I stopped by Eureka recently and checked out some of the new puzzles they just got in. David Leschinsky, the owner of the store, was there, which was nice because he pointed out all the interesting new puzzles they got. I was particularly excited to see some of the new Vinco puzzles.
After a bit of wiggling, I figured out how to do it, though I didn't disassemble it fully. I didn't study it, but I'm guessing that the mechanism of Tetrahedron and Dual Tetrahedron is quite similar.
I thought about purchasing one, since they are quite cool looking, but they were a bit rich for my blood ($95 and $135 respectively).I liked them, but not quite that much!
Wausau '82 by Bill Cutler and made by Jerry McFarland. I had eyed this puzzle before on an online auction. I had read that this burr was one of Bill's favorite designs and involved a lock-picking technique. Since I used to pick locks, that sounded pretty interesting and I had been wanting to give this puzzle a try.
I played around with it a bit, but kept going in circles. It is just as well, since I'm sure that it would take a while to put it back together as well! I'd definitely consider getting this one at some point, but didn't end up going for it on this visit. It looks like the one copy at Eureka has sold now, but I think you can still buy them directly from Bill.
Mirrorkal Escher designed by Ivan Moscovich. There are nine cubes, each of which contains a mirror. Two adjacent faces of the cube are clear, and the other four faces have part of an image on them. The frame that holds the cubes also has parts of the images along the outside.
The objective is to arrange the cubes in such a way so that one of five possible Escher prints can be seen. Pretty cool idea, eh? I like Escher, so this was a winner with me. I fiddled with it a bit at the store, enough to tell that it wasn't entirely trivial, so I decided to buy it.
It is an interesting puzzle to solve, you need to use logic to figure out how to position the cubes. It isn't as easy as it sounds, because there are seemingly multiple correct positions for individual cubes. For example, the center piece of the image can be reflected from the edge of the cube to the north, south, east and west of it. However, if you go down the wrong path, you'll end up unable to complete the image with the remaining pieces.
It took me about 15-20 minutes to solve the first one, and each subsequent one took a bit less time as I started to get the hang of it. For $20, I got a good amount of enjoyment out of it. It isn't too difficult to give to non-puzzling folks, which is nice too. My girlfriend enjoyed it as well, and she doesn't typically have the patience for puzzles.
One thing that bugged me about it is the fact that the cubes appear to scratch fairly easily. The display model at Eureka was pretty scratched up, and I noticed that mine started to get scratched a bit as soon as I started fiddling with it. Oh well! At least it is cheap.
Eric Harsh-barger. It was his entry in the 2007 Puzzle Design Competition at the International Puzzle Party. The idea is to fit the digits 0-9 in a 5x5x5 unit box.
I really liked the appearance of this puzzle: the box is clear plastic, and the pieces are made out different colored acrylic that has (presumably) been laser cut. The colors chosen are quite nice: blue, pink, lime green, orange, ruby red, purple, teal, gray, white, and brown.
The original competition entry was made out of machined aluminum for the pieces and wood for the box and cost $200. The plastic version is only $15, now that is more my style!
As a puzzle, it is quite tricky: there are quite a few pieces that are dissimilar, which makes it fairly challenging. It took me quite a while to figure it out, but eventually I got it. Using BurrTools, I found that there are 4239 solutions. Many of them are just slight variations on the same idea, but there are still a lot of different solutions.
I have a really hard time figuring out additional solutions once I already know one. Once I know a solution, it feels like the pieces have to go that specific way. I'll have to spend more time working on this one and see if I can figure more out!
Overall, this is a great puzzle! You can get the plastic version from Eureka or from QuickBrownFoxPuzzles.com, who appears to be producing them. I think the only downside is the difficulty, but there is definitely plenty of re-playability, particularly if you have a bad memory! Initially it seems impossible, but as you play around with the pieces you start to understand how they interact and can fit together.
Puzzle Pod Junior
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