways Burr, also with the Designer Ray Stanton. His IPP35 Exchange puzzle is base on the simpler Slideways. It is the Slideways Cube, which arrived today. When looking at it you may not spot any similarity with the other puzzles mentioned, but it is there, internally. Just that getting an idea how to disassemble this one is much harder than for the others, also due to the nice fit concealing any cuts or gaps that there might be. Thank you for the nice puzzle, Ray!
Added on 2015-09-11
Recently Johan Heyns asked who would be interested in one of his designs, built by himself. Of course I ordered one and today I received a beautiful puzzle: Canuck. It is the second version and the main difference is that little checkerboard pattern on the sides, a very nice looking feature, I think! The puzzle did not come alone. If you have a close look onto the picture, you will see the stand the puzzle is resting on, which came neatly packed in pieces and was an assembly puzzle by itself! Thank you Johan, for building this nice puzzle for me!
Added on 2015-09-09
After Wil's recent newsletter I could not resist any more and got myself a new Ying Yang 69. It is nice heavy metal quality, as usual. I played with the prototype at IPP over a year ago already, and the puzzle looked very interesting back then already.
Added on 2015-09-06
Today my puzzle friend Dirk visited me and we had a little post-IPP puzzle party. Beside many nice puzzles he brought his IPP Exchange puzzle with him, A-Mazing Blocks, a fascinating extension of sliding pieces puzzle with a maze, multi-challenge, of course! The second new puzzle is the Racktangle, from the IPP Design Competition, and has been pubished in Goh Pit Khiam's article "The Design of N-ary Mechanical Puzzles", which can be found in my compendium. The puzzle has a new entry in this compenium and n-ary puzzle group page. After the Power Tower it is the second puzzle offering some additional parts allowing to set up an n-ary sequence by choosing mixed-base plates (of base 2 and 3) and with variable stage count up to 4. Many different challenges in one puzzle. As you can see in the picture, it is nicely made by Tom, and the second of this kind in two days!
Added on 2015-09-05
Today I received a special puzzle, which was designed for me by Christoph Lohe. In the correct German spelling, my name is spelled: Götz. Now take a look at the pictures of the puzzle to the left, you will recognize the scheme! The GÖTZ puzzle is built around my name, and luckily there are only 4 letters in it. Thanks to Chris and also to Claus who supported me with 3D-printing this nice puzzle! And beside bearing my name, it is also a nice and nontrivial interlocking puzzle!
The second package arrived later the day, with my wins from a recent auction: Open-Side Coin Bank, Dovetail Burr Puzzle, and Sandfield Joint Puzzle. All of them are beautifully crafted and more on the traditional side. Some very interesting puzzles which will take their time to solve for sure!
Added on 2015-08-10
Today something very unusual happened to me: two packages from Japan with brand new puzzles! The first one contained an ATM. Unfortunately, it does not come with any money in it, so I had to pay the taxes at customs myself. Maybe the officers were also confused by the name of the puzzle: Please Pay the Fee. The invoice showed just the name of the puzzle and the total. The puzzle is beautifully made, and even has a little view screen that tells you if you have already paid your fee and you will receive your savings. A great piece of art, too!
The second package contained a whole series of old puzzle designs, re-released as a brand new series, and only available in Japan at the moment. The puzzles are looking beautiful and they are new version of a complete Marcel Gillen Chess set, in particular: King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, Rook, and Pawn.
Added on 2015-08-07
You know what India is famous for in the puzzle world? Trick locks! Today I received some nice mass produced ones: Ace of Hearts and Lockout
Added on 2015-07-23
Today a new and interesting puzzle arrived after having travelled around half the world from down under: Slida
Added on 2015-07-17
From Puzzle-Shop.de I got some nice puzzles from far east: Square in a bag, Sunglasses, and Cast Hexagon
Added on 2015-07-08
I wonder how I can get that cube out?? Thanks Pilipp, for that nice Cube in a Bottle!
Added on 2015-07-05
Because of the current strike puzzle deliveries are unusual now: taking longer, finally showing up on Sunday! From Austria Stephan sent me one of his latest creations: Fortuna. This nice 18 pieces burr has some extra 12 cage pieces, and is two puzzles in one. With and without cage pieces there is a unique solution, but of different level. A similar concept but with a solid frame was designed earlier on: Boards and Sticks with Frame. I had some trouble putting it into the 18 pieces burrs group, because in one assembly it has more pieces than 18, and it has two levels. I put it to the level 10 entry, which lists some other unusual 18 piece burrs already — only unusual ones, to be precise!

The second package is from the U.S. and it is fitting that it contains item 1776 in my collection, but then it should have arrived yesterday already! Some of the latest works by Eric Fuller, designed by two U.S. designers well known for years (or even decades): Helix the Burr, Think outside the box, and Inner Cube. After struggling with the half notches in the Visible Burr the Helix the Burr now offers third notches!

Added on 2015-07-02
A nice and well made wooden puzzle lock: Wooden Lock Puzzle. It seems to have multiple steps and is a design I have never seen before. It comes with a nail, but I am not sure what that is good for. I have yet to solve the lock and I am sure I will find out. So far I have found some unexpected features.
Added on 2015-06-17
From CU-Japan from the UK a box with two boxes inside, and inside them two boxes. Sounds familiar? The package contained the two Naked Secret Boxes I did not have before: Naked Secret Box Green, Naked Secret Box Orange. Like the blue and red one they are very nice puzzles with a very interesting look. Who would have the idea of making puzzle boxes transparent? Some of the techniques remind me of the Black Box (see below), but that box hides all internals. These "Naked" secret boxes let you see every detail allowing a thorough analysis when solving.
Added on 2015-06-16
Diniar is a well known desginer of sliding pieces puzzles. From him I received one of his newest puzzles: the nice My Tower of Hanoi. It looks like two Tower of Hanoi combined, or a bit like a Panex, but that is where the similarity ends. It is a nice and well-made sliding pieces puzzle with many challenges, of which I have solved the first one already.
Added on 2015-06-15
From the Netherlands an interesting and heavy box. Containing an interesting and heavy box. Containing an interesting and heavy box ... That one is Wil Strijbos' latest creation, the mysterious Butterfly Lock Box. My first impression is that it satisfies both meanings of the German word "schwer": heavy and difficult. A beautiful and very well crafted puzzle and long awaited. I am very curious to solve this one and wonder how long it will take!
Added on 2015-06-02
A package from Hong Kong with some nice new Twisties. Actually some of these models have been to visit to my place before, and that cleared my doubt and I ordered two: Curvy Dino I have solved within minutes and it is easy, but interesting looking. The Dreidel 3x3x3 seems to be harder to solve and demonstrates some "parity" issues. The puzzle looks fascinating, with those corners turning independently!
Added on 2015-06-01
First package of the month contained my wins from the recent Haubrich auction: The mysterious The Black Box — mysterious not only from the black look. Is it a box, or is it a burr? Is it both? The nice Wun-Wa-Sure, as it occurred in the IPP21 design competition.
Added on 2015-05-23
Another puzzle surprise from Switzerland, a new variant of Double Slideways Burr: The Double Slideways Burr+D is a variant of the Double Slideways Burr TSP, with some triangular prisms added to the three identical pairs of pieces. That is also what the "+D" stands for, it's for the German "Dreiecksprisma". It is fascinating how many variants can come out of a puzzle during optimization. I find this version the hardest to assemble, probably because it does not have much space left and has obstructions added. It works in the usual three-axis coordinate motion move. Thanks for sharing this with me!
Added on 2015-05-21
Another puzzle surprise from Switzerland, a new variant of Double Slideways Burr / Double Slideways Burr TSP-: The Double Slideways Burr TSP-+2W is like the TSP variant, and adds 2 new cubies — can you spot them? This removes the remaining internal holes and now the two halves can only be assembled in two directions, not in three like for the TSP-. The new pieces do not have any angled cuts, but now these pieces are non-notchable. An interesting idea to follow-up would be to include the two extra cubies as separate pieces. Thank you, Peider!
Added on 2015-05-17
From Alfons I received some very beautiful and special interlocking/burr puzzles. In the category of 18 pieces burrs: Alien (which looks like a traditional 18 pieces burr at first sight, but is a much more interesting 26 piece burr at a closer look), and a difficult and true category member: Armilla. The puzzle Skunk looks like an interesting 18 pieces burr with some clamp pieces between, adding up to 21 pieces, and also with level 21. A new and visually fascinating concept are the interlocking puzzles with stacked frames, which look like they can telescope out of the puzzle during the solution. It will be very interesting how to see how Pulsar and Pulsar 2 will work during the solution. The Kameleon caged was interesting to me at first sight, because it is based on a very similar puzzle, without cage, and a difficult one: Kameleon. The base of the fascinating Dirty Dozen Caged is the Dirty Dozen (the first puzzle Alfons built for me). So what does this new version consist of? Let's analyze the name: dozen = 12 core pieces, dirty = 4 extra hidden pieces, caged = a cage. This cage is not a fixed frame, but another 12 cage pieces. All this adds up to 28 pieces, 12 of which are identical, yet 26 moves for the first piece!
Added on 2015-05-03
This weekend Michel and Maarten were visiting me and brought me some nice puzzles for my collection: Keychain Burr 9 pieces (came disassembled for an extra challenge), 3D Labyrinth, and 3x3x3 — thank you! This morning we got up early and went to Wil's place to where he had invited us for his yearly puzzle party. A great event, where I met many old and new friends, and of course many, many puzzles to play with, even very rare and interesting ones, and even some I bought: Tritalon, Escape from Alcatraz, Wooden Puzzle Lock 1, and Wooden Puzzle Lock 2. A great weekend!
Added on 2015-04-28
The latest update by Eric Fuller contained a gorgeous Chicken Puzzle, a interesting looking Bundle of Sticks, and a new release of the famous Visible Burr. I ordered that burr disassembled, and that is the reason there are more pieces in that bag in the picture. I will replace the picture after I had a chance to assemble the puzzle (as usual).
Added on 2015-04-26
Today a new puzzle arrived (and that arrival today is a puzzle on its own!). The Cascadia
Added on 2015-04-25
Today I went to GCD to meet many puzzle friends and also see some new puzzles. The nice giveaway puzzle New T Puzzle was no surprise for me, as I was involved in that project. From two puzzle friends I received some of their own work: Mini Bottle and Fibula Puzzle — thank you! His new design Closed Box I got from my puzzle friend Christoph. Not new but interesting are the 1 2 3 and the Double Sliding. The Buffalo Nickel Puzzle is the second of Oskar's 2-dimensional burrs I own, and it is in the beautiful original version. Goal is to free some coin, and this is also the goal of the new Hole Vacancy Coin and Hard-Boiled Coin. Fresh from Hungary arrived the Mandorla (which also exists in different colour schemes). The PUZZLE is a high level interlocking puzzle, which picks up the recent way of using letters in such board burr puzzles. That is almost all I know about it. GCD was a great day once again and I had a lot of fun!
Added on 2015-04-21
A surprise package from Switzerland — thank you! Peider Grischott took the existing design Double Slideways Burr and created the Double Slideways Burr Plus (incidentially also the original version of the puzzle by Ray Stanton) trying to close the space inside the puzzle. He has now continued his efforts and created the interesting Double Slideways Burr TSP, which has less internal space, yet still functions as a coordinate motion puzzle. The diagonal cuts enforce coordinate motion moves along diagonally to all grid axes. This can further be modified to the: Double Slideways Burr TSP—. The minus in the name suggests that something has happened here. The pieces have been made simpler (notchable now!) This puzzle can still be solved by coordinate motion, but you can also assemble two halves and then move them together in a straight move along one of the grid axes. The pieces look simple and are well known, yet I have not found a reference to a burr with these particular three pairs of pieces. If you know more about this burr, please drop me a message.
Added on 2015-04-21
After those (easy) twisties yesterday, I am not sure if I have enough wooden interlocking puzzles. Today two nice new ones from Yavuz arrived: Lox Box and Pox Box
Added on 2015-04-20
Some brand new twisty octahedra: Octic I and Octic III .
Added on 2015-04-16
From Switzerland I received a litte surprise puzzle, which was a puzzle experiment: Based on the Double Slideways Burr, the Double Slideways Burr Plus was designed, which has three identical pairs of pieces, but with a little less space in it than the version I already have. The manufacturing process seems to me more difficult by this little modification. It turned out that these were indeed the original pieces from the original design (also sold at Cubicdissection), which were modified for the IPP Exchange. Thanks for the nice puzzle!
Added on 2015-04-15
Stephan sent a giant from Austria he recently designed: Ruebezahl. The name is from popular fairy tales, and this matches this very beautiful puzzle very well. The big caged sticks are quite complex in shape and have 3x3x9 units — the first six piece burr of that kind I have ever seen, with or without cage. The giant came with a second puzzle for support, so new that it did not even have a name. It is a six piece burr in a cage of planks, hence the name Plankton seemed appropriate. Looks very beautiful with these woods, and by the way: have you heard about white nut wood before? Thank you, Stephan!
Added on 2015-04-11
Today I received the improved versions (second editions) of some very nice Jean Claude Constantin puzzles from him. They are both in compendium and n-ary puzzle group page: Uhrwerk and Bi-Nary. Both are definitely solvable and fun to solve — have solved them myself. The Bi-Nary can be quite confusing at first, but what would you expect from a puzzle combining two different n-ary mechanisms? This one is the first puzzle to implement such a fascinating idea, and it required quite some engineering to get things working right.
Added on 2015-04-08
From Puzzle-Shop.de I received a little puzzle full of nice new puzzles: Safe Box 1, Safe Box 2, Cast Keyhole, Euro-Falle, Old Man's Desire, and Drunter und Drueber. One of these puzzles is part of compendium and n-ary puzzle group page — can you guess which one?
Added on 2015-04-01
From Richard Gain I received two nice 3D printed puzzles: his IPP34 Design Competition entry Coronation Cube and Osanori Yamamoto's complex Rose puzzle.
Added on 2015-03-28
From Japan a small package with a small box in it. This cute box is another Karakuri x-mas present of 2014 I was able to obtain: Sheep
Added on 2015-03-19
The latest set of nice puzzles from Brian Menold, designed by two rotation experts, all in beautiful woods: Dizzy Cube, Pivot, Ring Fight, Gyro, The Elevator, and Khamsin
Added on 2015-03-09
A package from the Karakuri Creation Group, with some beautiful and easy Japanese puzzles: The Owl Shock, Karakuri Cake 1 (Cheese Cake), Karakuri Cake 2 (Fruit Cake), Karakuri Cake 3 (Chocolate Cake), and Karakuri Cake 4 (Fruit Cake)
Added on 2015-03-07
Seems that puzzles are arriving daily now. Today some nice wooden puzzles from Pelikanpuzzles.eu: Optiborn, Delight, and Jump. And then google for puzzle 1700 in my collecion. Sorry for the pun and no advertising of big companies intended, the name is purely coincidental ...
Added on 2015-03-06
About 1.5 years ago I first met Steve Miller, and he told me about his plans to revive the Barcode burr, which has been brought into existence (please see here). He then mentioned that he was working on a high quality puzzle called "fire" to be part of an elemental series. Now here it is: Fire puzzle. If you look at the puzzle and its beautiful looks you might understand why it took so long to produce. It comes in a nice set of boxes and opening them is the easy part. The puzzle does not give away clues how to open it, but there is a leaflet with clues. Only problem: They have been encrypted in a strange alphabet, one additional puzzle to solve! The box is covered with optical illusions and some more clues (or encrypted writings). Additionally, a web site has been created which is also supposed to contain hints. Quite a lot for a single puzzle, and I would expect this also hints for the time needed to solve all that! Wow!
Added on 2015-03-05
Of all those twisties I have received lately, there are still many left scrambled and waiting to be solved. I wonder if it was a good idea to scramble them, especially the ones with gears. Today I received an easier one I have solved it already a couple of times: Pyraminx Diamond. This new puzzle is also one from the group of twisty octahedra.
Added on 2015-03-01
This evening I hosted a small puzzle event at my place, now the 3rd already, why I called it "MZPP3" (after MZPP2 last year, the acronym including the city abbreviation). Thanks to all participants for making this a special day with many nice puzzles! Half an hour before the event my latest auction win arrived, and I don't know much about it, but sometimes I like puzzle mysteries: Large Puzzle Bank. From some participants I received some puzzles of their own production: Marble in Cage, Schickspiral, Tom's Hollow Cube, Turnblock 335, and Walton Cube. Now I have some fascinating new puzzle which will help me remember this day!
Added on 2015-02-27
From Alfons a box full of nice new puzzles of various interesting shapes. Believe me, in reality the woods and wood grains look very beautiful, much better than on my pictures! They are: Confucius 3, Kelvin, Helix 2, 2-3-4, and Big Mac
Added on 2015-02-26
A beautiful brand new puzzle from Austria: Cubloc S. If you look closely, you will see that it is a six piece burr in a cage, and the cage will come apart, too. While it is not needed for the solution, notice how the different burr colors match the cage colors at the sides!
Added on 2015-02-20
Some more twisties from Nowstore arrived today: Void Master Pentultimate and Pentagram
Added on 2015-02-19
Today some brand new fancy twisty from Nowstore in Hong Kong: Gear Skewb
Added on 2015-02-17
Today I received some mass produced puzzles I received as a side order to a recent amazon order. The two puzzles are mass produced, but part of the compendium and n-ary puzzle group page: Tricky Frame and Tricky Mouse.
Added on 2015-02-11
Today I received what Stephan called a "Prototype". I call it a beautiful puzzle with excellent movements and an interesting shape: Stairway. From what I have seen on pictures, it has interesting configurations during the solution with some pieces overhanging without being able to remove. Well, that is what I am going to explore next with this puzzle!
Added on 2015-02-09
After some twisties last time, now back to some hard (or difficult?) wood. A package from Brian Menold arrived, with some fascinating new puzzles in various beautiful woods: Board Burr in Cage, Tight Noose, Hooked, Foliage, and Stack of Sticks.
Added on 2015-02-05
I felt I had some catching up to do with twsity puzzles, and today a package from Nowstore brought 5 new and a bit older puzzles: Megaminx Ball, Curvy Copter III, David Gear Cube, Pocket Cube - 2 Colour Edition, and Wheel of Time
Added on 2015-01-27
Today I picked up a late christmas present at customs, which had travelled for the last 1.5 months — maybe carrier and customs did try to figure out what it was and to solve it? It was well worth waiting for and is the latest design in compendium and n-ary puzzle group page by profilic designer Namick Salakhov, and revealed to the public here for the first time. The puzzle is the DITWIBIN, a beautiful puzzle excellently crafted and with beautiful looks — I especially like the two color acrylic frame! The name might seem to have some system behind it and it fact there is: It denotes this puzzle as one with two twisting discs with a binary gray code implemented. Can you guess which part of the name stands for what? This also hints that this is a typical representative of n-ary puzzle: While this puzzle has been created in September 2014, various higher order versions were designed already in August. This makes it a typical family of n-ary puzzles: different number of sliders, different arities of these sliders, and then additionally also different number of discs. Quite fascinating concept! Coming back to this one, it is fun to play with and the moves are nice and easy. You can see a vital part of the mechanics for the interaction between the pieces on the top demonstrating how this puzzle might work. However, there is more to it hidden from view. A clever design! Thank you, Namick!
Added on 2015-01-21
Originally, I had ordered this puzzle before the recent price increase at Shapeways, but somehow it did not work out and I only received the Helix Burr v2, which I still need to solve. After a second try, I have received the most complicated version of the helical burr series, the 27 move HELLical Burr. By coincidence, this is puzzle number 1666 in my collection, which somehow fits very well. I had my first encounter with this difficult puzzle at the IPP banquet, when Ali handed it to me for solving and I did not manage during that evening.
Update on 2015-01-11
I found a limited edition token in one of my puzzles! This puzzle took me 2 months including some weeks of experimenting with a computer program and some non-standard techniques. Interesting! If you have not yet guessed which puzzle I am talking about, please have a look at the post exactly 2 months back. It is an epic puzzle and Allard commented on it: "It goes on and on and on", and who was I to contradict! It is a fantastic puzzle and I not only like all the mechanisms in it, but also love the the little stories hidden in it. Thanks for the great puzzle, Brian! Sorry I cannot be more specific here, not to spoil the fun for other solvers.
Update on 2015-01-07
Just found out that the Karakuri Christmas Presents are on-line on their page now, with the names. Now these puzzles have the correct names on this page: Confetto Box 2, New Parcel Cube, Ring Box 3, and Lock.
Added on 2015-01-05
Today I could pickup my Karakuri Christmas Presents, some four very nice boxes, who took a long and expensive detour via Customs offices. When I first saw the pictures, I guessed the respective craftsmen/designers, and my knowledge about the special cardboard boxes confirmed my guess. It's 2015 already, so I will put up the entries with the correct craftsmen and will not ask the usual question about them, just lacking the proper names for: X-mas present 1, X-mas present 2, X-mas present 3, and X-mas present 4.
Added on 2015-01-01
The new year had a great start and the first puzzle update is the first puzzles added this year, arriving in package from puzzle friend Wil Strijbos. There are three nice boxed burrs made from bamboo designed and manufactured by a Chinese guy whose name I do not know: Checker-board interlock box, Interlock the red square box (A), and Interlock the red square box (B). Nice little interlocking challenges and well crafted! Additionally I received some very tangled nails: Nails Duo 2. Thank you for this challenge, Wil!
Added on 2014-12-31
Last puzzle of the year arrived today directly from Yavuz Demirhan: the beautiful Trichromat. Happy new year to all you readers of my web page!
Added on 2014-12-29
At a puzzle meeting today I received a new Pandora Trick Box, which I had pre-arranged. This is a heavy and probably also difficult multiple step trick box.
Update on 2014-12-26
On the last Christmas day, time to finally unwrap the Dozer and remove it from its packaging (read: 12 piece burr). Read my interesting experiences here: Burr Zoo.
Added on 2014-12-22
Christmas is approaching fast and today I received three packages via three different ways (Customs and two different carriers). The first one is a Karakuri Christmas present from 2010, and a box I was looking for since I played with it in the 2011 IPP31 Design Competition, where it won a honorable mention. The box has a theme fitting the season: House with Trees has four little x-mas trees on it. The second puzzle is Stephan Baumegger's latest try to put additional pieces into burrs. This time a bigger 12 piece burr with a little Bulldozer in it: Dozer. Not an animal piece, but something for the Burr Zoo, to be completed when I have disassembled it, and from what I can say now it is very nice an high quality. The third one was also a nice entry in IPP Design Competition puzzle, from 2009: Qboid. In the picture, I picked up an idea from Gabriel Fernandez' blog — usually you are supposed to build a 2x2x3 cuboid. The puzzle has many different challenges (over 1000) to build, so I might start with some easy ones first. A nice early christmas present from my puzzle friend Michel. Thank you!
Update on 2014-12-15
On my web site I have the honour to host the latest extended version of Goh Pit Khiam's excellent article "The Design of N-ary Mechanical Puzzles", see compendium reference [12]. The update today includes some major extensions and new puzzles mainly, from page 28 onwards, featuring: The Power Box, Racktangle, an illustrated overview of some mixed base Power Tower examples, including a simplification of this concept.
Added on 2014-12-05
Today already a package from Eric Fuller arrived with some of the latest wooden interlocking puzzles. Very exact cuts and high quality as usual. They are: Amatores, Rough Night, Rupture, and Crystalburr
Update on 2014-12-01
My latest update on the Burr Zoo page is not really about animals, but about my experiences with a burr based on a famous race, the Gumball 3K. A surprisingly difficult and rich experience!
Added on 2014-11-28
A package from Nowstore in Hong Kong with the latest two from the DaYan Gem series: DaYan Gem VI is a 3x3x3 with some fancy extra moves and which does not look like a Rubik's cube at all. DaYan Gem VIII is a face turning and tip turning truncated tetrahedron.
Added on 2014-11-22
Today Bernhard kindly invited to a small and very nice puzzle party and beside the lot of fun at the meeting and with the other puzzlers there, I was also able to acquire some special prototypes and new puzzles. The prototypes are cubes and a cuboid with rotations from Jos Bergmans: United, Pirouette, Garmbaad, and one with six identical pieces by Yavuz Demirhan: Six Spades. The latest two puzzles by William Hu and Logan Kleinwaks have also been available already: Chain and Six Iberian Lynxes. The Chain offers nice rotations, while the Six Iberian Lynxes is composed of six identical pieces and has level 9. Two extra pieces are supplied and if you replace two of the standard pieces with these, you will get another puzzle with level 19.
Added on 2014-11-20
Today a massive cube arrived from Stephan: Cube 81 by C.K.Leung. As the name suggests, it requires 81 moves to remove the first piece. The whole puzzle is built around a big column, and before disassembling it completely, only the nut wood pieces move. Very nice fit and high quality. Nice to play with, also the size is just the right choice for playing.
Update on 2014-11-19
Success: I have now disassembled Gobi. It took some time, so I also wrote a long report of this expedition into the Gobi, see my Burr Zoo page.
Added on 2014-11-11
Look! I received a friend for my koala to play with! Today the long awaited Katie Koala and her joey Verne limited edition puzzle arrived. It is the 20th anniversary limited edition by Brian Young and a really beautiful and heavy wooden Koala. A lot of stuff must be inside considering the weight. Will take some time before I will be able to solve it, I guess — lots of puzzling fun! The other koala is sitting on another special puzzle which arrived today: a 3D printed reproduction of the Stickman Box number 5, sometimes called "Borg Box". Another Brian made this possible: Brian Pletcher modelled, prepared, and assembled it. Two truely interesting puzzles!
Added on 2014-11-05
Do you know the "Gumball 3000"? It is a famous (or infamous?) race on public streets, running through several continents, but in some places considered an illegal street race. This is the theme for the latest burr Stephan Baumegger designed and built: Gumball 3K. With its wood grains it is a real beauty and looks a bit like a ball (the trophy for this race?). Although it is not really an 18 pieces burr, I put it into this 18 pieces burr group, as the two extra pieces are well hidden. These pieces are cars and not animals, but close enough for the theme, so I put it into the Burr Zoo to be described when I have disassembled it and revealed the two cars inside. And after all, some fast cars do have animal names, so I should put this puzzle into the Burr Zoo! At the end, with the level, it does not seem an overly difficult burr, but the car pieces makes it a bit more difficult and it is definitely looking beautiful! You can find more pictures on Stephan's facebook page Puzzleisure.
Added on 2014-10-27
Yesterday I went to the Dutch Cube Day and met many old and new puzzle friends there, from different continents even! A very nice event!
From Jack I arrived a special version of his and Pit Khiam's Power Tower participating in this year's IPP Design Competition: Power Tower (mixed base, variable stage). This version comes with a lot of extra pieces and a stopper that allows to select between 3 and 6 stages, and also allows to select an arbitrary combination of binary, ternary, and quaternary pieces. This will intermingle sequences of different arity and may be quite confusing to solve. Not only the craftsmanship is amazing in this puzzle, but also the sheer number of pieces that come with it. The standard configuration is three binary pieces and plays nicely and easily.
The Barcode Burr (printed) is a 3D printed reproduction of the famous wooden version by Lee. Steve engineered and created these printed version in a limited quantity and is a great opportunity to study this fascinating mechanism. In a partial sale of a whole collection, I managed to get some classic puzzles: Computer Puzzler No 2, Computer Puzzler No 5, Double Loop, Trapeze variant, and Unknown Disentanglement 2. All seven puzzles mentioned so far are part of the compendium and n-ary puzzle group page.
From Michel I received a (customized!) Puzzle Wristband and an Expand A Ball. He was cooperating with Robrecht who created the Ladybird and Larva. The first one was part of the IPP Design Competition, the latter one is a simpler version including the same maze. That makes the names of father (Ladybird) and son (Larva) seem most appropriate, and they are both nicely designed and crafted puzzles.
Straight from Hungary Oliver brought a nice Smart Egg - Skull Egg, which is the most difficult of the whole recently released series.
Beside the Power Tower already mentioned, Jack also made a nice theme puzzle, the DCD-burr. Please look at the picture to see why it is a DCD theme puzzle. He was not the only high level burr designer and craftsman present, but also Alfons, from whom I received some nice beauties: Gobi is one of the latest Burr Zoo members. Jadimex is a nice easy puzzle of three boards and three sticks. Maltese looks a bit like a cross of 18 piece burr and a Maltese cross (sic!). Then Jalpa is one from the 18 pieces burr group.
The Letterbox is a nice design by Christoph (one of the guys I once helped with Burr-Tools). So now I also own "my first Lohe", and Chris also this of this design as his best.
The Rammelkast is a trick box by Theo and you hear something going on inside when tilting it. Fascinating and also nice woodwork.
From Bernhard I received as recent re-release Wunder-Puzzle, and then some new complicated interlocking cubes/cuboidsby William Hu: Coo-inter-pack seems to incorporate coordinate motion with interlocking and packing. I am curious to see how this works! Writhing Snake Cube has some snake pieces performing strange rotational moves. Zmije is one of Vinco's puzzles where you do not know how to open it and where the pieces end.
As a present, each participant of DCD received a 6^3 Board Burr, which is a variation of his IPP Exchange puzzle Cubic Board Burr — as Peter demonstrated in his interesting talk.
Added on 2014-10-20
From Shapeways I received a Helix Burr v2, which is a higher level variant of the Helical Burr. My order also included the HELLical Burr (27 moves for the first piece) before the pricing scheme went up, but unfortunately there were problems during printing and I only received this one. At IPP I already failed to solve the HELLical Burr, so maybe I will solve this 16 move variant some near time in the future.
Added on 2014-10-18
Back from the Spiel games fair in Essen I brought some interesting puzzles with me, some of them brand new. My first visit was to Jean-Claude Constantin, and he had some new puzzles compendium and n-ary puzzle group page for me (even after so many new ones he made for IPP): Based on the N522 he demonstrated the generalization aspect of this class very well: He created different sizes of the puzzle from a 2+2-slider N5, via the 3+3-slider N52, and so on until the 10+10 slider N522222222. Of course I was not able to buy all of them, but have some nice representatives. The N5 is good for beginners, while the N52 is a good challenge for an average puzzler, and the N522222222 may not be solved anytime at all. But all of them share the same principle and design. A new design is the Bi-Nary, which combines the this mechanism (of the N5x) with the one of the Six Bottles. It is a combination of two ternary mechanisms, hence the name, and can be quite confusing to solve.
The other puzzles by Constantin are a bit more normal again: Schmuckkiste, Einstein-Box, Spinnennetz, and Picture Ball Maze.
The Romanian Puzzle Box Small looks like a reproduction of a typical Sorrento Trick Box, but the key is hidden in a different place. The rest of the puzzles I bought at Rombol, including some new interlocking puzzles: Assembly Cube, Rondo Turco, Open Crochet Cube, Poco Loco, Framework, and Fan Puzzle.
Added on 2014-10-15
Twisty Octahedra are still a rare species, and yet today I have received a new puzzle from the group of twisty octahedra: Crazy Octahedron Plus - Mercury
Added on 2014-09-19
A package from Puzzlemaster today, starting with some of their own brand: Brass Treasure Chest is a very small puzzle box by Rocky Chiaro, Great Collision one of the group of similar puzzles by Doug Engel, and The Yak Puzzle and Brontosaurus are fierce disentanglement puzzles by Dick Hess. Writer's Block is "an Oskar" using real pens as parts. The Brain is the new version of the puzzle in compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. Cast Galaxy is a fascinating puzzle by Bram Cohen and the latest Hanayama puzzle. At the IPP33 Design Competition it was awarded an "honorable mention". Hourglass is one of those Yamamoto puzzles with high level and rotations, and it also looks nice!
Added on 2014-09-17
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away ... These puzzles remind me of something I have seen in cinema before. You may have recognized that the new Typhyter standing next to the Droid is not just another 18 pieces burr, but also a beautiful piece of art. This puzzle arrived today in a package from Stephan Baumegger with two other gorgeous novelties: Troika has only three pieces, but looking at the level you see it is pretty hard. From "pretty hard" to "pretty heart": Caught Heart is a beautiful interlocking puzzle touching the borders of the puzzle box category: the heart piece is the only piece that can be removed, and for the others several tilting moves are required. I am sure it will be officially published on the Puzzleisure page soon, and sorry for the bad pun!
Added on 2014-09-12
First update after IPP is a puzzle from the compendium and n-ary puzzle group page: Wicked Wire Fish
Added on 2014-08-13
Usually once every year since 1978 the biggest puzzle related event takes place: the IPP (International Puzzle Party). I have just come back from this amazing event where I met many old and new puzzle friends and brought back some nice puzzles. You can see my "haul" in the picture on the left. About 100 puzzles are from the Edward Hordern Puzzle Exchange, where you bring about 100 copies of a new puzzle and exchange with 100 other puzzlers. Please see the special page for these puzzles. My puzzle in the Exchange was the Cross + Crown 2013, which is based on a design patented in 1913, 100 years ago. It is an n-ary puzzle. To my big surprise, I received a bigger version of it from my Exchange assistant Kevin Sadler: Cross + Crown 7 This is also n-ary and has an amazing 4802 moves to solve! Thank you! IPP34 Exchange

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Added on 2014-05-22
Directly from the designer I received two nice puzzle locks: First I was looking for the Burgh Lock, and then luckily the brand new Swing Lock became available. They are quite different from each other and look beautiful (believe me, the orange color is much nicer in reality than on the picture). I have already found some interesting surprises before even attempting to solve, so these lock surely will prove very interesting!
Added on 2014-05-17
Today a surprise package from my cousin, with a beautiful hexaflexagon she found on an arts fair: Das Magische Sechseck. Thank you!
Added on 2014-05-07
Two nice massive steel bolts from Wil today: Nipple Bolt and Low Number Bolt.
Added on 2014-05-03
A little package from Hong Kong with a nice new twisty puzzle: the Ghost Cube.
Added on 2014-04-30
Today a package from Stephan with some of the latest designs from Austria and both very nicely designed and built. "These aren't the droids you're looking for!" Remember this quote? Well, there is a droid I have been looking for, and this cute puzzle has arrived today: Droid. Looks like a wooden relative of the famous R2-D2 from Star-Wars. The second puzzle is another framed traditional 18 pieces burr: Enmarcado. Wrong again! This is the first self-framing burr of this kind, which means that the frame is not solid but mere sticks attached to the burr pieces which make up the frame. This is based on an idea Ronald had years ago: Self-Framing Burr.
Added on 2014-04-27
There are several ways to celebrate the Dutch King on King's day, and one is Wil's Koningsdag Puzzle Treffen, which I visited today. Met many nice puzzle friends there, had a look at a very small percentage of Wil's collection, and of course broght home some new puzzles: It started with a pre-order, which Michel handed over to me, four wooden puzzle locks: The Fiendishly Perplexing Lock, The Utterly A-Maze-Ing Lock, The Cunningly Complex Lock, and The Ultimate Combination Lock. Then I went for some metal puzzles:Lock Nut Bolt, Little Gordians Knot, including the latest Cast puzzle: Cast U and U. The next two are tiny interlocking puzzles I have never seen before. Lacking Japanese language skills, I still do not know how they are called and who designed them: 12 Piece Japanese Interlocking Puzzle, 15 Piece Japanese Interlocking Puzzle. For the last two, I know the designer and that they have been produced in the New Pelikan Workshop: Cubax and Konstrukt. Did you notice something familiar? Well, the Little Gordians Knot is a member of compendium and n-ary puzzle group page already, in a slightly different shape.
Added on 2014-04-23
Today a small package from Hong Kong, with a new cuboid, which I created as cubic version from a 4x4x4 before: 3x4x4
Added on 2014-04-12
Today I went to a nice GCD (German Cube Day) and met many nice puzzle friends there, and of course brought back some cool puzzles: As presents, I received the GCD 2014 Giveaway and the 4LCoMo (see here). I picked up some different old and new puzzles: Swiss Cow (Vache Rouge) (original naef version), Matchbox, Big Interlocking Cube (an unknown cube in a very rough build from an unknown craftsman and designer; none of the present experts was able to identify it).
Then some vintage additions to compendium and n-ary puzzle group page: New Puzzle Rings 3 and New Puzzle Rings 5.
From Bernhard I picked up some nice pre-ordered items (some of them were sold out already): Petit Puzzle, Rotator, Keyhole, Turnkey, Irene Alternate, and Two Wheeled Cube.
Added on 2014-04-08
Today a heavy metal package from Puzzlemaster in Canada: Two new Cast puzzles: Cast Harmony and Cast Twist. Then some new additions to compendium and n-ary puzzle group page: Rat Race and Tree Puzzle. Both are implementations of "Ingenious Rings Puzzles", which I have added to the compendium earlier this year.
News update on 2014-04-01
No April's fool, but I have really solved the Bicomplementary formation b/b:1/2 puzzle and removed all the sticks and bars from the puzzle. After the long interweaved-binary sequence for the first piece, there are a couple of moves for each piece (I would estimate no more than 10 per piece), including some half-unit moves taking the half-notches into account. Most of the strange moves I found earlier now appeared in the sequence for a piece. While removing the pieces, I carefully arranged the pieces in a way such that I would know which piece would belong where. Even with this information the puzzle is difficult enough to reassemble, as you have to know the order in which the pieces get back in, and what the configuration of the other pieces should be at that point. Luckily and unlike the disassembly you can see through the hole and see what has to be aligned to make room for the new piece. A real boxed burr experience. Very nice concept, I like it!
Added on 2014-03-29
Today two special updates:
Bicomplementary formation b/b:1/2 This puzzle update is something special because it is presented to the public for the first time. Is this beautiful red and shiny box a burr, is it an n-ary puzzle? Well, it seems it is both. It clearly has some Gray code moves in it and then also some burr-like moves that are not following Gray codes at all. The name Bicomplementary formation b/b:1/2 tries to summarize that there are two groups of pieces (bars and sticks), which both follow a binary GC move pattern at first and are interlocked. Then some nice half notches based moves appear that are usually only found in burrs by Bill Cutler and Jerry McFarland. Some solving experiences: After finding out about the binary GC first, the first group of moves becomes pretty evident. However, at a later point this sequence ends abruptly. Now you are on your own, like with high level burrs: searching for possible moves without being able to look into the box. After a while a pattern becomes clear and then the first piece comes out. Fascinating puzzle! It is a worthy new addition to the compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. Clever design, Namick!
Added on 2014-03-27
Today some very nice and beautiful burr puzzles from Alfons: The Mino and Jucar are a new type of burr actively discussed on facebook. Alfons made the Mino with nicely grained pieces for me, but additionally he also included the ones that were first built and presented on facebook -- as a special collector's item. After all the nice 18 pieces burrs lately, the Sand Witch and the Kameleon are a good distraction, with a mixture of different piece shapes in one burr. The Kameleon seems to mix them as the real animal mixes colors on its skin. Then there is one addition to the Burr Zoo: It seems, Alfons has finally found the master of all those pets he locked into the burrs before, the The Devil and his Pet.
Added on 2014-03-15
When I had some twisty puzzles visiting last weekend together with my puzzle friends, I just had to go to Calvin's store afterwards and order some. The arrived today already, which is very quick: 3x3x3 Pitcher Octo-Star Cube, Evil Eye II Dodecahedron, and Curvy Copter Plus
Added on 2014-03-11
Today a parcel with some nice little puzzles arrived from Eric. They are both nice and little, but that was intended: Rail Box, Carbo Cube, Gaia, and Vortex.
Added on 2014-03-09
Yesterday I was hosting the second MZPP and we seven puzzle friends attending had a very fun event. Chris brought me a nice little 2x2x2 Fortune Cat and I am sure this will bring good fortune to me and my collection. Thanks, Chris!
Added on 2014-03-05
Recently I made a visit to the zoo and wrote up a little report on the things I have seen there. Wrong page, you think? Well, it was a zoo of Animal Burrs, and the report is the new Burr Zoo group page. Enjoy reading!
Added on 2014-02-19
Recently I have been playing a lot with some "Animal Burrs", how I like to call them: traditional traditional 18 pieces burrs, which have one or two extra pieces hidden inside that have the form of an animal. I am in the middle of working my way through the Devil's pet family. I have completely disassembled (and therefore freed) Devil's Pet 1 and Devil's Pet 2. Two pieces came out from Devil's Pet 3 already and next will be Devil's Pet 4. Now today I have received a package from Stephan with some of his latest creations in this field. The Beware of the Snake is an 18 pieces burr and is the home of a snake, which is currently in the wild and needs to go back into the burr. All these animal puzzles so far have been 18(+x) piece burrs with very static animals — not much space in there. The Camelride has only 12(+1) pieces, but the camel moves a lot even early in the solution. Nice puzzles in this group and beautiful to look at!
Added on 2014-02-08
From Alfons I received a package full of very nice puzzles, mostly traditional 18 pieces burrs. The first is a traditional 18 pieces burr, although not of traditional shape: Saturn, and looks a bit like the Crusade. Then there are three traditional ones with high and very high level: Minerva, Morpheus, and Apollo; all with nice exotic woods. The Lange Wapper 54-2 is a small version and slight variant of the Lange Wapper 54. It has pieces of 10 units length (not the standard 8), but with a unit size about half the one of the other burrs, it is a nice tiny puzzle -- blending in into the class of small 18 pieces burrs that became popular recently. The last one is The Box, which looks like a puzzle box, but I would rather call it an interlocking puzzle, maybe even a burr. When playing with it, you will find that it behaves like one of these sophisticated Japanese Karakuri puzzle boxes, but looking at the inside, you will find a core and some hooked panels that look more like an interlocking or burr puzzle. To me it is a burr behaving a bit like a puzzle box.
News update on 2014-01-14
In the meantime, I have solved all the Karakuri X-mas presents, and Iwahara's little box with the two devices took me longest to solve. All very fascinating puzzles of completely different kinds. Today I have received my membership letter with the solution to the names and craftsmen quiz (I did not need the solutions to the puzzles any more). Seems I was right with my guess and can now uncover: Pirates Box by Miyamoto, Bean Bag Drawer by Iwahara, Expansion IV-2 by Kamei, and Ring Box 2 by Kawashima.
Added on 2014-01-11
First package of this year, straight from Hong Kong: Lattice Cube, which could also be called "Master Dino Cube".
Added on 2013-12-24
From Stephan I received a nice Christmas puzzle: La Mente. A very nice and beautiful puzzle from the category of boxed 6-piece burrs. Thank you, Stephan!
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and puzzling New Year!
Added on 2013-12-20
Now look at that! I finally managed to remove the second and then also the third and fourth piece of the Columbus. Must have been some 60 or 70 more moves, but I was not able to count. Had to concentrate on the move sequences, which are really fascinating. Sometimes after a few moves you do not even know how to get back! Nice to solve.
Added on 2013-12-19
Today a nice package from Dan arrived, who found a nice puzzle for me. It is an Electro 1, a traditional entry for both compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. Thank you, Dan!
Added on 2013-12-18
I am still solving for the second piece of the Columbus burr received last week, and have found some very interesting moves — must be close! What other ways are there to prepare for Christmas time? Perhaps with some season's greetings from Japan with some Karakuri X-mas presents arrived today: Xmas 1, Xmas 2, Xmas 3, and Xmas 4. I do not know the names of these little beauties, but I am sure about who created which. If you would like to guess who was the craftsman for which, please drop me a mail. I will not make it too easy here by telling you which craftsmen I selected, but for some there is a pretty obvious style and I am convinced I know who is responsible for which (and then there are also the colorful cardboard boxes ...). Later I will provide an update with the names and craftsmen, but that will usually take until next year.
Added on 2013-12-12
Today a nice little traditional 18 pieces burr from Alfons Eyckmans: Columbus. It only takes 7 moves to remove the first piece, so it should be easy, right? Wrong! Alltogether there are 114 moves required for the full disassembly so the puzzle is actually getting more difficult to the end. If you have a look at the pictures, be assured that the nice exotic woods look much better in reality! Thank you, Alfons!
Added on 2013-11-04
Today two packages with very interesting and nice puzzles arrived. The first one contains a Popplock T8. This is not only a huge lock, but also looks complicated and can be opened, although it does not come with a key. And by the way, it nicely extends the sequence of Popplocks I have: T2, T4, T6, T8.
T
Added on 2013-12-06
Today a package from Azerbaijanian designer Namick Salakhov arrived, containing a new special puzzle for compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. Thank you, Namick!
Railing with Draining This puzzle update is something special because it is presented to the public for the first time. It is a nice sliding pieces puzzle, which is ternary, but needs less pieces than other puzzles of that type. While the Tern Key puzzle employs two switches between each two sliders, this puzzle only has one switch between each two sliders. Let's see if you can figure out where the name Railing with Draining ternary comes from. I find it quite obvious if you have a look at how the puzzle looks like and how it works. Please click on the thumbnails to get a better view of the detail pictures.
Today also a second package with some early Christmas presents arrived from John Lin (Customs officers did not believe that but insisted it was commercial): Some nice new Skewb based puzzles: Squished Skewb (the name says all how this puzzle looks like — it is not a Skewb and not cubic), and Skewb Curvy Rhombohedron. Both are of high quality and have the nice clicking Skewb mechanism I like. Thank you, John!
Added on 2013-11-14
Today two packages with nice puzzles for compendium and n-ary puzzle group page arrived. The first contained a Octet for heavy disentanglement (luckily I managed the smaller Sextet yesterday without entangling myself). The second one a whole load of Frequency Doublers: 1, 2, 3. Unfortunately, that last one is not for me and will travel on, but I was able to study and solve this new puzzle — for research purposes, of course!
Added on 2013-11-04
Today two packages with very interesting and nice puzzles arrived. The first one contains a Popplock T8. This is not only a huge lock, but also looks complicated and can be opened, although it does not come with a key. And by the way, it nicely extends the sequence of Popplocks I have: T2, T4, T6, T8.
The other package was from Alfons Eyckmans. It contains a zoo of some more animals trapped in an 18 pieces burr. Can you find out which the others are? I have two such puzzles already. When I asked Alfons for a new one he created, it turned out that there were 4 different variations already. The new pets are all diabolical animals crafted in nice woods: Devil's Pet 1, Devil's Pet 2, Devil's Pet 3, and Devil's Pet 4. Once freed, they all look a bit different, but all like some sort of hellhound. In case I needed it against such fierce creatures, Alfons included a sword in my package: Damocles, whose name tells me it might not be easy to get out and to use. It employs the same general idea like the recently published Excalibur, but the sword itself is completely different.
Added on 2013-10-28
After the n-ary news of last weekend, a package from Azerbaijanian designer Namick Salakhov arrived, containing two special puzzles for compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. The first puzzle from this package has been on an oddyssey already. It nearly reached me a couple of months ago, but then something bad happened to the package and for some reason it returned home. Now the Binary Bud is with me, and it is the one that has been in the compendium since the IPP33 Design Competition, in which this design took part this year. It is a very nice little binary puzzle.
GC machine ternary The second puzzle is something special because it is presented to the public for the first time on this web page (and also in the compendium). It is also special because of the nice technical look, that underlines the name GC machine ternary and also special because of the nice new mechanism. There are five sliders and four wheels in this mechanism, and a control knob. The control knob ensures that exactly one slider may move at a time (indicated by the numbers on it), while the weels link the sliders together to a ternary mechanism. The sliders of course have three positions and the last picture shows the goal configuration with all five sliders pulled out as far as possible. A unique and very nice concept, and also fun to play with, believe me! It is contained in the compendium, as it is a ternary puzzle — hence the name, while the "GC" in the name stands for "Gray Code", of course.Please click on the thumbnails to get a better view of the detail pictures.
Added on 2013-10-26
Second puzzle event in a week was going to the "Spiel" in Essen and meeting puzzlers from different countries and even continents there. At Jean-Claude Constantin's booth I expected to see one puzzle for the compendium and n-ary puzzle group page. Instead he pulled out one after another until six new designs lay in front of me, so this is a big update not only for my web page, but also for the compendium. The new puzzles are Steuerrad, Spiralschloss, Uhrwerk, Seestern, 522, and Labynary. Some have extra challenges of hidden ball mazes, and they are of arities 2, 3, and 11. What better way to invite you to look into the compendium, where you will find more details about the puzzles!
Of course I also got some other puzzles from Jean-Claude, like one of his Light Bulbs and a Trick Lock. This lock is something I have been searching for some time. It has 3 independent locking mechanisms and they require 12 steps — a true beast!
At the Rombol booth I found some interesting new designs I did not have: T-one, Rotpack 1, Sliced Bread, and Gear.
Added on 2013-10-22
Last weekend was DCD in the Netherlands and I brought back many puzzles again: From Wil I got a Trapezoid Symmetry Puzzle and the two latest cast puzzles from Japan, still in their original Japanese packag: G&G and Cylinder. Bernhard had some nice pre-orders for me (some sold out now already): Coaxial, Mysterious Galaxy, and Galaxy Z. Oskar gave me one of his Impossiburrs (can you see the geometry?), and from Tony Fisher one of his latest originals, a Starpad (where did the rest of that Starminx go?). After meeting Jack Krijnen, I now had some of his old and new creations: The Cube (interesting design from 1980), Tippy (downsized version of the Tipperary, both in complexity and real size), Elevenses, Framed!, and Grandpa Framed (two additions to the 18 pieces burr group, the first ones with frame). The last one is a Grandfather Burr (by W. van der Poel), put into a frame. From the designer of the Grandfather Burr, I got an unknown Puzzle of 3 joined 4 piece burrs (probably by Interlocking Puzzles). After the talks (see below), I received a Perrier Bottle and three nice folding puzzles. I was also looking for a Quatro -- of course Marcel had one for sale. Finally, I received a nice Carthesian Wallet from Michel.
At the DCD I also gave a lecture about my compendium. You can download the slides here, but I did a lot of talking, which is not included in the slides.
Added on 2013-10-10
Today a nice little package from Austria, from Stephan Baumegger. It contained one of his latest creations, an Excalibur. The name and the look of the nicely crafted puzzle suggest that you need force to pull out the sword, but in reality mental strength is required: It is a high level burr with 9 pieces in a box.
Added on 2013-09-19
Today a nice little package from Australia with four exchange puzzles from IPP33 by MrPuzzle, all nice nontrivial burrs: Kumiki Airlines (comes assembled, but has to be assembled in a different way), P Burr, Stepping Burr, and Brace Yourself.
Added on 2013-09-12
From Nowstore a new and interesting shapemod: the Pillowed Hexaminx
Added on 2013-09-10
At MPP (Midlands Puzzle Party) Adin Townsend presented a ternary puzzle created from Lego. It is closely related to the Crazy Elephant Dance and works the same way. When building instructions were published for this puzzle, I built myself a Lego Ternary Gray Code Puzzle and after verification that it behaved correctly, I put it into n-ary puzzle group page and of course the Compendium.
Added on 2013-08-31
Earlier than expected I received a package of nice puzzles from Tom Lensch — very nice craftmanship! The order dates back to last year's IPP when I met the designer Ken Irvine and was fortunate to order some of his new designs: K22 Multiwood Cube, K24 Walnut Cube (named after the wood of the prototype), and K27 Accordion Cube (one wood as opposed to Eric's Multiwood version I already have).
Special Update on 2013-08-30
I know that there are many puzzlers interested in the n-ary Puzzle Group. There are more such puzzles than shown on this page, so I have created a compendium of all of them known to me over the last months, containing more data about the puzzles, a formal definition, and some interesting mathematical properties. All that is now published in the:
Compendium of Chinese-Rings-Like Puzzles
Enjoy reading and browsing the big list of puzzles!
Added on 2013-08-28
From Stephan Baumegger I received an 18 pieces burr, which he designed in a box. This is not only the first design of this kind I know, but also a beautifully crafted puzzle: Centauri. It has level 13 (i.e. 13 moves to take out the first piece), so it should be easy. Think again: The following pieces require another 141, 34, 8, and 17 moves, so it is a real monster to solve. Will keep me busy for a very long time, I guess.
Added on 2013-08-27
Today I managed to assemble the last one from the Twisty package: DaYan Gem VII
Added on 2013-08-24
Directly coming from the IPP33 Design Competition to me: Dispersed GC Lock, a nice puzzle in the n-ary Puzzle Group
Added on 2013-08-23
After some time I received some new twisty puzzles: DaYan Gem 5, Fully Functional 3x3x5, Mixup Cube 2, and Void Dino.
Added on 2013-08-19
Today a package from Eric Fuller with three nice puzzles: the new release of the Binary Burr, a puzzle in the n-ary Puzzle Group, a Cold Fusion, and a Sweet Sixteen.
Added on 2013-08-18
From a visit to puzzle friend Dirk I brought: his IPP33 Exchange Puzzle and an unknown Japanese Disentanglement Puzzle.
Added on 2013-08-15
Today a package from Shapeways containing the design that won the Jury Grand Prize of the IPP33 design competition: Helical Burr. It is a relative of the Tubular Burr also by Derek Bosch and it has an easy solution where the first piece comes out directly with a twist, and then a difficult solution requiring 11 moves for the first piece.
Added on 2013-08-07
Today a package from Bernhard Schweitzer with some nice prototype puzzles and brand new puzzles: 2 Rings (a nearly two-dimensional puzzle) and Flat Vortex 1 (rotations in a frame), and new: Tetradyma (4 identical pieces) and LTC in cage (3 puzzles in the same cage. One with 3 L-shaped pieces, one with three 3 T-shaped, and one with 3 C-shaped).
Added on 2013-08-03
Akio Kamei of the Karakuri Creation Group combined two mechanisms he created earlier and designe a new puzzle box in the n-ary Puzzle Group: the Expansion V. It has a binary mechanism with 32 steps to remove the first panel, then three more steps to open the inner box.
Today I have also created another update for my IPP32 Exchange puzzle Acrobat.
Added on 2013-08-01
The Hexadecimal Puzzle was created by Binary Arts in the 1980s and only very few still seem to exist today. Recently Creative Crafthouse has obtained the permission of the patent holder and has created limited edition of this puzzle, the Hexadecimal Puzzle 2013. It has various setting for various challenges, one of which makes it part of the n-ary Puzzle Group. This version of the puzzle is well crafted and fun to play with. It seems to be a very exact reproduction of the original puzzle, enhanced with some laser cutting techniques that have not been available back in the 1980s.
With this puzzle came some other nice puzzles of various kinds: Boxed Burr, Odd Man Out Cube, Safecracker, and Double Trouble
Added on 2013-07-25
Today a package from Alfons Eyckmans, with some brand new and fascinating designs: Save the Gorilla looks like it belongs to the 18 piece burr group and I have put it in there, altough there is an extra piece -- guess the shape! Steps goes up around 4 pieces, Hot Dog deserves its name, just look at it! Crusade has nine parallel pieces, and Peanuts is the biggest of these puzzles -- That's Peanuts!
Added on 2013-07-16
From Toys4All I received some Eureka and Cast puzzles. Although they are mass market puzzles, all are very nice, and two are from n-ary Puzzle Group: Gordian Knot and Ferris Wheel, which are variations of puzzles I already have. The others are Cast puzzles, a very nice puzzle series: Box, Plate, Violon, and O Gear.
Added on 2013-06-30
Some late Sunday update: No puzzles but an update to one of my latest acquisition, the Generation Lock, the new record puzzle in the n-ary Puzzle Group. After a short analysis of this lock I now know how to solve it (in theory) and how many moves it takes: about 340 Million. Read more in this very mathematical analysis here.
Added on 2013-06-28
After some time a nice addition to the 18 piece burr group: Free the Monkeys. It looks like a traditional 18 pieces burr, right? Well it isn't. It's a 20 pieces burr, and two monkey shaped pieces are hidden inside. It is very close to an 18 pieces burr, so I am leaving it in this group anyway.
Added on 2013-06-26
Today a surpise package, this time from Stephan Baumegger. Now I am the first one (beside himself) to have one of Stephan's designs in my collection: Windmillbox, a nice design and excellent craftmanship.
Added on 2013-06-25
After the monster puzzle yesterday, now some nice little puzzles in a package from Bernhard: Estergon 2, 2 Pairs One, Simple Sharp, and Chiasma.
Added on 2013-06-24
Generation Lock and Lock 250+ My puzzle friend Wil sent me a very nice surprise package which arrived this weekend. Only when I opened it, I knew what it was -- and I recognized the mechanism and was completey perplexed. The brand new Generation Lock is a much bigger version of the Lock 250+. The latter one has 4 sliding rivets, with arity 6, i.e. each (but the lowest) has 6 positions, and requires 310 moves to open. The new one has 8 sliding rivets, with arity 15, setting a new overall record in the n-ary Puzzle Group. Question is how many moves to open? After my first approximation, the name of the lock made sense to me, but I will not tell you right now, as I am making it a little quiz. How many moves to open? Can you guess or even better calculate?
Added on 2013-06-22
Today from a nice puzzle meeting I brought home some very nice custom built versions and variants of known puzzles, thus I am naming them after this original: Gordian Knot 2, 4, and 6; to my knowledge all to be found in the n-ary Puzzle Group.
Added on 2013-06-11
Today a special puzzle again: One of the latest inventions in the n-ary Puzzle Group: a Six Bottles. The structure seems to be related to the Key Puzzle or the Binary Key II, but the mechanism with the ball bearings seems completely new.
Added on 2013-06-11
Today something special from Eric: One of the latest inventions in the n-ary Puzzle Group: a Binary Key II. Additionally, a nice double six-piece-burr: Fusion
Added on 2013-06-02
A nice Pento as a present from close friends.
Added on 2013-06-01
Today a package from Michel, containing a Sudoku Tubie, an interesting puzzle with different challenges.
Added on 2013-05-17
After some waiting I received a package from Eric today: Four Cross Twelve and some nice mini burrs: 4 Stick 8, Aramis, Quads & Rings 1, Quads & Rings 2, and Captain.
Added on 2013-05-05
Today from Wil's Queens Day Puzzle Party I brought some nice puzzles: Wil's First Box, a brand new Cast Delta, a Billards Puzzle, a Transport Puzzle, and a Ton's terrible towers.
Added on 2013-04-20
Today from a GCD fallback event I brought two nice puzzles: a vintage Rotos and a present from Michel: Stressful, nicely presented.
Added on 2013-04-14
From a nice puzzle meeting at Bernhard's place, I brought home some nice additions for my collection: Dreieck-Parallelogramm-Quadrat as a present from the host, some vintage twisty puzzles: Ufo and Zauberkreuz, some new puzzles from Bernhard Schweitzer and the New Pelikan Workshop: Saturno #1 and Castle Hole, and then some nice older puzzles and prototypes: Double Lock, Matador, Voodoo Cube, Mississippi Mud, and 2 Temps 3 Mouvements.
Added on 2013-04-06
The current Philos novelties include two intereesting nontrivial burrs with quite some level: Mixed Up and Sarcophagos.
Added on 2013-03-28
Today a surprise package from Bernhard which I expected next week: Cockpit, Pylon 2P2C -- two nice burrs by Yamamoto and Demirhan.
Added on 2013-03-25
Today I received a small package which would have arrived last week already, but the delivery company tried to solve a puzzle by ignoring my last name and trying to deliver it to someone at my address with my first name as last name. Unfortunately, my first name can also be a last name in Germany. Oh man! But now it's there and after all the wood and plastics puzzles, it is all metal: a nice Lotus Puzzle by Wil Strijbos.
Added on 2013-03-20
Another day, another update ... let's wait for the postman's special tomorrow! When Bernhard's latest annoucement came out, I was the first to place an order and this already 12 minutes after the initial announcement. Hard times! Three nice burr puzzles arrived today, two are my first ones from Yavuz Demirhan, who has not been known as a designer for very long, but has been very creative lately (just see Puzzlewillbeplayed): Columnata 2P3C and Estergon. I probably do not have to introduce the name Osanori Yamamoto to you; he designed a puzzle whose name matches current weather conditions in Germany, the Ice Pillar.
Added on 2013-03-19
Today a tiny package arrived from Austria with a nice little puzzle in it: 4 in Frame. Thank you, Stephan!
Added on 2013-03-08
Today a package with nice puzzles arrived from Alfons Eyckmans: Anlon (the first creation of burr collector and solver Aaron Davila), Lange Wapper 54 (the second addition to the 18 piece burr group), Highway, 12 Bastards (only 12 pieces on first sight), and Schoolbus (to drive on the Highway).
Added on 2013-02-21
Today two packages from Nowstore inlcuding more or less bandaged and more or less camouflage twisties: All-in-One Bandaged Cube to research all kinds of bandaged cubes, Belt-Road Bandaged 3x3x3, 3x3x2 Camouflage, 2x2x3 Camouflage, SQ224, mf8 2x3x4, and one addition for the Octahedra Group: the Gear Octahedron.
Added on 2013-02-16
Today a small package from France: the Congestion is the biggest caged six-piece burr in my collection, definitely the heaviest and most probably the most difficult one. Instead of different woods Maurice used aluminium inlays to implement the color scheme -- high quality craftsmanship.
Added on 2013-02-03
Believe it or not: Today there is another new world record in the category of traditional 18 piece burrs. The Supernova has just been published on Ishino's page and has an impressive level 166! I am lucky and happy to have this record puzzle in my collection.
Added on 2013-01-30
Today a special world record celebration update: Some nice high level burrs created by Alfons Eyckmans. For starters a Toaster, an unusual 9 piece burr. Then some exquisit servings of the 18 piece burr menu: a puzzle creating a Nightmare already while consuming (with a lot of odd shaped ingredients), followed by a difficult to digest The Barones, and then followed by the Excelsior course leaving some taste of highest complexity. All joking aside, this last one is the reason why this is a celebration update. This puzzle is a cooperation by Jack Krijnen and Alfons Eyckmans leading to the current world record for traditional 18 pieces burrs: 156 moves for the first piece!
Added on 2013-01-29
Today a basic puzzle for the n-ary Puzzle Group: a Towers of Hanoi.
Added on 2013-01-25
A package from Nowstore: Some speedcubing puzzles are ZhanChi, a GuHong, Megaminx. Not that I would like to start into speed cubing, I am just interested how these puzzles work. If I am too tired, those two will be easy to solve: 1x1x3 and 1x1x4. Then something unusual: a twisty puzzle (believe me!) that is also sequential discovery: Q-Borg.
Added on 2013-01-17
A package with nice Doug Engel originals arrived: a multi function Compass puzzle, a Time Warrp, a Star Dock Puzzle, Slide Rule Duel, a Barrel Shuttle, a Blocked Barrel, a Barrel Slide, and as a bonus an Atomihedra.
Added on 2013-01-14
Earlier than expected a huge package from Shapeways with some very well packaged puzzles: a Tubular Burr - many rotations, what else! A Moby Maze - it only has one surface, but you have to keep two sides in focus for solving. A Rotary Cub - a puzzle with many rotations by Greg and more moves for disassembly than assembly! Quickstep - high level "void cube". Although I have solved all but the Quickstep in the 15 minutes between unboxing and the pictures, they are very nice and definitely not too easy puzzles from four different categories.
Added on 2013-01-09
Today a nice little package from India, containing an old Indian Puzzle Lock.
Added on 2013-01-07
The first update for this year are two packages from the east ordered in December: The first one looks like a magic treasure chest from ancient India and it contains three nice Indian trick/puzzle locks: Combination and Key lock, Lock with 5 keys to open, and a traditional Gurjani lock with two keys.
The second package comes even farther from the east, from Hong Kong and contains some of the latest Twisty Puzzles: Dinomorphix (the reason for my order, the others are "just" side orders), a Nautilus (have to find out how to scramble this Square-1 variant), a Master Pyraminx (now I also have a pillowed one), a 2x3x4 Camouflage (I just like 2x3x4, see my TP forum avatar), 3-layer Cheese, and a Bauhina Dodecahedron (not finished stickering yet, but you can't tell from the picture ... ).
Added on 2012-12-21
Today an update which may lead to discussions whether I have really added some puzzles today. Well, that depends.
After receiving an interesting padlock, I decided to add some padlocks to my gallery that may not be puzzle locks, but have at least some relationship with puzzles. The first one is the reason for today's update: a Master Lock One. This lock uses a slider with movements up/down/left/right to enter a combination, and this combination is not only user-configurable, but may also be arbitrary long! Of course this is only a finite mechanical device, so after some time combinations opening the lock repeat, but it will take a very long while, as some mathematical considerations will show easily. To understand this and to see how this lock works, please have a look at the PDF and the nice interactive demonstration of the mechanism SWF demonstration hosted on toool.nl. If you have a look at these demonstrations, you will notice that there is a puzzle hidden inside this lock, in which four discs have to be turned into the right positions and with each move three discs turn. If the lock did not hide them, it would not be a lock, but a puzzle and might have shown up at Jaap's page. :)
The other lock is less spectacular: The first one I bought in Italy maybe some 25 years ago, and it is an unsual design, at least here in Europe. It is quite simple, so that you can make it a puzzle to open it: Pushbutton padlock.
Added on 2012-12-20
Today a package from far, far away waited for me at the customs office, with one of MrPuzzle's latest limited edition. I was lucky to receive it this year already, and so it does not have the usual number 17, but number 6: a very nice L-Burr. Level 4 does not sound complicated, but there are some very nasty rotations involved -- tricky!
Added on 2012-12-14
I am not sure: Could Christmas be today already? Two packages arrived the same day, one from far west, from Cubicdissection, with three of the latest burr puzzles: Two Halves Cage 4A (not a boxed 6 pieces burr), Moonflight (not a moon rocket), and Uranus (not a 6 pieces burr, but with magnets!).
The second from the far east contained nice X-mas presents: they are two of this year's Karakuri X-mas   presents.
Added on 2012-11-29
The Cage for 4 Sticks arriving is the reason I did not order this puzzle from Eric today, and I just like the fine grain of the Difou wood. The 18-in-Blocks is a nice addition to both my 18pcs Burrs collection and to the Alfons Eyckmans puzzles.
Added on 2012-11-06
According to my calender, it's November, but "NovemBURR" might be more appropriate: After I got the three nice high level burrs from Jack Krijnen, I received a package from Alfons Eyckmans today, full of beautiful, very nice, and high or very high level burrs. They are all crafted in a new way than the others I have and are a bit smaller -- good for my storage capacity!
The first ones are boxed burrs and more complicated versions of puzzles with similar names: Lolly Box 2 and Big Havanna's. Then there are two puzzles that have a simple symmetric cage and three simple burr pieces without extensions (like the Devil in Cage). The Rat Trap additionally houses a little "rat", while the Vectes is a recent design with three identical and simple pieces, but high level for such a burr. The Zig Zag and Zig Zag 2 combine plates and burr pieces into very high level puzzles.
The 18 pieces burrs group has received two additions that are located more at the top end levelwise: The Muff has a movement scheme that looks completely different from the Phoenix family and it has a nice level that has many moves also for the second and third pieces, and quite some moves up to the nineth piece! The Baron is a new personal record for Alfons. Recently we have seen the Echo-1 at Puzzle-Place. Like the Echo-1 satellite was launched after the Tiros in the same year, the Echo-1 burr has the same number of moves for the first piece like the Tiros, 150 moves. Now "The Baron" follows these two Burrs and adds one move more to the level, to a total of 151 moves. The current world record holder for traditional 18 pieces burrs with 152, the BSfEP can still claim its title, but is only one more move away. Let's see what we are going to see next!
These were some long notes about my new puzzles. To follow Oskar van Deventer's tradition, here are some quiz questions for you:
  1. What is the sum of the level (first piece only) for all puzzles shown in today's update? Answer: click here (Needs Javascript)
  2. What is the total sum of moves provided in the puzzle pages for today's update (all numbers combined)? Answer: click here (Needs Javascript)
This will keep me busy for quite some time ....
Added on 2012-11-04
Today I met many old and new but all very nice puzzle friends at Dutch Cube Day (DCD) in Voorburg, close to Den Haag (The Hague). Many intersting conversations and puzzle discussions, solving attempts and also research took place - keep your eyes open for posts on popular puzzle blogs! Beside all that I also picked up some puzzle to bring home to my collection: After receiving a Souvenir gift, my first way was to Bernhard's table, who had his own products for sale and also some from the collection of the late puzzle collector Martin Brockmann, and I picked up: Changing Partners (several puzzles in one, all non-trivial and with rotations), a Caged Burr, and then also three puzzle locks. Then I went to Michel's table whom I have brought some nice puzzles from Essen, and he had some nice puzzles and puzzling objects for me: Three Piece Tetrahedron, a nice sized Falling Rings, a vintage Dutch WWF Masterball, and an Eureka String puzzle. Very close to this table I met one of the high level burr specialists and after some nice conversation I got some pieces of the impressive "tower of burrs" he built recently: Jack's Dozen, Tipperary, and Jiminy Jack - some nice additions to my collection of 18 pieces burrs. Wil had some binary puzzles for me: Left Right Chinese Rings and Matryoshka. Finally, I picked up a solvable version of the 15/14 puzzle from Ton, and TomZ' latest mass produced puzzle. The last puzzle is a real Belgian Maze, but without the quotes, and a really hard maze protecting a precious Euro coin. I played with this puzzle at IPP and today I picked it up from Robrecht.
There have been some additions to the n-ary puzzles group today. Can you find out which ones?
Added on 2012-10-27
FR Group
(Comparison of the two generations of Fidgety Rabbits puzzles. Click for large picture)
What happens if you keep rabbits for some time? Right -- they start multiplying! I received some very fidgety rabbits for my collection (post below), and also these rabbits started multiplying and today a stable box with the next generation of fidgety rabbits arrived. These ternary Fidgety Rabbits are bigger than the "old" generation to accomodate more states. There are only six rabbits, but each has now three different states (instead of two), which makes them a perfect addition to the n-ary puzzles family. This new puzzle has been created for the first time, by its designer Namick Salakhovand based on his (copyrighted) design. It is a very clever design I must say -- I see that it scales not only to ternary, but also to higher order, like Namick has told me before. Please see some detail pictures of this puzzle to the right. Thank you, Namick, for this exceptional puzzle! Fidgety Rabbits ternary
Fidgety Rabbits ternary
Added on 2012-10-20
Today something special: My first puzzle from Azerbaijan, and also my first package from Azerbaijan. I received a new member of the n-ary puzzles family, a Fidgety Rabbits. This white beauty was part of this year's IPP Design Competition and is a very nice new concept to implement a binary movement scheme. The puzzle came in a beautiful and very stable box, please see the picture. I have never seen a puzzle so well packaged before! Thank you, Namick!
Added on 2012-10-20
Back from "Essener Spieletage 2012" I came home with some more puzzles: From Jean-Claude Constantin I brought some n-ary Puzzles: a Kugellager 2 I did not have yet and a disentanglement puzzle (which looks binary at first sight, but has yet to be confirmed); the 4 Stones Labyinth is a new puzzle which I first had to solve for the picture; a Combination Lock, a small Zodiac Box, a bigger LabyBox, a 20 Cent and an improved Oval Office; concluded with a rare Hysteresis Key. From Hendrik I got a Snow Mystery (for the winter approaching?) and some nice Siebenstein puzzles: Up and Down (solved for the picture and not as hard as expected, but still challenging) and a Schiebung. At the Philos booth I not only met a nice puzzle friend, but also got some interesting puzzles for a bargain: Cup Puzzle and Arrow Puzzle.
Added on 2012-10-17
A box from Eric could be picked up at the Customs office today, containing: An Accordion/Disjointed Cube -- an independent design by two designers. I met Ken Irvine (designer of "Accordion") this year at IPP and he had a big collection of his custom designs with him. Unfortunately they were not for sale, but luckily there was more than one woodworker at IPP who picked up some of these designs to produce them. Eric's version is the first one, stay tuned for more Ken Irvine puzzles to come in 2013! The other puzzles are: The Rattle (a packing puzzle, not my main puzzle type interest, but a nice puzzle) and an interlocking puzzle by Greg: 2 Cage 3BB.
Added on 2012-10-11
Now back to regular updates: From Arteludes three nice puzzles, Cannich (for my Alfons Eyckmanns Burr Collection), Simple UC Trapped (a nice puzzle by Stephane) and as a bonus a Les 2 Boules Desunies.
Added on 2012-10-08
Today something special again: I managed to create some first additional challenges for my Exchange puzzle Acrobat. More to follow from time to time.
Structural update on 2012-09-21
As you may have noticed, something happened to the puzzle category/classes on this page. After more or less dynamic growth of this gallery page with more and more puzzles, and after the introduction of sub pages in the grid views to manage the growing number of puzzles by the end of last year, I decided to give the web site a major overhaul. The main differences happened "under the hood", but there are two things that are visible: During the upgrade, it may have happened that a puzzle went into the wrong category by accident, or you may have some information to add -- please let me know. Now I hope that the viewing experience is enhanced by this update and the gallery is more fun to browse and a better source for reference.
Added on 2012-09-12
Today some very nice burrs from Greg Benedetti arrived which he presented at IPP32: Blind Burr and Odd Repartition. The Blind Burr is a very unusual burr and was one of the top ten vote getters at IPP32 Design Competition.
Added on 2012-09-08
Currently, I am doing some research on those n-ary puzzles together with some other puzzlers. In the process, I have created a ternary puzzle prototype of a Bob Hearn design that has never been built before, it only existed in a paper on Bob's homepage. Using Lego bricks (and a bit of glue), and some stickers, I created a prototype version of Sliding-block "Chinese Rings" style puzzle. Now I can do pracitical research on this puzzle and since there a many small pieces involed, there are a lot of moves for a 3-ring ternary puzzle!
Added on 2012-08-21
Now that I have been back from IPP for some time, I have found the time to get all the Exchange puzzles into my gallery. As there are about 80 of them, I will not mention them here one by one, but have put them ona separate page of IPP32 Exchange puzzles
This is also to avoid putting them on this web page in an unstructured pile, similar to the one created from these puzzles on my living room table (see picture to the right).
IPP32 Exchange
Added on 2012-08-19
Last week I have been to a fabulous IPP32 and coming back, here are the first puzzles I brought with me. They are the puzzles I bought at the Puzzle Party, the puzzles from the Exchange are expected to come on-line in an additional update coming week -- there are just so many of them to be photographed, catalogued and eventually also solved.
From the Puzzle Party I brought a Design Competiton entry somewhat similar to the Quadlocks, but more complicated, as after removing the key pieces, the frame needs some more lock-picking moves to be taken apart: Burrblock. From Richard some nice tiny microcubology items: Coherence and Bolero; from Greg some of his designs with twists and turns, not from wood, but printed: Tronc Commun 4 and Doube Noeud. From Brian an IPP27 puzzle, a maze looking one-dimensional only at first sight: Straight Forward. From Abraham Jacob some nice binary puzzles (see n-ary puzzles) I have only heard of recently: Trio, Quartet, Quintet, and Sextet F&L puzzles. The last one was given as table puzzle at the Awards Banquet.
Added on 2012-07-17
A package with nice puzzles from Arteludes: Nickel Box and Les Cerises
Added on 2012-07-16
Today the third part of my order of nice Iwahiro coordinate motion puzzles arrived: Triangular Jam. These 5 two-dimensional coordinate motion puzzles (1,2,3,4,5). may lack the third dimension, but they are nevertheless fascinating puzzles. For somebody like me who is used to axis-parallel burr-like movements, they are a nice training for out-of-the-box-thinking. Thank you, Dirk, for pointing me to them!
Added on 2012-07-15
I found some more of these fascinating coordinate motion puzzles by Iwahiro: Pentagonal Jam and Hexagonal Jam
Added on 2012-07-09
Today a little box, a Tea Box -- Granny's Hammer. In it's first life, it was a real tea box containing tea. Now it is a nice little puzzle box. Why the "hammer" in the name? Well, it comes indeed with a little hammer!
Added on 2012-07-06
The computer loops is a Chinese Rings variant by Mag-Nif from 1975, a binary puzzle
Added on 2012-07-03
When I opened my mailbox today, a true nightmare awaited me .... The Nightmare is a bigger and more complicated variant of the Diavolo. Not to be mixed up with Alfons Eyckmans' recent 18 pieces burr of the same name.
Added on 2012-06-25
A nice package from Eric: Slow Waltz is a nice new 4x4x4 cube, N-One is a tiny level 15.3 keychain puzzle, and Chen's 6 BB is a high level board burr (=BB).
Added on 2012-06-22
Some of Wil's latest inventions arrived today: New Dovetail. It is a very nice addition to the well known Dovetail series of convex and concave dovetails, and collectors who already have both of these will like the new one. For Dovetail-professionals it features some new concept and classic solutions might not work, for all amateurs and beginners, there are some tricks to overcome. And then there is the majority of people who do not believe that such shapes can be disassembled at all, but believe me: it is possible! Maybe this is the nicest aspect of these puzzles: Let people guess how these objects were assembled and how they can be disassembled again.
Added on 2012-06-13
Today a small package arrived from Problemboden, Finland -- small, but containing some big puzzle business. The first puzzle in it seems to have something to do with ???, but it's not a detective story, but an n-ary puzzle: Mysterians, a 5-ary puzzle. Then there are two puzzles that look easy, but certainly are not (they are by Iwahiro, need I add more?): Rectangular Jam and Rightangular Jam. Then, there are some two Finnish puzzle boxes: Tricky Gift Box and Trick Box "Finland".
Added on 2012-06-07
An interesting package containing some of Alfons Eckman's latest works arrived. They are all of high craftmanship and very nice to play with. The property that none of these puzzles can satisfy is being easy -- luckily!
There are three new 18 pieces burrs in three different shapes: The Garuda is a traditional shape 18piece burr with a level close to a 100, and it seems to be part of the Phoenix familiy (first impression after trying about 80 moves), then the Waddon, which has wider pieces like the Phelan, and then a new type with entirely flat pieces: the level 29 Cephio.
Also in the package were: Triton (a hybrid burr), Cocoon (in some way similar to Padaung Rings), and Devil in Cage (only three pieces in a cage, but level 54).
Added on 2012-06-05
Today two packages were waiting for me at the customs office:
The first is from India and contains two beautiful and tricky vintage padlocks for my collection: Trick Lock with four keys and Trick Lock with three steps.
The second package also came from the east, but a little farer away from Hong Kong with state of the art twisty puzzles: Plum Flower Snake, Mixup Plus Cube (not at all standard 3x3x3), and some pillowed pentahedrons: 3 Layers Pentahedron, Crazy 3 Layers Pentahedron, and 5 Layers Pentahedron.
Added on 2012-05-25
At IPP31 a special custom made puzzle was presented to the organizing committee, were I first saw it. Now Wil has managed to get a small batch created and sent me one, a puzzle remotely similar to the "Kugellagers", but not n-ary: IPP31 Berlin Puzzle.
Added on 2012-05-20
A local shop find during a holiday trip in Germany: Crazy 2x3x3 (white).
Added on 2012-05-09
Today a nice package from Wil arrived: he packed a puzzle (Secret Box) and a huge and extinct animal (dino) into a small cage. Magic? See here: Secret Box + Dino in a Cage. Also in the package were some nice aluminum puzzles: Concave dovetail and Convex dovetail
Update on 2012-04-23
Reworked yesterday's update on puzzle 1000. It turned out to be double-ternary instead of 6-ary, which is a completely new type of puzzle.
Added on 2012-04-22
Only a few hours before the German Cube Day (GCD) it arrived: The last puzzle to get a three digit number. It is a Bin Laden and it is as close to being number 1000 as it is as close to being a true binary puzzle. It was designed by Rik van Grol to seem like a binary puzzle at first, but to get you stuck in a dead end then. Only when you figure out that in fact it is a hybrid of binary and ternary puzzle, you can solve it. This is also the motivation for the "devilish" name. Bin Laden
Auf dem Holzweg
-=- 1000 -=-
This is the moment that readers of this web page (and myself) have been waiting for: My collection has crossed the 1000 boundary and puzzle numbers are four digits from now on.
I have been wondering which puzzle would get the honour to be the celebration puzzle, but when I found this puzzle on GCD yesterday, I had no doubt: I picked up an Auf dem Holzweg which seemed to be the first level-6-Kugellager to exist (or actually equivalent, but very, very close to a Kugellager). However, it turned out to be something new: A combination of two ternary puzzles (see yellow and green sections in the picture to the right), which I will now call "double-ternary". More details on this discovery are presented in my updated article.
Holzweg-Sections
After my research on n-ary puzzles (see Kugellager.pdf and the n-ary Puzzles Group page) it seems that his puzzle has deserved to be number 1000. If you do not believe me, have a look at the updates for puzzles 900 and 500 in the update history.
From the GCD I brought the following puzzles:
A vintage binary puzzle SPIN-OUT by Binary Arts. This and the other n-ary puzzles are on the now updated n-ary Puzzles Group page.
Closely related to the Towers of Hanoi is the Rudenko Disk. I met Theo Geerinck and got his Chainstitch. From Siebenstein are the Holzweg Puzzle above and: Diavolo, Safe, and Nur Mut, a tiny Burr. I met Willem van der Poel an got the first of one of his IPP exchange puzzles, a Combination Lock. Michel van Ipenburg brought me some of Oskar's interesting designs: a Planar Burr (as described in one of the Gathering for Gardner books) and a Domino Tower, accompanied by a Jeliku. For my cuboid collection, I also got a Twisty Puzzle: a 4x4x6.
Added on 2012-04-18
Just before GCD and a few days after finishing all those Burrs some new puzzles from Arteludes: A Pyramid, a nice Chateau d'If, and an Identity Matrix. Usually, in Mathematics, an identity matrix is something simple with a clear and simple structure. Here, we have a nice puzzle called Identity Matrix that is far from trivial: 24 identical notchable pieces that lead to an astonishing level of 13.8.
Added on 2012-03-24
The high number of high level Burrs I reveiced lately, enabled me to add the group page that has been planned for some time: 18 Pieces Burrs -- a true high level page
Added on 2012-03-21
Today is Burr's day (no, not birthday, but with a similar feeling), and to let you know why, let's have a look at the latest update. Today I picked up three packets at three different locations (hooray, German post offices!) and got a whole load of nice Burrs:
  • From Maurice Vigouroux and Guillaume Largounez: an Abad's level 9 burr
  • From Alfons Eyckmans: A Condor, a Phoenix, a Phoenix-Cabracan, a Misery, and an Al Capone
  • From Jack Krijnen: A Century
Al capone Phoenix-Cabracan Phoenix Misery Condor Build a house Abad's Level 9 Burr Century
Since this a lot of puzzles and Jack knows that I already have some, he included a nice house for me to build and store all the puzzles in it. :)
Today I won't provide links from the puzzle name to the puzzle pages, but instead run a little quiz:

  1. Find out which puzzle is which in the picture to the right! To verify, just point with the mouse or click on the puzzles in the picture.
  2. Estimate: What is the sum of the moves to get all first pieces out of these burrs? Answer, click here (Needs Javascript).
Added on 2012-03-20
Today: History lesson. Puzzle friend Michel van Ipenburg found a historic member of the Kugellager family and for this I have updated Kugellager.pdf (see new Chapter 17).
Added on 2012-03-12
Another Monday, another trip to the customs office. This time for a nice Tom's Square Dance
Added on 2012-03-05
Picked up a late x-mas present and lottery win -- at the customs office: a Secret Base 2. Like Secret Base it has fascinating movements!
Added on 2012-02-29
Today a puzzle entry update, not a new puzzle: after disassembling, the "Balder" in fact seems to be a different design by Alfons, a Sleipnir. It has some very interesting moves.
Added on 2012-02-26
Today no puzzle update, but puzzle related: I have added a new chapter (16) about some old and new puzzles to my article Kugellager.pdf. Enjoy reading!
Added on 2012-02-25
My win from recent Cubicdissection auction: Clamp -- one more interesting and very well crafted Miyamoto puzzle for me!
Added on 2012-02-18
From Hongkong a new puzzle which starts to confuse me once it is turned, as so many pieces are rotating simultaneously and with different rotational speeds: Gear Pyraminx
Added on 2012-02-15
A very nice surprise package from Alfons Eyckmans containing two very well crafted high level 18 pieces burrs, many thanks! The first is the well known Tiros, playing in the world's top league of burrs. The second one I have identified as Balder, a very interesting hybrid of regular 18 piece burr pieces and the ones with 2x3 base, known from the Phelan or Dirty Dozen. This definitely brings back some memories from recent solves of these two 16 and 18 piece burrs.
Added on 2012-02-07
Sometimes I also order puzzles from Amazon. Not very complicated, but interesting: Oblo Puzzle Spheres -- a spherical, multi-layered packing puzzle
Added on 2012-02-05
Second group page, about a group of twisty puzzles: Twisty Octahedra
Second update today: This page has received a new layout -- as seen already above.
Added on 2012-02-01
First February update is a nice puzzle from TomZ, in cooperation with mf8: 3x4x5
Added on 2012-01-28
A nice Oskar design from Meffert's: Gift Cube
Added on 2012-01-21
A very interesting puzzle just released recently: Washer Cylinder by Wil Strijbos. From the outside it is just an aluminum cylinder, but inside lies the real fun (which I will see once solved). It's a bit shorter than it's older brother, the Aluminum Cylinder.
Added on 2012-01-14
A fascinating puzzle from Alfons Eyckmans: Dirty Dozen -- A 12 piece burr? A 16 piece burr? -- Well, both of it! One from the outside and one from the inside.
Added later the day: Meanwhile I have received mail from the Karakuri group and know the name of the X-Mas present I got: Pump. After a look at the overview sheet I am very comfortable with my choice of present.
Added even later the same day: Today I finally started a feature on this site that was on my wishlist for long: Group pages. Starting with the most famous group for this page (I believe), I will add more groups occasionally, providing an overview of puzzles that may have something in common -- may it be obvious or not.
Added on 2012-01-13
A package with nice puzzles from Cubicdissection: Rattle Box and Ribbons Puzzle by Tom Jolly and a Havanna's Box #1 -- guess what's in it!
A very interesting puzzle came from Australia, a Hexadecimal Puzzle (reproduction by Bill Wylie).
Added on 2012-01-06
The first package this year came from Hong Kong: Star Minx II and DaYan Gem IV
Added on 2011-12-30
Probably the last update for this year, but one covering several areas:

From my puzzle friend Michel van Ipenburg I got a nice Constantin puzzle: Bonbon

The gallery is growing bigger and bigger, and it might take a long time to load and the many images may slow down some browsers (e.g. mobile devices), I decided to overhaul my gallery creation script after it was running fine for more than three years now.
Added on 2011-12-26
Just before Christmas I received my nice present from the Karakuri Club. Spoiler warning: If you are still waiting for yours and if it would be by Miyamoto, don't read on! I don't know the name of it and will update the gallery once I have received it. The puzzle looks a bit like one of these old fashioned Scales whose base has then been put in a box, but see for yourself: X-mas Present. It is not trivial, but I have managed to open it already. Now I have to figure out in detail how the mechanism and solution works.
Added on 2011-12-17
From the new Online Shop "Arteludes" featuring puzzles crafted by Maurice Vigouroux, a package with some very high quality puzzles, both in craftmanship and design: Burr in Cage (in nice yellow Difou wood), Phelan, Xenon, and for X-mas Six pieces Star
Added on 2011-12-09
From Siebenstein-Spiele/Spielemine: Coin Trap, Screw, Interlock II, and Sisyphos
Added on 2011-12-07
Two very nice puzzles from the latest Baxterweb auction: Giga Burr and Checker Cube
Wait, that was the doorbell ...
If one nice package was not enough for today, my neighbor just brought a package from Bill Cutler for me, containing a real beauty: S/M 24 in three different woods
Added on 2011-12-05
Today I had some time for local shops in my hometown and guess what -- I found some new puzzles: orange Dael O Ring (new version), Wurmm, Galaxy Puzzle I and II, and a puzzle game for dexterity specialists (not me!): Catwalk
Added on 2011-12-04
Yesterday my puzzle friend Dirk visited me and had some interesting puzzles in his box, and also one of his nice exchange puzzles for me, a: The Creeping Block Puzzle -- it includes different challenges and the simplest/standard change has already 71 rolling moves of blocks. Thanks, Dirk!
Added on 2011-11-26
From Now Store: Dino Cube (first one I have that is not custom built or 3D printed), Super 3x3x8, 1x2x5, 4x4x5, and 4x5x5
Added on 2011-11-12
From Tom Lensch: Shift Burr 2 -- a 6 piece burr with level 13 which is also dexterity puzzle and of very high quality.
Added on 2011-11-03
My last item from recent Cubicdissection auction: Arabesque -- a puzzle that is impressive, both in size and craftmanship, and also a rare puzzle.
Added on 2011-10-31
Yesterday on the Dutch Cube Day in Eindhoven I met very many nice puzzle colleagues known and unknown to me, and of course very many puzzles old and new. A very exciting event, indeed! As usual there were Puzzles that I considered to be too expensive for my current collecting habits, but I managed to bring a whole bunch of puzzles I got from several people:
It started with my puzzle friend Bernhard who had some items I could not resist: By George Burr (a burr-like puzzle with several moves and a rotation), Triangle Cube Burr (quite simple, but nice cuts and woodworking), Dutch Cross (a Burr with a solution having an akward turn -- of 180 degrees), a Kei Cube Jr and a Puzzle 7.
TomZ had some interesting and complicated new designs -- and of course the one I had pre-ordered: Super-X
At Wil's table some pre-orders were waiting for me. Now I have the winner of this year's IPP design competition, a 4 Steps Visible Lock, which I already liked and solved during IPP -- of course I left the Euro coin inside for the next one :). At Wil's I also picked up: one of his Aluminum Cylinders, an unknown Framed 6 piece burr (looking like printed by George Miller), and the new Cast Donuts.
I also found some IPP exchange puzzles I did not have: Marcel Gillen had a Burrliner Kruse for sale and Rob Hegge a Five Burr-ito.
There were also some new production range puzzles from 2011 with a nice look and very high quality: Moeraki 4 and 3.
The others are a mixture of cheap vintage puzzles and some new puzzles: Plastic Chinese Rings, Metal Chinese Rings (yes, two additions to my n-ary department), Triple Cross, A Turnstile-Variant (for some insight on the "Triplex" puzzle), Frustr8tor, Calendar Barrel, Keyboard Cube, Dororinth orange and white, from Russia a traditional Screwed Shackle, an 8 Pice Burr, and a Rudenko Clips.
Added on 2011-10-26
A small but interesting IPP31 exchange puzzle with a hidden mechanism: Bunch
Special update on 2011-10-22
With my last update, my gallery crossed the line of 900 items and so I decided to decide to pick out a special one from this update: A 7-ary Kugellager which (to my knowledge) is the first 7-ary puzzle and has level 4802.
Of course, I have added the puzzle to my paper about n-ary puzzles and I am proud to present a new version today: Kugellager.pdf. Enjoy reading!
Added on 2011-10-22
This week I was at Spiel 2011 in Essen and besides loads of Games and some puzzles, I also met some Puzzle-Friends there. When I got home, I received two additional packages, so many puzzles in today's update:
From HKNowStore: The Bermuda Cube series, all variants: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and House I, House II, Column, Star, and additionally some others: Circular Bean Tower, Bandaged Pyraminx, 3x3x3 3 slices, 2x2x2 Bandaged, and 1x2x2
In the package from Eric: Twist the Night Away -- it has many twists in the solution and I am tempted to put it into the Twisty category, but it is definitely a (Dis-) Assembly puzzle, and a very nice one!
From the "Spiel" fair: From Jean-Claude Constantin, some of his and some rare other puzzles: Kugellager 7 (as mentioned above), a Eivon (another kind of smartphone puzzle), and some IPP31 exchange puzzles: Crazy Bottles and Modern Times; and an original Roger Tap and Kamei Money Bank and a level 9 Six Piece Burr. New Twisty puzzles from Hendrik's shop: Spinner and Double Disk. From Rombol and Philos I got: Interlock 3 Pieces, Kaneko Cube, Money, and Polo Shirt Puzzle
Added on 2011-10-08
A rare occasion: a local store find with a new puzzle, a Dael O Ring
Added on 2011-10-07
Two packages today, with completely new puzzles: From the Karakuri Club New Secret Box I, II, and III. From Moulding Innovations: Dioctipoid 1.0 and 2.0
Added on 2011-10-06
A package from Hong Kong, from NowStore: Marusenko Sphere, Magic Ball, Keyring Big Block, 3x3x9, and 3x3x9 Road Block -- a lot of blockage this time! :)
Added on 2011-10-01
Long weekend (due to holiday on Monday) -- time to build the remaining kits I have here: 48 Moves Box, Byte Box, and Crypteks
Added on 2011-09-30
The second kit built, this time a bit more complicated: Cyrus Redblock
Added on 2011-09-29
Some time ago I ordered some box kits from Myers Crafts. Now I had time for the first one and it turned out really nice (unpainted, as usual for me): The Jail Cell
Added on 2011-09-24
From Meffert's Jade Club: Jade Pyraminx and Gear Shift
I also added a Chinese Finger Trap to the gallery I got at IPP31.
Added on 2011-09-22
From Steve Strickland, who just started to create puzzles again: Six Pack, Bent Board Burr, Elbow Burr, and a Irregular Board Burr
Added on 2011-09-17
From Hong Kong, from HKNowStore some twisty puzzles: Tuttminx, Double Fused Cube, Double Mirror Blocks, bandaged 3x3x3 embedded in transparent 2x2x2, and a Bandaged Revenge
Added on 2011-09-12
A small package from Eric Fuller containing some very nice puzzles: Boards and Sticks (in a Frame), Havanna's 2, Zauberflöte, and a Lattice II
Added on 2011-09-10
An IPP31 Design Competition entry by Greg Benedetti: Daedalus. Here is a short review I promised to John Devost: :)
This nice puzzle was created in different wood versions and looks like a straight and simple rectilinear interlocking puzzle. But beware, it isn't. In the inside not only interlocking pieces can be found, but also grooves and wooden pins forming an internal only partly visible maze, a maze that evolves and changes with every move you make. Moves that were blocked just a moment ago, or only halfway possible, might be there now and you have to keep your track carefully -- or get lost in the maze.
If that wasn't enough already, rotations are not only possible but also allowed and part of the solution. Usually, rotations tend to lead to shortcuts in the intended solution. For this puzzle, the only solution is full of rotations and even then an astonishing 23 moves to remove the first piece are the result. Alltogether, 49 moves are required in the unique disassembly solution, with 9 moves for the second and 8 moves for the third piece. Burr-Tools will hate you when you try to solve this puzzle with the help of a computer. Luckily, for the faint hearted, there is a solution booklet included, which is of the nice high quality and craftmanship like the puzzle.
To my personal knowledge, this is the first puzzle design with this combination of elements, and a very interesting one. Anyone interested in high level burrs, but getting bored of more traditional ones, try this one (if you can get hold of one, of course)! Happy Puzzling!

Added on 2011-08-27
A long awaited package from Puzzlemaster: containing a metal version Medaillion, three Livecube Puzzles, a Trinity Infinity, and a Turbo Mind Twister
Added on 2011-08-12
Three very nice puzzles from Iwahiro, box packing puzzles with twists: 4M Puzzle, 3M Puzzle, and ODD Puzzle
Added on 2011-08-11
A second package from Mefferts: Curvy Copter, by Tom van der Zanden, a creative young designer whom I had the pleasure of meeting at IPP.
Added on 2011-08-10
A package from Mefferts: Feliks Cube, Gear-Cube Extreme, The New Pyraminx, and Crazy Tetrahedron Plus
Added on 2011-08-09 (updated 2011-08-10, 2011-08-11)
I just came back from IPP31 and there was a package waiting for me: Always Empty Box
Maybe this always empty box could solve some space problems I might run into: IPP31 was great and I met many interesting and nice people there, played with very interesting puzzles and had numerous interesting conversations and lectures. Now I have to solve a packing puzzle consisting of over 30 more new puzzles and my already full shelves, after unpacking them, solving them and putting them into the gallery. It will take some time, so please stay tuned. Meanwhile, in the picture on the right you can see what I am facing at the moment. :) Update: I have eventually managed to put them up in the gallery, but as some of them are still unsolved, I will probably replace some pictures by the solved version some time in the future.
Gifts from IPP31 organizing committee: IPP31 puzzle gift, an Anchor Puzzle, and for the helpers a small Made in China.
From Bill Cutler: He had his very First Design remade as his exchange puzzle. He also carried some puzzles from Jerry McFarland for me: a Quadlock 1 and a Quadlock 4.
During the Puzzle Exchange, I had the honour and pleasure to be exchange assistant to Iwahiro. His exchange puzzle "is a box packing puzzle. Just four identical octahedrons, just put them in the box completely. Simple!". That's what he said.... Of course, "this is not a solution": Gem Box, but it is a very nice and well crafted puzzle.
Some of this IPPs exchange puzzles I got were: 6 piece burr variation II (Andreas Roever), Laby Box (Hendrik Haak), Houdinis Torture Cell (Brian Young), Reunification (Twins, Rob W. Jones), Brandenburg Gate (Marti Reis), Eighteen Eights (Peter Knoppers), and Boxed Mixed Piece Burr (Frans de Vreugd).
Some other puzzles I got: 3-piece Magic, Choreographed Motion, Arch Burr Puzzle, Dino Cylinder Cube, Buttonhole Puzzle, Four Sticks Dexterity, 3 Lives to Live, Five Sticks 28, 4 in 2, Little Tree Box, EQ 12 pieces burr, and an old design remade: William Strijbos' Aluminum Cross.
From the French puzzle Collector Jean Carle I got: Manda 1 Burr, Love's Dozen together with a cubic variation of the same puzzle, and a Pause.
From Gregory Benedetti I received three prototypes, all high level puzzles: Eccentricity, La Foudre, and Troacroas.
From Frans de Freugd I got some nice burr puzzles: Boxed L-burr #2, All Mixed Up, and a variation of this puzzle.
Added on 2011-07-13
Puzzle number 800 is also a Popp-Lock: Popplock T4
From Hong Kong: Grimace (2 Layers), Grimace (3 Layers), Helicopter Dodecahedron, DaYan Gem III, and Knock-Off Domino with Spindle-Domino number scheme.
Added on 2011-07-06
The latest Popp-Lock -- very cute this time: Popplock T6
Added on 2011-07-01
A puzzle box containing real tea: Tea Puzzle Box
Added on 2011-06-27
Another Karakuri masterpiece with a tricky mechanism, shot at the latest Cubicdissection auction: Latch Puzzlebox
Added on 2011-06-07
Two more Karakuri masterpieces: Family and Tiger of carboholic
Added on 2011-06-04
From the Karakuri Creation Group: Secret Base
Update on 2011-05-22
A major update of my puzzle paper with three more chapters (12,13, and 21) on the analysis of the quinary (5-ary) puzzles Die Welle and Sliding Lock Puzzle: Kugellager.pdf. Enjoy reading!
Added on 2011-05-21
A package from Shapeways: F-Skewb, Medal, and a new core for my Mosaic Cube - to remove the tension problems
Added on 2011-05-10
Yesterday I received a package from Witeden: DaYan Gem II, Super 4x4x4, 2-layer Square-1, Super 2x2x2, and 3x3x6
Added on 2011-05-07
Two packages: One from HKNowStore: Star Minx, Floppy Mirror Blocks, and Koumei Log Puzzle
A big one from Problemboden, Finland: Outlet (nice Kamei Puzzle Box), The Piston, Stubborn Turtles (more like an interesting Physics experiment!), Timonen Burr, Heart Lock, Double Squared, Bolte 13 (a 13 piece burr set for 6pc burrs) , 9 Chinese Rings (an addition to my n-ary puzzle collection), Elephant Trick Box, Brain String, Coil, Loop, and Rattle.
Added on 2011-03-30
A cheap puzzle opportunity in a local store: Bamboo Star
Added on 2011-03-21
From the latest Puzzle-Paradise puzzle, to help Australia: Lattice and Lattice -- Tom Jolly's IPP29 exchange puzzle and a wooden prototype.
Added on 2011-03-19
From Garret: 2x3x4 and Mini Dino Cube. The Mini Dino cube is really mini and cute!
Added on 2011-03-16
Some nice Bits'n'Pieces boxes: Kamei Telescoping Box, Snap Latch Box, and Two Tone Box
Added on 2011-03-02
From a recent auction: a Small Cubi - a small puzzle, but nevertheless a true extension for my n-ary collection.

As this is a typical member of the family, I extended my paper of course: Kugellager.pdf. Enjoy reading!

Added on 2011-02-26
From Mefferts: Prof Pyraminx
Added on 2010-02-18: My first puzzle paper
Today - no new puzzles. But: A small article! I had a discussion with Dan Feldman about some puzzles, especially the "number 500" in my collection: the Kugellager. For all of you interested in the puzzle I have created an article about this puzzle and its relations to binary and ternary puzzles, and there is even a new link to another puzzle disclosed in this paper.

The paper is hosted on my homepage: Kugellager.pdf. Enjoy reading!

Added on 2011-02-10
From Mefferts: Mosaic Cube - nice looking and fascinating, but it doesn't like its own shape very much and needs tension adjusting
Added on 2011-01-28
Got some nice used puzzles: Siamese Cube and Vadasz Kocka
Added on 2011-01-27
I built some more very nice puzzle boxes from the Kits I received from Myers Cratfs: Matchbox and Zig Zag Box
Added on 2011-01-17
Another packages from Hong Kong arrived, from Mefferts: DaYan Gem (8 colors) and (black), Pillowed Skewb, Rubik's Money Bank (a big cube!), and Crazy 4x4 III
Added on 2011-01-14
Two packages from Hong Kong arrived: Vulcano, Rounded Cheese, Master Skewb, Square-2, 2x2x2 Dodecahedron, and 4x4x4 Rhombic Dodecahedron
Added on 2011-01-10
From Mr. Puzzle: Windmill Burr (2010 Limited Ed), Zig Zag Knot, Tibetan Lock, and Lucky Clover
Added on 2011-01-09
First update for this year: I built some very nice puzzle boxes from the Kits I received from Myers Cratfs: Double Two, Interlink, and Tik-Tak-Tok
Added on 2010-12-06
From Jerry McFarland, a classic Bill Cutler design, updated for IPP30: The Slider
Added on 2010-12-04
Three packages on one day!
A small, but very nice surprise package from Jack Krijnen, containing the Burrly Sane for Professionals, the last member of the Burrly Sane family to be made and in my collection. Thank you, Jack!
A package from Bill Cutler, containing some true classics: Wausau 81 and Wausau 84 (completing the series), and the Lovely 18 piece burr
A package from XMATRIX, containing two puzzle novelties: Xmatrix Cubus and Xmatrix Quadrus
Added on 2010-10-24
A major update this time:
From Lagoon Group: Trilogy, Caged Knot, Alcatraz, and Squarrel
From auctions: Burrly Sane Woodworkers Edition, Minimal Twist, and Fortress
From some shops at Spieletage 2010 in Essen some vintage puzzles: Two Drawers, COC, Orb-It, Hungarian Rings, Color Puzzler, Findis Teufelsknoten, Very many mini plastic puzzles by German company "Pussy" from the early 1980s, and Westentaschen Puzzle
From Jean-Claude Constantin, whom I met in Essen: 2 Keys, Sliding Lock Puzzle, Sliding Puzzle, Big Sliding Lock Puzzle, Sliding Puzzle, and Schiebelehre
Added on 2010-10-19
From Rombol: Benedettis 7-er, Benedettis Kaefig, and 2 Pairs
Added on 2010-10-09
From the latest Baxterweb auction: Hinge, from Meffert's: Rex Cube
Added on 2010-09-15
From Puzzlewood: Ambigram Burr
Added on 2010-09-13
Ordered from CMC puzzles: Maischloss
Added on 2010-09-11
Holey Skewb and a very rare vintage puzzle a Rubik's Cheese
Added on 2010-09-03
From Japan: Rubik's Tower and Latch Cube -- an IPP30 novelty
Added on 2010-08-11
Two very nice packages arrived on the same day: MMMDXLVI, a new record puzzle by Kim Klobucher, and a package from Bernhard Schweitzer containing some nice puzzles old and new: CM13 -- a level 4 coordinate motion puzzle with 60 degrees angles, Awoi-Cube II, and Mochalov 2006
Added on 2010-08-09
From Australia, sent by MrPuzzle: Free Pause, Scramble Cube, Don't break the Bank, and Smart Phone
Added on 2010-07-30
A very special and rare burr, directly from the designer: Burrly Sane (Extreme Puzzlers Edition) by Jack Krijnen
Added on 2010-07-29
A Tresor (Safe) by Claus Fohlmeister and five more puzzles by him.
Added on 2010-07-15
Disclosing a puzzle from this year's IPP design competition: Ambidextrous Hexduos
Added on 2010-07-09
From Meffert's: Crazy 3x3x3 Jupiter, Crazy 3x3x3 Mercury,Axis Cube, Hex Prism 3x3x3,Prism 3x3x3, and Box 3x3x3.
Added on 2010-06-26
From a lookal bookshop: four cheap interlocking puzzles
Added on 2010-06-23
From the Cubicdissection auction -- a very nice Kamei Box reproduction: Treasure Chest
Added on 2010-06-21
An attic find: Garfield-Game; and brand new puzzles from Puzzlewood: 3 identical pieces burr and Nicolas and Friedolin
Added on 2010-06-18
Got a package from Meffert's: two Tony Fisher Puzzles -- Hex Skewb and Master Pyramorphinx
Added on 2010-06-12
A package from Shapeways: Visible Cube, Surround, Insinuate Puzzle, Steady State Cube, and Lock Nested Burr, and as only Twisty Puzzle: 1x2x2
Added on 2010-06-10
Some puzzles from China: Round 2x3x3, Jewel, 3x3x7, and Super 2x4x4
Added on 2010-06-05
Got a package from Meffert's: Teraminx
Added on 2010-06-01
A special offer by Shapeways: Super-2x3x3 by Oskar
Added on 2010-05-21
One package from the Far East: Gear Cube, one package from the Far West: K-Cube K-323, and K-Cube K-419
Added on 2010-05-18
Latest acquisitions from Cubicdissection: Self-Framing Burr, Luxemburr, and Padaung Rings
Added on 2010-05-15
A special swap puzzle for two of my Dogics arrived: Pillowed Master Skewb
Added on 2010-05-13
Six puzzles from Shapeways, some yet to be solved: Really Big MazeNCubes, Big MazeNCubes, Switch Cube, World's Smallest Cube, Happiness Cube, and Cube Burr II
Added on 2010-05-10
A Puzzle-Shop-Package: A really big 11x11x11, an Arusloky, and a Dual Circles
Added on 2010-05-07
Today I picked up my Meffert's order at the customs office: Helicopter Cube twins: black and white
Added on 2010-05-06
The octahedron I was missing in my collection: Greenhill's Octahedron
Added on 2010-04-29
Well, it looks I missed one octahedron type in my count yesterday. Today I got a very special twisty octahedron: an Octaminx -- thanks, Tony!
Added on 2010-04-28
Another octahedron for my octahedron collection (now missing the Greenhill's one I have already ordered): 4x4x4 Octahedron; rhombic dodecahedral Skewb
In a Twistypuzzles-Forum post I got an idea what to do with my spare Eastsheen 4x4x4: a 1x4x4 Cube
Added on 2010-04-17
A vintage puzzle from 1981: Missing Link
And some inexpensive puzzles from China: Magic Octahedron, Trajber's Octahedron, Windmill Cube, Dodecahedron, Mozhi Diamon, and Crystal Diamond.
Added on 2010-04-14
I am not only a friend of puzzles, but also like certain other things ... a Homer Simpson's Head puzzle
Added on 2010-04-10
A vintage Magellan and a custom Trick Domino
Added on 2010-03-20
Got a shipping with nice new puzzles from Toys-4-All:
Cast: Marble, Laby, Helix, and Square; MiToys Bamboo Burrs 1, 2, 3, and 4; and additionally: Eureka Key Maze and Trick Lock
Added on 2010-03-17
Got some nice new Jean-Claude Constantin puzzles from CMC-Puzzles:
Die Welle, Kiste mini, Labyring, Zahnradlabyrinth, and Ahorn Kiste
As a small add-on I got an F-Puzzle
Added on 2010-03-11
An exchange puzzle by Dan Feldman: DanLock (Model B) - a very nice puzzle lock, even more interesting than the Model A
Added on 2010-03-05:
Two pieces, but not easy: Tangler by Tom Jolly
Added on 2010-02-25:
My second win in the Cubicdissection Auction: Pagoda #3 - a cute 25-move box
Added on 2010-02-23:
From the Cubicdissection Auction I got Bill Cutlers IPP20 souvenir puzze: Burry Joint
Added on 2010-02-18: My first puzzle paper
Today - no new puzzles. But: A small article! I had a discussion with Dan Feldman about some puzzles, especially the "number 500" in my collection: the Kugellager. For all of you interested in the puzzle I have created an article about this puzzle and its relations to binary and ternary puzzles, and there is even a new link to another puzzle disclosed in this paper.

The paper is hosted on my homepage: Kugellager.pdf. Enjoy reading!

Added on 2010-02-17:
Peter Knoppers provided me a kit for a nice puzzle by Markus Goetz: The Crazy Elephant Dance. Eventually I had some time today to assemble it and am quite satisfied with the result. The puzzle is closely related to the Ternary Burr and Tern-Key also in my collection, and is a far relative of the typical binary puzzles, and also some higher order n-ary puzzles like the Kugellager.
Added on 2010-02-14:
A new Tom Jolly puzzle crafted by Eric Fuller -- shipping partially assembled: I-Trouble -- definitely not an Apple product!
Added on 2010-02-09:
A Crazy 2x3x3 (Domino)
Added on 2010-02-03:
Third day in Feburary, third package:
Big -- very expensive -- very, very good: From MrPuzzles's Current limited edition: Ternary Burr (closely related to Tern Key and Crazy Elephant Dance) and The Minotaur's Burr
Added on 2010-02-02:
Second February package: From Bernhard's Collection: K-Cube and Open Window
Added on 2010-02-01:
First February package: From Cube4You - 3x3x5 and 2x2x3
Added on 2010-01-21:
A package from Mefferts: Flower-Minx
Added on 2010-01-13:
A package from Cube4you: 1x3x3, Rhombic Dodecahedron, and Truncated Rhombic Dodecahedron
Added on 2010-01-04:
First update this year: Some puzzles ordered from mf8 - Crazy 4x4x4 II, Void Edge Only Cube, and Big 2x2x2
Added on 2009-12-20:
Although today is a Sunday, I got some nice puzzle boxes from the Karakuri Group: Karakuri Cube 1, Karakuri Cube 2, Karakuri Cube 3, and Karakuri Cube 4
Added on 2009-12-10:
New from Mefferts: Jings Pyraminx
Added on 2009-12-04:
Yesterday I went to visit Bernhard Schweitzer and was highly impressed by his big collection of nice wooden puzzles.
Of course, I have less money on my bank account now and some more very nice puzzles: Chinese Lock, Headstanding Cube, 2D Packing Problem, Assorted Snakes, Diagonal Loop #2, Coffin's Dilemma II, Ozone, Awoi Cube II, Finnish Cross, and 6 pieces framed knot
Added on 2009-11-30:
A nice and famous puzzle lock, ordered from Grand Illusions: Dan Lock
Added on 2009-11-26:
A big, heavy and very nice puzzle lock from India: Indian Puzzle Lock
Added on 2009-11-14:
Another custom mod: A Face Turning Jewel, created from a Face Turning Octahedron. I always liked the look of Christoph's Magic Jewel, but could not get one so far. Thus, I decided to mod an octahedron to this quite easy mod. It turns differently than Christophs's Jewel, but it's a nice puzzle to practice the FTO algorithms.
Added on 2009-11-10:
Puzzle number 550 is a special custom puzzle: Master Pyraminx
Added on 2009-10-29:
Got a shipment from Mefferts: 2x2x3 and a Fisher Cube
Added on 2009-10-28:
A vintage Rack em up, another puzzle produced for a video game manufacturer (Coleco),
and a present at work: Soma Cube
Added on 2009-10-23:
Yesterday I had the pleasure to meet Bernhard Schweitzer and Jean-Claude Constantin at the "Spiel '09" in Essen and to collect some nice new puzzles.
From Jean-Claude: Black Jack and Big Sliding Lock,
From Bernhard: 4 Pieces in Frame and More MazeNCubes,
Also, I got a T2 popplock and a Mercury Cube Puzzle
Added on 2009-10-17:
A new relative of the Pyraminx Chrystal and Alexander Star: The Metamorfix
Added on 2009-10-06:
New from Puzzle-Shop: Star 29, Line Art, Only 8, and Duo
Added on 2009-10-03:
New and not quite so new from mf8: Super-Square-1-Star, Super-Square-1-Column, and Crazy 4x4, a 4x4x4 and a 2x2x2 combined
Added on 2009-09-28:
New from cubicdissection and a relative of the La Cerradura Doble puzzle: the Cerradura 3D
Added on 2009-09-22:
A whole load of interesting old and new MrPuzzle puzzles: Condor's Peeper, T Burr, Cable Car, Sputnik Returns, Small Turtle, Dragon Box, Dragon Interlocking Puzzle, SEARious Burr, Mystery Wooden Puzzle Box, and Pie Without The E
Added on 2009-09-12:
Three custom builds bought from a fellow puzzle collector: 1x2x3, Trajber's Octahedron, and by Tony Fisher a Truncated Dino Cube
Added on 2009-09-11:
Three new puzzles never available before: Holey Megaminx by Meffert's, Gigaminx by Cube4You, and Rubik's 360
Added on 2009-08-22:
3x3x4 and a Chinese Puzzle Box with a trick
Added on 2009-08-19:
From eBay: Spongebob
Added on 2009-08-13:
Three Meffert's 2x2x2 variants: 4D8, PyraStar, and PyraDiamond
Added on 2009-07-18:
A nice 3x3x3 shape mod: Confused Pillow Cube
Added on 2009-07-16:
Revomaze (blue)
Added on 2009-07-14:
A new high level burr from Philos: Sheffield Steel
Added on 2009-06-25:
New from Cubicdissection Marketplace: Gear Up
Added on 2009-06-15:
New from Puzzlewood: Double Dutch Burr, Unity 3=6, and Swirls No 1
Added on 2009-06-12:
New from Meffert's: a Morphegg
Celebration update on 2009-05-09:
Added from Cubicdissection: In Brackets and Edge Corner Cube II, and from CMC-Puzzles:

Puzzle number 500: Kugellager

This puzzle completes the first 500 of my collection and is well suited for this: Unbelievable 1250 moves to remove the first and only piece, in some way similar to the Tern Key, The Brain or Chinese Rings puzzles, like Spin Out. Very fascinating, but it takes some time to solve .... quite some time, indeed.
Added on 2009-05-23:
A new custom build: A face turning Rainbow-Octahedron created from a Rainbow Cube
Added on 2009-05-16:
A new puzzle from Meffert's: The Master Pyramorphinx in black and white
Added on 2009-05-12:
Today I got a puzzle at work: Wooden Assembly Cube
Added on 2009-05-11:
From the latest Ergatoudis Auction: Arjeu CT 52
Added on 2009-04-17:
New puzzles each day! Today: The Egg
Added on 2009-04-16:
Not easy to get and nice: A face-turning octahedron
New from Bernhard Schweitzer's shop: Gonsalve's Dilemma and Quintupels and Keiichiro's Nested Burr Simple (not so simple!)
Added on 2009-04-11:
Simple but new: The Floppy Cube
Added on 2009-03-21:
Long awaited: the Golden Cube
Added on 2009-03-17:
A coated burr: T-Junction and three puzzles from Cubicdissection: Stickman Snowflake,La Cerradura Doble, and Tern-Key
Added on 2009-03-12:
Latest Puzzle-Shop shipment: Cent-rale, Bolaris,PyraCircle, and Magic Disc
Added on 2009-03-10:
New from Bernhard Schweitzer: 3 piece burr key-o by Yamamoto
Added on 2009-03-05:
From the cubicdissection auction: Mind Twister
Added on 2009-02-28:
I wanted to have this nice puzzle for a long time: The Cutler Cube Puzzle -- yes, that's THE sixty-six piece interlocking burr!
Added on 2009-02-26:
A nice Franklin Gonsalves Design created by Bernhard Schweitzer: Enigma
Added on 2009-02-23:
Some labyrinths Culax and Oskar's Cube, and Grappe
Added on 2009-02-20:
My wins from the latest phase of the Ergatoudis auction: A vintage Sorrento Puzzle Box and a 30 piece burr by Arjeu
Added on 2009-02-16:
Some nice CMC puzzles: Schiebeschloss, Segment Stack Star, Alkatraz, Bee Box
Added on 2009-02-10:
Two nice interlocking burrs (not easy to disassemble) designed by Juichi Yananose and created by Hiroshi Iwahara (Karakuri Group): Two by Three Type I, Off-Center Burr
Added on 2008-12-13:
Three from the big FamilyGames series: DaVinci's Secret, Legend of the King, and Carta Blanca
Added on 2008-12-10:
4x4x4 Supercube and a new 9-piece burr Lennox Burr
Added on 2008-12-6:
Two more bandaged versions of a Rubiks 4x4x4: 2x4x4 Cube and a 3x4x4 Cube
Added on 2008-11-19:
Bandaged version of a Rubiks 4x4x4: 3x3x4 Cube
Added on 2008-11-18:
Matchbox-Puzzle by Oskar van Deventer
Added on 2008-11-12:
New assembly puzzles from Creative Crafthouse: Ramu Octahedron, Short Circuit,Hotplate,Mame Himitsu Bako
Added on 2008-11-08:
A Mad Triad and the smaller Handy Mad Triad
This nice Kumiki-Puzzle actually consists of three puzzles: A small kumiki in the middle, a kumiki frame, and a packing problem.
Added on 2008-11-07:
Earlier, they were known as "Bump cubes", now Mirror Blocks
Added on 2008-11-03:
Another new-release starting with "V": The Void-Cube
Added on 2008-11-01:
A nice and difficult 24 piece burr, won at the Cubicdissection Auction: Lost Day
Added on 2008-10-11:
High level burrs produced by Gemani Games:
With 6 pieces: White Mischief Puzzle and Deadlock Puzzle
With 18 pieces: Labyrinth, The Old Man Of Hoy, and Knossos
Added on 2008-10-06:
Philos Noppenkuber, Cross Cage; Hanayama Cast Quartet, NEWS, and l'Oef
Added on 2008-10-03:
From Mr. Puzzle arrived:
The Hammerhead Burr (an unsual relative of this puzzle in the burr family), the tricky Sly Burr, and the fascinating The Karst Phenomenon by Mr. Puzzle,
the Da Vinci's Mona Lisa Codebreaker, and the D-Ball in six colors, accompanied by an unknown metal disentanglement puzzle as a nontrivial present.
Added on 2008-09-23:
A selection of high quality puzzle boxes from the Karakuri Group arrived: Small box 6 (Now I have all 8 of them!), the small Fake box, the well known Hermit Crab Box, and a very unusual variation of the Himitsu Bako theme with two compartments: the Byway Secret 2
Added on 2008-09-11:
Two nice presents: A magic square game and a Flower Chrystal
Added on 2008-08-17:
A new bandaged version of cheap 3x3x3 cubes: Long edge cube -- not as easy as it seems!
Added on 2008-07-30:
Another 1980s puzzle: A painted Alexander's Star
Added on 2008-07-29:
An original puzzle from the 1980s, not easy to find: A Magic Octahedron
Added on 2008-07-26:
Two quick modifications of cheap cubes: the very simple 2x2x2 special and a 3x3x3 Domino special
Updated on 2008-07-23:
Significant sticker improvement of my white 211x211x4. Now I only need to work out a solution to this puzzle. ;)
Added on 2008-07-16:
An old interlocking cube made in West Germany
Added on 2008-07-11:
Now new by Mefferts: Pyraminx Chrystal
Added on 2008-07-05:
Another novelty arrived: Super Square 1, a four layered Square-1
Also added: Red Square-1, a custom built white 211x211x4 and Mathmaker, a magnetic contruction game
Added on 2008-06-28:
The long awaited V-CUBEs arrived: 6x6x6 V-CUBE 6, 7x7x7 V-CUBE 7
Added on 2008-06-17:
Three PuzzleWood puzzles:Two piece packing eXtreme, Morgenstern, and Three trapped sages

[BACK TO THE GALLERY]