Friday, 19 April 2013

a-ha! Straight Arrow / Rectangular Jam


Name
a-ha! Straight Arrow (also known as Rectangular Jam)

Designer
Hirokazu Iwasawa


Manufacturer
ThinkFun. Puzzle cost $4.99. Also available from Amazon at $6.83. The wooden version (known as Rectangular Jam) costs 19.15EUR from Finnish online puzzle retailer Sloyd.

Type & Classification
Sliding puzzle

Dimensions
8.2cm (Length) 8.2cm (Width) x 2.5cm (Height).

Materials & Construction
Entire puzzle and pieces are made of sturdy plastic, could be ABS resin. Well made, solid and durable.

IPP
The Rectangular Jam was Hirokazu Iwasawa's puzzle design competition entry at IPP25 in Helsinki, Finland in 2005. It won the Judges' Honourable Mention. Iwasawa, who has also won several awards at various IPPs for his designs, is the man behind the AlCyl (Blue Cylinder) and Tritalon, both reviewed earlier in this blog.


Overview
This puzzle was loaned to me by fellow Singaporean and prolific puzzle designer Goh Pit Khiam whom I had the pleasure of meeting and having dinner with a couple days ago.

While it looks small and simple with only four pieces in a tray, this is quite a devious little creature. The object is to slide the green arrow out of the slot on the side of the tray without lifting the arrow or any of the rectangular pieces off the tray. Given the size of the pieces and their positions in the tray, it looks to be physically impossible. When I first played with it, I thought it was impossible too.

But obviously there is a solution and I might add a rather elegant (in Goh's words) and simple one really. Nice trick to it. Once you have figured the necessary moves, you can solve the puzzle in about under 20 seconds.

Difficulty Level
Challenging but not too difficult. Something that is likely to take minutes (or perhaps hours) to solve rather than days.... which is the type I like.

Summary
A good quality and fun pocket-sized puzzle. In plastic, it is very good value for money also.

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