April 13, 2011

Cast Cricket

Cast Cricket is another puzzle in the excellent Cast Puzzles series by Hanayama. It was based on a designed patented in England back in 1898 and was adapted for Hanayama by James Dalgety, who has the only world's only known remaining original version of this puzzle. Puzzle Master was kind enough to send me a copy of this puzzle to review!

I had refrained from purchasing this one for a while partly because I didn't quite understand how it would work. Just from looking at the picture, it didn't seem like it would be very interesting, but I should have known better! It actually ended up being a fairly good puzzle.

There are only two parts, the wicket and the spur of cricket bats, and the goal is to separate the two. You'll quickly notice that there are some protrusions on each cricket bat that keep this from being a straightforward task. You can rotate it around a bit and get it so that only one bat remains stuck, but that's the tricky part!

I played around with this one for a bit, and just ended up going in circles. After I stopped and thought about it, I was able to figure out how to proceed and solved it. Woo hoo! I think it took me a good 10 minutes though, which is more than I would have expected for a difficulty 1/6. I think this one should probably be a 2/6, since the solution is actually fairly subtle and the solution path is several steps long. The solution is good in that it takes advantage of a mental block that most people will have, which is a great quality for a puzzle to have!

I brought it to a dinner party, along with a few other Hanayamas, and folks seemed to have a good time with it. One fellow was quite vexed by it for a while, but eventually he was able to figure it out. I would say that on average, it took about 10-15 minutes for people to solve, if they had the patience to finish it.

As for the construction, due to the spindly nature of the pieces, it is quite a bit lighter than most of the other Hanayama puzzles, which makes it feel a bit cheap by comparison. However, while light, it does feel quite sturdy and you definitely would have a hard time forcing it or breaking it. One thing I don't like about this puzzle is the fact that it doesn't display particularly well. The base of the wicket isn't quite wide enough to stand it on end, and even then, the cricket bat spur wouldn't have anywhere to rest.

Overall, I thought Cast Cricket was a solid puzzle and enjoyed solving it. It is not one of my favorites in the series, but it is still worth checking out.

4 comments:

  1. 1989 ?

    Good blog !

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  2. I think this puzzle is better if you are a Cricket fan. I have this puzzle and I didn't realize until just now that the object with three bars that the bats are entangled in is a cricket wicket! Nice to know the interesting history of the puzzle.

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  3. Indeed! Perhaps the little lumps on the cricket bats means something too. The single ones look a bit like balls, but the one with two protrusions in the bottom right of the photo look weird, I wonder what those could be.

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Please don't post spoilers! Thanks for commenting!

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