August 12, 2010

Rochester Puzzle Picnic (Part 3)

We left off in Part 2 after the last of the puzzle picnic attendees had arrived. There were going to be a few talks later in the day, but for now, on with puzzling!

This box was Peter Wiltshire's Artichoke Box, which was his entry into the Puzzle Paradise Contest, a puzzle crafting competition (more on this later). I was quite intrigued by the looks of this one and decided to give it a try.

As you can see, Peter has incorporated the scoring technique he used in his Lacewood puzzle box to creat a great effect on this one. It is a complicated pattern which makes it difficult to tell where this one came apart. It is beautifully crafted with a nice fit, which also made it hard to figure out where to start. After a bit of examination, I was quite surprised by what I saw: my conclusion was that this one would come apart in a very interesting way.

Sure enough, once I had figured it out, the way it opens is very cool. You may be able to imagine it somewhat based on the name. Here's another one where it would be great to show a photo of it open, but that would spoil it as a puzzle somewhat. With just the opening mechanism alone, it would be a very cool but easy puzzle, so Peter added a bit to make it more difficult. Overall, a very nice puzzle!

Here is a set of R.D. Rose Puzzles that Rob Stegmann brought. Each is beautifully machined out of aluminum and has a unique trick. The round and the square ones have tricks that are fairly common, but they are particularly well implemented here. The triangle has a trick that I hadn't seen before, which is pretty neat. It wasn't too hard to figure out, but was quite satisfying when you unlock it. Very cool!

Rob also brought Bi-Polar by Orb Factory, which I was quite interested to try because Rob recommends it to new collectors. I had looked for it and didn't have much luck, so I was glad to give it a try.

You will immediately notice that one of the knobs comes off magnetically, I think it is the red one. The puzzle wiggles a bit around the center, but won't come apart. I played around with this one for a little while before I discovered the solution. I wasn't sure what I had done, but upon looking at the mechanism I could see what happened.

This next puzzle is Geburt by the mysterious Roger. Nobody knows who he is, but he makes some clever and equally mysterious puzzles. Frequently, it is hard to even tell what the objective is, and this one is no exception.

Our hypothesis was that the goal is to get a small ball-bearing out of the hole in the lower part of this one. There is a bolt that is covered by the black cap that goes all the way through the metal tube. In the bolt, a hole has been drilled in which a small ball-bearing sits. Presumably, once you get the hole in the bolt lined up with the hole in the body, you can get it out.

Just now I used Google Translate to see that "Geburt" means "birth", which makes a lot of sense given our hypothesis. It also explains the bumps on the front, which may or may not have anything to do with the puzzle.

I didn't work on this one for long since I knew it would be quite difficult and there were a lot of other things I wanted to try. I would love to have spent more time with this one though!

The next puzzle I tried was Eis by Roger, also brought by Rob. This one is a bit more straightforward that the others I have seen, but it is by no means easy. Rob said it was similar to Revomaze, so I went about solving it with that in mind.

The bronze shaft moves in and out of the aluminum sleeve, similar to Revomaze. It was a bit hard to tell what was going on inside, but it felt somewhat similar. After a bit of fiddling, eventually I was able to get it apart. I think it probably took me a good 10-20 minutes though, definitely not easy! I wasn't a huge fan of this one, since its size makes it hard to grip and manipulate precisely, which is necessary to solve it. Still, it is always fun to try a Roger puzzle, since you never know what to expect!

Up next, Jim would be giving a talk about some questions he frequently gets asked about his collection and the answers. This seems like a good place for a break, so I'll continue with that in Part 4.

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