Showing posts with label IPP31. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IPP31. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tea Time

Today's puzzle sadly is again, not mine.  I had the opportunity to play with this one at IPP31 in Berlin and again last Sunday when I had a late lunch with Otis. 

It is a twist on a classic string disentanglement.  I won't give away the solution for it, but realized when looking at it again it's not as difficult as I thought I remembered it being.  Or maybe I was just overwhelmed with puzzle play at IPP that I never realized at the time.  Doesn't matter. It's a lovely looking puzzle simply because of the materials used.  That wooden cup is mighty thin and I'm sure it would never be used to drink tea from.  

The object of the puzzle is to remove the sugar cube as well as the spoon that are looped through the handle of the cup.  This puzzle can be purchased through contacting the designer, Victor Lam, via email. Information for him can be found on the 2011 Puzzle Design Competition page.   Even though I know the solution, I've just ordered one because it's kind of pretty!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's a small world

 I know people say that, but really, it is!  I have proof right here!

Apparently I know this guy.  Ok, so here is a story for you.  At IPP last August, we took this boat ride.  Katherine being herself got bored and decided to go bother people.  Me being me went hunting for her.  She found this little guy that she thought was adorable and began chasing him around the boat.  I'm not sure who enjoyed that more, him or her.  So IPP is over and we all go on our merry way...
Fast forward 6 months and enter SmaZ's shop. It was one of those days.  I spent a good 3 hours in a meeting, fielded around 70 emails about wiki being down-at least 50 came from one rather um....challenged....young person who couldn't find the library even though it's right in front of you when you enter the campus, and when he did find it didn't know how to use the card catalog, even though it's on line, dealt with some puzzle nonsense that I'd rather not deal with, and Michael asked me a question.  Well that was all it took.  I was on a Rant!  A long winded rather vocal one.  And all the while the man in the photo above is standing in the shop.  I paid no attention until he asked a question about a cube.  And there you have it folks.  Rox sticking her foot in it again.  Well, he stayed and chatted for a bit.  Solved a mimi puzzle, played with the washer cylinder and discovered a little something I hadn't (still not solved though).  SmaZ gave him a gift of a puzzle, and he purchased a dino barrel and left to go back to Denmark.  Talk about great timing.  Things like this just don't happen do they?  Ah, and go take a look at his webpage.  A bit of eye candy there, that's for sure.

So why go to SmaZ's in the first place?  My friend Otis is in town for the holidays and we agreed to meet up over there.  (I'm sure he'll come to the house and play for a while next week, but we had some puzzles to swap out with each other....) After we met at 6:30 or so, we stayed a Michael's for a few more hours before heading out for dinner.  As always we each brought a few puzzles along to play with/brag on so out they came during dinner!  Otis brought that beauty of a TomZ puzzle with and I quite enjoyed twisting it around.  Lots of puzzle talk, lots of playing, one unsolved as I left, and no puzzles harmed during the night!

And now for the real reason to get together last night.  Puzzle exchanging!
I gave Otis my 'springtime in Wisconsin' and a puzzle monster.  I think he liked them.  If not, he smiled nicely.  He brought me a set of 6 dice boxes from mimi puzzles that Gabriel blogged about, and that I can't get locally.  Surprise, surprise, he ALSO brought along a BLUE puzzle for me, and 3 chinese knots....

Michael and I did a bit of swapping as well.  I got one of his new Soduko cubes, and gave him a Oskar's treasure chest.  Yes, I'm generous like that.  Don't tell on me though.  I'll get in trouble.  The full set of what I brought home is to the left.

Now when I got home, I had another surprise waiting for me!  I picked up the mail and inside was a late Christmas gift from my friend Charlie!  I thank you so very much.  A nice job it turned out to be.  And how ever did you know that blue is my favorite color????  Thank you again my friend!
 reviews of these will all come eventually.  In the mean time, I have this thing called a job that I'm supposed to be doing, and I've got about 10 minutes to cut off my time so I need to get back out and get working a bit more.  I can't let a person 10 years my senior beat me in the next race, and as it stands, if I don't start moving and stop puzzling that's exactly what is going to happen.  Have a great weekend all!  And in case I don't get another post in before Monday: 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Twas the week before Christmas....Smaz Dino Cubes

Ok, 2 weeks but who's counting! Not me.

I had another of those long rough weeks and it's only Monday I hear you all shouting. Actually, it's been a month of non-stop everything.

Today was a box day. Today was a puzzle gathering day. Today was a day that I'm glad is over. But it wasn't all bad. I got toys! Unbelievable that I had found time to get toys in all that prostituting we were doing. (No, not that kind-the selling of a product kind)

Ok, so this morning I had a really rotten start. I went into work to drop off exam marking and no office staff was at hand. Oh well. I put it all on a desk and ran out to do the previously mentioned other job. As I was leaving my campus, my phone sent out a small vibration in my pocket and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a c-dissection mail saying Zauberflote is here! (heaven help us all, she's been reading too many Christmas books and has hit the egg nog already this year! Let the rhyming begin.)

Ah nuts! I lost the internet connection and needed to be at another place 20 minutes away in less than 15. No time to stop and look. And it was a good thing I didn't. I was met at the train station by my fellow 'workers' and we set off to sell our wares. While the big man was talking, I logged on only to find the one puzzle I really wanted gone. But it wasn't a total bust, I did manage to order 2 others and if Mr. Postman is nice to me, I should get them before Christmas. (and if you read this Mr. Fuller, I sure would like one of those yellow puzzles!)

The presentation went down a treat-I mean who wouldn't love 3 beautiful women and a redheaded man selling their stuff. Well, me for one. After that walk up the hill, and standing and talking for a bit, my feet were killing me-whose bright idea was it to put those 3 inch heals on my boots anyway? Next stop. Lunch. Ok, lunch was good. And I'm still full. But my poor dogs. They are a barking. (sorry, I just couldn't resist that!)

Over to Smaz's shop to pick up a few puzzles I've been trying to get since last week, but before that-new boots! (No insane heals this time!) So this time, they are white, not black. (the puzzles not the boots. The boots are black and oh so tall) And there is a great one on the end there that can't be mucked up. Now THAT is my kind of puzzle.

And yes, those black bags all have puzzles in them but I'm not telling what they are just yet.

So I headed home around 5 and when on the way, the bug calls and very excitedly tells me she has a yellow box from Luxembourg. She then proceeded to attempt to read the address. How cute is that? Ok, well trust me it was. I made her wait until I got home, and when she realized who it was from she wanted to make a video. Can you tell she's happy with the earrings or what?

So what about me? Well, dinner came and went and I was sitting here contemplating writing about a Tony Fisher puzzle when I glanced over and saw a package addressed to me-great family I have, they just dump packages on my desk and hope I'll see them in all the mess.

So I open it up and what's inside? A Christmas puzzleball from Ravensburger. How nice! I'll have to put that together tomorrow. I'm simply to tired tonight. I went to write down the return address, and saw a bag drop out with bugs name on it. Didn't think much of it and went on to read another forum. Glancing down, I saw that puzzle was the same as the one in the box. Now hold on here! That's not right! So taking another look at that box, I notice a bit of tape. Opening it up, I find a 3x3x3 puzzle inside.

For those who query this, that is Dave wearing that dress (only because a designer from the Netherlands and a man from Connecticut wouldn't do it for me). These antics took place at IPP last year and I couldn't think of a better gift to send someone. I absolutely love it! So much so that I made Mr. Man order me a dust box for it. I should be able to collect it on Wednesday.

Sorry Tony, you'll just have to wait until tomorrow...

Monday, November 14, 2011

What? Another post so soon?

Well yes, of course. I'm bored. So what should one do when bored? Why not play? I read this book once. It was recommended by Mr. Tangle (Richard X. Zawitz of Tangle Toys) Anyway, it was called...what else...Play. (You can find it on Amazon among other places) Well, what was so great about this book is that it talked about the value of play to stimulate the brain and cause the creative juices to flow. Well I just love that book an use my play time as an excuse to become creative! Yep. That works for me and I'm not changing my mind. It's interesting, according to this author, animals play naturally. Children play. It is only adults that seem to devalue the value of real play. So us puzzlers? I think we are the lucky ones. Our hobbies allow us to play. Now if I could work out a way to make a living off this...

So why play now? Well, my class is taking an exam. I have to sit here and watch them to make sure they aren't cheating and all that, and this little 4 ducklings puzzle is perfect. It fits in my pocket and I can pull it out and play at will.

See, small puzzle. Easy right?

Wrong. This one I have changed the name on. It's no longer 4 little ducklings but 4 toilets. I have come to hate this puzzle! I really have. It has been in my bag since I got back from IPP and I have yet to solve it. Ok, I can get the 4 ducks in the top bit. But the bottom? Nope. Only 3 ducks fit. Like with the bears, I'm ready to cut off their little feet (and make someething tasty??) Those things definitely fit into the 'frustrations' part of this blog.

I downloaded burrtools the other day and am attempting to learn to use it. Perhaps I should attempt to put those 4 toilets into the program and see what happens...

Right. So enough feeling sorry for myself, I noticed something today. I have a number of puzzles sitting in the windowsill at work and aside from the discolored stickers, I noticed a funny with a wooden puzzle I have. It must be all that lovely Hong Kong sun, but this one has had something happen to the wood so that it now solves itself. I've never seen this before...

That gapping in there is huge! Ok, shadowy phone photos don't do it justice, but you get the picture. (oh no, another bad pun) So can that puzzle be unshrunk? Maybe I'll dunk it in water for a while. If it soaks up enough it might just work...but then I'll have a wet puzzle that will need drying out and it will have to go right back into the windowsill...

If you give a girl a puzzle.....she'll have to play with it.....and if she plays with it she'll have to ask for......(go read the books! :) )

What have I been puzzling over this today?

Well, the honest answer to that question would be nothing! And everything. I've been a bit under the mental weather-happens every time I have a deadline I don't want to meet-so I have been unable to focus for more than a few minutes at a time. Add to that my dear friend Uwe putting the pressure on to write him up a blip and I've mush for brains.

So where then does one start a blog about puzzles? Well how about with the first of the puzzles that got you interested in never growing up? Add in a puzzle that I've had on the desk for a while and one that has been recently obtained and we have our first blog entry!

And thus it begins! The first real puzzle that excited me beyond belief was the Babylon tower. I have had one of these beauties on my shelf for forever and a day. It's a deceptively simple puzzle that everyone who sees it just wants to grab. 6 layers of ever so slightly darker colors of beads makes you just have to turn it. The center bits spin round very nicely, and it's ever so easy to solve. Even the thickest of co-workers is taken by it.

But wait, it gets better still. Once the twisting and turning to no where gets dull and boring, there is that great AHA! when you notice that one bead can be pushed in. It's a whole 'nother ball game now son. Suddenly the puzzle can be mucked and we're entering the solving zone. Honestly, this puzzle is a novelty to me now. I've many variations on the same theme, but the classic ivory Babylon tower will never go out of style.
It remains a favorite that is there for the solving when I'm having one of my dumb days.

Bugs favorite puzzle? Why another tower. This one comes to us all the way from Hanoi via China as shown on the box via a wholesale street a few stations from the house via a nice little shop on the corner that sells way too many baby toys and not enough real puzzles, but hey? what's a gal to do? I'll take what I can get when I can get it. I'm not too picky when it comes to puzzles. So now that we've established that I'm easy when it comes to toys, let me say that I'm very particular when I give them to my bug. This one is surprisingly good quality and very well made considering where I got it from. As a puzzle to solve? What a waste of time. Boring and tedious. Not my idea of a fun day. But shhh. Don't tell the bug. She loves being able to show up her cousins and solve this one!

Now if I have managed to do this correctly, you should be able to see a link to a video of me royally messing up the solve on this puzzle.

So there you have 2 old favorites, How about one that has been sitting on my desk for a while? Well here you go. it's a blue box! Done. Puzzle presented. You tell me what to do with it?

As you can see in the photo there's a magnet on there. Guess what? No magnets involved. Well this one is just going to sit a bit longer until I get good and frustrated by it and take a chain saw or some other man tool to it. What is it? A trick opening box. What is the problem? 3 panels to move around. but here's the catch. The morons who built this thing papered or painted or some other nonsense over the sliders. So what do we have then? A puzzle that is closed tight. Yes yes I know, from the photo it looks like I've managed to unstick the stuck stuff. Not so she says. That paint or whatever it is goes right down into the plates internal bits. Bloody morons. Who the builders? Nope. The moron who bought the puzzle! Look no further than the mirror my girl. You have no one to blame for this frustration but yourself!

And now for a recent obtainment (my spell check tells me that IS a word!) This one is called "Ich bin ein Bärliner' It was Marcel Gillen's IPP 31 exchange puzzle. And it is a beast. Or should I say a bear. (Feel free to groan. I am) I have been playing with this one for a while now. Maybe a few weeks???? Why? The silly thing appealed to me. Bears. I mean come on! Who wouldn't be impressed by bears. Add to that that it is just a packing puzzle and we're in business. Or NOT! I have managed to pack in 8 of the 9 bears. I've managed to pack in 8 of the 9 bears AND the little cube. But can I get those 9 bears to lay in bed together nicely? No such luck. Reminds me of that kids song I used to sing with bug when she was all of a little thing "there were 10 in the bed and the little one said..." Well, the bears stopped singing at 8. But hey now, the instructions say nothing of the pieces all laying flat. So maybe, just maybe this is a solution after all!

And the inevitable poor sound quality webcam video for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Puzzle exchange and puzzle party.

Wow is all I can say. I really dropped the ball on these posts this year, but will attempt to make up for it now.

At the exchange, there were a number of different puzzles out. One nice variation on the bandaged cube, a nifty couple by Bram, Sheridan's is always a hit. I don't even know where to begin with all those. I brought 5 on the plane with me to work on the way home, but only managed to open one. Dead doesn't even begin to describe how I feel.

For those of you who have never been to an exchange, it works like this: each participant brings 100 puzzles along to swap out with someone else. When you make the exchange, you describe the object of your puzzle to your current exchange partner-wash rinse repeat 100 times over and there you have spent the past 6 hours in the most enjoyable way. This was my first exchange, and I have to say, I was overwhelmed. I feel like such a dolt amongst these people. Maybe given a few more years of it I'll know what I'm doing.

After the exchange were 3 lectures. One was on puzzle locks, one on burr tools, and one on smart games. I enjoyed them from the back row, and caught up on TP posts at the same time. (They did loose me a bit in the middle there!)

Once this was finished, it was time to make a tribute cube with Oskar. Now I was nominated chief heckler and think I managed ok. David Litwin, bless his cotton socks, helped me to put my dino cube together. He and TomZ were both great helpers all round.

The banquet was held that evening, and you can find a few photos of the entertainment as well as a video linked on my YouTube channel

Sunday was the last official day of IPP and it was the best for getting puzzles. This years puzzle party I didn't purchase nearly as many as I did last year. But I did bring home a few mazes, a few Russian puzzles, a few other toys I'd been looking for. I have no idea how many I got, and will end up counting later on. I did walk out with 2 bags full though....probably 30+

More lectures followed, but David and I both realized that there is a TP member who lives in Berlin so we invited her over to see a few toys. I skipped the lectures and went to an impromptu meet up instead. It was great fun, and I've got to brag a bit about those who were there. Indulge me please!

That evening was the awards dinner and Once again Panda's team of puzzle builders got an honorable mention! I was very pleased that Panda let me use this for my exchange puzzle!

Leaving this time was not quite as hard as last year. We all took off in different directions at different times.
Monday saw some of us on a trip to Potsdam, Tuesday I went geo caching with Pavel, Wednesday I left for HK.

Now for the really exciting bit: Which TP member was caught in a dress???? Follow the posts on Twisty Puzzles to find out! And no, it isn't the first photo up there! That wouldn't be any fun now would it?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Too much fun

I was so excited about going to the puzzle party last night that I totally forgot to post. The puzzle exchange netted 95 new toys. It is a truly amazing time. I got to see a bit of it last year as pandas exchange partner, but it is so much better from this side of the table. My exchange partner was here for the first time and I hope to see her well enough to have h in the next one.

I'm off and running again, but hope to post a real post tonight.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day 0

Yesterday was one of relaxation. Well, sort of. NOT! How can it? this is IPP and it's supposed to be exciting.

The morning started out with breakfast at 9:30 with Dave and Tom. Klara joined us for a bit, and after finishing we went off in search of some sights that hadn't been seen in many many years. I wanted to show the bug Check Point Charlie and the museum there and all thought it would be a great idea to spend the day walking around together.

The museum was eclectic. A mix of everything, and a bit odd for my taste truth be told. Bug got spooked a few times, so we didn't stay all that long. Next stop? Alexander Platz. Both Dave and I had been here in our wild young days (don't listen to him when he says he dull and boring :) )

The radio tower is still tall, and that is all one can say about that. We had lunch in the square, then took a walk around the area for a bit. After filling our tums, we headed out in search of toys!
We found a little shop after much running around, and had a peak inside. Dave pointed the puzzle corner out to us, and I dove right in and grabbed a packing puzzle. Asparagus! Unbelievable. I've been hunting for years and found it in Berlin. Happy girl! Klara got a violin, and I picked up a few other toys. Not much of a haul, but great company. Next stop, back to the hotel to drop off some things, and then Tom, David, bug, Matt and I decided to head over to Brandenburg gate. Again, Dave and I saw it before but I wanted the bug to see it and they humored me.

Dave remembered a giant gold ball in the middle of the city which later turned out to be a statue so we headed out in search of that as well. As it turns out, it was right down the road from us. Well, not exactly- a few miles I would guess. Ah well, we're all fit.

Sight seeing done. On to founders reception. interesting. High tables, no chairs. finger sandwiches. Ok, I've seen that on tv. Been there, done that, did not buy the t-shirt (boo for the bad lines) and do not like it. But then who comes for the food. It's the company that is worth while. And company there was. 2 hours of standing around talking, and playing with toys. Tom pulled out his as did Frank and the next thing we knew, there was a table full of twisty puzzles.

Bug was thrilled by the magic of Mark, and Laurie told her she had more instore for her this evening. She's happy.

One of the highlights of the evening was meeting Christoph Bandelow. Greetings were sent all around, and I know Dave was very pleased.

After a few of us went to have some food. A bit of talking in the lobby, and I hit the bar with the big boys. Poor little bug had a nightmare and needed mama, so at 1 I had to call it a night.

Today is the exchange and I really need to get some food in my tum! More photos later.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Finaly Made it!

After what seemed like the plane ride that would never end (bug told me we were awake for 23 hours when my head finally hit the pillow.) we finally finally finally arrived at our destination. For anyone who ever goes to Europe, a word of advice-don't transit through Charles De'Gaul. I was told it was a disaster and should have listened. One hour 3o minutes time-normally that would have been wiggle room. Not so here! Just barely had time to get onto a dinky little plane, then they left us sitting for 20 minutes because of traffic. No problem, but at least pass the booze. :)

Never mind! I'm here! I'm here! I'm here! The first night saw me sitting in the lobby for about 3 hours saying hello to a few old friends. Bug and Matt went up and slept while I attempted to find a cure for puzzle lust, jet lag, too little get the idea. I gave up chat, and prayed for sleep at 11 pm.

Upon waking up, I took a jog down FreidrichStrasse (yes, I know it's spelled wrong-no, I can't find the write symbol) and finally did something I had been waiting a year to do. Legally cross that border without being detained! :) well, I guess when it no longer exists as a border that's easy to do.

Enough of my silliness, on to puzzles. The next morning saw us heading out to the home of another puzzler. His place! Amazing. When his wife said 'the house is open' I thought, Ok. And....? And is right! Toys Toys Toys. I was impressed. And we all know that is getting harder and harder to do. Hm. A photo perhaps?

Ok, so we spent a day eating, chatting, playing with puzzles. A 2 hour drive later and we made it back to the IPP location. (ok, so everyone knows, but I was asked to be cagey about it. :)

Last night saw us having the 3rd annual TP gathering, which included the usual suspects, but a few others as well-Mark was here as was Geert and his wife, Anthony joined us this year and Klara! We played with loads of toys, ate a bit of food, and generally had a good time.

If I can get the Facebook thing to work in here, photos will be posted today. Fingers crossed.

I'm off to have breakfast, and a walk around the town with Dave and family to see what else has changed...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Am waiting for the plane now. Can't wait to a get airborne. That means we are closer to our destination. I'll try to keep this going again this year through IPP but can't guarantee it. Will post nightly updates and photos of my highlights as usual.

Here's hoping for an uneventful flight and a great time! Will be thinking of all my friends who are not here and