October 1, 2009

Puzzle Raffle

I had been watching the forum over at CubicDissection.com when I read a post that announced that there was a puzzle and pen raffle over at EaglesWoodworking.com. The raffle was to benefit Eagle's family: William Edward "Eagle" Prisavage was a woodworker who passed away back in 2008.

I took a look at the thread (aw, it looks like the images have been removed) and saw a number of prizes that folks had donated that were pretty cool, so I figured why not try my luck? Of course, I am never one to leave things to chance, particularly with my limited puzzle budget. I decided that the best strategy would be to count the number of prizes that I would be interested in winning and estimate the number of tickets that had been sold: then I could see how many tickets I needed to buy to have a reasonable chance of winning something I wanted.

It turns out that since there were so many awesome prizes, the odds were fairly good, so I bought my tickets and crossed my figures. Of course, I really had my eye on the Stickman #5 Box, as I'm sure everybody else did, but there were a bunch of other great things as well. It was really cool seeing everybody's generosity in donating prizes and purchasing tickets: I'm sure Eagle was a hell of a guy if he had so many friends.

As luck would have it, I did win a prize! In fact, my prize was four prizes: Volley-ball, UFO, and Hedgehog from Vinco and Finnish Cross No.1. This was pretty exciting, because I would have four new puzzles to try! A week or so later the puzzles came in the mail.

UFO is a cool looking wood puzzle, as you can see in the picture above and from a different angle on the left. If you flip it over, the dark and light pattern is the inverse of the top, which is pretty neat. It is very precisely made, as is the case for all of Vinco's products. I'm not an expert, but I think the finish is natural, perhaps some oil or something. Definitely not a shiny finish like you'll see on some puzzles. This is probably how Vinco keeps its costs down.

I disassembled this one very carefully, because I don't have much experience with assembly puzzles and was a bit concerned that I wouldn't be able to get it back together. I guess I could have been less cautious with this one since it came with instructions, though. It comes apart into two halves of three pieces each, and then the three pieces come apart individually.

The way the two halves go together is nice, but not particularly challenging either to take apart or put together, but assembling three of the pieces to form a half is fairly challenging. Even after doing it a few times, I had to stop and think and it took a bit of trial and error. It was quite satisfying when all the pieces slide together just right.

I tried Volley-ball next, which had four identical pieces. This one came apart fairly easily and was also pretty easy to reassemble. Not much of a challenge but a nice little puzzle. There is a fairly large square space in the center where you could store something, I suppose.

Next I took a crack at Hedgehog, which also looked pretty cool. This is another 6-piece puzzle, and was probably the most challenging of the three Vincos to disassemble. The fit was fairly tight, so it took a little wiggling to get the first piece out. Once that was done, it was fairly easy to disassemble the rest. This one has a total of six pieces that must be assembled by joining two pieces and combining that with another two pieces, and then adding the last two pieces.

Again, I was pretty careful with this one since I didn't know if I could get it back together. Once I studied it a bit though I got more confident and jumbled up the pieces before trying to put it back together. It wasn't too bad since there aren't a whole lot of options to try. Overall, a well made and interesting puzzle.

Finally, I tried Finnish Cross #1, which was an exchange gift from Dirk Webber in the 22nd International Puzzle Party in Antwerp/Belgium. It was designed by Juha A. Levonen and built by Josef Pelikan. it is a pretty cool puzzle, because it looks like a burr but it is actually just a burr shape formed by polyominos!

I spent several days trying to figure this one out but wasn't having much luck. Rather than continue to struggle, I decided to peek at the hint sheet, which showed where the different pieces were located. I just looked at enough to show me which two pieces were at the bottom, which was the nudge that I needed to figure the rest of it out. I think my favorite part of such puzzles is when you know where a piece needs to go but have to figure out how to get it there: I don't enjoy it quite as much when I just have to try pieces in random spots until I figure it out.

It is quite a tricky puzzle! Even when it is assembled, it is non-trivial to disassemble it, which I like. The end requires a rotational move to separate the final two pieces, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, the fit is quite loose and there are pretty big gaps visible, unlike the picture shown here (I'm too lazy to take my own pictures unless I really can't find it elsewhere).

So those were the puzzles I won in the raffle! Pretty exciting, since these were actually my first interlocking wooden puzzles.

Tomorrow, I head to another puzzle shop in the Boston area and pick up some new puzzles.


  1. Thanks again for helping out the 'Eagle' family...'canuck' :-)

  2. My pleasure! Thank you for organizing!


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