Showing posts with label Oskar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oskar. Show all posts

Saturday, December 22, 2012

3 new toys from Mefferts

Today I'm bringing you the 3 newest puzzles from Mefferts: Jade Chopsticks, Gear Ball and Nautilus.

Each of these puzzles has just been released and are being shipped out these past two weeks.  If you ordered one, you should be able to get it soon if you haven't already.  Ok, enough of the messages from Uwe.

The first is the Jade Chopstics.  I had the joy of playing with this puzzle at least 2 years ago.  Ola has mentioned that it's been in the works for over 3 years, and to be honest, I wondered if it would ever be produced.  Hanayama picked it up a few years back, but to be perfectly honest, they didn't do as good a job as Meffert's did and that's not because we are friends.  There are a few differences, first the Hanayama is a 1x2x5 where as the Meffert's version is a 1x2x9.  Meffert's has curved edges, and it's got some lovely designs running around the outside.  He got the 'jade club' words along the outside designed by John Langdon, and the puzzle was named by yours truly.  I just wish Uwe would have had it done in the painted plastic as he did for the first of the Jade puzzles.  (Bug showed me a new program for taking photos so since it's christmas, I'm playing!)

The second puzzle is the Nautilus.  This one first came out on TP way back in 2009.  Tim Selkirk was the designer and sometime during that year Geert Hellings got his hands on one and showed it to Uwe...or told Uwe about it.  Mid-2010 Uwe started asking for the address or email of Tim.  I couldn't help because he'd been off line for a while and I sadly didn't have a nautilus.  Eventually the two got in touch and we now have a new puzzle.  I said it before, and I'll say it again, it's a great puzzle to add to your collection.  I love the look of it. The rainbow is fantastic!  The color is just the best!  it's such a girly puzzle.  There are 7 colored bits on it and each of the seven segments of the outer layer move.  It's a bandaged puzzle.  The inner layer though has only one place that can turn.  It's like a square one, but it doesn't change positions of the pieces as much as the square 1 does.  It also reminds me of morph.  It's actually a harder puzzle to mess up than to solve.  When you do manage to mess it up, it doesn't take a lot to solve it.  It can be done by intuition.

Last up tonight is the gear ball.  Uwe gives credit to Oskar for the design of it, but Oskar says he only made the gear concept.  :)  funny arguement to have.  "I DIDN'T make it"  usually it's the otherway around.  The gear ball is a dream to turn.  It just spins in your fingers.  Basically it's the gear cube with rounded edges and some little bumps added to help you turn it. I've really nothing much to say about this puzzle except the puzzle in video link has no lube inside it. It's all puzzle!

All of the puzzles above can be purchased on Meffert's.
Enjoy, Thanks for tollerating my Christmasy type photos this week, and don't forget to come back on the 26th for the 12 days of Christmas, Roxanne style.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Big Knot puzzle

I was off testing again this past weekend, and when I do that my first stop is a toy store on a street I know that sometimes has puzzles. Saturday was no exception. I found this little wooden gem that Jose later told me was made by Oskar. A more prolific puzzle designer I have never seen. That man has his hand in EVERYTHING!

On testing days I never expect to solve anything, but when I do it's a real hoot. I usually bring along 3-5 puzzles in the hopes of just working out what they do and maybe to decide whether to play with them again later or banish them to live with the dust bunnies.

The big knot (thanks for the name and origin Jose) was one I couldn't pass up when I saw it. First it was expensive. A whopping US$3.62. And second, I don't have it in my collection. What more incentive to purchase than that do I need?

It came unbowed and simply wrapped in some really dusty plastic film. I unwrapped it and found a bit of wriggle room in it and proceeded to pull at pieces under the table while I was supposed to be paying attention to other things. Nothing happened.i figured this would be one of those banished puzzles I would never get around to solving (I hope I still have half a brain when I retire-I've a lot of toys to regress with)

When the break came along, I pulled it back out and discovered the 'key' big mistake! Once that was pulled out there was no going back. It just fell apart in two bits. Slid apart would be a better description. As with other puzzles from Oskar, this one is brilliant. Deceptively difficult looking to begin with, but then super easy to take apart...and you guessed it, a royal pain to put together again.

Yep, this one is sitting on my desk with one loose piece. I really must get back to it and I will, just as soon as I finish the lit review I'm working on. It really does bother me to have this kind of puzzle unsolved. It's just too easy to loose the bits.

If you can find one I would recommend purchasing it. It's good puzzling value.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Arch burr, candy, and cold fusion

Ok, these are little beasts! Enough said. Post over.

No not me. I could never be that short in any thing I say or write.

The candy twist one I bought from George Miller a year or so ago and put it in a box. It was. From an IPP lot so that's understandable. Cold fusion was Oskar's exchange puzzle last year and the Arch Burr came from B&P this week. It was metal and I've taken a liking to those lately. I thought as long as it just came in I'd dig out the others and compare them all at once so today it's a three-in-one post.

I started off by taking the usual photos of a completed puzzle so I could look back at what the final state needs to be. Logical right? Then as each piece came out I photographed that as well. Again, logical. And that's where it ends.

After the third piece came out of the Arch Burr it just fell apart. There was no photographing the last disassembly procedures. But hey, I'm half clever so I know I can put it back together.

Well, I thought so anyway. After an hour into my Cougar Town marathon I still didn't have it. When Mr. Man came home I resorted to pulling out the instructions. How unhelpful we're they. An hour later I was ready to throw them across the room. It didn't help by being bitten by the puzzle either. This one has lots of sharp edges in it and I swear I caught every one of them. It is yet again a prime example of a great puzzle made rather shoddily. When will I ever learn? Odds are never.

The Arch Burr is made of aluminum and looks pretty cool in black and silver. Sadly though the craftsmanship is lacking a bit on this one as well. The outside is nice and smooth but the internal parts-especially those around the cut out bits are rough cut to say the least. There was no rounding off of those parts and yes, I really did get cut by them. Mr. Man offered to sand them down for me but I passed. I really don't think I'll go playing with it again.

On to the candy twist! This one is made by shape ways and I'd hazard to guess its Oskar's design as well. I'd twisted burr bits to wiggle around. It's been nicely died with six different colors. I did the photo shots with this one as well. Luckily by the time I unraveled this one I had experience with the Arch Burr. With the exception of the twist they are pretty close to the same. Ok maybe not but they were close enough that it didn't take two hours to reassemble. A nice little puzzle if it weren't for the 'scratchiness' that is inherent in shape ways puzzles. It would be a fantastic puzzle.

The Cold Fusion should be renamed a Cold Day. It's a real pain. Disassembly and reassembly. I played with this one through an entire episode to take it apart. And another FOUR to put it back together. If you want a challenge, this is the one out of the three to buy. And you are in luck. It's available from

All in all it was an entertaining evening for me...stupid television and puzzles! Oh and I had a glass of Cloudy Bay so I was truly in seventh heaven.

Monday, January 23, 2012

My rarest puzzle (and a loaner from a friend)

On 6 January of this past year clausewe posted a thread on TP entitled "extreme rare twisty puzzles".  This in turn prompted Andreas to go looking for something he saw along the same lines, and he came up with this thread.  Of course he had to send me a message right away asking what I knew of these puzzles, and I was more than happy to answer.

Now way back in 2000 I got my hands on a Chi Gung Ball.  Bug used it as a play toy when she was still a tiny little thing.  I have had that one lounging around for such a long time, I honestly forget I have it until someone asks me about it.  Then it's a bit of a dig and out it comes.  Well, Andreas' post and Uwe's proximity and his wanting me to rewrite that little something that is on the brainstick that was found in Oskar's Treasure Chest  made me think to pull in a favor.  No, really, all I did was call Uwe and ask him if I could borrow the space massager for a week or two.

So what's the big deal with these two puzzles?  They are fairly rare.  No, I changed my mind, these two are extremely rare.  Uwe has told me that he's only got that one sample of the space massager left or he would let me have it. And the Chi Gung Ball?  We know of 3 that exist now.  His, Mine, and Jerry Slocum's (who else?)
OK, so here you go.  We need photos right?
First up is the Space Massager.  This one has 6 sets of 4 balls in each of the following colors:  blue, green, orange, yellow, white, red as well as 10 pink balls.  All are transparent and the base of the puzzle itself is a pure white color.  (Now, if you look closely, you can still see bits of that white-I wonder if Uwe has taken up smoking and not told anyone, or if the pollution in Shenzhen is discoloring the plastic) The object of this is quite simple.  Make all the colors line up in a row.  As you can see here, I've managed to muck up this one a bit.  The pink and yellow are not in order.  It turns on each of the four center dials, and the endcaps can be rotated into one of the six different directions.  It's a tricky bugger to solve those last few pieces, but completely doable.  More difficult than the Babylon tower that's for sure.

Next up is the Chi Gung Ball.  Now this one is one hard puzzle to turn. You can see it here from the top view, and while it looks the same, it's slightly different from the above.  First off, the puzzle cannot turn along the center lines.  I've shown it from the top and side here, and as you can see, there are still 8 columns that must be ordered. There are still 4 balls per column, but this one is a bit different in that there are 8 of each color instead of just 4 as in the space massager.  So I guess technically, this one is a bit easier to solve.  Each ball has more places that it can stay in.  You will also notice a black ball on this one. That is a place holder and there is only one in this puzzle.  The other major difference is that the centers don't turn. They are held in place with one solid piece. And I do mean solid.  This puzzle isn't a lightweight one. It's got some mass to it.  Like all good puzzles of the 80's!

Ok, so solving wise?  Well, it did take a while to do so, but it's still fun.  It reminds me of the hungarian towers or the Otto Wu ball.

Last photo for you all:   A rare look inside!

Don't ask me where you can get one, I don't know.  As I said, I know of one and three samples of both.  If anyone else has one, I'd love to hear of it.  But I can tell you something you can do if you are sincerely interested in getting one of your own.  Go over to Meffert's and scroll all the way to the bottom and click the boxes to have him remake these.  If he gets a few thousand people who will order.....well, if not, then we all wait until I get old!  50 to be exact.  You see, he's promised me this for my birthday present.  But sadly, I'm such a young thing so it will be a while yet....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


In September of 2009 I purchased my first 1x2x5 from Olz. It was a good price, he was (and still is) a young builder, and I was just starting to really collect handmade puzzles.  (I'm still not into that whole shapeways thing.  They make my hands feel dirty) Eventually I got the puzzle and enjoyed it.  A very easy little thing to solve isn't it.

In August of 2011, one of the gents from Hanayama brought a 1x2x5 to IPP and showed it to Oskar.  Now, being me, I grabbed it and snapped a photo.  This got me into a bit of trouble with Olz who of course knew it was coming out, but couldn't say anything (it's a shame that the designers are not able to shout it from the rooftops).  But then, why should it have done so?  I asked permission, and I did have a handmade copy, AND I purchased a puzzle that was already listed on the website, as well as being sold in Japan.  When I got home from IPP I went on my puzzle videoing marathon and put this one up that shows both versions that I have.

So a few months back I was searching for the new Hanayama Crystal Puzzles (bug simply loves the things) and I stumbled across a set of keychains. Yesterday I was lucky enough to get my hands on a set.  and what a set it is!  16 new puzzles in one batch.  Now there is a lot of solving...or not.
See these are so simple it's not funny.  They are great little puzzles to give to kids though.  Mind, this set will probably break. They have tiny little bits in them.
So how do they turn?  Well, they are a bit stiff.  Tight maybe?  They also have this clicking thing when they are lined up which I think is completely pointless.  The puzzles to the left are a bit more difficult than the first one I purchased all those years ago, but only because That one only had 6 colors and these have writing that I can't read.
There are 2 in the set that are tubular.  These are a bit harder to turn simply because they are hard to get my hands on.  The rectangular ones are easy enough, and the 1x2x2 (I'm not sure of the designer) are more difficult to mess up than to solve.  I've made videos of them all as usual  (I'm doing pretty well on the-I'll video it as it comes in the house-front.  Photos of the individual puzzles can be found here.

These can be purchased through Hong Kong Now Store as well as Torito.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

On the Fifth Day of Christmas

My true love gave to me
Five Puzzle Rings (not gold, sorry ndiamond-but puzzles all the same)
Four Revo Mazes
Three Diamond Puzzles
Two Crystal Dolphins
And a Santa on a tree.

The two on the left (white 3^3 cube) came from Oskar's shapeways shop (weave five and sixth sense). They were designed by Bram Cohen.  (He makes some pretty cool rings!) The two on the left (black 3^3 cube) are from an IPP exchange (two bands), and eBay.  I wanted a puzzle ring and so I found this silver one on our favorite auction site for next to nothing around 15 years ago.  It has 6 bands and is a standard ring configuration.  They can be found most every where.
The last puzzle ring is on Santa's sack. It was a birthday gift from my lovely niece Rachel this past year.  What a thoughtful kid!  It's not a puzzle puzzle, but a 'picture' of 4 jigsaw pieces.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas day puzzling

While the majority of my puzzle friends are dreaming of sugar plums, I've been puzzling the day away.
Santa was all right. But I would have to say, Christmas Eve present opening was much nicer! Thanks to a silly bug I had a few more presents under the tree than I expected.

So there are a lot in there from Bits and pieces, and a few from Eureka, a Smart Games, a Karakuri, and one from the Juggler.

Now while any and all of these are pretty neat, I would have to say thus far, my favorite has been....oh don't hate me....Oskar's Matchboxes. :-) There is just something mesmerizing about the way those blocks come apart. They have this sliding motion to them that is just plain fun to watch.

Solving wise. Well, the configuration it is in when it arrives is easy to do. I've managed that with the cardboard set I made a while back. Now I've seen somewhere that there are 2 more solutions to this puzzle. I guess I'll have to spending bit of time giving it a think.

What? Not fair I hear you scream out! I shouldn't like a toy I already have? Ok then, this time I'll agree with you.

I'll be serious then. I like all of them and will post later on each of the other puzzles I received, but first. I want to talk about Neil's Unhappy Childhood.

I saw this one and was taken by it. Why? I'm not entirely sure. It's a 5x5x2 checkerboard. Maybe it was the pretty wood. Maybe it was the poor finger. Or maybe it was a temporary bout of the "I think I can solve that" Well, what ever it was, I now have that puzzle in my possession. and it is pretty.

Upon closer inspection, there are 10 pieces each with 5 cubes. The puzzle is simple. Put it back in the box so that there is a checkerboard pattern on both the top and bottom layers. So is it possible? I've been told, but after about 2 hours on it today??? I'm beginning to wonder. And for all you naysayers who think I never muck up a puzzle that is difficult to solve...

Nice of Mr. Coffin to make another devil of a puzzle. Nicer of Neil to remake it. I won't bore you with telling you about the way it was made or anything like that. I've A major snowstorm brewing in my bedroom right now that I need to put an end to. I'll just say I love the box the puzzle is in. Very creative. I wish I knew what the smell was that is in there. It's not the wood that is for sure. And I'll leave you with a link to Neil's page on how he built this thing.

Oh yes, and for those of you who are wondering, there is no blood to be found.

Friday, December 9, 2011

More Oskar? Treasure Chests

Yeah, why not. I have been holding on to this puzzle (secret) for quite some time now. A few lucky fellows got to see it at IPP in August. Oskar for one. I know there is a story on his Shapeways page about this one. Any way, it's a nice little puzzle. A bit of a lark though as far as solving and such is concerned. It's a standard 'Rubik's cube', but with a twist.

You see those little teeth looking things in there? They are locks. The little locks have to be lined up just right, or the puzzle will not open. See this puzzle doesn't have a core, it's got a big gaping hole in the middle of it, but don't let that fool you. It's a good puzzle. A great Design by Oskar, a good product by Meffert's. You simply can't go wrong with that combination. (And don't even think of asking me for the 'simple' solution)

What? You thought you would get the one with the standard Meffert's colors on it? No such luck. For this one they have gone with bubbled up stickers. Yes, they are special. It's a material called "oxygen" But I don't think it is good to breath in. I've seen the factory workers using masks around it. (yes, you can boo) The stickiness seems to be pretty good. I have a pyraminx on my shelf using it, and it is a far cry different from those puffy-stickered-made-in-China cubes that we have all tossed in the bin. There's a goofy story at the end of my 30th anniversary pyraminx video about the stickiness.

So I know that you are all wondering what's up with that USB thing there and I'll tell you. It's a surprise! :-) Uwe has put a bit of puzzle information on that little USB that I think you all will find entertaining, if not enjoyable. And no complaints about duplication...some people just don't have all the time in the world. To quote Jerry Loo: (PS - there are other equally or more important things in my life apart from puzzling!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

HO HO HO! 'Tis the season....

Well yesterday was a bust. Eierlikoer and Jagermeister at Schnurrbart and I am done for. But hey it's Christmas time and you know what that means?

Presents! Lots and lots of Presents! And darned it all if they aren't all in Florida right now. Seriously. All those puzzles I ordered are waiting very nicely to be sent out in the new year. What a bust. Which brings me to Bits and Pieces. Right now I am so mad at them I could spit! I placed an order in early October with my correct address on it and what did they do? Send it to the wrong address. So now what? Well, they resent it and left off 4 puzzles that I really wanted with a 'sorry for the inconvenience caused' line of rubbish! Now I'm stuck with a $40+ surplus in their shop. So that means I must go buy something to use up that money. Problem is, the last batch that I got from them, just before this disastrous order-was terrible. Really poor quality stuff. Broken puzzles, misaligned puzzles, just plain cheap puzzles. Oh well, live and learn.

So what is on for today? Hmmm. How about an Oskar?

This one is pretty cool. I picked it up from him at IPP30. And did you check out that nifty signature of his. I think it was pretty lazy of him to leave off the "O" though.

For me it is fantastic. It has two of my favorite puzzles combined in one. Slide and Rubik's type. So the object of this puzzle is pretty self explanatory. Muck it up, and solve it. But the mucking is the fun part. It can be simply messed up like a 2x2x2, or it can have those bits slid around which adds to the difficulty.

This one was sent off to some far away country to a puzzle manufacturer not near me, and sadly turned down. But the good news is-the gear cubes were picked up! So if you want one of these lovely toys, you'll need to go over to Oskar's shapeways shop and pick one up.

As for me? I'm off for one of those office Christmas lunches....See you when I come up for Orange Juice and aspirin in about a week. :-)

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?

Friday, July 9, 2010

dinner continued

Over dinner Oskar and I chatted a bit about copies, George miller came over and said hello. As did Jerry Slocum and a few others. I got to play with a lot of Oskar's toys! Heavenly. I'm glad he's like I am. "Don't mess it too much Rox, it will take time to return to a solved state." And that's not a negative when you see how some of those things turn!

So dinner finished and we all kind of made our way to the competition room to look at a few of the puzzles on display. And yes, I did play with a few of them.

I'm not telling you all my favorite, but I've picked out a few I wouldn't mind bringing home with me if I could. But since I can't.....I played instead. I'll go back and play some more tomorrow.

Some things I don't understand and I plan to ask about it tomorrow.

Founders banquet and playing with puzzles

Tonight was the founders banquet. Very well set up. There were people directing us every step of the way to get to the building it was in. I'm jumping ahead, but at the end of the day, there was a guard with a bit of direction written in English to show us as we headed out the door.

As we got there, they weren't quite ready for us so we sat outside and met a few people. I got a big kick out of this, because it convinced me that stereo types ring true and are universal. People kept coming over and welcoming Matt to IPP. Asked him if it was his first time while I sat around and looked like a cute wife. He very nicely introduced me "as the puzzle person" :) that just tickled me!

Dinner: on the table was sushi and some snack like stuff. And Beer! Love the beer. After my little bout of allergy attacks in China, I contacted them and told them of my allergies. I noticed the food had a sign on the food that said "seafood shellfish" I was very grateful. Not a problem of deciding if I could eat or not.

I was simply overwhelmed by the people I met at dinner and apologize for not knowing all there We sat with Oskar and his wife, a couple from New Zealand, a chap from England, I forget the rest. At dinner I got to play with a few of Oskar's puzzles. And bought one to bring back to HK and show Uwe. The slide 2x2x2.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Flight and Osaka

I'm not a good traveller at the best of times and even worse when I'm excited. Minor turbulence but I survived without having to use that bag that sits behind the seat! Much to the disappointment of the bug. She was really hoping mom would use it for something other than a hand puppet.

A bit rocky at times, but then I hit on the brilliant idea of having a glass of wine and I was good to go. Feeling no pain and enjoying myself very much. Even played a game of war with the bug!

Osaka was entered around 8 pm tonight, but it took another hour or so to get to the hotel. The trains were interesting to say the least. But the subway system is even better than HK...ok, maybe not, but it was easy to tell where we wanted to go. Little numbers on the posts tell us teh station numbers.

Walked a whopping 4 blocks and got here. Mom being mom saw a bunch of gents sucking down some suds near the elevator bank and went over and started chatting. OK, I've seen photos of them so I knew they were IPP kind of folks. Got checked into the hotel and went and dumped our bags.

We were in need of some food for mom's tum because she's not able to eat when travelling. As we got back down stairs, who did I see but Oskar! I ran over gave a quick handshake and kiss, met his wife and a few others and ran out to get my food.

Had dinner in a local place, and the bug was thrilled. She entertained the owner and he gave her a little fan. She was tickled! Ho Ho may! That's all she kept saying. (It tastes very good) Ran across teh road to get mom some coffee (what is it with asian countries and not having coffee>) then back to the hotel so I could write this up.

More tomorrow....Dr. Panda and the rest start arriving! Then the real squealing begins!

And if I can get the room connection to work I'll post photos at some point. Tonight I'm too tired to try and work it out.

Slow internet was the problem. Photos here: