Monday, 11 April 2011

Variations on a theme...

I came across the purple puzzle on a visit to Hamley’s in London years ago ... it had the usual colourful Thinkfun packaging, but what caught my eye was the tagline on the box: “The world’s most difficult 4-piece jigsaw” – and yeah, verily, it looked just like a simple 4-piece jigsaw puzzle inside the box ... but how can you resist a challenge like that? It was only a few quid, so I picked one up...

Open the packaging and things got ‘interesting’ – there are indeed 4 simple looking jigsaw pieces, except they don’t seem to come apart – they seem rather more joined up than they really should be, until you notice that the edges aren’t particularly square, which results in them forming a bit of a spiral – in fact, just enough of a spiral to stop you from getting the darn pieces apart ... Hmmm, nice ... 

OK, so as puzzles go, it’s not going to stop a hardened puzzler for very long, but it’s cute, and it’ll entertain non-puzzlers for a while – in fact it’s one of my old favourites for giving someone to fiddle with if they look a bit intimidated by some of the more complicated looking puzzles – who can resist a 4-piece jigsaw, after all? 

Cool thing is that they seem to pop up all over the place – in different materials – I found the wooden one online recently and couldn’t resist adding it to the hoard and the Hanayama Cast Spiral takes the same concept to another plane altogether ... not just by adding an extra piece and changing the shapes, but being made from cast metal, the tolerances are pretty fine and you need to get things just so before making your move – as a result, your chances of fluking a solution are reasonably small.

... a couple of variations on an interesting theme...

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