Showing posts with label IPP32. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IPP32. Show all posts

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A star in a box

This was another IPP exchange puzzle that tickled me and was kept outside the boxes.  Sadly, I haven't had time to give it a proper play  until now.  I brought this one along for one of my marathon puzzle solving sessions over a testing weekend and managed to do a fiddle job of it.

The puzzle consists of 5 different pieces inside a plastic frame.  The object of which is to make a star.  There are 8 different possibilities, but sadly I only managed one. Each of the different possibilities has the lines from the star in a different place, and each of the wooden pieces has lines drawn in a different position on either one or both sides.

It's a real nice idea for a puzzle, but since there are no real instructions on the packaging, so I was going on memory of this one.  I may have the object of the puzzle all wrong, but I'll give it a go to explain what I did.

At one side there is an opening.  This opening allows for the pieces to slide partially through, but not all the way.  I think the object of the puzzle is to wiggle the pieces around until you can make the star shape.  If I'm wrong, someone please let me know.  The base of the puzzle has a couple of notches in it that hold the tips of the star just perfectly.  A rather nice touch that helps in the positioning of the bits. There is also a piece of paper in there that can be removed which shows the 8 solutions.  If you remove this paper, the puzzle and all its solutions are quite easy to do so I'm sure that isn't what needs be done.

I am hoping this is a dexterity puzzle that needs the wiggles, but if not, could someone please tell me how to do this puzzle right?  I'm lost and confused (as usual).

one possible solution

Friday, January 25, 2013

Two keys lock

Well, I started this magpie thing so I may as well continue with it. The puzzle I bring you today was invented by VESA Timonen and was given out as an IPP32 exchange gift by Nancy Alliegro. The box has written on it that it's manufactured by Bits & Pieces so I'm guessing that it would be offerd up for sale at some point in the future. I've yet to see it though.

The puzzle starts off as seemingly impossible to solve. There are two keys attached to the shank of the lock and the puzzlers job is to unattached them. A bit of twisting and turning reveals a split shank that spins freely. The novice will notice that the split can be slightly separated, but that won't do any good. It wouldn't be much of a puzzle if the keys could be removed in the same fashion as a regular key ring now would it?

I won't tell you any more about the solving because I don't want to give its secrets away. I will say that it threw me a good surprise. As I was sitting with it under the table trying to not make too much noise, the keys suddenly went flying. If I weren't mucking about when I should have been concentrating I would have laughed out loud.

There is a nice little twist to this one that tickled me. While the solve only took a few seconds(!) it would be worth getting for that chuckle moment when it's solved. I wonder when it will be released to the market....

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Iso Crate

Today's puzzle is one designed by Robert Rose. It was sold to me by at IPP32 in my mass buying spree to rid myself of the left over Canadian dollars I had from my conference in Ottawa the month before.

This puzzle is made of anodized aluminum and consists of eight pieces. Each piece has three magnets embedded in it. The object if it is to take the pieces apart and return it to the original cubic shape.

This puzzle came in the PuzzleMaster packaging,but I have a feeling it was manufactured originally for Bits and pieces. The puzzle itself is quite fun but the construction leaves a lot to be desired.

This puzzle comes packaged with a clear cube inside the crate to help it keep its shape during shipping. When I pulled the puzzle out of the box, it just sort of fell apart on me. Maybe it was put together wrong or maybe it was a couple of weak magnets, I'm not sure. Either way there was no cheating with this puzzle. I had to sort it out to solve it.  I would have to guess it took me around 20 minutes of faffing about with this and other things.

Unlike some magnetic puzzles, this one doesn't have that 'strong push/pull' to it. That would have made the puzzle real fun. Nothing like flying pieces!  It does snap together rather nicely when you get the magnets lined up, but the repelling force could be stronger.  Another drawback of this puzzle is just cosmetic, but the magnets aren't seated properly in some places so they are jutted out in places.  There isn't the tight fit I wish it had.  Maybe one day if it sits on my shelf long enough and bothers me long enough, I'll dig the magnets out and reglue them.  The finish when it came in was scratched in places, and you can see the glue overspill in others.  A nice puzzle that could have used a bit of quality control.

One corner has a groove taken out of it that can be used to stand the puzzle on its edge.  Surprisingly, it does balance that way.  Overall, it's a fun little puzzle.  I'm not thrilled by it, but I'm not disappointed either.  You can find it at Puzzle Master for around CAD23.  Not a bad price for a bit of fun.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Elections and voting

We take time out of our regularly scheduled puzzle posts to bring you a special posting today. Elections! Votes! The right to complain (or not)

This post could be one of those preachy things or maybe not. I haven't decided which way I want to go with it yet, so we will just see where my ramblings take me.

All who know me realize I'm a fairly laid back soul who just goes with the flow...unless it is something in passionate about. My family, my job, my students, justice. The normal things we all care for.

When I care about something Stevenson's protagonist has nothing on me. I've been known to go ballistic at times when I'm crossed (but am equally forgiving). Elections bring out the best and the worst in me. I'm fiercely patriotic and believe it to be a duty, nay, an obligation to vote.

I registered when I turned 18 and haven't missed a presidential election since then. When I got residency in HK it was high on my list of things to do. When elections come around here I vote. An obligation. See, unlike many I know (my husband for one) I love that I have the right to be heard. The inconvenience of jury duty aside, I can't imagine not voting.

Many years ago when I worked for Uncle Sam a few of my brothers in arms tried to convince me it was not good to vote for my boss. It didn't work and my ballot was sent in. For me it's the ability to be able to say I don't like something that is happening and being able to have the power of my vote behind my big mouth. I realize I'm only one person and that I'm a small one at that, but if I say nothing I've no right to voice my opposition to decisions made by those in power.

I'll not lecture you blog readers as I did my father last night or my husband last month. Instead I'll ramble a bit more.

Presidential elections and legislative elections are not the only time we vote in our lives. We do it regularly. I vote at work on referendums, I vote for best papers written by my students, I vote for a puzzle I like.

And you thought this would only be about the recent US elections.

At IPP each year there is a ballot we get to fill out to vote for our favorite puzzles in the competition. Of course there is a group of judges and they give out prizes as well, but to my simple mind the puzzlers choice is a great indicator of what makes a good puzzle. This years winner was no exception.  Made by Iwahiro (Hirokazu Iwasawa).

'Square in the Bag' is so simple looking. It has mass appeal. Everyone I saw in the judging room picked it up and tried to solve it. While I was there, no one did. Upon returning home I read a number of posts on FaceBook mostly, about how great (or how naff) it was.

A couple of people replicated the puzzle and were kind enough to give me an equation to work out the dimensions. Now I'm no mathematician, but I managed to do just that. It really is a cool little puzzle.

My first copy I gave to my friend Da Yan when he was here in October. I didn't see him solve it and haven't had the opportunity to find out if he did. I've had to make myself another. It's a nice little thing and when you get to a certain point there's that great AHA! That always feels wonderful. I like that kind of a puzzle. One I agonize over for days and then's solved!

If you can't manage to get a copy of the puzzle, it's easy enough to make. (can I say that?) but you see, that is the kind of VOTE any one would want.


This puzzle is a play on the name of an old video game those of my generation knew and loved. Other than having one Pac and four ghosts, there is no other resemblance to the 80's game. I would have to say though that it is just as much fun.

This was made by Chris Enright of acrylic and ABS plastic. It's a packing puzzle that is anything but easy. I've been defeated by a childhood memory!

When I saw this puzzle at IPP I fell in love with the idea. Or rather with the memory of hamburger joints and one of the first games I got to play at home. I tried it in D.C. But made no progress. To be honest I completely forgot about it until fellow blogger Jerry wrote about it. When I read his blog, I went right now and wrote an email. Within a few weeks I received my puzzle and tossed it in my bag for future puzzling.

Last weekend I finally went back to testing and Pack-Man was the first to come out. Honestly, I was so frustrated by it that it was the only one to come out. Needless to say, I didn't manage to solve it by the end of my testing session. This one saw me with almost two hours on my hands but it simply wasn't enough time. So Pack-Man is back in my bag for next weekend.

I would definitely get this one if you can. The price isn't prohibitive and it's a lot of fun. Besides, how many puzzles can you play with and mumble over and over to yourself "waka-waka-waka"?

Saturday, September 22, 2012


You see that pile of rings down below. They all come from the slightly puzzled minds of Bram Cohen and Oskar van Deventer. Seven they have made so far and I'm sure that's not the end of them.

I got my first one in 2009 and haven't looked back. In 2010 I bought a few more and then this year I went to Oskar with rings on fingers hoping he would be able to tell me which one I was missing. Sure enough-he said the dark blue and the pink! Nice way of remembering which is which. Color coding. I love it. I'm a big time color coder myself!

The rings in order of the photograph but not the order of design are:
Top row: Take five, Cross Rings, Six to Three, Weave Six
Middle row: Weave Five, Holistic Ring
Bottom row: Sixth Sense

The green ring I bought for bug in 2009. Green was her favorite color then so I thought it might get her interested in puzzles. I should have known better. She was only interested in taking it apart to see if mom could put it together again. I'll tell you, it was a real pain to do. All of these so far have been a real pain. They aren't your usual for or six band rings that's for sure. If you want a bit of a challenge, then you won't go wrong with these rings.

The red one I got last year and it is relatively easy (compared to the green and the yellow.) This one is a bit loose so I had no choice but to solve it. When I snipped the connector band it just fell into a mucked up state.

Not all of these rings have been taken apart yet but eventually they will be. As you can see, the one I'm working on now is that big yellow one. Not by choice though. When I took them out the other day to make a YouTube video I accidentally bumped it and it fell off my desk! So now I've a bit of work to do before I can wear it again. and let me tell you, this one is a royal pain! I worked it for just over three hours yesterday and managed to get two of the bands lined up. Ugh! You'll note the thread on them...I don't want any more accidents that will take me hours to fix. I'd rather take them apart on my own terms.

The white ring was Bram's exchange puzzle this year. But for anyone who is interested in purchasing it, this one like all the rest are available on Oskar's Shapeways page.

All in all I'd say if you're up for a challenge these are the way to go.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Well this is very frustrating for me.  I had completely typed up this post then set it to auto publish and then poof!  Off into space it went.  Oh well, it doesn't matter.  I want to talk about this little puzzle and you want to read about it so I'll just start again...
This puzzle was made by Andreas Rover and exchanged at IPP32.  The name of it is Triade.  Now I know that has to be a play on words, but just exactly how it plays I'm not sure.  The tri bit is obvious.  There are three pieces many of which are triangular.  The ade?  I'm not so sure about.  A drink?  As in Kol-ade?  Wrong spelling I know. 

The puzzle as I said is made up of three parts with lots of triangular bits in it.  there are some long bits and a whole bunch of short bits of this shape.  All of which can be stumpers in the puzzling process.  The pieces aren't identical though, and as far as I can tell they aren't mirrored.  This was a bit of a think to take apart, but to be honest that part of the puzzle was really a walk in the park.  When it fell apart in my hands, I knew I was in trouble.  Why?  Because now I have to put it back together again!  Ouch!  

And ouch it was.   This was a real pain of a puzzle.  I have to say I'm glad Andreas put it in a nice strong bag because I had to put it away again to go to a meeting as always and didn't have a chance to pick it up again for a few hours.  Sadly by that time I couldn't remember which way was up.  Now I told you it was a stumper.  

This has been on my desk for 3 days in a state of disassembly and I've made it my new thinking puzzle.  I'm sure it isn't that difficult if I set my mind to it, but I need something to fiddle with when I'm engaged in work and this is pretty good for that. I seem to have two bits in the right position (at least they look like the photo on the left) and I'm just playing with the other trying to get it into place.  Wish me luck all!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The case of the sacred armadillo

This is another of those 'briefcase' puzzles made by Kathleen Malcomson. It's a lovely little puzzle made out of a business card case a few bits of things inside and one big clear marble. Another really fun puzzle to have in the collection.

So it's a sacred armadillo. And any one who has ever lived in the south has seen one of those. The little buggers often show up right where you want to park your car. Then there is the dilemma of what to do: run the sucker over or get out parked wonky move the sucker then repark the car. And blast it all because they are alive you can't run them over. I'll admit that on more than one late night the urge to drop kick them comes to mind as well. So where is all this verbal diarrhea coming from? Armadillos of course. They roll up into a ball when frightened and this puzzle has a big ball in it.

The first thing I did when I got this puzzle was put the enclosed sheet into my solution box because I was afraid I might peek. Then I started rolling the ball. Nope. Nothing. I put it on the floor and spun it in circles. I shook it. I swung it around. I had great fun with it. Short of blowing (Kevin) I did all I could think of. And then I dumped it in my bag and forgot about it until yesterday.

It was bugs birthday and she wanted Disney with mom (walking wallet again) so when she was riding those awful roller coasters (mom had to hold the shopping this time) I sat down and pulled this one out.

Since I'd done all the silliness earlier I started over again this time with the intention of being serious in my solving techniques. Fast forward half an hour and I had made no progress. Back to being silly. And AH HA!!! There it was! Clever little thing. I had a big smile when bug came back from her rides.

The solution was simple enough that I could solve it again and again. Very clever that Kathleen is. She fit a cute little puzzle that had a bit of a stumper and a whole lot of fun, into a tiny little business card box. Next up...bowling alley in a briefcase.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Little Game Hunter

Well folks, I bit the bullet and bought a Stickman! Or I should say I was given permission to buy one.  At IPP32 I had the great joy of meeting Mr. Stickman himself.  He's not only a great builder, but a great lad as well.  Any one who met him will attest to his ability to make a person laugh, put down a drink and build one heck of a puzzle!

We started talking I guess the night before IPP and I liked him as a person.  Not just a builder.  But then I guess I like all the Renegades.  They are a fun bunch of boys.  Any way, I saw this one over on the renegade forum and read Brian's blog and  Allard's blog about it and kind of fell in lust.  I have been silly because I didn't know how to get in touch with Stickman and didn't think to leave a message or ask over on the forum (Yes, you can call me daft-I've done so many times)  Well I feel like there was some kind of divine intervention going on over at IPP this August because there he was, in the flesh, and there was not only one elephant, but two in the competition area.  (A puzzle and a spare) So one night over a beer and a cigar we started talking about my wanting to purchase one.  And that lovely man said yes!  So home with me

came my latest edition to my collection.  Now this was a bit of a hoot  really.  See Mr. Stickman told me that each elephant had a name and the name of mine was??? To be given at a later date.  :)  He didn't send the little book along so he didn't know.  Well a lot of back and forth and about 2 weeks later, I finally found out my elephant's name is Jumbo.  (Apparently he's well hung.  They must be tucked up inside, because it sure doesn't look like it from the photo above now does it?)  

In the mean time Robert sent me this nice little note over on Renegade and also tucked it into the envelope with the puzzle book when he mailed it.  (What fantastic service!)  It seems that Jumbo is a secret agent for the CIA...Shh....don't tell anyone.  We don't want him to get in any kind of trouble.

So how does the puzzle solve?  Well I'd be telling a fib if I could answer that.  When I got home from IPP I managed to make a video of each of my puzzles from the exchange, then I had to put together a presentation and run off again so I didn't really have a chance to play.   I've managed a few moves while showing him to reporters over the past few days, but other than that, he's just sitting on my shelf looking pretty.  He'll be in an exhibition starting the end of the month, so I won't get much of a chance to even look at him.  I'm going to attempt to do something with Jumbo in the next day or two...I really want to know where he stores his bits)  If I manage to get past those first few moves I'll let you all know, but in the mean time, don't hold your breath!  You all know me.  Quick to buy, slow to solve.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Der Mond

I saw this puzzle on someone's blog ( a while back and decided I wanted one. That's the problem with blogs. I read them and then I see things I like then I have to go buy them. Not the best way of doing things but it keeps me in puzzles anyway.

So this one is pretty clever. More clever than I (aren't you just do tired of reading that?) This one is a moon. But it's also a cross. There are only seven pieces to it. Not too many. Easy enough to solve right?

Well, yes and no. See I brought this one on the flight with me thinking I would solve it rather quickly. After all, it's only seven pieces. But as with all puzzles I think are easy-this one wasn't. We got into Doha and I still hadn't solved it. Maybe it was too much wine in flight and too little sleep. Maybe it was too much Big bang Theory. Maybe it was just a hard puzzle. During the first 13 hours of the trip home I kept coming back to this one and just couldn't do it.

After the layover from Hades, I picked this puzzle up again on the last leg thinking those curvy bits would yet again cause me major headache. Much to my surprise I solved the puzzle almost as soon as I dumped the bits out.

My overall verdict? It's a walk in the park. I say this because after the second attempt at solving it I had to dump it again and again. See, I don't trust myself to think a puzzle is easy and have it be so. I need to keep testing myself. Well, I've done this one quite a few times now so I officially deem it to be easy!