When you get the email from Robert Yarger offering you a new puzzlebox there really isn't an awful lot of thought process required in determining a suitable response - just send him the money!
Almost exactly a year after offering his marvellous Milestone Puzzlebook, Rob offered his Stickman #26 in three variants - I chose variegated cedar because I like interesting-looking woods and that one really looked interesting ... if anything, it looks even better in the flesh.
Having made the trip across the pond, #26 went via Customs who sent me their usual ransom note. Gill spotted it in the mail and managed to pay the ransom in time for it to be delivered the next morning ... just in time for the weekend ... isn't she great?!
The top of the box has a little train of (star-shaped) gears that snake half way across the box ... one of them stands proud, making it easy to twiddle them a bit and watch the gears run backwards and forwards - it's the obvious thing to do and you know you're going to play with them at some point...
Two of the sides have a series of overlapping circles (or half-moons - see where the name comes from now?) on them and they turn out to be attached to one another - the respective circles, that it is. Some of them can be pushed in a bit - popping their opposite numbers out a bit on the other side ... it's definitely worth fiddling around with those gears a bit and every now and then you'll spot some movement on the big circles while you're playing with the gears ... leading you to believe there's some form of mechanical linkage between those two sets of thingamies... and you may start developing a couple of theories about that linkage, but as for exactly how they're linked, that's a bit harder as there seem to be quite a few interdependencies on the go in there... and then one of the gears engages and disengages itself!
After a fair amount of fiddling around I decided to head in a particular direction and began making good progress - only to discover that I'd chosen exactly the wrong direction and had to head back the other way ... discovering something really unexpected along the way... I hadn't really given much thought to how I was expecting the box to open, but it certainly caught me unawares... it opens in a rather unexpected manner...
Having opened and closed it a few times now, I'm still not totally clear in my head exactly how all the gubbins inside are physically linked, but I can usually get it to do more or less what I want ... there is however a second challenge from the Stick-meister which still evades me: open the box without twiddling the gears at all... that one has me beat for the time being... but I haven't given up yet.
I've really enjoyed discovering how things behave and interact and coming up with all sorts of theories and mental pictures of what's happening inside there... and I'm probably totally wrong, but I'm enjoying myself! Hopefully the MPP-gang will enjoy it as much as I have at our next get-together.
Great new puzzle, Rob! Well-worthy of the Stickman moniker!