What's New

Site updates, links, news, and puzzles on the way or received...

June 2015

Think Outside the Box - designed by Tom Jolly and made by Eric Fuller
from Cherry, Padauk, Maple, Yellowheart, and Purpleheart woods.

A-Pack - designed by Terry Smart and made by Eric Fuller
from Walnut and acrylic with Bird's Eye Maple pieces.
A packing puzzle with two trapped sliding shuttles.

Optiborn - designed by Stephane Chomine and made by Brian Menold
from Black Palm, Wenge, and Holly.

Halny - designed by Jos Bergmans and made by Brian Menold
from Black Palm, Holly, Olivewood, Canarywood, Bocote, and Lacewood.

Delight - designed by Stephane Chomine and made by Brian Menold
from Lacewood and Bolivian Rosewood.

Quadrox - designed by Stephane Chomine and made by Brian Menold
from Padauk and Red Oak.

Twiddler Double Dilemma - designed by Wilfried Braun

2x2x2 Metalized Egg - Blue - Meffert

Curvy Dino - designed by Evgeniy Grigoriev, issued by Calvin's Puzzle

Okki - a vintage keychain twisty puzzle

Anchor Ei des Columbus

Anchor Geduldprüfer

Anchor Blitzableiter

Anchor Grillentöter

Nob Devil

A vintage White Rose Tea Puzzle

A vintage Knight's Tour puzzle by Are-Jay

A vintage Dingbat sliding piece puzzle

Check Saw - vintage checkerboard dissection from Shackman

A vintage X-cel Checkerboard Puzzle

A nice, large Kumiki Tori Gate

Keychain Shmoo puzzle on original card
with a previously obtained white example
Also shown - excerpt from Billboard magazine of May 1949 offering "Shmoo Puzzle Keychains with fortune" at a dozen for $1.50 or a gross for $16.20.

As indicated on its card, the Shmoo originally contained a fortune - on a small slip of flimsy paper and nestled in the cavity in the white piece shown at bottom center in my photo of the puzzle's pieces. Mine is missing, as are most. Here is a record at worthpoint.com of a 2014 auction for an instance that included the elusive fortune paper, though there is no photo of the fortune itself.

Aside from the head and tail pieces, the Shmoo puzzle is equivalent in architecture to the Lucky Duck keychain puzzle issued by Pal Plastics, which also appeared as the Lucky Ducky that itself contained a fortune - one instruction sheet promised 'Find your fortune inside "Lucky Ducky."' (See step D in instructions shown below - "Find Egg Inside.")

Here are some interesting facts about the Shmoo, from Denis Kitchen's website, the Wikipedia article on Capp, and the Wikipedia article on the Shmoo:
By the postwar 1940's Al Capp's comic strip "Li'l Abner" - created in 1934 - had millions of fans and had made him millions of dollars. In August 1948 Capp (b. Alfred Gerald Caplin 1909 in Connecticut, d. 1979) introduced a new character called the Shmoo, which became an unprecedented merchandising phenomenon, spawning dozens of Shmoo-themed products and lasting through 1952 - and generating over $25,000,000 in sales in one year (in dollars of the time - more than $200 million today). Shmoos packed with candy were dropped by the U.S. during the Berlin Airlift. A Shmoo Savings Bond was issued by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1949 - Al Capp appeared with President Truman at the unveiling ceremony. Shmoos appeared alongside Capp on the cover of Time magazine in 1950. For a not-so-flattering account of Capp and his strip, see an article The Brand Called Shmoo by Daniel Raeburn at the Baffler website.

"The Shmoo is shaped like a plump bowling pin with legs, but no arms." Oddly, the card shows a Shmoo with arms, but the iconic character has none. More Shmoo trivia - Shmoos are white - there are evil Shmoos called Nogoodniks and they're green colored.

I have split off the Keychain Puzzles from my Interlocking page and given them their own page. The Interlocking page has grown very long, and there are now almost 500 keychain puzzles shown! Hopefully I have correctly updated the site navigation.

And here are a few nice keychain puzzle finds, several with cards, boxes, or instruction sheets...

Peter Pan Dog on original card

Merit Lorry on original card - hard plastic

Merit Helicopter on original card - hard plastic

Keim Keychain Puzzle Set from West Germany on original card
Includes a Plane, Destroyer, and Jeep in red, white, and blue.

Mechanical Servants Robot

Mechanical Servants Truck

Mechanical Servants Sedan

Keychain puzzle Pig

Keychain puzzle Elephant

Atomic Jet

Bibendum - yellow

Large Locomotive - Lido

Small Locomotive

Keychain Puzzle Jalopy

Jericho Car - pink

Keychain Puzzle Star - in red, and in blue - both new in package

Firefly Hotaru designed by Akio Yamamoto
A tiny hand-made secret box.

Hanayama Cast Hexagon designed by Mineyuki Uyematsu
Adapted from "Claws of Satan"
winner of a Jury Honorable Mention in the 2014 IPP Design Competition.

Slida - Slida website
Colorful but simple.

Four in a Box designed by, made by,
and purchased from Alfons Eyckmans

A vintage XceL Checkerboard Puzzle

Dreidel Cube designed by Guan Yang
issued by Lim Cube

2x2x2 Mirror Blocks Cube

12-petal Russian Festival Flower


May 2015

Serengeti Box - designed and made by Matthew Sobek
The Ebony Giraffe and Elephant are the keys to opening this Zebrawood,
Bloodwood, Alder, Oak, and Mahogany secret box.
But be careful or they'll jump out at you!

Monstrous Maze Straight
and Narrow (red)
issued by Tomy 1982

Naked Secret Box Orange designed by Akio Yamamoto

Champion Spark Plug tangle

Rudenko's Mosaic - issued by Brainwright
Thanks, Alison!

Cat Stax - issued by Brainwright
Thanks, Alison!

2 Rings - designed by Chi-Ren Chen
made by Brian Menold from Hickory and Walnut

Plusminus - designed by Yavuz Demirhan
made by Brian Menold from
Brazilian Rosewood and Canarywood

Frisbee - designed by Stephane Chomine
made by Brian Menold from Hickory and Wenge

Pyraminx Diamond - 8 color version
issued by Meffert

Metalized 3x3x3 Egg - blue version
issued by Meffert

Gear Barrel - issued by Meffert

Keychain Fire Truck with Siren - 2 examples

Keychain Hot Rod

Keychain Japanese Jingle Bell

Keychain Russian Rooster

Keychain Bell Elephant

Keychain Peter Pan Ball


April 2015

I have managed to find several keychain puzzles, including duplicates and a few new items...

Pontiac Indian Head automotive advertising keychain puzzle.
Really happy to have acquired this unusual puzzle!
"Canada" is embossed on the hair piece.
The blue wedge rotates to allow the green and red wedges to be removed.

Lufthansa Supercargo advertising keychain puzzle.
This has quite a few more pieces than the typical keychain puzzle!

Waldi dog Olympic mascot keychain puzzle.
Since my first was slightly damaged, I found a couple more.

Japanese Diver keychain puzzle.
With instructions.

Bowling Pin and Ball with card.
Assorted keychain puzzles...

Sombrero Man - I am unaware of the provenance of this puzzle.
It is similar to the puzzles in the Shackman Clown series

Soccer Man - I am unaware of the provenance of this puzzle.
It is similar to the puzzles in the Shackman Clown series

Kumiki Locomotive

Kumiki Battleship

Kumiki Airplane

Barcode Burr designed by Lee Krasnow
3D printed by Stephen Miller
Stephen has designed the Fire puzzle, available at his website PyroPuzzles.

Smart burr designed and made by Alfons Eyckmans
from Itauba and Wenge woods
15 pieces, level
I like it because of its 'S' theme!

Octic versions I, II, III, IV
purchased from Zoneden.
Four versions of a nicely done shape variation of a cross cube.

Bundle of Sticks designed by Tom Jolly
made by Eric Fuller from Wenge and Holly

Chicken Puzzle designed by Olexandre Kapkan
made by Eric Fuller from Yellowheart and Cherry

Matchbox Play Six designed by Olexandre Kapkan
made by Eric Fuller

Houdini designed by Nicholas Cravotta and Rebecca Bleau
produced by Thinkfun
A tanglement puzzle kit with 40 challenges.

Pentagram designed by Eric Vergo
produced by Mf8
Once again an expensive 3D printed twisty gets mass produced.

W(h)orl(e)d Burr designed by Derek Bosch
3D printed by Steve Nicholls

March 2015

Rhombic Maze Burr designed and
3D printed by Derek Bosch.

Try It a vintage static cubic
4x4x4 maze issued by Milton Bradley 1960.
I found a second copy in its box.

Castle designed by Tzy Hung Chein.
Made by Pelikan from Oak and Mahogany.

Kumiki Alligator

Spacemen Jiggle Puzzle issued by Comon Tatar 1957.

Brackets Burr designed by Stéphane Chomine.
Six pieces, made by Brian Menold from Redheart and Wenge.

Just Two In Box designed by Stéphane Chomine.
Two pieces and cage, made by Brian Menold from Canarywood and Walnut.

Red Planks designed by Jos Bergmans.
Nine pieces, made by Brian Menold from Redheart and Maple.

Khamsin designed by Jos Bergmans.
Four pieces and ring, made by Brian Menold from
Walnut, Maple, Wenge, Redheart, and Yellowheart.

Viper Cross by Vinco.
Six piece coordinate motion puzzle.

A set of three Jungle Bungle edgematching puzzles designed by Dan Gilbert.
Issued by DaMert in 1992. Each has eight pieces -
form a square such that pictures on abutting edges match.
Large pieces on nice heavy cardstock.

Several new puzzles arrived over the last few weeks but I have had limited time to photograph them and add them here. Attempting now to remedy that...

Knot Simple designed by Doug Engel.
Issued by Bits & Pieces.

Hanayama Cast Keyhole
designed by Vesa Timonen.

Five tanglements from LiveWire, including: Alien Encounter, Off the Rails,
Ringleader, Roller Coaster, and Wish Upon A Star.

I finally managed to find the lovely Chinese Cross Compendium issued by Pentangle.

Quad Rhom issued 1991 by Tensegrity Systems.

Four Piece Ball Pyramid issued by Kinder Ferrero

HELLical Burr designed by Derek Bosch
as a more fiendish follow-up to his 2013 prize-winning Helical Burr.
Four pieces. Printed by and purchased from Steve Nicholls.
Kevin Sadler posted a YouTube video of the disassembly here.

The Kray Twins designed and 3D Printed by Steve Nicholls.
This unusual six-piece burr was Steve's IPP34 exchange gift.
Steve kindly sent me a copy - thanks very much, Steve!

Burgh Lock designed by Splinter Spierenburgh.

A vintage Four Piece Pyramid issued by FUN Inc.

Try-It issued in 1964 by Milton Bradley.
A transparent static 4x4x4 cubic maze.

Cross and Crown 7 organized by Michel van Ipenburg
and made by Robrecht Louage.
A higher-level version of the original 1913 Cross and Crown -
C & C 7 requires 4802 moves!

Big Ben - a secret-opening puzzle designed by John Moores,
Junichi Yananose, and Brian Young. Made by Brian Young (Mr. Puzzle Australia).
This was John Moores' generous exchange gift for IPP34.
Sadly, John passed away in January 2015.
Made from Papua New Guinean Rosewood, Western Australian Jarrah,
and Queensland Silver Ash, with some metal tools inside.

designed by Osanori Yamamoto.
Made by Pelikan.
Remove four U-shaped pieces from a frame.
Purchased from Tim Rowett at NYPP2015.

Akiyama Cube
designed by Hisayoshi Akiyama.
Made by Naoyuki Iwase (Osho).

Swaps - issued in 1977 by Gordon Bros.
A nice plastic instance of the Fore and Aft peg solitaire puzzle.

Imperial Trick Knife and Hopalong Cassidy Trick Knife
Two examples of the same simple mechanism.

Mf8 Curvy Copter III - stickerless version

Gear Skewb - designed by Timur Evbatyrov
Produced by Calvin's Puzzle
Timur originally called it "Skewb des Soleils"

2x2 Megaminx - designed by Gregoire Pfennig and Felixouchon
Produced by WitEden [T]
Very difficult to align and turn.

Mad Hedz Black Breath and Mad Hedz Crazy Mummy


February 2015

A vintage dexterity puzzle The Rainbow Puzzle by Journet.

Mini Chessboard - designed by William Hu
Made by Eric Fuller from Peruvian Walnut and Maple

Uri Three Bars - designed by Dario Uri
Made by Eric Fuller from Wenge and Maple
A single Level-10 solution.

Splined Box No. 3 - designed and
made by Eric Fuller, from Cherry and Peruvian Walnut

Kumiki Tank - Toybox Puzzles distributed by ISHI Press.

Wausau '81 - 12 piece burr designed by Bill Cutler
Made by Jerry McFarland from Walnut, Maple, and Cherry

Google Unchained - promotional tanglement puzzle

Loncraine Broxton Pyramid Maze

Monstrous Maze Crazy Curves (blue) by Tomy 1982
Note the miniscule balls (one is in the maze somewhere).

January 2015

I was a guest on WNPR Radio on the Colin McEnroe show! McEnroe's January 27th program was on the topic of Puzzles and I was asked to talk about the history of puzzles. It was fun but a bit nerve-wracking :-) Check out Puzzles: The Joy of Being Perplexed at the WNPR website. There is a link where you can listen to a playback.

Padlock from the Pirate's Wallet Chest by Robert "Stickman" Yarger
Thanks, Rob!

Copy Device - Hiroshi Yamamoto
Place the 3 pieces flat in the tray to create two identical green areas.
Winner of a Jury Honorable Mention in the
IPP34 Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition.

A custom FDM 3D-printed 3x5x5 cuboid twisty puzzle
made by Floyd Newberry [T]
Not loose and turns great.
I love the purple material and the custom hollow stickers!

I found another antique puzzle ball - the smaller one on the left, with the simpler design.
Shown with my previous find.

Moyu Aosu 4x4x4 stickerless

Moyu Wheel of Time black
A nice shapemod of a Cross Cube.

Tight Noose - designed by Tom Jolly,
made by Brian Menold from Wenge and Olivewood

Saturno No. 1 - designed by Yavuz Demirhan,
made by Brian Menold from Padauk and Granadillo

Two Wheeled Cube - designed by William Hu,
made by Bernhard Schweitzer

Danse Macabre - designed by William Hu,
purchased from Bernhard Schweitzer

Chain - designed by William Hu,
gift from Bernhard Schweitzer - Thanks, Bernhard!

Doors and Drawers - designed by Michael Toulouzas,
purchased from Bernhard Schweitzer

Two great keychain puzzle finds, both hard-to-find vintage items issued by the UK company Bell.

Petrol Pump - Bell
Designed by John Flower in 1951. 172,000 produced.

Electric Iron - Bell
The first Bell keychain puzzle designed by John Flower in 1951 - 134,000 sold.

I found three different vintage transparent static full-cube mazes...

Christopher Sarbaugh 8x8x8 Cube Maze - (aka 8 Cubed or Crystal Maze) 1987 Japan (Tsukuda)
A transparent static cubic maze with an 8x8x8 grid.
Russian Maze - 1988 - A transparent static cubic maze with a 6x6x6 grid.
Miller's Maze - Robert Miller, Creata HK 1983 - A transparent static cubic maze with a 5x5x5 grid.

I found a second vintage Ryede Puzzle (on the left) - this one is complete
and even came with its paper package/instructions in pristine condition.
Also shown: Ryede patent - 787796 - Rydquist 1905
and a listing for the Ryede Keyring Puzzle in an early 1900's vintage catalog from the Western Puzzle Works in Minnesota.

A vintage red Magic Egg Puzzle - a red celluloid (or plastic?) egg
with gold and black markings.
"Stand it on end - try it" - balance the egg on its fat end.
An internal weight and magnet frustrate your efforts.
Label says "Pat. Pend."
I don't have any information on the origin or history of this puzzle -
if you do know something about it (or if you have a photo of the interior of
a specimen), please email me!

Allen Rolfs was kind enough to send me copies of several reproductions he has made of antique puzzles -
including Leprechaun's Dilemma, The USA Puzzle, Rabbit in Hat, and The London Underground.
Thanks very much, Allen!

I made a trip up to Cambridge and stopped in at Games People Play
where I found a nice repro of a vintage paper puzzle The Boxer by 4moreideas
and a matchbox-sized silhouette puzzle This is no pipe 1995 Wetzel - Heilbronn - W. Germany.

In Brookline I stopped in at Eureka Puzzles and found
a Mixed Up cube from Philos designed by Ad van der Schagt,
and a Down Under obstructed-entry tray packing puzzle by Siebenstein Spiele.
Down Under also poses some anti-slide type challenges.

John Hache posted a link to a vendor (Otakumode.com - also available elsewhere) selling these
Nyanko Clay Pot Puzzles.
Pack six different cat-shaped pieces into a bowl so the lid fits properly.
I bought the versions with black cats (Kuroneko) and white cats (Mikeneko).
There is a third version with tan cats (Doraneko).

The Dirty Dozen - a versatile sliding piece puzzle by Square Root.
Twelve different challenges using the large wooden pieces and tray.

I obtained a vintage catalog
issued by the Western Puzzle Works
of Minnesota sometime in the early 1900's -
it shows several antique puzzles I own -
now I know what they were called!

The F - Nob Puzzle Series 1987
A nice wooden tangram-style puzzle.
The first challenge, to reassemble the dissected letter F, is quite enjoyable.

Great Minds Set of 5 Puzzle Compendium
A gift from Claire and Steve - thanks!

A Puzzle Drive (Anchor) Tangram style Puzzle No. 13 "Qualgeist"

Geometric Magic Squares - Lee Sallows 2013 Dover
See Sallows' website.
I was reading about a puzzle called Cubic Matters exchanged at IPP34 by Yee-Dian Lee
and voted by James Dalgety as one of his best finds of 2014 -
this inspired me to read up more on Sallows' mathematical discoveries. Very interesting!
The set of pieces and the ways they can be combined to form cubes are shown in the diagram on the right.
See the Wikipedia article on Geometric Magic Square.

New keychain puzzle finds:

Chadwick 1977 set, DIY Airplane, Race Car (orange), Two-piece Fish, Small Locomotive, Barbell, Yellow Pages

Victoria puzzle from Reiss -
Not a keychain puzzle, but a small
interlocking plastic locomotive.

I have improved my Route-Finding section, and added better photos to my tanglements section on Vintage Wire Puzzle Sets.

I have overhauled my section on Kumiki Puzzles. Let me know what you think! Did you grow up with these? My first exposure was the plastic "8-Ball."

It's long overdue, so let me kick off the new year by describing the puzzle haul I received from the IPP34 held in London in August 2014.
I could not attend, so a big "Thank You" to Brett for being my surrogate magpie...

Baffling Bolted Book - designed by Louis Coolen and Adin Townsend
exchanged by Allard Walker
A gift from Allard - thanks very much!
This secret-opening sequential-discovery puzzle was a pleasure to play with!
I can be discouraged by and lose interest in secret-opening puzzles
when the mechanism seems just too arbitrarily difficult to me to fathom - I am easily bored by
the "randomly shake/whack/tilt/twist/prod/etc" methods too often required.
For some reason, though I can devote hours to the analysis of certain kinds of puzzles,
I find I have no patience for exhaustively worrying a secret box until something happens to work.
The Baffling Bolted Book, however, to me strikes just the right level of difficulty,
proffering potentially rewarding insights at each step.
The book employs metal hardware and some clever 3D-printed pieces.
And inside awaits a deceptive tray-packing/symmetric shape puzzle designed by Adin.

Geared Mixup Cube - designed by Oskar van Deventer
produced by Meffert
A gift from Rox - thanks!
Cross and Crown 2013 - originally designed by Louis Burbank in 1913
(2013 version shown compared with smaller metal original)
Updated version arranged by Michel van Ipenburg based on my original example
and made by Robrecht Louage
exchanged by Dr. Goetz Schwandtner
The disk and cross material is "trespa."

Coronation Cube - designed by Richard Gain

Trick Symmetric - V. Krasnoukhov

Bickering Couple - Pavel Curtis

Three Layer Double Dovetail - K. Malcolmson, R. Sandfield

Naked Secret Box Red - Yamamoto, Kimura

Twin Board Burr - Dawir

Color Slide - Hans van der Zanden

Six Ticks - Andreas Röver

Bindi - V. Krasnoukhov

Crab Puzzle - V. Krasnoukhov

C'est la Vie - Camden Lock

Three Pentagons - Arai

Join the Club - Scott Elliott

Rabbit in Hat - Allen Rolfs

Windmill Key - Tyler Somer
I received this at the 2014 Rochester Puzzle Party
(RPP) that followed IPP34. Thanks, Tyler!

London Underground - Allen Rolfs
A plasticized card repro of a vintage metal design.
US Patent 486141 - deVirgile 1892

Squiggle - Dr. Richard Hess
Received at a meetup at the Liberty Science Center in September - thanks, Dick!

Square Dissection - N. Baxter
Received from Dr. R. Hess at a get-together - thanks, Dick!

Whatsit - a "guess what this is" object given to me by R. Hess. Thanks, Dick!
(I cheated and simply visited the website embossed on the object :-)

Houses and Factories 2 - Hess
Purchased at a get-together.

At our September LSC get-together,
I had the opportunity to play with (solve and restore)
R. Hess' instance of an original vintage
Cooksey Maze puzzle issued by Pentangle.
The peg seen at the bottom can be pushed in and toggles back and forth
with a satisfying "snick" between the position in the photo,
and the diametrically opposite position across the cylinder,
thus engaging different slots within the maze sleeve.
One must navigate the sleeve off the bottom of the cylinder
by a series of rotations, downward and upward slides, and pin toggles.
Way cool!
Oskar van Deventer has designed a simplified version,
available at Oskar's Shapeways shop.
Oskar also offers several varieties of the Cooksey Tribute.

December 2014

Happy New Year to my readers! I hope the new year brings health and happiness to you all.

Google Analytics tells me that since its inception in its current form in November of 2007, Rob's Puzzle Page has garnered over 1,000,000 sessions and more than 789,000 unique users from over 220 different regions of the world - not bad considering there are only 196 countries. I even had one visitor from North Korea and one from Turkmenistan. As far as I can tell, the only areas from which I have had no visitors are:

The top twelve volumes were from:
  1. US (over half)
  2. UK (9%)
  3. Canada (6%)
  4. Australia
  5. Germany
  6. Netherlands
  7. France
  8. Japan
  9. Spain
  10. India
  11. Italy
  12. Russia

Thank you to all the folks who took the time to email me - I have enjoyed our dialogues and I look forward to new discussions.

The last puzzles of 2014...

Dayan Gem VI

Moyu Master Fisher Cube

Q-Borg - by Auldey

2-piece Fish Keychain Puzzle


I received several puzzles, either purchased or as gifts, from the IPP34 in London in August, even though I could not attend. I have yet to photograph them and put them up on the site - I plan to get to them forthrightly in 2015. To those who sent gifts - you know who you are - thank you very much!


Happy Holidays to my Puzzling Family and Friends!

Check out Smart-Kit.com - an interesting collection of online puzzle/games. (I have no affiliation with them at all - I just enjoyed a couple of their offerings.)

Here are puzzles I found under the tree...

Heart's Desire (2014) From Tucker-Jones

8 Plaques designed by Stephane Chomine
made by Brian Menold
Looks like a Snafooz-type cube, doesn't it?
That is, until you realize there are eight pieces rather than six!
I am not going to show you the assembled cube,
since the image gives too many hints.

Packuliar designed by Tom Jolly
made by Brian Menold
Pack the four pieces into the box -
a sequential assembly puzzle.
No solved image - too much of a hint.

Cross 5 designed by Yavuz Demirhan
made by Brian Menold
from Canarywood, Walnut and Redheart
Remove five pieces from the frame.
11 moves to free the first piece.

Distorted Cube / Pyramid Pile designed by Stewart Coffin
made by Brian Menold
from Poplar
Arrange the pieces to fill the box 3 different ways
and also make two pyramids outside the box.

Four Piece Pyramid designed by Stewart Coffin
beautifully made by Brian Menold
from Redheart, Padauk, and Yellowheart
A very tricky assembly of four pieces!

Painful designed by Yavuz Demirhan
made by Brian Menold
from Canarywood and Redheart
Separate the four pieces
14 moves to free the first piece.

Boron designed by Donald Osselaer
made by Eric Fuller

Gobi designed by Alfons Eyckmans
made by Eric Fuller

Rupture designed by Dan Fast
made by Eric Fuller

Vibromax Jumping Jack Tamper keychain puzzle

Ship keychain puzzle - in package, made in HK

Mf8 Crazy Octahedron Standard - no circle faces
This substantial puzzle is a nice implementation of the "Dino-Octa" face-turning octahedron
design (GB 4.1.3) originally hand-made by Katsuhiko Okamoto in 2006. [T]
Out of the box it is prone to catching, though.
I prefer stickerless twisty puzzles like this when available.

Mf8 Crazy Octahedron Venus - all circle faces
The four other "planets" (Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn)
can be made by combining pieces of the Standard and Venus puzzles. [Y]

Some more puzzles from my friends at Ceaco - check back periodically at their Brainwright website for interesting new items!

Plexi Roundominoes - issued by Brainwright
A colorful set of 28 curvy shapes and a booklet of assembly challenges.
Developed by Kadon.

Plexi Iamondhex - issued by Brainwright
A colorful set of 12 angular shapes and a booklet of assembly challenges.

CoCoCross - issued by Brainwright
A set of graduated rolling-block challenges
with two different blocks and an ingenious
and convenient compact case.
This is one of my new favorites!

On the Line - issued by Brainwright
A set of graduated overlay-pattern-assembly challenges.
Arrange four identical transparencies to form a given shape.

Manifold - issued by Brainwright
A pad of 9cm2 sheets, printed with various
patterns of light and dark areas.
Fold every sheet so one side is all light and
the other all dark. Gets quite tricky!
Manifold was developed by Jérôme Morin-Drouin at The Incredible Company.
You can download a PDF with five sample challenges at their website.

A nice package arrived from Turkey - Trichromat designed and made by Yavuz Demirhan
The 7cm cubic cage is Wenge, and there are 3 pairs of pieces, of oak, maple, and padauk.
44 moves to get the first piece out.

Kumiki Lion
with instruction sheet on very flimsy paper
new old stock from auction

Robinson Roulette - German version
"Created by Terry Pegg of Choro Ltd. Birmingham UK." Issued by Milton Bradley 1985
See Jaap's page on Robinson Roulette.
This is a solitaire sequential movement puzzle.
There are 11 holes in both the outer and inner rings and each ring also has an arrow.
The inner ring rotates relative to the outer.
To set up, orient the outer ring so its arrow is at 12 o'clock, and the inner arrow to 6 o'clock.
Populate the inner ring with 10 red pegs and 1 white peg ensuring that the white peg is not at 12 o'clock.
The goal is to transfer all red pegs and lastly the white peg from the inner ring to the outer.
A move consists of grabbing the peg at 12 o'clock on the inner ring and rotating
until it becomes adjacent to an empty spot on the outer ring, then transfering it to that spot.
This movement of course simultaneously positions some other inner hole (and its peg if present) at 12 o'clock.
Choose your destinations wisely since if you haven't yet placed the white peg
and you're left with no inner peg at 12 o'clock for the next move, you've lost.

Colour Rings
Puzzle-friend Colin James kindly sent me a copy
of this nine-square edgematching (or dis-matching) puzzle.
Thanks, Colin!

Cover Up (2004)
Puzzle-friend Jacques Haubrich kindly sent me a copy
of this 8-piece puzzle, which he says is the "mother" of this type of puzzle,
designed by Robert Reid (examples here).
The later Boston Cover Up from 2006 is similar but
uses 3 J-shaped pieces rather than the 3 U-shaped (or C-shaped)
pieces in Jacques' 2004 version, and requires six 1x3 bars
to cover them as opposed to the five 1x3 bars needed here.
Thanks, Jacques!

Some new vintage keychain puzzles...


Tiger - very simple, similar to the Owl

Baseball Players (a few short of a team...)

World's Fair Trylon Perisphere
including box and flimsy instruction sheet

Some new twisty puzzles...

As of late 2014, there is a new series of 2x2x2 head-shaped twisty puzzles, called Mad Hedz, issued by Intex Entertainment (aka New Entertainment).
I got four of the six (two aren't out yet) from Amazon.

DaYan Gem VIII

Yong Jun (YJ) Moyu Crazy Yileng Fisher Cube - another "axised" 3x3x3

Paul Stevens of Wisconsin kindly sent me a copy of a puzzle
he designed and made called the 8-in-1 Puzzle.
It is made from recycled wood and comprises eight pentacubes and a two-compartment box.
All but one of the pentacubes are non-planar.
Select any seven of the eight pieces then pack them
into the 3x3x4 compartment, allowing a single 1x1x1 void.
It is quite challenging! Thanks, Paul!

My friends over at Ceaco sent me several nice puzzles to review for the holiday season. Thanks, Alison!
Ceaco specializes in jigsaws (but see below for their other product lines) - check out the Ceaco website.
My wife and kids really enjoy jigsaws, and they prefer
complex scenes without a lot of uniform (boring) background pieces.
These two jigsaw puzzles from Ceaco fit the bill perfectly and provided hours of fun -
Magical World and Hidden Expedition Smithsonian -
the latter even comes with a disc containing a hidden-object PC game.

You can find retailers at Ceaco's Where to Buy link.

Ceaco's subsidiary Brainwright (Brainwright website) specializes in brainteasers
and mechanical puzzles, which are up my alley.
I've seen the 2015 catalog and Brainwright is really
expanding their lineup - there are a lot of cool new puzzles coming!
You can find retailers at Brainwright's Where to Buy link.

Another subsidiary Gamewright (Gamewright website) offers interesting games.
You can find retailers at Gamewright's Where to Buy link.

Orbis is a sequential-movement route-finding puzzle with 60 graduated challenges.
Orbis is a licensed copy of "Marble Monster" by the German company Huch & Friends.
It has an unusual mechanic I haven't seen before.
After the board is set up per a challenge card, you use the orange "pawn" to move
from circle to circle along a hexagonal grid, pushing a single marble on each move,
with the goal of eventually being in a position to push the yellow marble into the center.
The proper meandering path for the orange pawn is by no means trivial to deduce.
This is a great puzzle - if there is a flaw here, it is shared by many similar multi-piece graduated challenges -
when you realize you have gone astray and need to start over, resetting the pieces can be a bit tedious.
I think this would make a great smartphone app!

GeoBrix - at first sight seems to be a standard 2D tray packing puzzle.
There are thirteen substantial-sized pieces - each a black solid planar polycube with one colored face.
They include some tetracubes, pentacubes, a hexacube, and a septacube.
However, not only is there the expected challenge to fit the pieces back into the square 8x8 tray
(for which there are at least 18 solutions)
but an included booklet gives 20 different tangram-like silhouettes to be built from the pieces.
And finally, one can build a 4x4x4 solid cube from the pieces.
Lots of replay value here. Solutions are included.

Logic Dots is a pattern and logic puzzle - nine one-inch cubes with colored sides (one cube has six gold sides)
must be placed into a 3x3 tray according to one of 36 challenge cards, each of which gives a series of clues.
Eight of the cubes have three colors and opposite faces are colored the same.
The tray is made with a sliding clear plate on each side. When playing, remove one plate but leave the other in -
for later challenges not only will you be rotating the tray,
but you have to flip it over and observe color positions on both sides of the tray.
You must deduce the correct cube positions based on the clues and ultimately locate the golden cube.
At the outset of each challenge you are told the relevant set of 9 colored cube faces to be used "face-up" in the grid -
since a cube's opposite faces are the same color, those will be the colors visible on both sides of the tray.
The logical challenges start simple but get much more difficult.
You may be reminded of Thinkfun's Chocolate Fix puzzle, but Logic Dots really ups the ante.
I think this would also be a good puzzle for precocious youngsters - at least the initial challenges. The box says for ages 8+.
Logic Dots was created by the Swiss team Atelier Rohner and Wolf.

None of the puzzle inventors are credited on the packages, materials, or the website,
so if you know who invented these, please drop me an email!

Rocky Chiaro designs elegant, unusual, and intriguing puzzles and is a superb craftsman who hand-machines them from solid brass.
Rocky is also one of the nicest puzzle people I have ever met. You should visit Rocky's website and check out the beautiful puzzles he has available.

I recently acquired some new puzzles from Rocky, and he very generously included several gifts. Thanks, Rocky, and Happy Holidays to you!
Here is a photo tribute showing the Rocky Chiaro puzzles I own. A few have been mass-produced and offered through Bits & Pieces.

The first image shows an original Perplexity, a B&P T-Dof, a D-Ice, and a Good Egg.
The second image shows 3 "pin puzzles" - an AB-L, an Eight-Block Collusion, and the Eight Rods Puzzle - an IPP26 souvenir gift from B&P similar to the AB-L.
Also shown are the Jax from B&P, It's a Hardly, and two copies of the Treasure Chest (aka New Endeavor) from B&P.

Rocky has produced a set of puzzle keys. Shown are: Hel-Sin-Key, Boston Key Party, Toe-Key-Yo, the new King-Key (I love the name :-),
and two copies of the Roc-Key from B&P. For now I am stumped by the Toe-Key-Yo.

Last but certainly not least, here are Rocky's trick bolts. These are among my favorite puzzles.
Shown are: One-L-Nut, One-Wa-Sure, Pin-N-Nut, Dub-L-Nut, Dub-L-Wa-Sure, Ring-N-Nut, the new Screw-E,
and two copies of the Brass Bolt (equivalent to the Ring-N-Nut) from B&P.
I haven't yet opened the Screw-E, Rocky!

November 2014

Kumiki Elephant - a beautiful and substantial
wooden interlocking elephant puzzle from the Yamanaka Kumiki Works.

Save Your A** - by Creative Crafthouse. Thanks Dave!
A variation on the Josephus problem.

Coke Can Jigsaw Puzzle - Thanks, CPS!

Flip-It - Binary Arts 2001

Ariel Laden's Kookoo Puzzles - Funny Fliers
Four six-card puzzles, and one large puzzle using the backs of all 24 cards.
Position and interleave the cards of a set to form a complete picture.
This principle is very similar to that of the 1973 puzzle Frustables by Gameophiles Unlimited.

Build the Block - a metal square dissection puzzle branded "Arco."

Tapping Puzzle - a small plastic dexterity puzzle

Chinese Pandora's Box - a cheap Chinese copy of a 4-piece caged burr.

Mf8 (Void) Master Pentultimate - another great twisty puzzle from Mf8
(Shown with optional center panels in place.)

Bell Goose interlocking keychain puzzle

Heart interlocking keychain puzzle - its architecture is similar to the Bell Goose

Keychain Movie Camera puzzle - from Pussycat (Germany)

October 2014

Bedevil designed by Yavuz Demirhan, made by Brian Menold
from Redheart and Holly

Gates O designed by Tamas Vanyo, made by Brian Menold
A Box Elder cage with Bambooo pins and 8 identical Wenge pieces.
35 moves to get the first piece out.

Russian Flower - 6-Petal version
A vintage 3D sliding puzzle
Now I have examples of the 1-petal, 5-petal, and 6-petal versions.

A-Maze-Ment in the Pleasantime Games Tac-tix series from Pacific Game Co. 1967
A vintage sliding piece puzzle
Start with the eight numbered tokens on the board as printed.
Move one at a time along the connections, using the blank space, until they are in left-to-right numeric order.
This is topologically equivalent to an 8-piece puzzle in a 3x3 grid with one blank.
Transform this:
|  |  |
|  |  |
To this:
|  |  |
|  |  |

Zobrist Cube Set designed by Al Zobrist
A nice magnetic-closure box containing 33 plastic pieces and a 56 page booklet
specifying over 20,000 puzzles - each either a 3x3x3 cube, a 3x3x4 prism, or a 4x4x4
cube to be constructed from a subset of the pieces.
Zobrist Cube Kickstarter

Utopia issued by Popular Playthings 2009
invented by Sjaak Griffioen
Sixteen "buildings" - four each of four different heights.
Place on the 4x4 grid according to rules and hints given
on 50 challenge cards divided into 25 Phase 1 and 25 Phase 2.
I enjoyed Phase 1 but Phase 2 seems overly confusing.

September 2014

Yamanaka Kumiki Burr from the Yamanaka Kumiki Works
54 pieces in four different types assemble to make
an attractive symmetrical structure.

While taking inventory in one of my storage cabinets I re-discovered a puzzle I didn't recognize, disassembled in a bag.
I posted a photo of one of the 12 identical pieces to some online forums and asked for help identifying the puzzle.

Several puzzle-friends responded (thanks!), and John Devost came through,
suggesting the Cubion designed by Philippe Dubois.
(Also sometimes spelled Coubion.)

Cubion at John Rausch's site, Coubion in Jerry Slocum's collection, Cubion in Tamura's collection,
Cubion in 1999 Baxter auction where lot d7 sold for $93, Cubion in 2007 Baxter auction where lot 771 sold for $525,
Cubion in 2011 Baxter auction where lot 2242 sold for $325.
The Coubion is shown in Slocum's 1994 The Book of Ingenious and Diabolical Puzzles on page 75.
Based on the references and images we found online I was able to reconstruct my copy.

Cubion designed by Philippe Dubois, unknown provenance

It fits together albeit with lots of slop. The relatively soft wood makes it easier to "squish" the pieces into place.
The notches are not precisely cut and the resulting fit is imperfect but I cannot fathom any other
better configuration of these pieces with their peculiar cuts. I do not know who made it - it was part of a group
of wooden puzzles of unkown provenance in an auction lot I won back in December 2007.
Crudely made but I give the maker props for even attempting it since the necessary angles seem so obscure!
I wonder how many Cubions are out there?

Had I reviewed my old What's New pages in the first place,
I would have found this photo I posted back in December 2007 of the assembled form...

But I still wouldn't have known the name of the puzzle.
I hadn't added it to my Interlocking section but I will now.

Maltese Cross keychain puzzle by Bell
The Chinese Cross pieces (with replica card)

Large Acrylic Ball Burr provenance unknown, but not Perry
Shown in comparison with Perry Brass and Acrylic Ball Puzzles

Concentra Atlantis Dan Gilbert 1994
A circular edgematching puzzle with pentagonal pieces.
Not too difficult since the die cuts give clues.

The Greatest Puzzles Ever Solved by Tim Dedopulos
2009 Carlton Books Ltd.

Word Winks 2004 Mindware - illus. by Tess Zimmer

You and Mona Lisa Mirrorkal
Invented by Ivan Moscovich
Produced 2011 Recent Toys USA

You and Einstein Mirrorkal
Invented by Ivan Moscovich
Produced 2010 Recent Toys USA

Tut's Tablet - a rolling cube maze
Invented by Sjaak Griffioen
Produced 2012 Popular Playthings

Hello Sailor a vintage Ring-in-Plate Maze
issued in 1983 by Loncraine Broxton
Nice, bright colors and much larger than I expected - 125mm dia.

Kelly Snache is a puzzle-box artist and craftsman in Canada. Check out his interesting new website at: Woodlockplans.ca.

I purchased three books by my good puzzle-friend Dr. Richard Hess -
each is a unique compendium of mathematical recreations and logic challenges:
Number-Crunching Math Puzzles - Puzzle Wright Press 2009,
Mental Gymnastics - Dover 2011,
and Golf on the Moon - Dover 2014.
None are tired retreads of old material - each contains new and unusual puzzles.
Some are quite difficult - but solutions are included.
You can purchase these online or directly from the author at .

Yamanaka Burr Set four classic traditional six-piece burrs from the Yamanaka Kumiki Works
Can the pieces of these four burrs be intermixed to form four other burrs simultaneously? See my answer.

Gravity Maze - from Thinkfun, designed by Oli Morris

Hive designed and made by Alfons Eyckmans, from Padauk, Moabi, and Oak.

Turnstile - from Thinkfun - designed by Steve Hayton

Smart Egg Techno

Hanayama Cast Galaxy - designed by Bram Cohen
Winner of a Jury Honorable Mention in the 2013 IPP Design Competition

I received several interesting new items from Dave Janelle at Creative Crafthouse - thanks, Dave!

Hoffman's Packing Box, or
The Inequality of the Means Puzzle - produced by Creative Crafthouse
Fit the 27 identical blocks into the frame.

Pinwheel Puzzle - produced by Creative Crafthouse
Arrange the tiles so that all nine stacks including numbers on the rim add to 20.
Alternately, arrange so that all nine stacks excluding numbers on the rim add to 15.

Enigma II - produced by Creative Crafthouse
Based on the famous German WWII cipher machine - decode several challenges.

Confederate Army Cipher Disk - produced by Creative Crafthouse
For code enthusiasts and history buffs.

Keychain Almond - a four-piece interlocking Almond keychain puzzle from Spain

Professional Puzzle - a burr set including 12 pieces produced by Yamanaka Kumiki Works

Based on a post on Jeff Chiou's blog, I ordered two nice puzzles from MINE in Japan:

Square in the Bag - designed by Hirokazu Iwasawa
This puzzle won the Puzzler's Award at the 2012 IPP Design Competition.

Cor-RECT-ly in the Bag - designed by Hirokazu Iwasawa

Some rare twisty puzzles... - the last few weeks have brought several nice (and rare) twisty puzzles, including (from top left):
Tutt's Icosaminx designed by Lee Tutt and hand-cast by Kevin Uhrik,
a Reuleaux Master Tetrahedron made by Hung Nguyen,
a Master Face-Turning Octahedron designed and made (3D printed) by Tom van der Zanden,
an original vintage Olidjus from Russia,
and a Master Octahedron (vertex-turning) designed by Scott Bedard and hand-cast by Kevin Uhrik (shown previously).

Olidjus - a rare vintage original twisty from Russia

Tutt's Icosaminx - a custom twisty designed by Lee Tutt and hand-cast by Kevin Uhrik

Master Tetrahedron - a reuleaux version made by Hung Nguyen (cublem)
This moves beautifully!

Master FTO - a Master Face-Turning Octahedron designed and made by Tom van der Zanden

August 2014

Teaser Balls - designed by Anneke Treep and Christian Freeling,
made by John Rausch.
A gift from John, at the 2014 RPP - thanks!

Slide Blocked Sliding Block - designed by Bill Cutler,
made by Tom Lensch.
Winner of the 1988 Hikimi Wooden Puzzle Competition.
Tom has modified the appearance of the pieces to resemble the 2012 IPP Design Competiton Entry
Arrow Blocks by Goh Pit Khiam, but this works differently.

Petit Puzzle - designed by Osanori Yamamoto,
made by Tom Lensch.

Accordion 3.5 - designed by William Hu, made by Eric Fuller,
from Chakte Viga and White Oak.

Band Cube - designed by William Hu, made by Eric Fuller,
from Bloodwood and Acrylic.

Amatores - designed by Alfons Eyckmans, made by Eric Fuller,
from Maple and Walnut.

Simultaneous Maze - designed by William Hu, made by Eric Fuller,
from Maple, Jatoba, and Acrylic.

Six Stick Burr - designed by William Hu, made by Eric Fuller,
from various woods.

Double Slideways Burr - designed by Ray Stanton, made by Eric Fuller,
from Maple, Walnut, and Sapele.

Galaxia - designed by Yavuz Demirhan, made by Eric Fuller,
from Jatoba, Cherry, and Walnut.

Retrofit - designed by Goh Pit Khiam,
made by Eric Fuller,
from Rosewood, Ipe, Walnut, Bubinga,
Padauk, Maple, and Acrylic.

Carambole No. 2 - designed by Yavuz Demirhan,
made by Brian Menold,
from Sycamore, Wenge, and Yellowheart.

Paquet - designed by Yavuz Demirhan,
made by Brian Menold,
from Red Oak and Yellowheart.

Lion's Claw - designed by Yavuz Demirhan,
made by Brian Menold,
from Bloodwood.

Spiral Cube No. 2 - designed by Tom Jolly,
made by Brian Menold,
from Wenge, Holly, Canarywood, Redheart, and Red Oak.

Grandfather's Puzzle - a vintage wooden traditional six-piece burr.
No provenance - no other markings on the box or pieces.
The pieces are { 1, 188, 768, 824, 976, 1024 } - the "Cross of Marseille" set.

Colin Gaughran's 12-piece Burr
I had the opportunity to visit Colin's workshop in Lyme and we had a fun discussion about puzzles and puzzle-making.
I saw several works in progress destined for various collectors.
Colin was kind enough to give me this 12-piece burr he designed and made from cherry wood. Thanks, Colin!

Mad Marbles
I found another copy of this vintage
3D sliding MGRF puzzle from Lakeside.

Cafe Puzzle - 1978 Gordon Bros.
This is a vintage plastic peg solitaire set.

Robert Yarger (aka "Stickman") is an artist and woodworker who has designed and crafted over 25 amazing puzzle boxes. Now you can view his collection online at his new website: http://www.stickmanpuzzlebox.com/.

IPP 34 has come and gone. You can see this year's Design Competition entries and results here.

I have updated my entry on what I now know is the Madmaze puzzle.

I have also updated my entry on the Little Millionaire puzzle.

Sliding Puzzle Sports sliding piece puzzle with an Olympics theme.
Made in Hong Kong.

Keychain Owls A group of simple Owl keychain "puzzles"

Keychain Renault Dauphine A fairly rare puzzle - I am happy to have found one.

Set of Six Keychain Puzzles

Turnabout - a magnetic assembly puzzle from Tensegrity Systems Corp. (c) 1990

The 5-4 Burr - handmade by Artifactory in Oregon
An auction buy-it-now for $40 - the seller says they are the exclusive online distributor.
Nice exotic woods in a good size - but a very loose fit.
The woods are: wenge, yellowheart, maple, zebrawood, bloodwood, and purpleheart.
I took a chance on this since they didn't show the pieces, and I am pleased since it turns out
this is an instance of David Winkler's complex 5.4, which I didn't have.
The pieces are { 412, 480, 512, 704x2, 960 }.

A black and a blue copy of the 2x4x6 cuboid twisty puzzle -
designed by Hunter Palshook, produced by Calvin's Puzzle

Perplexing Pyramids - Gordon Bros. of Fair Oaks CA (c) 1976 item no. 154
Six pieces, equal to the Perplexing Pyramid from Gordon Bros. - but this package includes an additional challenge on the back.
Use the six pieces to make what George Bell calls the "Roof" shape, with a 3x4 base.
A timely find, as in the July 2014 issue #94 of Cubism for Fun, George Bell coincidentally has an article entitled
Pyradox: A Pyramid Packing Paradox in which he analyzes sets of pieces that can form both a tetrahedron and a roof.

A vintage Pilgrim's Progress sliding piece puzzle

July 2014

City Maze - designed by Raf Peeters, produced by SmartGames
Thanks, Raf!

Quadrillion - designed by Raf Peeters, produced by SmartGames
Thanks, Raf!

Master Octahedron - designed by Scott Bedard,
hand-cast and made by Kevin Uhrik

Dino Skewb (F-Skewb) - designed by Timur Evbatyrov,
produced by DaYan

Nembus #2 - designed by Yavuz Demirhan, made by Brian Menold
from Canarywood and Maple.

Loopy Cube - designed by Tom Jolly, made by Brian Menold
from Orange Osage and Wenge.

Wha Hoppen - keychain puzzle, with original card

Smart Egg - designed by Andras Zagyvai
The eggs are plastic, fairly lightweight, and approx. 65mm high by 50mm wide.
They are not overly difficult and aside from the wand have no other moving parts (unlike the more elaborate wooden versions).
The official website seems to be: smartegg.eu but I can find no reference to the plastic versions there.
The website does state that they filed a patent with the SBGK on May 5, 2010 and gives ref # 705302/DO.
The Hungarian packaging lists the website: smarteggtoy.com and has a logo from "Possible Games" as well as
"All rights reserved Smart Egg Production and Licensing Ltd HK" and "Bai Guan Plastic & Electronic (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd."

June 2014

Pyraminx Duo
Meffert's has mass-produced Rob's Pyraminx! For commercial release it is called the Pyraminx Duo. The puzzle was designed by the multi-talented Dutch puzzlist Oskar van Deventer based on a concept he found within my "family tree" diagram of tetrahedral puzzles.

The Pyraminx Duo is arguably the simplest non-trivial twisty puzzle - it is easy to solve intuitively and makes a fun gift for folks who normally wouldn't consider themselves avid puzzlers. If you would never even think of attempting a Rubik's Cube, don't worry - you can solve this! With its intriguing geometric shape, it looks great, too, and would be equally at home on an executive's desk or a teen's bookshelf.

Oscar Roth Andersen has even devised a game that can be played with the Pyraminx Duo!

You can purchase black or white versions at Meffert's online shop, the Jade Club, or hknowstore.

Boussole - designed by Yavuz Demirhan, made by Brian Menold
from Poplar and Cocobolo
Fit four pieces into the frame.

Tourelle - designed by Yavuz Demirhan, made by Brian Menold
from Sheoak and Cocobolo
Fit seven pieces into the frame.

Burr Bones - designed by Frank Potts, made by Eric Fuller
from Maple and Bubinga
[Dis]assemble the three pieces.

Shake Something - designed by Dan Fast, made by Eric Fuller
from Yellowheart and Chakte Viga with a Walnut box
Extract the four pieces from the box.

Ring Lock - designed by William Hu, made by Eric Fuller
from Padauk, Maple, Walnut, Leopardwood, Yellowheart and Purpleheart
[Dis]assemble the six pieces.

A Micro Burr and a Micro Diagonal Star, each in its own small box -
made by John Polhemus, sold via his wife's Etsy store Silly Sheila Designs.
Thanks, Brett!

SmartGames has come out with several new puzzles
designed by the incomparable Raf Peeters.
I found the IQ Steps in a local Barnes and Noble.
Brainwright has issued several intriguing new puzzles.
I picked up the FlexiCube,
designed by George Miller.

May 2014

Twisty puzzles, including Meffert's Ghost Cubes in purple and in black with white stickers, an Ayi's 3x4x4, and Traiphum's Megaminx Ball.
Keychain puzzles, including a rare Zeppelin, a rare Davy Crockett Good Luck Horseshoe, Bear, Czech Caged Burr, Missing Link, and Twisty Barrel.

April 2014

On April 27, Brett and I visited the Beyond Rubik's Cube exhibition
at the Liberty Science Center.

There were lots of Rubik's Cube memorabilia on display,
along with examples of other puzzles, both twisty and mechanical.

There was a giant electronic cube in the atrium. Puzzle enthusiast George Miller appeared on video discussing the cube.

I picked up one of the new stickerless Rubik's Cubes in the well-stocked gift shop.

On April 26, I participated with some friends (Brett, Victor, and Ben)
in the DASH 6 puzzle event in New York City.

The event was held in downtown Manhattan amidst impressive new buildings and inviting little tucked-away parks.
We had a lot of fun solving the puzzles and scored somewhere in the middle of the pack.

I found some puzzles in a souvenir shop in St. Augustine:

Five keychain puzzle acquisitions...

Bell Piano Keychain Puzzle
I am very happy to have finally found one of these, with its original card!

Metal Sphere Burr keychain puzzle
Purchased in auction from an Asian vendor.
Inexpensive, but interesting - notice that the pieces
have traditional six-piece burr notching.
The 1024 piece to which the chain is attached has a rounded edge.

Droplet keychain puzzle

Small Cube keychain puzzles

Fire - designed by George Hart
A two-piece dissection of a tetrahedron - this large but loose-fitting 3D printed example served
for two months as a hands-on exhibit in a gallery at Stony Brook University.
A gift from George - thanks!

Puzzle Lock - designed and made by Richard Hensel.
I bought one of Dick's first versions a while back - the larger model with the protruding pin on the bottom.
More recently I obtained one of his refined versions - the smaller model with no pin.
The mechanisms are virtually the same.

De Luxe Puzzle Set - issued by D. Robbins & Co. N.Y.C
Copyrighted 1953
A nice set of four classic brainteasers.
I picked up spares because the first 3 of these are popular items in my "puzzle go bag."

Lokulus - issued by Dr. Wood of Australia (defunct)
(many of their puzzle designs by Dr. Mark T. Wood)

Ostomachion, meaning "bone fight," or Syntemachion (sometimes referred to incorrectly as the "Stomachion" - see this great article at archimedes-lab.org) is indelibly associated with the ancient Greek scientist Archimedes of Syracuse, who lived c. 287-212 B.C. and is considered to be the greatest mathematician of antiquity.

It is a 2200 year old 14-piece dissection of a square - a Tangram-style puzzle or game that is thought to have been played by several players using pieces made of bone or ivory. Various goals include re-forming the square, and forming various figures in the usual Tangram manner. One question was "How many ways can the pieces be arranged to form a square?" Other ancient authors, all later than Archimedes, mention the game as well, and it is not known whether the game itself or Archimedes' investigation of it is older.

The Dr. Wood version is made of colorful plastic and includes a tray and a booklet of 73 challenges. The color assignments (red, yellow, blue, black) to both sides of each piece allow for some interesting challenges.

A description of the Ostomachion was found in the Archimedes Palimpsest, a parchment codex dating from tenth-century Byzantium. The palimpsest contents were released publicly in digital form and can also be downloaded at archive.org.

As reported in a NY Times article by Gina Kolata, published Dec. 14 2003, according to Dr. Reviel Netz, a classics professor at Stanford, until the information in the palimpsest came to light, though it was known that Archimedes had investigated the Ostomachion, it was unlcear as to its significance. The palimpsest reveals that Archimedes was investigating the number of ways the pieces can form a square - an early foray into the science of combinatorics. A PDF of Netz' 2004 paper (with Fabio Acerbi and Nigel Wilson) Towards a Reconstruction of Archimedes' Stomachion can be found at matetam.com.

Archimedes demonstrated that the area of each piece is rationally commensurate with the square (in the ratio 1:48). The square is an integer multiple of the area of each triangular piece - the overall square is 144 units and the pieces are either 3,6,9,12, or 24 units in area (the pentagonal "house" shaped piece is 21 units). (I have read that the palimpsest refers to a version stretched to twice the width of the square version shown here, which is a bit confusing if the investigation is into a square, not a rectangle.) Archimedes himself might not have known the number of solutions - he refers only to "multitudes."

Joe Marasco gives a good chronology and account of the re-popularization of the puzzle at his website, barbecuejoe.com. Marasco says that he commissioned the work to determine the number of solutions, and that Bill Cutler answered the challenge, computing that excluding rotations, reflections, and permutations of identical pieces, there are 536 distinct solutions. Without exclusions, there are 17,152 solutions, independently confirmed by graph theorists Fan Chun and Ron Graham (the Kolata article incorrectly attributes the solution to Chun and Graham with confirmation by Cutler, but it is the other way around). Marasco also provides a diagram of the 536 solutions.

Kadon also has a great article on the Ostomachion. There is some information at George Miller's website. See also an article by Ed Pegg Jr.

According to 4umi.com, "The remaining Greek fragments of Stomachion appear on the very last folio in the Archimedes Palimpsest. The evidence suggests the palimpsest originally contained more pages, but several are missing at the end. Following the prayer book page numbering, the essay begins on folio 177 recto - 172 verso and continues on the reverse side 177 verso - 172 recto. It is preceded by The Method of Mechanical Theorems. The text, which remains quite fragmentary, sets out to compare the various angles of the puzzle pieces. A diagram of a Stomachion square is visible in the righthand column on 177 verso."

The same website tells us that "Roman poet Decimus Magnus Ausonius (ca. 310 ca. 393) mentions the Stomachion in his description of a type of poetry in which various meters are put together, like the pieces of the puzzle, in the introduction to his book Cento Nuptialis (A Wedding Cento)."

Ausonius writes "... [the Cento] is like the puzzle which the Greeks have called ostomachia. There you have little pieces of bone, fourteen in number and representing geometrical figures. For some are equilateral triangles, some with sides of various lengths, some symmetrical, some with right angles, some with oblique: the same people call them isosceles or equal-sided triangles, and also right-angled and scalene. By fitting these pieces together in various ways, pictures of countless objects are produced: a monstrous elephant, a brutal boar, a goose in flight, and a gladiator in armour, a huntsman crouching down, and a dog barking even a tower and a tankard and numberless other things of this sort, whose variety depends upon the skill of the player. But while the harmonious arrangement of the skilful is marvellous, the jumble made by the unskilled is grotesque."

Hanayama Cast U & U - designed by Kyoo Wong
The nuts screw up and down but do not come off.
A gift from Brett - thanks!

Lenz's Law Demonstration

A moving magnetic field induces an electric current in a nearby conductor - this is called an eddy current. In turn, the induced current will create its own magnetic field that opposes the original magnetic field that created it. One can demonstrate this using a simple copper tube and a strong magnet that will drop through the tube. The copper tube conducts but is non-magnetic. The magnet will drop through the tube, but much more slowly than a non-magnetic equivalent mass. It's not "sticking" to the tube - rather, Lenz's Law - the opposing magnetic fields - slows it down.
A gift from Brett - thanks!

Blue RD Tetrahedron - advertising promo

Colorful Wooden 6-piece traditional Burr - China

March 2014

Das Wunder Puzzle
According to one source, German products from 1900-1920 were often marked this way, and it most likely indicates that there was a registered trademark on the name. It could also refer to a copyright, design patent, or patent pending - though I have not found a relevant patent.

There are three additional smaller embossed letters which may be "O.O.N." or "C.O.M." but I am not sure. Another source (Springer Gabler) says that the type of legal protection should be noted, so these three letters may indicate the type, but again I am not sure.

An identical looking puzzle called "The Little Giant" is shown in Slocum's 1987 "Puzzles Old and New" on page 147. Slocum says it was being sold in 1896 but gives no other info about provenance. Slocum says the Little Giant has an internal pin and magnet - my puzzle has a pin but no magnet. The record pertaining to Slocum's puzzle, now held at the Lilly Library, can be viewed online.

After seeing an original owned by another collector, Eric Fuller produced a remake along with a couple of variations -
here is a link to the Wunder Puzzle in Fuller's discontinued puzzles list. I bought one of Eric's Walnut versions.

A Google search for little giant puzzle will show a clear reference to the Little Giant appearing in "The American Stationer" Volume 24 from 1888 - "The 'Little Giant' puzzle block, composed of two pieces of wood cleverly dovetailed together,
is a puzzle in every sense of the word, and is in good demand. It is a great curiosity and is a fine piece of workmanship."

Another early reference to dovetail puzzles (though not the Little Giant) can be seen on page 98 of "Building Age" Volume 3 from 1881.

David's Gear Cube - conceived by David Tzur (Alex Polonsky),
developed by Oskar van Deventer, issued by Meffert.

Tetra - Design Science Toys 1997
a four-piece tetrahedron

Vexahedron - Tensegrity Systems (Design Science Toys)
a magnetic assembly puzzle

I have updated my section on pyramid puzzles.

Sectional Checkerboard Puzzle - a vintage advertising promotion from the Phenyo-Caffein Co. of Worcseter MA. "Patented Sept. 7, 1880."
This is the 15-piece Luers design.

Pink Ivory Ring - designed by Ken Irvine, made by Tom Lensch
from Pink Ivory, Maple, and Walnut.

I am honored that the noted and prolific puzzle designer Oskar van Deventer [W] [S] has named one of his puzzle designs after me - Rob's Pyraminx. [T] Oskar named this previously unrealized (AFAIK) design after noticing it in my "family tree" chart of tetrahedral twisty puzzles.


Squished Skewb - designed by John Lin

Octo-Star Cube - designed by David Pitcher, produced by Calvin Fan

Inside Cube Orange

Pyramid Puzzle issued by Bits & Pieces

Moyu Moyan I Devil's Eye (colored)

A few nice, compact, inexpensive puzzles from George Bell's Shapeways Shop:

Nuclear Fusion

Interlocking Tetrahedron

Stan's (Len's) Tetrahedron

The Stellated Burr from Primitivo Familiar Ramos of Spain.

Galaxy Z designed by Osanori Yamamoto, made by the Pelikan workshop, purchased from PuzzleWood.de

Mysterious Galaxy designed by Osanori Yamamoto, made by the Pelikan workshop, purchased from PuzzleWood.de

Stan designed by Tamas Vanyo, made by the Pelikan workshop, purchased from PuzzleWood.de

Burr from Lee Valley Tools
a substantial metal 6-piece burr

Arjeu CT45
a large wooden 73 piece Pagoda puzzle

Tube Maze
a sleeve-on-cylinder maze, 3D printed on his Makerbot by Jon Taylor.
You might be able to find one for sale via his eBay account 19snowden89.


New offerings from Master Craftsman Eric Fuller at Cubicdissection:

Carbo Cube designed by Donald Osselaer,
made by Eric Fuller from Bubinga, Maple, and Acrylic
Level 6.2

Gaia designed by Yavuz Demirhan,
made by Eric Fuller from Walnut, Cherry, Sapele, and Acrylic
Level 11.2

Rail Box designed by Yavuz Demirhan,
made by Eric Fuller from Maple, Purpleheart, and Padauk
Level 18

Vortex designed by Chi-Ren Chen,
made by Eric Fuller from Maple, Bubinga, and Acrylic
Level 21, with rotations

February 2014

On 2/15 I attended the annual New York Puzzle Party Symposium (NYPP) organized by Tom Cutrofello, in Manhattan. Also in attendance were members of the Grabarchuk family, well known among puzzlers, who have emigrated en masse from the Ukraine to the United States. There were several interesting presentations, and the usual puzzle playing, trading, buying, and selling. I picked up a few items. The puzzling continued over a tasty lunch at a Jackson Hole restaurant. A group of us, led by Brett Kuehner, also attended a "Room Escape" live puzzle event in the evening. The theme was "The Agency" and we all had a blast! Our group of ten puzzlers attacked the room and managed to solve the puzzle in 47 minutes, well within the allotted hour. The host Victor made us feel very welcome and was interested in our feedback. You can read about it on facebook and book online at escapetheroomnyc.com. On Sunday, several of us, including Brian Pletcher, Jeff Aurand, and Ken Irvine were at Brett's house continuing the puzzling, and in the evening Brett and I made our way back into Manhattan to attend a post-Toy Fair dinner organized by inventor and magician Mark Setteducati. We got to chat with fascinating people (including the inventor of the Bop-It toy) and were treated to impressive impromptu magic!

Hanayama Cast Twist
The latest in the Hanayama line,
designed by Oskar van Deventer.
Separate the two donuts -
each has a series of engraved
spiraling and criss-crossing grooves,
and a pin that rides in the
grooves of the other donut.

The Mirage Puzzle
designed by Serhiy Grabarchuk in 1992
It is described in his book
"Neo Sliding Block Puzzles"
The acrylic enclosure sandwiches
two layers of sliding tiles, a fixed
island in the center, and a single-tile
single-layer space. Using the space,
slide the tiles between start and goal
configs described on the website
(cw b,1,2,3,4,5,6,7) -> all 7s.

Path Puzzles by Rod Kimball
Given a grid of cells with various
interconnections at the NSEW sides,
and numbers indicating the cells used
in the corresponding row and column,
find a path from entrance to exit
that satisfies the numeric constraints.
Solvable using deduction.

Curvy Rhombohedron
designed by John Lin

I received an order from Creative Crafthouse. Proprietor Dave Janelle is always bringing out new and interesting, high quality puzzles!

Five Fit - designed by Stewart Coffin
Fit the five pentomino pieces into the square tray.
The tray has a handy storage space for one of the pieces
should you be unable to solve it.

Animals of Australia
Dump out the ten nicely cut
animal pieces and try to fit them back in the tray.
No peeking at the solution!

Brain Wave
Arrange the bi-colored pieces in the slots
so that no color is repeated along any line of the
triangle on both sides of the head.

Odd Man Out
Build a 2x2x2 cube using 8 of the 9
included numbered dice, so that every
face displays a unique number.

X Marks the Spot
designed by Derek Bosch
Sequentially interlace the four acrylic pieces
and form the hash shape.

I acquired a group of tanglement puzzles made by the late Perry A. Horton of Albany Oregon, from a neighbor of Horton's who purchased them at Horton's estate sale. Horton was born 8/25/10 and died 2/2/94. Several of the puzzles are whole, but others are mere fragments. The lot also included some instruction and inventory sheets.

Horton Tangles

Woody Craft Hexsticks

3 Piece Burr (monkeypod wood)

Hikimi Longram

YJ Lucky Cat 2x2x2

Curvy Copter Plus
designed by Tom van der Zanden - issued by Meffert

Ayi's 3-layer Cheese

Moyu Devil's Eye (closed)
a rhombic dodecahedral form of the cross cube

Moyu Devil's Eye (open)

January 2014

Happy New Year!

Lattice Cube - originally designed and hand-made by Katsuhiko Okamoto.
later made by Scott Bedard and Gregoire Pfennig
now mass-produced by Calvin Fan
The order-4 vertex-turning cube - a Dino with tri-partite vertices.

Helical Burr - Derek Bosch - dyed Shapeways 3D print
Derek's clever Helical Burr won the Jury Grand Prize
in the 2013 Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition.
Four pieces - two assemblies - one is level 11.

L in Cage - designed in 2013 by Yavuz Demirhan,
made from Lacewood and Cocobolo by Brian Menold at Wood Wonders
Free four L-shaped pieces from the cage - level 10.2.2
A substantial size with the cage alone at over 3" tall and about 2.5" square.

December 2013

Happy Holidays to All!

I chose three Karakuri Christmas Boxes this year - by Kamei, Iwahara, and Tajima:

Karakuri Christmas Box 2013 - Kamei

Karakuri Christmas Box 2013 - Iwahara

Karakuri Christmas Box 2013 - Tajima

The Fiddler - from the The Puzzle & Craft Factory
Thanks, Em!

Burrito - designed by Yavuz Demirhan,
made by Pelikan,
purchased from PuzzleMaster

Castle Hole - designed by Osanori Yamamoto,
made by Pelikan,
purchased from PuzzleMaster

Two Pairs One - designed by Osanori Yamamoto,
made by Pelikan,
purchased from PuzzleMaster

Lancelot - designed by Stephane Chomine,
made by Pelikan,
purchased from PuzzleMaster

Popplock T8 - Rainer Popp

Sweet 16 Burr - designed by Jack Krijnen, made by Eric Fuller

Pocket Geranium - Verypuzzle
Thanks, Brett!

Randy's Cube - designed by Randy Pearson
Entered in the 2012 IPP Design Competition as "Pearson Puzzle Pieces" - 6 pieces form a cube.
Purchased from e3cubestore.com

Roundabout - invented by Volker Latussek
Produced by Popular Playthings
Use the 18 pieces of four different shapes to assemble 50 challenges.

Hanayama Cast Cylinder - designed by Vesa Timonen
Thanks, Brett!

Hanayama Cast G & G - designed by Jin-Hoo Ahn
Thanks, Brett!

Lee Valley Trick Bolt Set II
Thanks, Brett!

Justin's Pocket Cube (4 color) - Mefferts
Thanks, Brett!

Concave 3x3x3 Cube

Wheel of Wisdom

The IPP32 souvenir book has arrived! It looks great, Chris!

I visited Chicago and rode the famous "L" train out to a Marbles the Brain Store in Lincoln Square. I picked up a couple of puzzles by Kidult - Smart Tease and Choc-a-Bloc.

Smart Tease - from Kidult
14 strips, each having seven colored dots on one side
and on the other small pins and sockets whereby strips can be joined.
Each dot is one of seven colors and each strip contains one dot of each color.
Form a 7x7 mat by joining strips back-to-back cross-wise, such that
where two strips cross the dots on both sides are the same color.

Choc-a-Bloc - from Kidult
A Pentomino set - the 12 pieces resemble
chocolate bar pieces and can be flipped over.
Presented in a clear 6x10 case.

Three unusual 2-D tray packing puzzles designed by William Waite:

The Kitchen Ceiling Puzzle - designed by William Waite in 2006
Pack the 12 pieces into the tray so that the holes make symmetric patterns.

Optimal Tumble - designed by William Waite in 2010
Pack the 12 pieces into the tray so that the holes make symmetric shapes.

Triangle Edges - designed by William Waite in 2005
Pack the 12 pieces into the tray.
The puzzle is based on a triangular grid
and each piece is composed of five edges.

Five new puzzles made by Eric Fuller:

Claw 3 - designed by Alfons Eyckmans,
made by Eric Fuller from Grandillo and Sapele

Spacemine - designed by Yavuz Demirhan,
made by Eric Fuller from Sapele and Imbuya

Pair Dance - designed by Osanori Yamamoto
made by Eric Fuller from Jatoba and Purpleheart

Capsula Burr - designed by Yavuz Demirhan,
made by Eric Fuller from Walnut and Maple

Rotator - designed by Tom Jolly,
made by Eric Fuller from Mahogany, Padauk, and Imbuia
Three pieces form a 4x4x4 cube with holes.
[Dis]assembly requires rotations.

Two new 4x4x4 cube designs using rotational moves, by Ken Irvine, produced by Bernhard Schweitzer (PuzzleWood.de), both made from nicely polished Mahogany wood. Fit and finish are excellent on both puzzles, which measure about 60mm on an edge.

Matador - designed by Ken Irvine
Produced by Bernhard Schweitzer, made from Mahogany.

Turnkey - designed by Ken Irvine
Produced by Bernhard Schweitzer, made from Mahogany.

November 2013

I recently achieved a bit of a milestone - this site now features over 5000 puzzling items!

Check out these puzzle blogs:

I have added new material:

I received a few new puzzles:

Sunglasses - designed by Yoshiyuki Kotani
Free the 4 glasses from the frame.

Trapezoid Symmetry - designed by Yasuhiro Hashimoto
Form 3 symmetric figures using only the two smaller pieces.
(NOTE: I found it possible to form a fourth symmetric
figure using only the two smaller pieces!)
Then form 5 symmetric figures using all 3 pieces.

Ghost Cube - designed by Jason Smith and Adam Cowen,
and hand-cast by Jason.
Possibly the most difficult of the "axised" designs.

Pocket Cube - designed by Justin Eplett,
produced by Meffert.
A 3x3x3 with clever bandaging and extensions.

Skewb X-treme - 10-color version, designed by Tony Fisher,
produced by Meffert.

The By George Burr - designed by George Syriaque in 2011,
and entered in the 2012 IPP Design Competition.
Its six unusual pieces serially interlock.
George kindly sent me a prototype made by Brian Menold - thanks, George!

Laser Maze - produced by Thinkfun and
designed with the help of Luke Hooper
(the inventor of the laser chess game Khet).

A Pillowed Hexaminx - mass-produced by Calvin Fan;
this cubic shapemod of a dodecahedral Megaminx was first designed by Tony Fisher
then produced in a beautiful pillowed form by Traiphum Prungtaengkit.

October 2013

Truncated this file to January 2013.

Genuine Article - a group 8 puzzle,
new for 2013, from Tucker Jones House

P-Burr - designed by Junichi Yananose, made by Brian Young from Queensland Silver Ash and Queensland Blackbean
6 pieces, level 18.2 with a unique solution. The pieces { 856/943, 871, 960/992, 1024 } are length 8 and each has a bar attached to each end.
(If you omit the end bars and substitute 911 for 943, you get the pieces used in Bill Cutler's Bin Cross.)
I am proud to say I solved this one from the unassembled state unaided!

Brace Yourself - designed by Frans de Vreugd for IPP33, made by Brian Young at Mr. Puzzle Australia,
from Papua New Guinean Rosewood.
6 pieces form an unconventionally-shaped burr.
Solved this one from the unassembled state!

Parcel Post - issued by Jean-Claude Constantin,
purchased from PuzzleMaster.ca
A recent production, in a convenient size (the tray is 100x75x15mm),
of a vintage 18-piece packing puzzle whose designer is unknown.
The U.S. Post Office began domestic parcel post service in 1913.
Vintage copies of this puzzle show a period postal truck on the cover, and say "Parcel Post Puzzle - Trade Mark."
I have been unable to find a reference to the trade mark or any relevant patent.

I found photos online of two instances of the vintage puzzle. In both cases, the cover is quite faded. However, one can make out the "Parcel Post Puzzle" title, and the words "Trade Mark" below it. The truck drawn on the cover is consistent with the style of trucks circa 1913. I also found a photo of a button celebrating the 1938 25th anniversary of the parcel post service. However, the style of truck from 1938 is very different from that depicted on the puzzle cover, so I think the puzzle dates from the earlier period.

The Ternary Burr - designed by Goh Pit Khiam, made by Eric Fuller from Walnut and Cherry.
22 pieces, 75 moves to get the first piece out.

Noncsi - designed by Tamas Vanyo, made by Eric Fuller from Bubinga and Carolina Ash.
8 pieces pack into the frame in only one way and in a specific order. Level

3-Board-Burr Quartet - designed by Mineyuki Uematsu
Purchased from eBay seller Cu-Japan


September 2013

I have received several puzzle gifts from various people, whom I'd like to acknowledge here...

Colin James sent me a rare Twitchit puzzle, issued in 1972 by the Hubley Division of Gabriel Industries of Lancaster PA, and designed by Piet Hein. This is a dodecahedron whose faces turn. One of three symbols (a circle, square, or triangle) is printed at every vertex of every pentagonal face. The objective of the puzzle is to rotate the faces (in place) so that at all 20 vertices of the dodecahedron, three different symbols show. Although discolored with age, the plastic remains intact and the puzzle is playable. I solved it! Thanks very much, Colin!

Colin also sent me a copy of Marilyn - The Eternal Puzzle issued by Wellingtons in 1989. Thanks again, Colin!

I couldn't be at IPP33 in Japan this year, but Allard Walker sent me one of his exchange puzzles, Conjuring Conundrum, designed by Allard and Louis Coolen. Thanks a million, Allard!

Rosemary Howbrigg sent me one of her IPP33 exchange puzzles, Spare Parts, designed and made by Stewart Coffin. Thanks so much, Rosemary!

Alexandre Muñiz contacted me regarding "crossed stick" puzzles. He has designed several, and very kindly sent me examples of his 10-piece Decagram, and his 8-piece 4-Pointed Star. You can read more at his website PuzzleZapper.com. Thanks, Ali!

Other late summer acquisitions: BIC #1 (Balls in Cylinder) designed by Jerry Loo, Brass Jax designed by Rocky Chiaro and issued by Bits & Pieces (you must try to open it without unscrewing the four rounded end-caps), Brain Blocks, Perplexing Python issued by Pentangle, and a pair of vintage sliding-piece puzzles - the Parking Lot Parable, and Shifty from the Gordon Brothers circa 1974.

Some new twisty puzzles: the DaYan Gem VII, the DaYan Gem V, the Mixup Cube, designed by Oskar and mass-produced by WitEden, the X-Cube and Cross-Cube from Calvin's Puzzles, a Curvy Starminx, a Pillowed Void Dino Cube, and a vintage Hungarian Zodiac Machball (a Skewb variant).

A few more keychain puzzles:

August 2013

I received a generous care package containing several of the latest puzzles issued by the Belgian company Smart Games, from designer extraordinaire Raf Peeters. Thanks very much, Raf! I shall be vexed by these for quite some time to come!

Each of these puzzles is attractively styled and made from robust and colorful plastic. I think they are very good value for money - each includes a series of challenges, increasing in difficulty, so they are not just solved once and done. David Leschinsky, over at Eureka!, refers to this type as "graduated challenges" and carries many of them at his store. Many fall into the sequential movement, assembly/packing, and pattern classes, but Raf has mixed classes in novel ways to create previously unseen mechanics. I always enjoy discovering what Raf comes up with next!

Temple Trap - designed by Raf Peeters, issued by Smart Games
A 3x3 board with an exit space in one corner. Eight sliding blocks representing walls, hallways, and stairs in various configurations, and a player figure. Set up the blocks and figure per the current challenge, then try to solve it by sliding the blocks and moving the figure from block to block to eventually exit the board. The block where the figure resides cannot be moved, and the figure can only be moved to rest on certain blocks. Temple Trap combines a sliding-piece puzzle with route-building challenges and has a great theme reminiscent of Indiana Jones. This one may be my favorite of this batch!

Vikings Brainstorm - designed by Raf Peeters, issued by Smart Games
My second favorite in this group. A 3x3 grid of overlapping circles is populated with a set of nine "water" pieces of two types. These water pieces interlock, rotate, and interfere with each other in interesting ways, and at certain locations there will be boat-shaped gaps. The puzzle includes four Viking boats and each challenge calls for you to move one or more boats from given starting positions to specific goal positions, navigating through the board by figuring out how to exploit the rotating water pieces and gaps. An unusual and very satisfying style of movement!

Noah's Ark - designed by Raf Peeters, issued by Smart Games
My daughter's favorite. Place the pairs of animal pieces in the ark, ensuring that the animals are upright and mates touch. Each challenge specifies the required position of one or more pieces.

Back2Back - designed by Raf Peeters, issued by Smart Games
Place the pieces into the board, using both sides of the board. A polyomino-type packing puzzle, but with an added dimension - the pieces have some units that push through the grid and occupy spots on both sides, and others that occupy a spot on only one side, allowing another piece to overlap on the other side of the board.

Angry Birds Playground Under Construction - designed by Raf Peeters, issued by Smart Games
Using the four pieces (non-flippable F, P, T, and U pentominoes), cover the proper selection of faces on the 5x5 gameboard, per each challenge. I admit I had trouble with the very first problem!

Bill and Betty Bricks - designed by Raf Peeters, issued by Smart Games
A set of wooden blocks and two figures. For each challenge, set up specific blocks as the base and stand one or both figures on top. Using specific additional blocks, build up a rectangular structure, always moving the figure up only one floor at a time. Decorated in a playful motif, but including both simple and advanced challenges!

The 2013 IPP Design Competition entries have been posted. According to Brian's blog, the winners are:

See also Rox's blog, some notes from Scott Elliott, and notes from various twisty puzzlers.

I was not able to attend IPP33 this year, held in Japan. Sadly, too busy with many things, including planning IPP35. Thanks, Brian, for being our spokesperson at IPP33!

Four new puzzles designed by Scott Elliott:

Moire Maze - designed by Scott Elliott

Puckup - designed by Scott Elliott

Peppermint - designed by Scott Elliott

Twisty Trillion - designed by Scott Elliott

A pair of puzzles from Eric Fuller:

Two Burrs in a Corner - designed by Logan Kleinwaks, made by Eric Fuller, from
Walnut (the box), Goncalo Alves, Bubinga, Cherry, Zebrawood, Masonia, Mahogany, Granadillo, Leopardwood, Canarywood, Sucapira, Padauk, and Purpleheart
Twelve burr pieces pack into the box in only one way, and also form two traditional 6-piece burrs (a level-5 and a level-4) simultaneously in only one way.

Cold Fusion - designed by Logan Kleinwaks, made by Eric Fuller, from Walnut, Maple, and Cherry
Four interconnected burrs, level 18.6.8.

July 2013

At the New Jersey seashore on 7/27, on Long Beach Island in the town of Ship Bottom, I discovered a great little toy store with a good stock of various puzzles. It is called The Haymarket Hobbies & Toys and is owned by John and Susan Hay. It is located at 2120 Long Beach Boulevard, Ship Bottom, NJ 08008. Their phone number is 609-494-7228. If you are in the area, I recommend that you stop in!

Dave Janelle at Creative Crafthouse has reached an agreement with Thinkfun to allow him to produce a limited run of the Hexadecimal puzzle designed by William Keister and originally produced by Binary Arts (which became Thinkfun) as their first commercial puzzle. Richard Whiting maintains an informative web page devoted to the Hexadecimal puzzle. Dave's version is made from cherry wood and comes in a nice case. Dave was kind enough to send me a prototype. Thanks, Dave!

Bernhard Schweitzer sent me a care package containing various tanglements and other puzzles, including several secret-opening puzzles by Jean Claude Constantin. Thanks, Bernhard!

A vintage 12-piece Banzee Island Checkerboard Puzzle. An advertising promo for McCracken Realty Inc of Phoenix AZ.

A vintage sliding-piece puzzle Spacenik from Roalex.

A vintage Krazee World assembly puzzle from Plas-Trix of Brooklyn NY.

Puzzle Patterns written and illustrated by Larry Kettelkamp.
William Morrow & Company 1963
A compendium of various brainteasers, aimed at grade-school kids.

A CUNI 3x3x3 with metal internals by Alpha Cube

A Superstar from Verypuzzle

A pair of Twistball puzzles - 4-color, and XL Flowerball
These are spherical Dino Cubes with visible corners.

A pair of sticker variations of the Gear Change designed by Oskar van Deventer and produced by Meffert.

A black Mastermorphix designed by Tony Fisher and produced by Meffert.

I received some nice puzzles from Brian Menold at Wood Wonders. Thanks, Brian!

The Four Piece Pyramid designed by Stewart Coffin, made by Brian from Holly. The units are rhombic dodecahedra.

The Pyramidal Pile suggested by Stewart Coffin, made by Brian from Holly and East Indian Rosewood. The units are truncated rhombic dodecahedra. See Stewart's discussion of puzzles made from rhombic dodecahedra .

The Octahedral Cluster designed by Stewart Coffin, made by Brian from Walnut. The units are rhombic dodecahdra.

Some gifts from Brett - a sliding piece puzzle by Pussycat picturing some elephants and featuring a couple of 1x2 pieces to complicate things; an IQ Link puzzle from Smart Games designed by Raf Peeters; a Hanayama Cast Delta puzzle; and a Hopson Kinetic Prismatoy folding toy. Thanks!

Dave at Creative Crafthouse sent me a copy of one of his latest puzzles, the Word Wheel based on a design patented back in 1882. Thanks, Dave!

Some new finds:

A vintage sliding piece puzzle in the shape of a bottle of Glenlivet Scotch. The New Book of 200 Puzzles No. 1 by the Wehman Bros. A group of five different Chinese brass tanglement puzzles.

A Little Millionaire Savings Bank secret opening puzzle. A Finder Ball twisty puzzle 2x2x2 - the Globe version, in Spanish.

Fish Frenzy - arrange the eight cards to form a picture, then move the cards about to form other pictures.

A copy of the Hubley Toys 1972 Catalog, which features a series of four puzzles designed by Piet Hein.

Eitan's Star - a face-turning icosahedron, produced by Mf8

A Gear Octahedron designed by Timur Evbatyrov and produced by Calvin's Puzzles

June 2013

I received a very nice surprise in the mail - the kind folks Adele and Peter Plantec at Puzzle Me Please sent me a selection of their beautiful puzzles crafted from exotic woods! Thanks very much!

On the 29th I had fun attending a puzzle party hosted by Saul and Paulette Bobroff at their home. Several notable puzzlers were there and we all got to play with much of Saul's extensive puzzle collection. I snapped a photo of Stewart Coffin reassembling a puzzle of Chris Morgan's that had stumped Chris - turns out it was one of Stewart's designs, and a piece had been separated into two components at a failed glue joint. Mystery solved! I also snapped a photo of a wooden sleeve-on-cylinder maze puzzle in Saul's collection, made by Joseph Tamir of Israel. Saul kindly gave me one of his IPP31 exchange puzzles - design number 138A by Stewart Coffin - the Piggy Box. Thanks, Saul and Paulette - I had a great time!

On the 22nd through the 25th, made a trip to Niagara Falls.

On the drive up visited the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y. The CMoG had several puzzle vessels on display.

At Niagara Falls, I stopped in at Turtle Pond Toys. They carry several nice puzzles of various types. I picked up the IQ Puzzle from Toyland Company. It has 9 curved pieces that must be fit into the channels within a 4x4 grid of circles. It is an easier version of the 845 Combinations puzzle, which has 10 pieces to be fit into the same grid.

Puzzling notes:

This month brings two puzzles from Eric Fuller's latest sale, and a few other finds:

Clamped Burr - designed by Logan Kleinwaks
Made by Eric Fuller, from Cherry, Walnut, and Ash
Level 15.3.5
A partially boxed burr - one in a series of increasingly Constrained Burrs including: Bookend (base and 1 side), Cornered, and Looped.

Framework II - designed by Markus Götz
Made by Eric Fuller, from Walnut, Sapele, and various other exotic woods.
A redesign by Markus of Markus' original, with analysis by Tom Jolly. This version has a single solution.

Bronze Revomaze - designed by Chris Pitt
According to several folks who have tried them all, the Bronze may be the best of the series.
It seems like they're out of stock everywhere, so I snapped up one I found on auction.

Kenken6 - in maple, from PuzzleMePlease.com
Arrange 27 cubelets in the frame to form a 3x3x3 cube such that a valid KenKen6 appears on each face. The cubelets only have figures on the outside - the central cubelet has none. So, all figured faces will be used in the solution.

Exit - issued by Reiss in 1974
Place a steel ball into the wooden block, which contains maze passages to be navigated blind.

Les Casse-tete recreatifs a la "Belle Epoque" - by Genevieve Perrot and Francoise Mahy [website]
A nice compendium documenting vintage French boxed puzzles of all types.
Purchased from the authors.

Compendium of French Boxed Puzzles 1860-1930 - by Dario Uri
By coincidence, Dario Uri of Italy has also produced a beautiful compendium of French Boxed Puzzles.
Dario very kindly sent me a copy. Thanks very much, Dario!

33 Problems - issued by Invicta in 1981
A board containing a set of grooves, arranged so as to provide a playing surface on which to try 33 different matchstick puzzles using a bunch of included red panels in lieu of matchsticks. The panels fit into grooves in the board. An included sheet specifies the setup and objective for 33 puzzles, but does not give solutions.

Gear Octahedron - from LanLan based on Oskar van Deventer's design

I finally stickered my Brilicube. [T] [S] It has loosened up some and is now very playable. Of course, as luck would have it, on my first scramble/solve I ran into a parity situation.

May 2013

Bernhard Schweitzer sent me a very generous care package. Thanks a million, Bernhard! Much appreciated. Bernhard's shop Puzzlewood.de features many exciting new creations by both veteran and fledgling designers.

CEI Burr - designed by Gregory Benedetti
12 unusual pieces. Disassembly appears easy at first, but beware!

Ice Pillar - designed by Osanori Yamamoto
Level 30.6.3 - the first of the four pieces won't be coming free from the cage quickly!

Little Slide Plank Cube - designed by Gregory Benedetti
Greg has achieved a very clever dissection of the cube into three similar but different pieces that fit together with coordinate motion. Precision made.

Pylon 2P2C - designed by Yavuz Demirhan
Level 9.9 - a very satisfying puzzle that was more difficult for me the second time around!

Columnata 2P3C - designed by Yavuz Demirhan
Level 12.5 - another fun and great-looking puzzle by Demirhan.

Six Piece Sliding Cube - designed by Gregory Benedetti
A coordinate motion puzzle using six similar pieces. Not easy to get started. However, unlike many other coordinate motion puzzles, putting it back together was actually pleasant rather than frustrating.

I received several new puzzles from Dave Janelle, whose growing and diverse inventory at PuzzleCraftHouse contains many novel designs and revitalized classics you simply cannot find elsewhere. Thanks very much, Dave!

Forever Wild - Animals of the Appalachians - a tray packing puzzle, one of a series - each comprising a high-quality tray and nice laser-cut pieces in various colors.

SafeCracker 50 - a reproduction of a classic design style - arrange the five layers so that the five numbers appearing in each of the 16 radial columns total 50. There are many vintage paper/cardboard puzzles using this theme - Dave's is made from laser-cut wood and is far sturdier. With the base plate and four additional movable disks, there are 65,536 combinations to try!

Secret Lock Box II - to open this good-sized box, you must discover the proper settings for the three dials.

This "SafeCracker" type of puzzle was the subject of U.S. patent 993581, granted to H. Davidson in 1911.

For reference, here are a few of the vintage (many from the early 1900's) "SafeCracker"-type puzzles (I don't have these) - they include: The White Sewing Machine Sixty Puzzle, The Great 51 Puzzle, The Great Burglar Puzzle, Capture U Boat 40, Hegger's Century Puzzle, and Huntley & Palmers Safe Combination Puzzle.

The following photos are from Jerry Slocum's collection, courtesy, The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. They can be found under classification section 1.3, Miscellaneous Put-Together.

Here are some other recent acquisitions:

A vintage cardboard advertising puzzle, "Say Cheese Louder." Nine pieces to be arranged in a square such that only one of the five symbols appears in each horizontal or vertical line.
I have highlighted the scored lines separating the pieces.

A 4x4x4 version of the Fight Cube.

Journet's The Brooch vintage dexterity puzzle.
I was pleased to find this, being one of the rarer ones, in good shape.

Several interlocking keychain puzzles.

SIXI Cube by Vinco. Assemble the six unique pieces. A nice sequential interlocking puzzle.

Trains and Planes by Lakeside. I found another in the series of circa 1969 tray packing puzzles from Lakeside. So far they include:
  • 16 Trains and Planes
  • 18 Horses and Riders
  • 19 Animals
  • 20 Cars and Trucks
  • 21 Fish and Birds

April 2013

Super Box 2, designed by J.C. Constantin. Pack the six pieces in the tray so none stick out. The dimensions are such that several arrangements seem like they might fit if you just force the pieces a wee bit - but do not! The solution does not require any forcing at all.

P-26 Drehcube, designed by J.C. Constantin. Arrange the six pieces in the tray and form a 3x3x3 cube. Each piece is composed of four unit cubes and a half-cube triangular prism. On five of the six pieces, the triangular unit can be rotated in place to add to the confusion.

Harmony, designed by Dmitry Pevnitskiy and Kirill Grebnev. Produced by Hanayama. Remove the note from the clef, then return it. Thanks, Brett!

Allumez les Enigmes, produced by Kikigagne. A set of matches and cards posing 50 matchstick challenges (in French). Thanks, Brett!

Fight Cube, in the Playable Metal series. A set of aluminum bricks that can be screwed together to form puzzle piece shapes. Enough to make a 3x3x3 cube puzzle. Designed and manufactured by Taken Fun & Art Co. Ltd. of Taiwan [website]. See a video here.

A set of six "Mini-Burr" (plate-and-burr) puzzles in acrylic and wood, from Eric Fuller:

Aramis, designed by Stephane Chomine and made by Eric Fuller, from acrylic and bloodwood. Level solution.

Captain, designed by Stephane Chomine and made by Eric Fuller, from acrylic and bubinga. 34 move solution.

4 Stick 8, designed by Frank Worrell and made by Eric Fuller, from acrylic, bubinga, bloodwood, wenge, and ash. Unique level 21 solution.

Worm Inside, designed by Chi-Ren Chen and made by Eric Fuller, from acrylic and wenge.

Quads and Rings 1, designed by Yavuz Demirhan and made by Eric Fuller, from acrylic, bloodwood, and ash.

Quads and Rings 2, designed by Yavuz Demirhan and made by Eric Fuller, from acrylic, bubinga, and ash.

March 2013

I received several nice puzzles from Ms. Alison Yada at Ceaco. Thanks, Alison! Ceaco is the largest U.S. jigsaw puzzle manufacturer. They also offer a line of games, under their Gamewright brand, and a line of brainteasers, under their Brainwright brand.

This is Qubigon, a new release from Brainwright. It is a sliding-piece puzzle using magnetic pieces on the surface of an icosahedron. The pieces are numbered 1 through 18 and colored either white, blue, or purple to aid in recognition. Each piece has a correspondingly numbered and colored triangle on the face of the icosahedron. There are also two yellow faces, and one yellow "Genius" piece. The normal puzzle is to remove the yellow marker and scramble all the other pieces around the icosahedron, then by using the two empty faces, slide the pieces to return them to their home faces. The magnetic tiles adhere nicely and slide across the edges from face to face with a satisfying click. For added difficulty, you can add back in the yellow piece and end with it on one of the yellow faces.

This is Squarewave Remodulator, a difficult jigsaw in the Baffler series two from Brainwright. It was designed by Chris Yates. It has only 66 pieces, but its border is convoluted and it has no image to aid in construction. You must go by piece shape alone - each piece is unique.

Here are Four Seasons and Atlantic City, 550 and 750 piece traditional jigsaw puzzles, each with colorful and interesting scenes.

Brainwright also offers Hexus and On the Dot, two interesting puzzles shown elsewhere on my website.

I have been working with Steve Kelsey to design an expansion set for my IPP32 exchange puzzle Non-Convex Bi-Half-Hexes. I have come up with a dozen new tray shapes into which all seven pieces will fit flat. Difficulty ranges from easy to hard, with several having only 1 or 2 solutions, but a few having 7, 9, and 12 solutions. All of the trays are "hollow" and require no internal islands. Our intent is to make the original puzzle and the expansion set available for purchase via Steve's Accurate Laser Engraving website. Stay tuned!

I acquired this printing from IPP4 held in 1981 of a translation into English by Yenna Wu of the Ingenious Ring Puzzle Book by Chung-En Yu.

Here is a keychain version of the classic Star and Belt tangle puzzle.

February 2013

I scored three beautiful new puzzles crafted by the talented Eric Fuller (photos are Eric's):

Core - designed by Yavuz Demirhan, made by Eric Fuller
from Sapele and Cocobolo.
Fit five pieces into a 3x3x3 cavity in the frame, working through a 2x2x2 opening.
My favorite from this batch!

Triaxe - designed by Stephane Chomine, made by Eric Fuller
from Quilted Maple and Bloodwood.
Three burr pieces interlock in the frame at level 24.

Vectes / Ghidorah - two designs that share the same cage, made by Eric Fuller
The cage is walnut, the Vectes (longer) pieces are yellowheart, and the Ghidorah pieces are canarywood.
Ghidorah uses the three shorter, distinct pieces and was designed by Yavuz Demirhan. It is at level 22.3.
Vectes was designed by Alfons Eyckmans and uses the three longer identical pieces. It is level 37.2.3.

A very rare Giraffe keychain puzzle, produced in the 1950s-60s by Roddy in Southport, England.

A rare Cowboy keychain puzzle, produced in the 1950s by Bell in the UK.

Arrow Blocks - designed by Goh Pit Khiam, made by Tom Lensch.
The frame is Indian Rosewood. The pieces are Maple and the arrows are Yellowheart and Brazilian Blackwood. A nice substantial size - the tray is 7" x 5.5" x 1" thick. The pieces are 1.5" squares.
Entered in the 2012 IPP Design Competition. Tom's creations are always a joy to behold and to play with, and this is no exception. And this design from Goh Pit Khiam is no less tricky than his others. Named one of the top puzzle finds of 2012 at a recent gathering of puzzlers.
Only six blocks - all distinct - each showing part of a yellow or brown arrow, and each having various internal flanges that interact both with other pieces as well as the inside of the tray walls. Starting with the pieces in the position shown, restore both arrows. A sequential movement puzzle that appears at first glance to be a simple sliding piece problem. However, astute observers will note the internal flanges that are blocking the last piece, the yellow arrowhead, from being placed in the tray. It won't be as easy as it might seem!
Employing internal flange concepts similar to the Tom's Square Dance and "Little Window" from Tom Jolly.

Clear RevoMaze Sleeve - purchased from, and designed and made by Neil Hutchison.
Neil discusses the genesis of the clear sleeve in his 30 Dec. 2012 blog post, with a follow-up on 5 Feb. 2013. Allard reviewed his on his own blog. The clear sleeve has also been discussed on the RevoMaze forum.

National Oats Girl vintage advertising tanglement puzzle
I've been looking for this one for a while and am very happy to finally find it, in especially good condition.

1-Bit Puzzle by Zach Radding
An enigmatic 1" square circuit board with a red LED in the center and a membrane button on each of the four top edges - marked 1, 10, 100, 1000. Insert the coin cell battery and the LED starts blinking. What does it all mean?
Recently voted one of the best puzzle finds of 2012.
Thanks, Zach!

January 2013 - Happy New Year!

Cat Case - by Edi Nagata
The nice two-sided version made from MDF.

Pencil Case - by Edi Nagata
The nice two-sided version made from MDF.

Mental Aerobics - by Maple Landmark.
A tangram set, equivalent to the Anchor #26 "Bose Sieben."
Purchased during a visit to the Vermont Country Store.

Donald Duck Head twisty puzzle - branded Disney and Topocubo
made in China, imported to Italy by MacDue.
Purchased on eBay.

Gear Minx II - gear twisty mechanism designed by Oskar van Deventer, produced by Meffert.

Keychain Mini Heart blue

Changing Partners designed by Chi-Ren Chen.
Purchased from Puzzlewood. Four different pieces - all six possible pairs fit together (with rotations) to form 4x4x4 holey cubes.

Century burr - an 18-piece burr at level 100, designed by Jack Krijnen, produced with Jack's permission by Colin Gaughran.

The Lotus Puzzle designed by Wil Strijbos.

I added two new books - the IPP31 Souvenir book, and Puzzle Craft by Lynn Rohrbough:  

Ji-Ga-Zo - website - issued by Tenyo in Japan and Hasbro in the US. Designed by puzzle-friend and magician Mark Setteducati.

Daily Puzzle - designed by Wei-Hwa Huang and Oskar van Deventer, produced by Thinkfun

Dinomorphix - designed by Traiphumi, produced by Calvin Fan


Gear Ball - designed by Oskar van Deventer, produced by Meffert


Karakuri Cheesecake Box - designed and produced by the Karakuri Creation Group
A gift from Allard Walker, a prize for being the winner of his 2012 Christmas Challenge. I don't have any of the Karakuri Cake boxes, so this was a nice surprise. Thanks, Allard!

Augmented Stellation - designed by Stewart Coffin (#46 - Vega), made by Brian Menold from Plum and English Sycamore woods. A simple puzzle having six identical pieces, but very nice work - edges straight and sharp! The Vega is a derivative of the classic diagonal burr - its lineage is: diagonal burr -> diagonal star Sirius #4 aka first stellation of the rhombic dodecahedron -> Nova #8 aka 2nd stellation of the RD -> Vega.

Truncated this file to improve load time.

Here are links to old What's New files (some overlap):