started with a bit of a bump: Louis and
I arrived at the hall nice and early to set up and found a couple of ladies
already set up in the smaller room for a nice day’s painting… turns out the
hall had been double-booked for the day – not quite the start we’d hoped for,
but we quickly decided that there was more than enough space for us all and
apologised in advance for the raucous laughter that would in all likelihood be
coming from the hall.
duly laid out, soft drinks stocked up and caffeine readied for the arrival of
puzzlers from around the countryside.
Rich rolled in and Oli duly set out a huge crate of treasure available for sale
– several people helped themselves to various bits and pieces during the course
of the day although the crate still looked pretty full at the end of the day… I
suspect it had just been better packed when it arrived in the morning.
and Ali arrived with a cab-full of puzzles for people to play with. (And some
Brass Monkey stock just in case anyone needed some metal puzzles.)
unpacked several tables-full of giant puzzles he’d recently made up for a
company team-building exercise, all themed with explosives or ammunition which
presumably makes a lot more sense in the context of his company than in a
Quaker Meeting House. Several puzzlers had a go at his giant Melting /
Stumbling / Lox / etc. variants during the course of the day. They were all
beautifully made and nicely encased in wonderfully decorative boxes – he’s clearly
been a very busy lad recently!
Chris and Phil
arrived sometime after lunch – yes, pig rolls! – and they duly blitzed through
several puzzles as usual.
Big-Steve had printed a huge set of hexagonal notched sticks to explore the
740-odd potential assemblies. Steve’s laptop had all the potential solutions
animated and he was keen to try a couple of the more “interesting” assemblies.
One particular assembly has a couple of sub-assemblies at each end and a set of
pieces in the middle – all of which needed to be introduced to one another
simultaneously… a process that started with two of them, then added a Louis,
and then a Kevin, a Chris and an Andrew - and resulted in a fantastic spectacle
of co-ordinated motion – or at least it would have been if you could have
actually seen what the heck was going on in the centre of that little huddle.
Somehow the fabled assembly did actually emerge successfully – AND IT HELD
TOGETHER – something that wasn’t entirely certain all the way through the
had also brought along some new BM-ish experiments and a few of us got to play
around with an interesting 2-3-4 assembly which will hopefully (selfishly!)
turn into an actual thing at some point in the next 6 months. I managed the
simpler assembly… Rich toddled through the more complicated 3-4-6 one leaving
most of us feeling a trifle inept.
quite a while in suspended animation pondering an assembled Nova Plexus for
Mike Q was
attending his first MPP after making the trek down from oop north. I’d taken
along a bunch of packing puzzles he’d been asking about on the Discord and he
duly worked his way through them… and judging by his comments on the forum the
next day, he really enjoyed the A-Ha! moment on the 4P Packing puzzle. He
breezed through them with a lot more finesse than most of us could muster.
brought along a bunch of interesting goodies for us try our hands at too,
including a set of 3D printed balancing eggs from one of the guys on the
Discord called CoreMods – I saw Ali work his way through most of them and
judging by the way he was pointedly showing Big-Steve as he solved each of
them, I suspect that Steve had had slightly less success on them… loved the
fact that the set is shipped in an actual egg-carton.
Shane was on
top form as usual, dispensing all manner of helpful advice and words of encouragement
in his own unique style – which generally had most of us within earshot hosing
ourselves with laughter. He’d brought a bunch of puzzle locks along and I
enjoyed working my way through a few of them – I always enjoy getting caught
out by some of the simpler tricks on old, almost agricultural-looking puzzle locks
– it’s good to be kept humble – and boy did they do that!
point later on in the afternoon Andrew brought out a project he’d been working
on and wanted some thoughts on – it turned out to be a puzzle lock so Shane and
a couple of the lads duly took themselves off to what had been a quiet corner
of the hall and proceeded to work their way through opening said puzzle lock… at
which point a seriously enthusiastic conversation began with Andrew about
manufacturing of said puzzle – a pretty positive signal you’d have thought.
all finished it was passed on to me and I duly put myself down in a quiet part of
the hall when I realised something interesting while playing with it among a
bunch of puzzlers. There’s a glorious little “A-Ha!” that makes you realise this
is going to be very interesting right up front… and it doesn’t disappoint.
Opening it is a lovely little experience,
and resetting it is also interesting… my words to Andrew immediately
afterwards: “This lock must be manufactured and sold”, followed shortly by
offers of cash immediately… selfishly, I’m hoping he manages to find a way to
get them made.
after 5:30 we tidied the place up and packed up the cars before most of us
headed back up to Puzzling Times Central for the traditional fish supper, and
Ali and Big-Steve
sponsored the dinner – THANKS LADS! And provided some puzzles… or rather,
people helped themselves and enjoyed the stuff lying around – ‘cos that’s what
they’re there for!
her way through Slammed Car, with the odd puzzler passing a helpful jibe every
now and then, mainly at the tail end of things. At one point she arrived in the
puzzle cave asking if she could solve Brian’s Mount Fuji – and it turned out
that with some suitable encouragement, she could ... and then there followed
the inevitable compare and contrast with James’ Dot Box and the solution technique
that they share – and no, we still don’t have a cogent scientific explanation
for why it works.
around 10pm the well-travelled ones decided they should hit the road again and
fine MPP duly notched up – our first post-Brexit MPP (PBMPPi anyone?) – although we noted a brief improvement (presumably
unrelated) to the value of Sterling (Yay, slightly cheaper puzzles!) nothing else
has really changed… and importantly, they allowed Louis to get home after the momentous(?!)