Thursday, 23 August 2012

IPP Thursday afternoon

Gill and I spent the morning wandering around some of the monuments in DC on our own, having navigated the Metro into the centre of town (not an especially tough puzzle, to be fair) – we watched aircraft wheeling into Reagan and banking across the Jefferson Memorial while tourists pedalled boats on the river. Weaved our way between sprinklers dodging the spray through the parking lot, thinking more than once that it might be rather pleasant to wander into the spray for just a bit, then noticed a young girl doing exactly that. A few minutes later a large white van drove past us and stopped at the corner for two huge guys to get out and go and stand in the middle of the spray, arms outstretched cooling down – perhaps it wasn’t just us tourists from England who were feeling the heat that morning.

We sat on the lawn at the Washington memorial (in the shade!) and took some pics before heading up toward the White House for yet more touristy pics. From there we wandered across to a cafe for an iced coffee and some a/c – not sure which one went down better! After a short wander through the shops, we took the Metro back to Pentagon City where we found a Johnny Rockets (long story, but we like the milkshakes and burgers) so decided we’d have to come back there again...

Back at the hotel I got distracted by Pavel Curtis introducing some of his word games to Bram Cohen and a small group of puzzlers so I stopped and joined the puzzling – really enjoyed the multi-layer combination of a physical puzzle and several layers of word-puzzles and some serious lateral thinking – all of them gave some really good A-HA moments a few times through the solution process.  Not sure how far we’d have got without Pavel’s expert gentle guidance from the sidelines when we got stuck though.

During the afternoon I met the amazing force of nature called Stephen Chin (or more commonly Chinny or Chinnomoto) and Matt Dawson who gave me a lovely box of chocolates (the state’s finest!) as a thank you for connecting him to some folks back in the UK who were interested in getting hold of a copy of his exchange puzzle – heck that was easy – and I got a box of chocolates for my “trouble”.  I met Derek and Michelle Bosch and got introduced to little Ann who was doing her impression of the best behaved toddler in the world at the time! I congratulated Derek on opening his Revomaze Gold during the past week and we chatted a bit about it as a puzzle, or not... and "recent developments".

I met Ken Irvine, another first-time IPP-er who was generally around with his rucksack full of new designs – always happy to take them out for folks to play with. They turned out to be a huge hit and I’m sure that Ken got sick and tired of telling folks that he didn’t have any for sale, he’d just brought one of each of his designs for folks to play with ... although as I write this, Tom Lensch and Eric Fuller have already committed to producing some of Ken’s designs and Bernhard Schweitzer has also been making promising noises along the same lines, so hopefully they’ll be available in due course – the designs I had a crack at were all excellent ... one of them has all the feel and play of one of Mine’s cubes, except it doesn’t have the little tricky bit to it ... making it more of an honest puzzle, but just as much fun to play with!

The puzzle design room sucked me back in again and I had a wonderful time playing with some of the designs, again. This time with a little more success!
Peter Wiltshire’s Ferris’ Box is a truly excellent puzzle box – it looks like a 3*3*3 cube inside a maple frame and none of the usual tricks seems to do anything, but when things do start to move, boy are they interesting! It was a really fun box to solve and a real treat to play with – Peter’s crafting skills are superb and it’s not hard to see why it won the Jury First Prize ... Peter made a limited number of them and most of them will be in the Apothecary Chest project ... a few of which might be sold off once the project is complete. I suspect he must have gotten sick and tired of the repeated requests for one of his boxes because he’s subsequently decided to make a further four copies, in different woods to set them apart from the first limited edition run and sell them via one of the puzzle auctions ... keep an eye out for that one, it’s a cracker!

I made absolutely no progress on the Packman puzzle (again!) but did manage to solve Double Symmetry (the three orange triangle puzzle) which sort of surprised me as I am usually rubbish at that sort of puzzle (making symmetrical shapes from weird pieces). This puzzle gives you three odd triangles and asks you to make a pair of symmetrical shapes...

At one point I found myself puzzling next to Brian Young so introduced myself and we ended up chatting about life, the universe and puzzle blogs. 

Neither of us was convinced that his linking to my blog posts had actually done much for his sales, but at least I was able to name a couple of folks who’d bought an Opening Bat after seeing mine and hearing about it. While we were talking about his Opening Bat he told me about one of his serious collectors who’d sent him an email just after he’d received his copy saying “Is that it?”. Brian suggested he reserve judgement until he’d at least tried playing with it first, and several days later there was another email along saying “Ah, now I understand...” – Brian wouldn’t say how long it subsequently took him to get through all three locks properly.  It was great chatting to Brian and really felt that we came at life from a similar perspective – perhaps it’s a Southern-Hemisphere-approach-to-life-thing?

Eric Fuller and Robert Yarger whirled through the design room and the registration desk in a bit of a flurry – one had mailed his gear for the evening do along with his puzzles and the other had been delayed, and they were sharing a room ... all ended well, with the two of them making the do in the evening with plenty of time to spare ...more on which in the next post ...


  1. You do realise Allard that at some point you're going to have to explain the photos of the Puzzle Box in the photos and the pictures of the Joker ...

    But until then I'll leave people guessing!

    1. You are right about that Neil, I am eager to hear the story, but was told not to ask, so I won't !-)

    2. The oracle has noted your interest and will respond fully in due course ... woodchuck!