Eureka one day and ran into the owner David Leschinsky. He is frequently at the shop and I enjoyed chatting with him about the different puzzles he has available. He is quite knowledgable and I am always quite happy with his recommendations. Today among other things, he said that he thought I would enjoy a puzzle by Hirokazu Iwasawa (Iwahiro) named ODD Packing Puzzle.
It wasn't much to look at: the wood was very precisely cut but unfinished. I looked at the price and was a bit suprised that it was $40, since it wasn't particularly elaborate. I had gotten used to spending about $20 per visit to Eureka, so this seemed like a bit much.
The description from David sounded great, though: he said that as you worked with the pieces, you develop an understanding of how they interact with each other as well as with the box. After a while, you begin to understand what is possible and can work out the solution. That was interesting, and it had won the grand prize in the 2008 Puzzle Design Competition at the International Puzzle Party, so I decided to give it a shot.
I started on it night away when I got home, and had a great time with it. I think it ended up taking me about an hour. Just as David said, you start to realize what is possible and what is impossible after playing around with the pieces for a while, and I was stumped as to how it was even possible to get all three pieces in. Instead, I decided to think about it backwards: how could they all fit, and how would I get them out if they were in there. This approach proved effective and eventually led me to the solution.
Overall, a fun puzzle that I would recommend. I have loaned it to my father and a friend who both were able to solve it and they both enjoyed it as well. It is not really the type of puzzle that you can just fiddle around with and expect to solve, which I like. It really helps if you have a decent amount of time to sit down and think it through.
Tomorrow, I decide to step it up a notch and try two of the hardest Hanayamas.
19 hours ago