Thursday 29 May 2014

A couple more TICs

After my last blog post about Ken Irvine’s great designs, Bernhard Schweitzer let me know that we had a couple of new TICs (Turning Interlocking Cubes – Bernhard’s term) coming available, so I duly put in the obligatory order and a couple of days later a well-protected set of three new TICs arrived - two designed by Ken Irvine and a third by William Hu (he of first-base-fame?). 

Irene Alternate is another of Ken’s 4*4*4 cubes that consists of just 4 pieces … which require “only” 8 moves (by my count) to fully disassemble, but it’s a really tricky little so-and-so. 

Finding the first move is a bit tricky, the second move comes reasonably easily from there, but the third move is a right little sod and I only found it by a series of eliminations and deducing that there was nothing else that could happen, so it had to be that particular move, and it still wasn’t simple. You see, the tolerances on this cube (presumably from the New Pelikan Workshop guys) is fantastic, so there are no clues along the way and the moves only work if things are aligned properly. 

A few more moves separates a couple of sub-assemblies that take a few more moves to fully disassemble… 

Even with only four pieces, reassembling this cube is anything but trivial – you can work out how the pieces need to sit in their eventual solved shape, but getting them there will need some creative thinking. 

Keyhole is rather aptly named as once you’ve found the key, you’ll find yourself having to manipulate it to unlock the structure around it and then progressing dismantle the rest of the puzzle until you’re left with 4 rather oddly shaped pieces, and your key. :-)

Five moves to remove the first piece, and then they come apart pretty regularly from there onwards. 

The first few moves are bit tricky, but once you’ve removed the first piece, it’s pretty much downhill from there … and once again, as you’d expect from Ken’s designs, getting them back together is a grand little challenge – especially since my favourite piece of puzzling software can’t help much along the way. 

Two-Wheeled Cube is my first design from the Australian designer, William Hu. This one is particularly fiendish – it lulls you into a false sense of security because things seem reasonably straight-forward to start with – four pieces come out just like that, leaving you with a pair of interlocked wheels. 

Getting those apart requires a good few rotations and you’re all done…

…and unless you paid very close attention to the orientation of those two wheels, you’re in for one heck of a challenge – getting them back into the right orientation so they’ll receive the remaining pieces is a pretty stiff challenge… trust me!

Three great TICs – thanks Bernhard!


  1. Nice post and great photography (I really need to try and improve mine). I have all of these and absolutely love them - the latest from William Hu - Two wheeled cube, is particularly fiendish if you scramble the pieces and leave them for an hour or two before reassembly!


    1. Thanks Kevin. Nice to know someone likes the pics! Agree that two-wheeled cube is a sod from scratch!

  2. I don't get the connection between William Hu and first-base-fame???

    But I can see a funny comedy routine ...

    "What is the name of the person that designed this puzzle?"
    "The designer."
    "No, I mean the name of the designer?"
    "The designer's name?"
    "Yes, that's it."

  3. Replies
    1. That was just my modification of the famous Abbott and Costello comedy routine "Who's on First?".

    2. Yip, that was my sideways reference in the blog text... ;-)

    3. Ahh ... subtle! According to Wikipedia Chin-Lung Hu was the first "real" Hu on first ...