Tuesday 29 January 2013

Wil Strijbos' Lotus Puzzle

Yen Puzzle (Image Courtesy of Wil Strijbos)
This is a review on Wil Strijbos' latest creation, based on a prototype he circulated at one of the Midlands Puzzle Parties (MPP) last year.

This first iteration was called the Yen Puzzle, as it was simply a One Yen coin held by a nail in a block of wood. The aim of course was to relieve the One Yen from its captor, the nail.

Since then Wil has revised this idea and added more tricks to it, thus inventing the aptly named Lotus Puzzle, which he released just before Christmas.

Lotus Puzzle (Image courtesy of Wil Stribos)
As you can see, the Lotus is a lot more refined than it's predecessor. It appears to be milled from a single block of Aluminium and which has been anodised in Wil's trademark blue, complete with his initials and the puzzle name 'Lotus'. Wil has replaced the One Yen coin with a simple Aluminium disc and the nail with an Aluminium rod. Another noticeable difference is the puzzle is now composed of two pieces, joined by another one of Wil's specialities, a dovetail joint.

Friday 25 January 2013

Three Burrs from Greg Benedetti (Blind Burr, Glued, Odd Repartition)

Odd Repartition, Glued and Blind Burr
Right, another review on burrs, strangely addicted to them at the moment!!!

Two of these I acquired on the Puzzle Paradise auction website, however I just "Bought Now" instead of actually winning the auctions!! The third, I to mention to Greg whilst sorting out my order and he happened to have a couple prototypes left!!

They are all designed by Gregory Benedetti and made by Maurice Vigouroux, apart from Glued, which Greg made himself.

Thursday 24 January 2013

Two Burrs from Eric Fuller (Burr Circus and Uranus)

Burr Circus and Uranus
So I've taken a break from puzzling to bring you all another review. This review is on an increasing addiction of mine (don't worry, it's still puzzling!!) but rather a type of puzzle, Burrs.

Burr puzzles are interlocking puzzles and are so called because their finished shape resembles a seed burr, apparently!! The usual six piece burr has a distinct shape with three sets of two cuboids, side by side, interlocking in all the three dimensions.

Anywho, although you may see lots of these burr puzzles around, they are each a lot different (apart from possibly the cheaper mass produced ones).

Rubenking Ghost Cube

Time for my first "twisty puzzle" review. (Finally got this finished after getting distracted with more new puzzles arriving!!!!)

Technically, the Rubik's Cube is what first got me into puzzling. My parents were clearing out one day and came across an original "Toy of the Year 1980" Rubik's Cube still in its plastic cylindrical box. Of course, being me, I snapped this up and started playing with it. This must have been about six years ago now, when I'd just left Secondary School and was starting  Sixth Form (11th grade to you American folk).

Rubenking Ghost Cube
During Sixth Form I obviously had a lot of free periods, so I spent these playing with the Rubik's Cube. I did get a job at my local supermarket during that time, so wasn't just puzzling in my spare time. Eventually I worked out how to solve it all on my own, but I wanted to get faster. So a quick search on the internet and I came across some "speedcubing" algorithms, which I printed off and began learning. To this day, I've learnt about half of these algorithms which allow me to solve a normal Rubik's Cube in a little over a minute.

Monday 14 January 2013

Wil's Cylinders

Time for my first double review and my first review of Wil Strijbos' own puzzles.

Firstly, I'd like to mention that Wil states that NO external tools or magnets are required, NO bashing, NO blowing and NO excessive force is needed to open any his puzzles. (and if you do try any of these techniques, take it from me, they don't work!!!)

Right, I'll start with a puzzle which is simply called the Aluminium Cylinder (or sometimes Wil's Cylinder) and is just that, a cylinder made out of aluminium!!

Aluminium Cylinder and Washer Cylinder
Obviously there is slightly more to the puzzle than that, but not much more!!! Firstly, as you can see, the cylinder is made of two parts, the lid and the base. Secondly, the two parts are numbered. In my case the lid is 03 and the base is 10 (my only guess its that the former is the batch number and the latter is the puzzle number, but I may be wrong). Thirdly, once you pick up the puzzle you can hear things rattling inside, but how many 'things'?? Lastly there is a small hole in the bottom of the base, which you may, or may not, be able to see these 'things', which turn out to be ball bearings (surprised?!), but you can't see enough to work out how many are in there.

Saturday 12 January 2013

4 Step Visible Lock

Time for another review, hopefully this one won't require any post editing!!!

Again this puzzle is from my recent package from Wil Strijbos in the Netherlands. It was the first puzzle I played with out of the package and subsequently the first I completed.

It's called the 4 Step Visible Lock which is made by Robrecht Louage. I referenced this puzzle in my review of one of Rebrecht's other puzzles, the 1 Euro Labyrinth.

This puzzle was entered into the International Puzzle Party (IPP32) Design Competition in 2011 and won the Jury Grand Prize at the results event in Berlin, Germany. Therefore I had to get one and see what the fuss was about. 

4 Step Visible Lock
The puzzle consists of a sliding piece of acrylic with grooves cut in which house several ball bearings. The grooves in the acrylic intersect with grooves cut in the Trespa base. This is the first time I've encountered the material known as Trespa. Apparently it's composed of Kraft paper, which is bound with a resin, then subjected to extreme pressure to create this high-pressure laminate. Anyway, I digress. Once again, the aim is to navigate these ball bearings round the grooves and ultimately release the 1 Euro coin through a hole cut in the top acrylic layer.

Friday 11 January 2013

Melting Block

Time for another review I guess!!

This review is on another puzzle in my latest package from Wil Strijbos in the Netherlands. It is definitely one of my favourite puzzles so far in my collection as its a seemingly impossible puzzle with no hidden tricks, truly a mind-boggler!!!

It's called the Melting Block and it's designed by Tom O'Beirne, though I'm not sure who made my copy.

Melting Block
It consists simply of a box, made out of Oak, and nine differently sized cuboids. At the start of the puzzle, one Mahogany cuboid is located on the lid of the box, which also helps to remove the lid!! The aim of the puzzle is to 'melt' this block into the box, obviously so the lid can still be closed!!

Upon removing the lid you find the other eight cuboids neatly packed into the box with no obvious gaps visible on the top layer. So you automatically think "Ok, there must be some gaps on the bottom layer".

At this point most people either tip the box upside-down to remove the cuboids or take out the top layer piece by piece, both ultimately reveal no such gaps on the bottom layer either.

Wednesday 9 January 2013

1 Euro Labyrinth

Right, so I guess I should write a proper review. So here it is ...... after I give you a brief low-down on how I came about this puzzle (and quite a few of the other puzzles I'll be reviewing!!).

The first puzzle I'll be reviewing I received in my latest package from my puzzle contact in the Netherlands, William Strijbos. I found out about Wil from the friendly guys on the Revomaze forum, which is another set of puzzles I'll review in due course. Wil often goes on trips around the world and picks up many puzzles that he compiles into a newsletter which he sends to everyone on his mailing list. He also makes his own puzzles and has been given permission to reproduce some others. So as you can expect, his updates aren't sparse.

So far I have purchased puzzles from Wil three times and I've been on his mailing list since the 1st of October. There's no doubt that I'll continue to buy puzzles from Wil as he is a great businessman and produces some great puzzles.

So I thought I start with the puzzle I've most recently completed, the 1 Euro Labyrinth. It's a puzzle designed and made by Robrecht Louage. The puzzle was entered into Nob Yoshigahara's Puzzle Design Competition 2012 which was judged at the IPP32 held in Washington DC.

1 Euro Labyrinth
The puzzle consists of a clear piece of acrylic with a 1 Euro coin embedded, which can be seen through a keyhole shaped hole in the main body of the puzzle. Several horizontal grooves can also be seen through keyhole milled into the base and a single vertical groove in the piece of acrylic. Simply, the goal is to remove the 1 Euro.

So, you begin playing and you eventually see a small ball bearing in the vertical groove and it's obvious you need to navigate the ball bearing round the labyrinth inside which will eventually release the 1 Euro ..... however, it's easier said than done.

Tuesday 8 January 2013

I started a blog!!!

Ok, so I've just started a blog.

Over time, this will become a collection of my puzzles and other puzzling things I collect over the years.

I guess that's it for now

That's all folks!!!