Monday, 14 April 2014

Coffin’s Octet in F

At the risk of being accused of becoming a tray-packing nut, there’s one more interesting tray puzzle that I managed to acquire recently. 

Octet in F was Rosemary Howbrigg’s IPP32 Exchange Puzzle. I’d seen them for sale in Washington but for some reason I hadn’t bought myself a copy there, so when I spotted a bunch of them on Nick Baxter’s auction, I made sure I picked up a copy. 

Octet in F is Stewart Coffin’s design number 258(!). Your challenge is to arrange 4 F-tetrominoes and 4 High-4-pentominoes into the slightly skewed frame… which has a couple of little intrusions in the corners, presumably to prevent some false solutions. 
This one’s a tough little sod – you have a reasonable number of pieces to contend with and a pair of different shapes (albeit the one is just a slight extension on the other). 

I’d spent a while playing with this one and not getting anywhere when Louis arrived for one of our puzzling weekends centred around an MPP. It was out on the desk so he duly picked it up and started fiddling around with it. Something else must have come up as he didn’t solve it right there and then, but the next morning it was lined up on the desk with a bunch of other puzzles, neatly solved. 

Given how hard it is to find a solution, it’s quite amazing to see just how much spare room there is in the frame when this puzzle has been solved.

Classic Coffin tray-packing puzzle at a jolly reasonable price!