Saturday 25 November 2023


I find myself late getting back from a work thing so Gill ends up doing the airport run to collect Rob K, Wil and Louis from their Amsterdam flight and Stefan from Sofia – and shortly after I get home, the car-load of puzzlers arrives at chez Walker.

There are some quick hellos – it’s only been a few weeks since we all met up in The Hague – we make sure that Rob knows where to find the puzzles – and we get some pizzas in the oven as we’re all ravenous. By the time the pizzas are ready we have a serious challenge to clear enough space on the dining room table given all of the puzzles that have already come out to play… it’s a good start to a fine puzzling weekend.

We manage to polish off most of the pizzas, maintaining the proud Walker reputation of never knowingly under-catering. The puzzles come out again in full force and I get to join the gang for some chatting and puzzles.

Stefan’s been whipping up some amazing 3D-printed beauties yet again and he gifts me a matching copy of Wavelinks and Spheres – they make my amateurish prints look decidedly sub-par and I’m delighted with them…

Two recent arrivals (Zak from Radek and Doog) and the Third Window Lock from Dick Hensel come out to play and I’m intrigued to see Zak putting up quite a good fight, while Window Lock 3 continues to beat all comers… me included.

Rob begins his mission to work his way through the Karakuri boxes and Stefan spends some quality time with Roger’s Maze bolt + while Wil starts a wonderful relationship with a copy of Singmaster’s 25 Packing puzzle.

At the end of the night I drop the Dutch contingent off at their Airbnb down the road and I crash for the night. The pups make sure I’m up pretty early and after some pastries for breakfast, I drop Stefan at the hall while I head down to collect the Dutch contingent. By the time I get back Stefan has sorted out all the tables and chairs and been joined by Rich, Ali, Steve and Michael… it’s like there’s going to be a puzzle party or something.

A short while later we have the hot drinks up and running, there are piles of biscuits and a there’s a throng of puzzlers. I’m really chuffed when I spot Shane as we haven’t seen him for a while – as usual his personality fills the whole hall with fun and laughter. Andrew Coles has brought with him a new toy to play with and after a suitable period of fiddling he pronounces it excellent and tosses it to me to play with… and after a considerably longer period, I too pronounce it excellent and seek out Andrew and strongly encourage him to make some of those and make them available for sale as it’s a really unique new puzzle lock mechanism – fingers crossed he’ll find the time and space to make some as I’d love to add one to my little hoard.

James, Lindsay and Rosie spend a good few hours visiting on their way back down south – James works his way around the assembled masses catching up with folks he hasn’t seen for a while and at some point we announce a December White’s Plot Puzzle Party – which sounds like a fabulous excuse to visit with friends again and possibly even play with some puzzles. James is still insisting that he’s no longer collecting puzzles and then generally in the next breath is asking everyone what new puzzles he absolutely must buy…

Fraser brought his long-suffering better-half along. I suspect Vic was hoping for a quiet corner to read a book but she ended up spending most of the day chatting with puzzlers and playing with puzzles – and to be fair, she didn’t look any less expert at solving them than any of the rest of us!

Amy and her hubby joined us for most of the day, along with the twins and she managed to do a great job of wrangling a couple of wee ‘uns while also solving a bunch of puzzles along the way – I suspect the boys are going to have to turn into puzzlers!

Dale had brought a whole collection of ever-so-slightly-naughty pottery thingies for Wil – who was thoroughly delighted, and I suspect that Dale was delighted to find a good home for them…

Lily had come along for the day too – so it was good to have at least one responsible adult in the room!

A couple of us snuck out a little early for lunch lest we find the pig rolls had run out like last time… no such trouble this time – there was heaps so when we got back we told everyone it was lunchtime… ‘cos we’re nice like that.

Lots of folks ended up spending time playing with Oskar/Bram’s Ziguflat – it was a huge hit, definitely one of the nicest DCD giveaways we’ve had. Rich did me a solid by not only taking apart my copy of Climburr, but actually solving it as well… and leaving it in a solved position this time! (Thanks Rich – there’s no way I was getting that apart, or back together again!)

Fraser very kindly gave me a copy of a couple of his recent Christmas puzzles – a beautiful little snowflake edge-matching puzzle and a mini Towers of Hanoi with three Christmas trees for towers – Thanks Fraser!

My new little Rocky treasures got a good playing with and most folks managed to find their way around the Beerstein and Teapot, but the Ice Bucket tended to put up a bit more of a fight.

My sneaky plan of taking along a couple of new Osanori’s that needed solving totally backfired as everyone else who had a bash at them failed as well…

Sometime after sunset we tidied up the hall and headed back up to the house where we procured a large box of fish suppers (and a plain sausage and chips) for the hungry horde. Mikael had cooked what I probably incorrectly referred to as a potato bake and that went down a storm alongside the more pedestrian fish suppers.

There was many hours of puzzling with a long line of old Stickman Puzzleboxes coming out for a play and an even longer line of Karakuri boxes cycling between the dining room and Puzzle Cave #2. It was great to see them getting played with as folks discovered some of them for the first time!

The masses began drifting homeward at a reasonable hour – probably just as well given at least one of the major motorways had been closed for the night – ironically one that had had no roadworks on it for the first time in years… I guess they missed having the roadworks.

The Dutch contingent were duly dropped off at their digs before another late (for me!) night…

Next morning bright and early Stefan and I had a quick breakfast before dropping him off at the airport and then collecting the Dutchies on the way back home… for a few more hours puzzling, and some delicious homemade soup with freshly baked rolls courtesy of Gilly.

By the early afternoon Rob had made serious headway through my Karakuri collection, Louis had helped me analyse, fix and solve a plethora of puzzles I had lying around and Wil had made sufficient in-roads on his Analysis of Singmaster 25 that he was smitten by it… a fine end to a superb weekend’s puzzling fun with my friends… thanks all!



  1. Excellent party as always Allard. Already looking forward to the 2024 MPPs.

  2. Many thanks for everything. I really really enjoyed the MPP!

  3. Kyle Chester-Marsden25 November 2023 at 21:08

    A great write up on what sounds like a splendid last MPP of the year. I was very disappointed to have missed it, and look forward to making up for it in 2024!

  4. Seems more like a food-fest with puzzles on the side. It could make for a worthwhile trip across the Atlantic. And to ensure there's no shortage of Pig Rolls, you could call up the supplier a few days ahead -- puzzle solved, you're welcome. -Tyler

    1.'re not saying that's a bad combo are you Tyler?! [Usual trouble with our supplier is they sell out some days... the pig rolls are good!]

    2. A negative comment was neither intended nor implied. In fact, my wife indicated that we SHOULD make another trip to the UK, and include the midlands, since we have not visited that region. Your food-fest sounds good. That box full of fish is an interesting service option, and I am astonished at how well behaved the fellows are. -Tyler.

    3. ...come and stay for a while - we'd love to see you guys! :-)