Monday, 5 October 2020

Box Rebellion

I’ve always maintained that Eric Fuller has a wonderful knack for selecting really interesting puzzles and then crafting them absolutely sublimely. He recently decided to make a run of Stewart Coffin’s Box Rebellion puzzles and I was delighted – I’d been trying to nab a copy of Walt Hoppe’s 2004 exchange version for a while and haven’t ever managed to come close enough to actually getting one up to now – so I made sure I didn’t miss out on one of Eric’s copies.

I was not disappointed: Eric has done his usual stellar job of producing a puzzle that not only looks wonderful, but the tolerances make it play absolutely beautifully too.

Four simple little L-shaped Padauk pieces need to be inserted into a lovely Canarywood box with a partial clear acrylic cover restricting entry to the box just a little. There’s a handy circular hole in one end that lets you get a finger inside the box in case you need to manoeuvre the little L’s inside the box, and that's about it… well, one other thing that you’ll notice right away is that the clear lid-piece slides back and forth a tiny bit – and knowing Eric’s attention to detail, you’ll realise that cannot be a mistake.

Solving this one was all about experimentation for me – you might as well start with the obvious, so I did… and quickly found that it’s easy to get a few of those L’s in there, but it quickly becomes impossible to get the last ones in there… and there’s only four of them to put in there!

Having a bit of a Think (c) is always a good idea, and if that’s not enough, then a far more serious examination of exactly what is possible, and what isn’t, will probably pay dividends.

I love how this puzzle leads you through all the dead-ends and then reveals little bits that might just be useful before finally allowing you to string all those things together into a sequence of events that see you dropping the final piece into place with all four L’s neatly below the clear lid.

An excellent design from one master, perfectly crafted by another master.

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