A good friend recently offered me a number of puzzles made by Tom Lensch and I had a really hard time turning any of them down… in the end, the only reason I could find for not taking any of them was that I already had a copy, made by Tom, in the hoard… I did not have a copy of Oskar’s Pentasticks made by Tom, so that one headed my way.
This was a new puzzle for me – I literally hadn’t ever even seen a pic of one of these before so I was delighted to sit down and play with it when it arrived.
At first you have what seems to be a pile of sticks in the shape of a Pentagon, with the outline of a pentagon drawn rather badly on both sides of the assembly… and this struck me as odd, because Tom’s work is only ever absolutely spot-on!
Start taking it apart and it’s clear that the four layers of sticks are somewhat chaotically joined, so you can’t just slide one piece out… there is a whole lotta co-ordinate motion going on here… which scared me – so the first few times I tried to summon up the courage to disassemble this guy, I wimped out.
Eventually I threw caution to the wind and another log on the fire and pulled it all apart… mixed up the pieces and then began trying for a reassembly… and then it hit me: the state it arrived in isn’t the solved state – just an almost solved state – those lines on the pentagon that didn’t quite join up weren’t some sort of misalignment they were the subtle goading’s of a great puzzle designer and a superb craftsman telling you to try again.
When it’s properly assembled everything lines up perfectly – as you’d expect from that man Lensch!
My humblest apologies for even entertaining the mere thought that it might not possibly be intended.