After a lovely time at the New York Puzzle Party on Saturday, I spent most of Sunday morning and afternoon at Brett Kuehner's house solving some puzzles. Rob Stegmann was there, and Ken Irvine also stopped by.
IPP 2009 Design Competition.
Rob's site. Two of the pieces are two units long, and the rest are all one unit cubes. The pegs must be in the correct orientation relative to a hole in the adjacent piece. The correct solution has no exposed holes or pegs.
The box is mainly just decorative, though it also serves the function of keeping the pieces from falling apart if somebody idly picks it up. It looks nice too!
I spent a bit of time on Saturday evening, but didn't have much luck since I was getting tired. Sunday morning I took another crack at it with renewed vigor. The interesting thing about this puzzle is that the obvious solutions don't seem to work. I sat there and tried all the permutations I could think of, but oddly none of them worked! Clearly I wasn't approaching it correctly. I tried a few things that I thought make be the trick, but they didn't work either!
Eventually, I had a revelation that led me to the solution, and was quite impressed. This is a very cool puzzle design. I didn't think I would like it, but I was mistaken. You really need to go through the process of solving this one to appreciate it though. It definitely took me longer than 5 minutes! Probably closer to 45 minutes.
Kcube Designs. The first one that I tried was his 419 move box, shown here.
I had tried his MMMDXLVI box that requires 3546 moves to open while at IPP30. Check out this entry if you'd like to read about my struggle with it. The 419 move box was a piece of cake by comparison!
It has a regular pattern to it based on a trinary gray code, so it is mainly just a matter of keeping track of where you are in the pattern. It isn't too hard since you can really only go forward or backward in the pattern, but sometimes it is easy to get confused and start going the wrong direction. I think it took me a good 30 minutes or so to open and close this one, maybe a bit longer.
I think I spent a good 10 minutes on this one, and enjoyed solving it. At first, it seemed like only one path was possible, but then I hit a dead end. After puzzling over it for a bit, I discovered the solution. Pretty tricky, but doable in a reasonable amount of time, which I liked.
That brings me to the end of my series on my trip down to New York for the New York Puzzle Party. Thanks again to Brett Kuehner for inviting me to stay in his home, and to Tom Cutrofello for organizing the event. I'm looking forward to it again next year!
17 hours ago