December 7, 2011

Burr in Cage

Recently Jean-Baptiste Jacquin and Maurice Vigouroux created an online puzzle shop, Arteludes, where they are selling a number of puzzles that they have made. The site is in French, but they're currently working on an English version. For now, you can view it with Google translate, and that seems to work pretty well. They were kind enough to offer to send me a sample of their work, Burr in Cage. Thanks!

Burr in Cage is a design by Keiichiro Ishino, who runs the awesome Puzzle Will Be Played website. It is no wonder that he comes up with interesting designs after cataloging so many others! The puzzle is beautifully crafted by Maurice out of a number of exotic woods. I thought that the use of a variety of woods added nicely to the visual appeal of this puzzle. The fit and finish of the pieces is also very good!

I've been having puzzles shipped to my wife's office recently, since I work from home and folks have had packages stolen from my building. I don't want to take any chances! This makes me all the more delighted when she returns home when she has a new puzzle for me! I fiddled with this one for a few minutes while she was figuring out what to cook, but then set it aside to help out.

After we ate, I returned to it and managed to remove the first piece after about 5-10 minutes, not too tricky! I patted myself on the back and put it back together, since we were planning on going out swing dancing shortly. I figured that I could return to it later and complete the disassembly, since I had presumably completed the hard part already.

The following morning, I revisited the puzzle to finish taking it apart, and I was quite surprised to find that I couldn't easily do it! Usually once you remove the first piece, getting the rest of the pieces out is pretty easy now that you have more room to work with. However, this is not the case for this puzzle, much to my chagrin. I worked on it for another 45 minutes or so before I finally figured it out, phew! It is a sneaky little move that is easy to miss among all the other movements that are possible. After that, the rest comes apart pretty easily.

If I had read the description, I would have known that it was a level 4.12 puzzle, meaning that it takes 4 moves to remove the first piece and 12 moves to remove the second. They also note that the first piece is easy, and the second piece is much more difficult. It was a fun little surprise discovering this on my own though.

Getting it back together wasn't too hard, since I kept good track of where the pieces were during the disassembly. I think it would prove a bit difficult to assemble if you mixed up the pieces though, and even more so if you weren't aware of how it came apart to begin with. I ran into one minor issue with the fit: there was a slight inconsistency in the size of the holes in the cage, such that the first two pieces wouldn't fit in one of the possible orientations, but by rotating the cage to a different orientation it worked fine.

Overall, I thought this was a top notch burr, not impossible but a good level of difficulty to keep me busy for a while. The craftsmanship is quite good as well, so definitely worth checking out.


  1. Recently Jean-Baptiste Jacquin and Maurice Vigouroux created an online puzzle shop, Arteludes, where they are selling a number of puzzles that they have made.

    The puzzle they sell as Hexogone is a design I made last year. (Ishino - 4L Co-Mo) Not very happy that they sell it as their design.

  2. Ah, that's not good! Perhaps you should email them, it is likely a mistake.


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