Just before IPP34 John Rausch’s website listed the 2014 Nob Yoshigahara Design Competition entries and sparked the usual round of guessing as to who the designers and craftsmen might be…
I spotted something that looked rather intriguing and shot off a speculative email to a friend… a short while later my friend is literally crying tears of joy because he’s just heard the announcement that his puzzle has been awarded the Puzzlers’ Award at IPP34.
I was exceedingly chuffed when my copy arrived a couple of weeks ago – just in time to take it along to MPPXXi, where it was a huge hit with everyone who had a go at it.
The Fairy’s Door is something really special – it is a thoroughly beautiful object and a delightful puzzle – it wasn’t an accident that it was the most popular puzzle in the design competition among the puzzlers at IPP34… it’s terrific!
Broadly speaking, it’s a box, with a Fairy’s Door on the front of it… and what appears to be an ornate hinge on the right hand side… the detailing on the door and the surrounds is staggering – the door panels have been individually distressed and imperfections introduced to make it look like a quaint old door. The edges have been rounded where you’d expect there to be some wear and tear and it has a pair of big, solid (fully functioning, wooden!) hinges securing it to the surrounding doorway, that looks like it’s been made of rocks. There’s a helpful sign pointing to the Fairy’s Door in case you weren’t sure where you need to address your attention…
A gentle tug on the doorknob confirms that the door is currently locked and anyway, that little sign is blocking the way… closer inspection will reveal where the main locking mechanism on the door might be, but there isn’t much of a clue as to how to get rid of it, so you best start exploring…
Finding a few things that do a little more than they first appear to, you’ll be able to work your way through unlocking the first set of locks and find you can open the Fairy’s Door… only there’s a solid wooden wall directly behind it, and unless Mike has introduced some negative space in his puzzle, there’s clearly more to be discovered.
Find some more stuff to play with, play with it and you’ll be rewarded with the grande opening – and the cavernous innards of the box… that contain a bit of a surprise – something that wasn’t there that Mike’s added to this run of puzzles… something that I think is going to be a really popular addition to the design as virtually everybody who played with my copy made the same comment along the solve only to be delighted when they finally opened the box and discovered Mike's surprise at the end… it’s a great addition to a brilliant design and it’s going to be rather proudly displayed in my cabinet – complete with that little extra touch, ‘cos, well, you know… ;-)
It’s not a tough puzzle, but it is thoroughly delightful and puts a smile on everyone’s face… and you have to read through the solution booklet after you’ve solved it – Mike’s whole family put a huge amount of effort into making it fit with the style of the puzzle and it’s also really delightful!
A very worthy winner of the 2014 Puzzlers’ Award!