Saturday 10 February 2024

234 Cube Puzzle

Just before Christmas I had an email out of the blue from Mike Toulouzas asking to confirm my address, which was a bit strange as I wasn’t expecting anything from him at the time. We confirmed that he had the right address, and when I asked him why he needed it, he was a little evasive and just said he wanted to send me something… errm, OK.

A few weeks later a neat little package arrived courtesy of Royal Mail and Hellenic Post… as I unwrapped the carefully packaged puzzle I found that Mike had been incredibly generous - nestled in a bubble wrap cocoon is a gorgeous little wooden box, complete with a large wooden hinge securing a lid in place. Open the lid with a little click and you find a bunch of multi-coloured cubies looking up at you begging to play…

As luck would have it I didn’t have time to play that evening, so I dashed off a quick email to Mike to let him know his gift had arrived safely and that it looked stunning… and then left it on the desk for a couple of days until I had some time to play…

A couple of days later I tipped out the pieces and set about trying to assemble a 3x3x3 cube - there’s a cubie attached to the inside of the box in case you’re concerned that 2x2x7 <> 3x3x3. You have six pieces ranging from a simple domino up to a rather odd 7-cubie shape… in fact, the pieces step up nicely and form a set of 2,3,4,5,6 and 7 cubies… which is interesting…(c)LB.

OK, so you’ve got six pieces and you’re “only” trying to build a 3x3x3 cube…. and what’s more, you’ve got some pretty simple pieces that should make finishing off the construction pretty trivial… right?

It turns out that your brain is going to seriously get in the way of your solving this puzzle…

Mike had asked me to time myself on my first three solves, so I sort of felt obliged to tell him him just how long it had taken me to assemble this cube the first time… and it was embarrassingly long!

I thought I’d learnt from my mistakes the first time around when I tried it a second time, but it still took me longer than I’d care to admit and it was only when I did it a third time that I felt I achieved something I wouldn’t have been embarrassed by, had it been my first attempt! 
That set of pieces seriously messes with your head and makes you do exactly the wrong thing and without fail you’ll end up over and over with holes that don’t match up to the piece that you have left in your hand. I lost count of the number of times that I ended up with three holes in a straight line on my assembly while I stared at a v-shaped tri-cube in my hands.

I’m looking forward to inflicting this one on the MPP gang in a week's time and while I’m sure they won’t take nearly as long as I did the first few times, I know they’ll get a kick out of it…

Thanks so much Mike - that was an incredibly generous gift…
PS Kevin had a similar experience to me, except he managed to solve it a LOT faster than I did! :-) 

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