Showing posts with label disentanglement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label disentanglement. Show all posts

Saturday, December 29, 2012

On the 5th day of Christmas

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
5 Richard Hess'
4 Mr. Fok's
3 Da Yan's
2 Brian Young's
And Stickman in a pine tree.

I had the pleasure of meeting Dick in Japan 3 years back and have spent many a pleasant moment in conversation with him.  He has a great way with kids as well.  Katherine loved playing math games with him over a beer in Berlin.  He had her (and me) stumped on more than one occasion.

Dick is a long time puzzle collector.  But more importantly for this series of posts, he's also a long time designer of puzzles.  Reading back in time he's designed many different kinds of puzzles but I would have to guess that he's best known for his wire puzzles.  I've no idea how many puzzles Dick has designed, but I'm sure it is many many.  I seem to run into his name at many different puzzle shops.  For starters, Dick has a number of them on Puzzlemaster.  The prices range from $10 to $12.

Dick wrote a "Compendium of Wire Puzzles" and I've heard tell it has over 10,000 different wire puzzles in it.  That in itself is a feat.  I can only imagine the amount of research that went into writing that book.  Mind, a lot of the puzzles in it are his own designs.  I can't wait to see what he has in store for us in the future.  I'm sure there will be many more to come.  Kevin wrote up about a few of them over on his blog.  Go take a look and enjoy!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mickey Mouse

Today I decided that I'm going to post about a set of puzzles no one else has talked about yet. I also got to thinking of my friends and decided I'd tempt Kevin a bit your heart out my friend.

Next to puzzles, Disney has got to be my next favorite thing. I know I've said it before, but it is so true, and when I can combine Disney and puzzling together, I'm one happy camper!

Another thing that makes me happy is finding an old puzzle and playing with it again. It's like Christmas when I open my bed, or a drawer or a cabinet I haven't opened in a while. This morning was Christmas. Last night Uwe asked me to measure some puzzles for him (yes, I have man tools and now know how to use them.) and I rediscovered a set of puzzles I haven't seen in a while.

This set was made by Kawada in Japan. I managed to pick them up quite a few years back now, and while they are no real challenge, they are Mickey Mouse and you can't go wrong when the two are combined.

There are four different puzzles here and each is really just an old puzzle with a Mickey Mouse theme. Mickey set to music. Kind of reminds me of the philharmagic, or fantasia. I wonder if that is where the inspiration came from.

Solving wise, these puzzles took less than a minute each if that. They are such an old puzzle as the base. These are the ones my grandfather gave me so many years ago. Not the Mickey bit-the puzzle.

If you can get ahold of these, they are worth it for the characters. My only complaint? The keychain bits rusted through and had to be tossed away. I don't like rusty fingers.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

On the First Day of Christmas

my true love gave to me
a Santa on a cube tree
The tree is made from are a variety of different cubic type puzzles I had on my shelf.  The origin of which are known only to the shelf now as none of them have any labels on them.  Santa Claus is two puzzles in one.  The first puzzle is to remove his sack. The second puzzle is a wire disentanglement that is inside the sack.  I believe I bought this puzzle a few years back on either a Cubic Dissection auction or one of Nick Baxter's auctions.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Too many puzzles, too little time....

I hate that I have a job and have to work for a living. I jest. I love what I do, it just doesn't leave me with much time to play with my toys. I wish I had more. Time that is....well no, toys. Oh heck. Both!

Today I had a great day. It was one of those days off when I did nothing but lay around in bed doing more of nothing. That lasted for all of about 10 minutes. I simply can't stand to lay around and do nothing. So I got up, cruised around Rob's page for a bit. Checked out the blog updates-thank you Oli, Neil, and Allard. Slapped a few fingers over on TP, teased David Litwin for a bit, read for a while on renegade...and then grabbed a few puzzles and made some videos.

Boredom struck again around 2 so I found a book to read and attempted (but did not manage) to take a nap. So I went to pick up the bug...a nice run down the hill and a half hour wait for her bus.

And all the while I was thinking about having too many puzzles I want to play with and not enough time to play with them. So here we go. I'm going to give you a photo or two of what I mean.

Oh that is a nasty photo isn't it? What about this one? A bit better?
Yes, I know there are copies in there that aren't Hanayama, yes I know there are duplicates, yes I know I am missing one or two....

First, Hanayama. And nails. And wire. So which to choose.

Easy. Alcatraz! It's a dog puzzle. Have you ever played with this one? And what does she mean by a dog puzzle? Well here's an insane story for you-but true.

When I still lived in Texas (good lord that's almost 20 years ago now) I had a beautiful husky. Now this dog was a typical husky in that he hated to be left alone. Leave him outside? I don't think so. The neighbors wouldn't stop calling. I couldn't leave him at home because when I did I would come back to torn up furniture. Same goes for the truck (yes, I had the prerequisite jacked up truck when I lived there) I left him inside the truck one day when I went to grab a coffee and came back to having no back seat. So in the end, the beautiful but insane dog had to be given to a lovely family who had a farm and a lot of land for him to attack.

Oh my, the puzzle. Right. So it's an easy one. But in the beginning I couldn't solve the silly thing. It sat on my table for ages then one day THE DOG came loping in the house, knocked it off the table and solved the puzzle-since that time, any puzzle that has one of those head slapping (is this called face palming?) solutions is a dog puzzle. (I have quite a few)

And there it is, all solved by myself without the help of a dog...

I had the opportunity to visit the Hanayama factories a couple of years back and it was a thrill a minute for me. George Miller was with us, but sadly Oskar got sick in Tokyo and couldn't make the trip. (Can you all hear me saying next year...) Well that didn't stop us, and you can see photos of the trip here. When we were there, I picked up a copy of cast quartet. Literally. I picked it up out of a box of bits that was about to go in the tumbler. Now Kyoo was very nice and let me keep all 5 pieces of the puzzle. 5 you say? yep. And don't ask me why. He never did tell me why I needed 5, and since it has since been released, I'm pretty sure he was taking the piss. Nice guy though. Anyway, a while after we got back to HK, I went over to the office to pick up a few more that I didn't have, and he gave me another unfinished version of the cast loop puzzle. This one is 2 toned, but not polished up yet. Yet another nifty puzzle.
The quartet has two different solutions, and the loop has one that I know of. And why you ask are these puzzles being presented together? Why they are all 3 of them dog puzzles. I hear Homer Simpson shout DOH! every time I take them out. The quartet I took home that same summer and my brother managed to solve it within about 2 minutes, then my dad did it as well! Ok, DOG puzzle. I mean they never play with puzzles. The cast loop? I had it at a filming thing I did and the camera man, again, a non-puzzler solved it within seconds, as did a 9 year old kid. Puzzle master calls the quartet a 10 and the loop a 7 in their difficulty scale. I'm not so sure about that.

Which brings me to the next puzzle. Cast marble. I like this one. It is so tiny you just can't help but think it is going to be a doddle. Now this one is great because it naturally has a turn to it when you first lift it up. And yep, that's what everyone tries to do with it. Turn that bit. Gotcha! NOT! I love it. And yes, I was taken in by that little twist too. But when you see the solution...when it finally dawns on's amazing. Really. It's a great puzzle and I'll say no more.

As for the wire puzzles? Well, there are just so many of them that I really don't know what I have anymore. I have soda cans (puzzle cans that is) filled to the brim with them. The batch seen here are all in a box with my Hanayamas. When I send puzzles home to the nephews, or on to a few young lads I've been chatting with for a couple of years now, there are always copies of these in there. Wire puzzles here I'm afraid are a dime a dozen...ok, not a dime, but around US$3 for 4 of those big ones. Cheap enough for me to pass around to the kids. They like them and hey, they have even started to ask for a few puzzles. My job is done!

So what did I do the rest of the day? Why ordered more puzzles. What else would I do?