Q: What do you get when an incredibly talented craftsman takes three pyramids with rhombic bases and mashes them together?
A: An object of sheer beauty…
…and when the craftsman concerned is Mike Toulouzas, a rather tricky puzzle as well.
Mike’s website has a list of the puzzles he’s produced with glorious photographs of all of them – and a little background about each design. Those photographs can produce a great deal of puzzle lust if you happen to be prone to such things – you’ve been warned! Unfortunately, I am prone to such feelings and as a result I generally find myself keeping an eye out for Mike’s stuff on auctions and in private conversations about puzzles potentially for sale… and a little while back someone rather generously offered to sell me a copy of the Triple Rhombic Pyramid puzzle – I didn’t need to spend very long in thought… and it’s duly been road-tested by a number of MPP-irregulars – all of whom have pronounced it a great puzzle.
Mike has made a number of puzzling variations on what I’d describe as a central Coffin core – the internal geometries of a number of the puzzles are quite similar – and non-orthogonal so they screw with your head! However, Mike manages to thoroughly disguise them so that you’re almost always surprised by how these things come apart… and then when they do, then tend to do so rather quickly, which often results in a plaintive looking puzzler with slightly more pieces in his hands than he was hoping for looking up at me and saying “I think I’ve done a silly thing” … [Anyone care to 'fess up? :-) ]
Now Mike’s notes on this one point out that using different woods for the three pyramids should help a puzzler – and they probably do, but in my experience, they generally provide a really good confirmation that you’re doing the right thing, but they definitely don’t lead you toward the right thing initially!
The angles on the pyramids, and those pesky internals do a right good job of not narrowing down the potential places for various bits to go – just working out how to make the three pyramids on their own is a challenge – remember there are bits missing where they intersect and it’s not always clear where you want the holes to be… then trying to work out how they should combine isn’t too much of a bother, but the final step of working out how to get the right bits together in the right order, provides a classic Coffin-esque puzzle.
It’s not only a good puzzle, but a stunningly beautiful object… another Toulouzas triumph.