Monday 27 February 2023


[Disclaimer - do not use my roman numerals for anything - you will be tirelessly mocked - yes I know they're wrong... they have been for quite some time...]

Our first MPP of 2023 was a fairly sedate affair – a small, select group of puzzlers gathered for just an afternoon’s puzzling as the hall wasn’t available in the morning (for the first four months of the year!). That probably discouraged some of the usual crowd, and then a few folks cried off on the morning with a variety of ailments from light sniffles through to full-blown COVID – thank you for not bringing those!

When I rolled up to the hall, Steve, Ali and Rich were already waiting patiently and Phil arrived immediately afterwards. The lads set up some tables and chairs while I sorted out the refreshments (priorities!) and then unpacked some puzzles, grabbed a cup of coffee and a fistful of biscuits before settling down to some puzzling.

Oli and his clan arrived, and after the obligatory greetings Kirsty and the boys headed out to the science museum while Oli was allowed to stay and puzzle for the afternoon. Tamsin, Mike, Frank and Dale appeared at some point and that was it for the rest of the day – 10 happy puzzlers passing puzzles around and “encouraging” one another… with plenty of biscuits because I’d typically catered for double that number.

Phil had brought along a few copies of his latest creation, Free the Washer, and I hastily shoved a fistful of twenty pound notes in his hand and took a copy off him. It’s a hefty brass and steel cage with a little split washer languishing around inside - the steel bars doing a pretty good job of trapping the washer. I saw Frank playing with a copy and found out the next day that he’d solved it at MPP – it took me a while to solve it over the following two days – Frank definitely deserves the bragging rights on that one!

I’d taken along the latest haul from Pelikan, some of which I’d managed to have a play with already… Cerebrus was the definite favourite – three pieces in a frame that wind around and round one another over a huge number of moves before the first piece is released from the frame.

Ali had brought along a huge container jammed with Lego puzzles and after enjoying my first experience of a Lego puzzle quite a lot, I ended up spending a fair while working my way through a few of them until disaster struck and I sprayed Lego pieces across the floor and then spent ages unsuccessfully trying to rebuild the puzzle… I even involved the local Lego expert, Oli in my ultimately unsuccessful attempts to rebuild it so had to give it back to Ali in bits, and grovel quite a bit. (It took Ali all of about 5 minutes to rectify the situation the next morning proving that (a) I know nothing about fixing Lego puzzles and (b) I need to find a new Lego expert.)

A few folks had a bash at my Pooplock and all got stuck pretty much exactly where I’ve been stuck for a few months now… which is a pity because I was hoping someone would be able to make some further progress so that I’d be able to follow in their footsteps… sadly that sneaky plan came to nought, and Quigley just watched us suffering and grinned.

Ali and I had a long chat about PuzzledByPiker’s Pocket Change puzzles – we’d both solved the Yellow and Orange puzzles and had both made exactly the same discoveries on the red one and stopped in exactly the same spot… I don’t know if our chat helped Ali, but I’m certainly none the wiser and still stumped!

A few folks had a bash at Eros, but I didn’t spot anyone making any serious progress so I ‘m probably going to have to solve that one on my own too!

The Christmas Karakuri boxes all got a good playing with Kawashima-san’s Origin Regression Cube definitely winning out on the puzzling front, while the Angry Lion and Cat & cardboard box vied for cutest of the bunch.

Somehow our five hours flew by and we found ourselves hurriedly packing up to vacate the hall by 6pm – we almost made it…

Sadly there would be no fish suppers at chez Walker this time either, so it really was a strange MPP – normal service should resume at the end of May!


  1. It was great to see those there. Thanks for organising as always.