Tuesday 29 July 2014

An MPP haul

At our last MPP (gosh, the next one is just around the corner already!) I managed to pick up a few little Japanese goodies from Satomi – she’s found a way to bring some Japanese puzzles into the UK that aren’t generally easily available via the web, so I consider it my civic duty to supports her. (Nah, not really, she’s just a great source of nice puzzles!) 

A couple of Mine’s

Mineyuki Uyematsu has designed an amazing array of puzzles, but there was one variety that I hadn’t yet had a single copy of: Mine’s outline shape puzzles. As it happened Satomi happened to have a couple on her table at MPP so I took the pair of them. 

New Pony Puzzle is Mine’s tribute to Sam Lloyd’s original Pony Puzzle from 1868(!) – it consists of two sets of acrylic pieces and a single, larger shared piece. Your goal is to make a horse appear using the two sets of pieces. In keeping with the original puzzle a little lateral thinking is required and while both solutions might use the same ‘trick’, they’re pretty different. 

Bow-Wow Puzzle is in a similar vein. You’re given four acrylic outlines of different sorts of dogs in various poses and your task is to arrange the four dogs to reveal a fifth dog. I found this one a bit harder as the eventual dog is a lot less obvious, although once you find it you’ll definitely agree it’s definitely the hound you’re looking for!

A pair of Minoru’s

Let me start by admitting to one of the Minoru Abe puzzles I bought that I won’t be writing about, yet: Angel and Satan is a fiendishly tough sliding block puzzle… and I won’t’ be writing about it because I haven’t come close to solving it yet! I have tried a couple of times and mange dot find myself totally snookered every time… so perhaps one day when I do manage to find a successful strategy I’ll write it up…

The second puzzle from Minoru is a packing puzzle called Seven Puzzle. Quite simply there are seven hexominoes to pack in an irregular tray … and I suspect there are seven main solutions… (sorry, my Japanese is not even rubbish, it’s non-existent!). The tray and pieces are instantly recognisable as Minoru Abe’s work – pieces in bright colours, all the edges nicely bevelled and a clear varnished frame. I spent a while playing around with this one, with slightly more success than on his Angel and Satan, so I managed to find at least one solution… simple being that I am, that made me rather chuffed. 

Karakuri Hermit Crab Box

The last puzzle for this post is a copy of Shiro Tajima’s Hermit Crab Box… not so much a puzzle as a really interesting object. To start with you have a simple square box with a chequered pattern on it – nothing too remarkable about that, but start opening it up by tugging on the right quarter and you reveal a drawer. Change direction and you reveal a dog-leg on the drawer – so far so good – that accounts pretty much for the space in there… except there’s another drawer to go back in the first direction – which shouldn’t really be possible … but there’s yet another twist to go – making this thing the very Japanese embodiment of the Tardis – I like how it makes people think and challenges your perception of space – a lovely playful little creation.


  1. "making this thing the very Japanese embodiment of the Tardis"
    ... That is (I assume), bigger on the inside?!

  2. I like the Hermit Box as well... though once most people get past the initial surprise, they work out the 'trick' pretty quickly.