September 3, 2010

Dovetail Jewel Box and Banded Dovetails

The two puzzles that I borrowed from Jeff that stumped me for the longest were Sandfield's Dovetail Jewel Box and Sandfield's Banded Dovetails. Sandfield's Dovetail Jewel Box was designed by Robert Sandfield and made by Perry McDaniel. As far as I know, it is the last of the exchange puzzles made by Perry for the Sandfield brothers, and it is a doozy! Check out Jeff's site for his post about this puzzle.

As you can see from this lovely photo by Jeff, it comes with a key, and has a keyhole on the front. There is a dovetail on the front as well, which is persistant theme both Robert and Norman Sandfield's exchange puzzles. On the back is a metal hinge. As with all of Perry's work, it is exquisitely crafted with a nice finish and just the right fit.

The really clever thing about this puzzle is the sheer number of red herrings that were included. This is was quite amusing, since I kept discovering something that must be the solution (since I had tried everything else), but it turned out to be a red herring.

This one took me several hours to solve across several days, but I think some will find it a bit easier. For some reason my mind did not think to explore a particular possibility for quite a while. I had the right idea, but I just wasn't going about it in the right manner. Eventually, after carefully inspecting it, I was able to rule out all but one option, which was the solution!

This is a really great puzzle, but to appreciate it fully it helps to be familiar with the other boxes in the series. The solution given is quite amusing, since it actually takes you through each of the red herrings: "Try X. Notice that X has nothing to do with the solution. Disregard X."  Funny stuff!

Jewel Box is confusing due to all of the red herrings, since there are many ways to approach it, but Banded Dovetails is tricky because it gives you absolutely nothing to work with. Check out Jeff's post about it here.

At first inspection, it is completely fused together and nothing will budge. It is beautifully crafted by Kathleen Malcolmson and designed by Perry McDaniel as Robert Sandfield's Exchange puzzle in 2008.

I worked on this one for quite a while, again employing all of the familiar tricks that are common in these dovetail puzzles. However, I did not have much luck. Eventually, I stumbled across the solution which is quite elegant in its simplicity. They could have easily made it a bit tougher, but I think this was just right: it is quite difficult as it is! Another very nice puzzle!

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