Saturday, 31 May 2014

5 Minute Puzzle That May Take Longer

5 Minute Puzzle That May Take Longer

Andy Turner

Eric Fuller. Website 36 copies were made in 2010, each priced at US$49, currently sold out.

Type & Classification
Interlocking; 3D Packing.

7cm (Length) x 7cm (Width) x 6.5cm (Height)

Materials & Construction
The box is made from Oak and the pieces are made from Bubinga or Paduak. Mine came with Paduak. Construction, fit and finish is excellent. All the pieces with their pegs fit snugly but smoothly into each other and the box. Nice contrast of colours between the woods.

This puzzle which has a somewhat long and unusual name (what a mouthful) came to me courtesy of Goh Pit KhiamThe puzzle consists of 6 pieces; 4 of which are cube blocks and the remaining 2 are double cubes glued together. 

From the exterior it looks like any other ordinary 3D packing puzzle. Once you start removing the pieces, you will discover that its anything but that. Each of the 6 pieces have holes drilled into the sides with a peg sticking out from one of the holes.

Apart from figuring out how to slot the cube blocks back into the box (which is actually pretty easy if its just on their own), the challenge is also getting the pegs to fit into the correct holes of the other blocks, so that all the blocks will come together and fall nicely into the box. Something that probably takes more than 5 minutes and it certainly took me way much longer than that. In fact once you scramble all the pieces, it can become very confusing. 

Thank goodness the holes are only on 2 sides of each cube while the double cubes have pegs and holes on just one surface. But even then I still had a fair bit of trouble packing everything back; one or two blocks just won't fit (damn pegs!). Good thing I always photo-document each step so I can refer back if necessary.

Difficulty Level
For me it was very challenging. The puzzle came to me solved, so I had some advantage but even then...? Knowing that the solved state has no holes visible on the outside of the blocks does narrow the possibilities and provides some guidance but it is still not easy. 

A departure from the usual 3D "pack-the blocks-in-the-box" type puzzle. Would appeal to expert puzzlers. First of its kind for me and I was very lucky to get my copy from Goh who was willing to part with it.

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