Friday 19 April 2013

The last Dvořák goodies for now...

...and so onto the third instalment covering my little order of puzzling-goodness from Jakub.  This post includes three designs from Japanese wiz Osanori Yamamoto - each of which is rather 'different'.

Cockpit  is a cubic cage with three C-shaped pieces that interfere through the centre ... one of them has an extra cubie that really manages to get in the way disproportionately for such a small piece. Four of the cube's faces have crosses cut out of them and the remaining two have a full 3*3 square opening. 

As you can imagine, solving Cockpit is going to rely on manoeuvring the pieces apart in order to free up enough space to allow the pieces to pass one another (similar to Estergon and co.) The trick here is that the crosses on most of the sides mean that you're constantly having to move pieces around in particular order to enable the next move as you go first one way, then the next ... which gets you up to 16 moves to remove the first piece - and once again, an awful lot of scope for blind allies to lose yourself in!

Ice Pillar is a great name for the next puzzle as the finished puzzle looks like a classical pillar with four burr pieces passing through a hollow column. Right from the get-go there's a lot of movement - in fact every single piece will move in at least one direction - and some of them will move in several - so you're totally spoilt for choice trying to find the 30 moves required to release the first piece. 

In taking it apart I invoked Walker's Patented Solution of randomly fumbling around trying to make as much space in one area as I could, and whenever I ran out of opportunities, switch attention to a nearby area and try and move the space over there, until you eventually stumble across the right spot with more or less the right amount of space and you can see a route toward removing the first piece ... then it's not too hard... although along the way you can get the pieces dangling out in the breeze where you'd think they would just about fall out of their own accord, except they're still steadfastly stuck!

Putting it back together again is another story entirely! There is a single solution possible from a potential 1500-odd assemblies ... there is no way my brain will stretch to that, so I invoked Master Rover's gift to puzzledom to find my way back... and to some extent sort of surprised myself that I'd managed to take it apart unaided... this one's a toughie!

The last puzzle in the group isn't the hardest, and possibly not even the best looking, but it's my favourite.  Two Pairs One is a confusing looking little puzzle - at first it appears to be a cubic frame with two burr running through it, until you start moving the bits around and realise that the frame splits along the diagonal in a step-wise manner... and then the fun begins!

Successively moving the burrs in and out and the frame apart along the diagonal opens up the frame - until you find you can't go any further ... this puzzle has a habit of mocking you along the way - it certainly mocked my (in)abilities along the way - it might only be a level 9 puzzle, but there are a lot of entertaining little byways along the way to lose yourself in ... and you'll hear it gently laughing at you when you do that... I found that mine laughs quite a lot!


  1. Walker's Patented Solution sounds very similar to the random solution finding I employ up to the point I begin to respect the puzzle (or not). Please tell me you are not going to demand royalties for patenting this approach Allard. I've enjoyed the cage puzzle reviews (last few posts) though!

    1. ...nah tried that with Think (c) and it never really caught on - feel free to use it without fear of an invoice arriving! :-) Glad you liked 'em! - allard

  2. These were my favourites too from the group. I'm not sure you can have the patent on that technique, however. I think people much older than you have been doing the same thing for a very long time. Me included! I am proud to say that I actually managed to work out the solution to Ice Pillar without Burrtools!