Sunday 10 April 2011


(I may have mentioned this before, and I’ll certainly keep saying it in the future... but ...) I really like puzzles that look like they must be stupidly simple, and then totally blow your mind ... Blockhead by Bill Cutler is definitely one of those puzzles. 

It’s a packing puzzle that consists of a walnut frame and four square cherry wood blocks sitting neatly, even squarely, in the frame. Right this’ll be tough then! So you tip the blocks out of the frame and then put them back in, at which point you notice that things weren’t quite as they seemed when the bits were in the frame ... in fact, those neat square blocks now look anything but square! 


OK, so the obvious thing is to examine the blocks and work out how they might fit together, and thankfully, there are several ways, or so it seems ... until you try and do that inside that innocuous looking frame – it’s really straight-forward to get any three blocks into that frame, but the last one will never go in – and it has to, they were in there when you got it, and they simply tipped out ...

It’s a lovely, simple looking puzzle that will keep folks entertained for quite some time – once you work out the trick to getting that final piece in, you realise there’s a lot of subtlety to those simple looking blocks – John Devost has done a lovely job of making these for Bill – the frame is beautifully finished and the blocks ‘work’ really well – totally innocuous one minute and fiendish the next.

When I enquired about buying this from Bill, he tried to dissuade me from buying the lovely wooden one on the grounds that the cheaper plastic version, that he had a couple left of, actually had better fitting pieces ... so I did what any hoarder would do in my position and asked for one of each – Bill’s a jolly good salesman, I suspect! 

And he was absolutely right, the fit on the plastic version is a lot tighter, but John D’s wooden version just looks the business!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice review! I'd like to add your photos of the 'Blockhead' I made to my Gallery pics if you don't mind...john :)