Saturday 30 April 2011

Coffin Involute Cube

Unlike the previous puzzle, I had managed to find out a little about this one before I ordered it from Kayleb’s Corner. Bernhard Schweitzer helpfully has a short write up in his Puzzlewood Gallery here and the Metagrobology wiki lists it as Stewart Coffin’s design #214. 
From the description it sounded like it would be a challenging little puzzle, being a development of his well known Convolution Cube, that had itself brought a new twist to an old topic. This one was made chiefly of maple and has dark wood corner cubes – that’s got to help, right? 

OK, so first off there’s a coded clue in the description of the puzzle that suggests that Burr Tools isn’t going to be a whole lot of use ... Great! There goes the main tool in my attack! But I can take it apart without help, can’t I?

Good news – this one starts out a lot easier than the Seven Block – there’s a reasonably easy to find key piece that comes out relatively easily, which logically releases  some bits to slide across and disengage – so far so good...

Then me hits the usual little brick wall – and I spent a while staring at half a cube with one floppy piece moving around all over the place, but refusing to come free ... so a couple of times I rebuild it and try something different, reckoning that this is a blind alley or a red herring designed to lead the unwary puzzler astray ... and this little 4*4*4 cube is making me feel rather unwary!

OK so we go backwards and forwards on that track a couple of times, trying without much luck to find any other alternative moves – nada! And again this thing feels like the rest of the cube could well be glued together (but I’ve learnt my lesson on that one: Coffin wouldn’t do that, he’s too much of a gent!). 

Having convinced myself there are no alternatives to what I’ve already discovered, I concentrate on what I can do from there, apply a couple of the little grey cells and deduce (thanks Father William of Ockham!) what should happen, and it jolly does – this little A-HA! moment is terrific! Right, so you know there’s a twist in the tail, but that twist is beautifully disguised and requires things to be done just-so ... and when they are, a little magic happens ... and the rest of the pieces will allow themselves to be teased slowly apart... 

Putting it back together is easy if you keep the pieces all nicely lined up (see previous comments about second- rate puzzler!) – but actually those coloured corner cubes are quite useful ... and if you’re really stuck, you can always use Burr Tools (can you tell I’m a big fan?!) – of course it’ll quite rightly tell you there’s only a single assembly, but that, sadly, there are no solutions ... ! :-0

[...yes, I've kept the key piece out of shot again just to confuse you!] 

I’m quite new to Mr Coffin’s designs, but I’m already a big fan! Thank you sir!

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