Saturday, 27 June 2015

Supersymmetry

Here's another put-together puzzle that I got nowhere with. Supersymmetry is Stewart Coffin's #247 design and was Tom Rodger's IPP30 exchange puzzle in Osaka, Japan in 2010.


I saw the Supersymmetry during one of Nick Baxter's puzzle auctions and there were around seven copies available for sale. It looked really cool (and had such a cool name too!) being made of walnut, with its own plastic container and "appeared" quite do-able for me. After all, there are only 6 pieces and they didn't look like complicated burr pieces with multiple notches and grooves, so how tough could it be right? wrong, I should have know better that a Coffin puzzle would not be easy. So I went for it and made sure I won a copy.

Looks symmetrical, but is not and can't fit into the container

Well, when it arrived a couple of weeks later, I had problems from day one. While only 6 pieces consisting of equal length rods, the notches were cut diagonally. The object was to form a symmetrical shape and there were 8 solutions for this. I would have been happy to just find one solution, never mind it didn't fit into the plastic container. But unfortunately, I could not even get the rods to interlock together to form any sort of shape at all!


Burr Tools of course was no help for puzzles like these. But I happen to know that fellow puzzler and collector, Oli Sovary-Soos had a copy of the same puzzle (and Oli is quite a super-solver). So I promptly shot him a message for help. He very kindly responded with photos of the solved Supersymmetry from different angles. After quite a good number of days of on-and-off trying, I still got nowhere and asked if he had a step by step solution. The orientation of the rods and how they interlocked I just couldn't figure out from the photos. He sent a second round of photos, this time one photo showed a partial dis-assembly. With this I managed to get an interlocking puzzle, but still not a symmetrical one. Finally after several more tries, I got the right solution; which slipped nicely into the container.

Very difficult, even looking at photos. Trying to get the pieces just to come together properly (without force) is very hard in itself (and even Oli says he doesn't dare to fully take apart his copy). I doubt I will be removing and disentangling the pieces anytime soon, just happy to leave it in its container.

6 comments:

  1. Jerry it looks deceptively complex. I often use the photos of the finished puzzle to help solve it, and since that is still really hard in most cases it still seems satisfying! Nice post.
    Steve
    http://boxesandbooze.blogspot.com/?m=1

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  2. Well done Jerry! I'm glad you got there in the end. It's a nightmare having a puzzle sitting around in pieces for too long.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Oli for your help. You are absolutely right, this one is a real nightmare

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  3. Are the six pieces identical? I must admit I have this puzzle but have never attempted it!

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    Replies
    1. George, from what I can tell, there are 3 congruent pairs

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