Steve’s exchange routine involved plenty of hokeying and pokeying with Frank and was another highlight this year. There are some stunning puzzles waiting to be played with when I finally get the chance.
We have a couple of hours to spare before the lectures, where Guy teaches us to fold an origami puzzle and we’re amazed with a couple of talks about blindfold solving of sequential movement puzzles and co-ordinate motion puzzles - I feel very thick…I dish out a few more copies of my exchange puzzle before typing up some notes for the day while Gill has a shower before the evening’s banquet… While we’re queuing for the banquet I manage to give away a couple more of my Three Triangle Test giveaway and a couple of my exchange puzzles to some greenhorns I haven’t gotten to yet… the doors swing open right on time and everyone enters politely (it’s not always like that!) There’s some jockeying around to make up tables with friends and invariably we find ourselves making friends with folks we haven’t spent much time with yet. There is a pretty epic spread of food and a couple of queues at a pair of serving stations mean that even if you do join when there’s a queue, it doesn’t take long to get your food… and there’s plenty food for everyone- Israelis can cater! I find myself trying a bunch of new things I hadn’t previously tasted - nothing disappoints.
After dinner we have an entertaining local mentalist - he kept reminding us that English wasn’t his first language, but boy did he know his way around it and his (English) patter was superb… Steve ended up donating a 100 shekel bill to the entertainment cause but did end up with a lovely lemon-scented memento of the evening’s fun.
I had a very intense conversation a new friend about how some of the effects might have worked. (She disagreed strongly with my theories on the methods being employed on a combination of book tests and ended up heading up onto the stage to quiz said entertainer about how he performed his miracles.)Dessert after the show was every bit as good as the main event and then the room dissolved into a tangled mess of puzzlers catching up and chatting while puzzles were being handed around for others’ amusement.
Wednesday is puzzle-party-proper day, the chance to pick up copies of some seriously lust-worthy puzzles that literally aren’t available anywhere else… my first stop is always at Perry’s table to grab a copy of his latest creation - this year the Puzzled Guy Bakery brought us a slice of wedding cake - he took my money. :)
From there I made a bee-line to Boaz’s table to grab a copy of his Design Competition entry, Picolock - I’d spent a while working on it in the Design Competition room and got literally nowhere so I needed my own copy to fail on at home too!Next stop was the Gaby Games table where Philippe DuBois’ daughter (the Gaby!) was arranging the sale of the last of her dad’s works… Nick was advising all-comers on which bits he thought everyone should have a copy of… I selected one or two and then over the course of the day kept returning to see what new wonders had been unpacked and put on display… in the end I made three trips to that table to pick up something else… so I now have a few Philippe DuBois puzzles in the stash. #HappyPuzzler
Brian was selling his latest sequential discovery puzzle, Brian’s Big Bolt, so I can now write about one of the best puzzles I got hold of last year before they’d been more widely released.
William Waite literally had over a hundred puzzle designs available for sale on his table and there’s an entire row of tables with Russian puzzle designers selling their wares. Ethel has some absolute treasures for sale next to the Two Brass Monkeys who’re doing a brisker than expected trade in shirts(!).
I ended the day with more money left than I’d anticipated, but didn’t feel like I’d passed up on anything that I specifically wanted… although there was plenty more available!
After the party a few of us got sucked into the coolth of the bar and ended up getting trapped in there and missed the afternoon lectures… managing to escape its steely grip just in time for a quick shower before the Awards Dinner.
We snagged a table up front with the cool kids and enjoyed seeing the results of the Design Competition getting announced and guessing who the final award winners were from the ones who’d picked up the runners up prizes… glad to see some of my own picks getting a mention and realising I owned quite a few of the award-winning puzzles already.
|Hamster for scale|
After all the ceremonies (and food) things wound down and there was a lot of hanging around with folks keen to make IPP40 last just a little longer by lingering… when I crashed there was still a stack of folks hanging around and chatting and I’ve no doubt things moved off to the bar for another (really) late-night sesh…
On Thursday we’d opted to skip the organised tour and had a leisurely start with a late breakfast before heading out to Mahane Yehuda as I wanted to see it for myself after hearing Gill’s enthusiastic descriptions… it was truly a feast for all of the senses.
We headed back to the hotel and chanced upon the Coolen’s and the Monkeys lurking in the lobby waiting for their respective taxis. We all had an excellent laugh when Steve appeared carrying two boxes of puzzles and told Ali that they weren’t quite as completely packed as they thought they were and then proceeded to virtually spill the contents of his entire suitcase on the lobby floor… it all ended well and they got their cabs.
Gill and I grabbed lunch by the pool and managed to finish almost half of our portions before heading up to the room for some packing prep and a short nap.
Security, check in, security and passport control were all relatively painless, but Steve had warned us that his bags had all been unpacked and “repacked” for him en route, so who knows what we’ll find when we retrieve our baggage at Heathrow - we’ll look out for the dreaded yellow stickers and steel ourselves for the results as I suspect they won’t be quite as careful as Gill was (re-)packing all my puzzles.
One final Thank You and Well Done to the IPP40 team - you did great!!