This very nice puzzle came to me from one of the recent Baxterweb puzzle auctions. It was designed and made by Yoh Kakuda from the Karakuri Creation Group of Hakone, Japan. Who are these people, what sort of puzzles do they make, how to "join the club" and and get their "Christmas Presents" (soon to happen this month)?...well, you can check out Allard Walker's blog post which gives a good concise summary.
Yoh Kakuda, who is one of just several puzzle craftswomen, among the many men in the Group has so far centered her creations mainly around animals. The Skunk Attack was made by her in early 2011.
It is made from a combination of woods including Wenge, Cucumber and Shiuri Cherry. Karakuri puzzles are of really exceptional build quality and craftsmanship, which accounts for their high retail price. And the Skunk is no different. The refinement and attention to detail of the puzzle is incredible. Even the packaging is high class. My Skunk Attack came in a rectangular blue box and if you didn't know it contains a puzzle, you would probably have thought it was something from Tiffany's. (For those less well informed, Tiffany's is a luxury goods and jewelry retailer whose trademark colour is egg blue, quite similar to the colour here).
From a puzzling perspective, the difficulty levels of Karakuri puzzles vary greatly. They can range from being extremely difficult right down to downright simple (ie; one or two moves to solve). If I had to grade my Skunk Attack, I would say its probably 1 or 1.5/10. For experienced puzzlers, no sweat at all.
The object here is to open a secret drawer. What I like about the Skunk Attack (even tho it is very easy) is the cute way its solved...really gels in with the theme of "stink". In fact I have played with another of Yoh Kaduda's, the "Anteater" and that one is also very easy. Some may feel that the puzzling experience of some Karakuri puzzles do not justify the cost...well to each his own. I tend to look upon a Karakuri puzzle as a sculpture or work of art that also happens to be a puzzle.