Sunday 10 February 2013

Midlands Puzzle Party #9

Saturday saw a bunch of the usual suspects meeting up in Warwick for MPP9. A couple of old friends showed up as well as a bunch of new faces... in spite of the foul weather that the Met office managed to conjure up for us!

I rocked up a few minutes late having had to stop on the motorway to remove a precariously dangling wing mirror, only to come across a chap who’d parked his 1-series in the central barrier at speed (he was fine) and managed to get two lanes of said motorway closed... so by the time I’d arrived, several folks were already there and unpacking, the tea, coffee and nibbles were already laid out and there was nothing left for me to help with... so I unpacked some puzzles, made a cup of coffee and piled into the banter, puzzling, and ritual winding up of Kevin, Oli and whoever happened to be nearest at the time.

I’d taken a bunch of Stickmen along under strict instructions from newcomer Jamie (“Bring your most precious Stickmen and the puzzles you took to Peter Hajek’s place!” was the direct quote I believe – how could I refuse?)   - and several folks had a go at them over the course of the day. I got a huge kick seeing the smile on Vadim’s face (he of TP-forum-fame) when he solved the Stickman Sliding Tile Box from scratch, finding both compartments without any prompting.

A few of the guys had a go on the Checkmate Box – I’d suggested they don’t bother trying without the solution in front of them and Oli managed to navigate his way through solving one half of the box ... but I suspect he was the only one who managed it on the day.

Joe had brought along a great selection of John Devost’s packing puzzles and I spent a while working on one of the Coffin designs, and got absolutely nowhere. (Nope, I’m not surprised either!) He’d also made up a bunch of braided dollar bills that he was dishing out to anyone who showed the slightest interest in them or in the impossible folded cards he had on display.

Bruce had brought along a fearsome collection of hedgehog puzzles, ranging from Wil’s Prague Special, through a series of wooden and aluminium traditional hedgehogs, up to a set of highly colourful and extremely funky Japanese creatures in cages.

Kevin had brought some of the bounty he’s been buying from Bernhard (and there were some beautiful wooden pieces among them!) along with some of the unusual twisty puzzles he’s been playing with and blogging about recently ... and watching some of the less timid (or more twisty?) puzzlers playing with some of the shape-shifting designs I was reminded of just how rubbish a puzzler I am – shape-shifting twisty puzzles scare the daylights out of me!

Nigel’s table looked like a veritable Wil Strijbos exhibition – nicely themed with professional-looking labels for each puzzle – with just about every recent (and not so recent!) Strijbos cola bottle, aluminium puzzle and dovetail out for the world to play with. 

Chris had brought a selection of the more unusual puzzle boxes in his collection to show Satomi, one of our guests for the day, some of the more interesting Japanese puzzle boxes out there. Satomi has recently begun selling Japanese puzzle boxes locally and a few of the guys were recommending her great service and pretty competitive prices. 

Ali had brought along a set of memory drawers that we all had a play around with (how the heck does it remember?!) and a few of the guys brought their Super-Cubi’s along for a group photo with the King... how often do you see that? 

Satomi’s table generally had a bunch of people clustered around it having a rake through the puzzle boxes she had for sale and judging from some of the pics of loot that various folks have already posted, I suspect she did OK out of it. 

Ali brought the entire collection of Rocky bolts, Popplocks and a bunch of other very fine puzzles. 

Several KCubes made an appearance although nobody had a serious go at Steve’s 3000-odd move one. Several folks had brought along various Revomazes in Neil’s stunning clear sleeves and there were plenty of admiring noises from those that hadn’t received theirs yet ... it was fun watching Joe solve my Gold without the benefit of the combination code... :-) 

Steve Nicholls has clearly been exercising his 3D printer and had a crate-full of printed puzzles for sale, including a couple of the very latest super-high level burrs that have literally only just been published! A couple of those found their way to a good home ... and I couldn’t resist a psychedelic peanut and a rather patriotic-looking CubeBurr before I had a root around in Steve’s crates of spare puzzles – anything for a fiver! – and helping myself to a bunch of heavy metal entanglement puzzles (that I’m rubbish at!). 

Steve’s copy of Ned Kelly got a thorough dismembering courtesy of Adin – who did significantly better than Chris and I had managed at James’ place a little while back when we could only get as far as ripping his chest open...

Things only really started to wind down at about 6pm – after we’d been going for 9 hours solid! I reckon that says a lot about what happens when a bunch of puzzlers get together and someone throws in some random puzzles. 

As Gromit might say “That were another grand day out.”


  1. Hi Allard, looks like all had a really good time with so many puzzles. Thanks for the write-up and photos. Any way for me to get an aluminium hedgehog, the one with the diagonal slots?

    Oh by the way, I notice some familiar names but don't know who is who in the photos, except for Oli. Where is Kevin?

    1. Hi Jerry ... think the only shot with Kevin in it above has him partially obscured...I'll need to post a pic for you...

      Not sure where Bruce got all his aluminium hedgehogs from - I've seen Wil have them occasionally and think I recall seeing one or two at Sloyd...


  2. Hi Allard

    the czech hedgehogs were organized by me for Bruce, he asked and a friend of my in Prague bouth and sent the pieces to me;
    I think it was a nice MPP there with all the puzzels and playing guys there
    happy puzzling

    1. A-Ha! Thanks Bernhard! - There you go Jerry - Mister Schweitzer is your man! :-)


  3. Had a fantastic time as usual! Thanks to Nigel for organising and ALL the boys for coming to play. Got my fill of puzzleboxes again for a while. Hopefully will see you all agin soon.


  4. Hi
    Sorry am a newbie here. Is the puzzle party an invitation only event?

    1. Hi - our Midlands Puzzle Parties are open to anyone who likes puzzles - we meet for a day every couple of months in Warwick - next meeting is in June and there's a Facebook group you can join for details of our meetings... the International Puzzle Party is by invitation only and meets annually in a different city around the world for 3-4 days... hope that answers the question.