Notes from Puzzle Palace

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Canada and puzzles

Well I totally blew it this trip. Not a single meetup was arraigned. What was I doing? I dropped the ball. But it doesnt matter. Thanks to some lovely lads in Vancouver, I managed to find a couple of places selling puzzles. Sadly, most of which I have. But it really doesn't matter, IPP is coming and I shouldn't be greedy.

I was walking to pick up my bib for a little jog that I took and came across a museum. Lo and behold, there was a shop. Upon entering, I managed to find a puzzle or 6 that I didn't have. No twisted I'm afraid, but rather wood, plastic, and paper. I'll post about all when I return to HK at weeks end.

I've two more days here in Ottawa and between the fascinating and my bouts of drunken salvation (these academics are so what I never want to be but find myself becoming more and more like every day) and playing tourist, I have another puzzle shop on the list. I can't go home with only 6 puzzles and a suitcase full of maple syrup and salmon.

And now...I'm off to find a skrt wearing boy with a tall fuzzy hat who is blowing on some bagpipes over by a tomb downtown.....

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Time out/off-the Runes

I really hate real life.  It does so get in the way of puzzling doesn't it?
I've been puzzling through a lot of articles on of all things-grammar.  Talk about dull and boring!  But hey, it pays for the puzzles and when I really get into it it becomes super sexy. :lol:  Ok, I have a sick sense of what is...

I received a parcel from a few days ago and plan to write up about them, but first I'm off for a while to a conference.  I'm hoping that I can sneak out of some of those super exciting talks on stuff I just don't understand and go puzzle hunting, but with the boss lady and all the department ass-heads going too, it doesn't look promising....

Since I have very cleverly packed my camera away already, I can't post on any recent acquisitions, but instead, I'll post on an old puzzle that took me through the summer of my last dissertation and then on into the new school year after completion of said paper. This memory comes from working The World's Greatest Treasure Hunt that I blogged about a few posts back.  Like that one, I worked today's puzzle with a netfriend.  She was teasing me about not laminating my book and up popped a very fond memory of The Runes!

Highly recommended.  I was going through a very tough set of data analysis that summer and was ready to throw in the towel. I spotted the runes on a different website and thought why not.  It can't hurt any and might get me past my hump.  Little did I know that that puzzle would become an addiction that would last almost 6 months!  I had a wonderful time of it.  It was both tough and simplistic at the same time.  I can't praise this little gem enough. If you enjoy puzzling, then this one is it!

As I worked through this, the first thing I did before even starting was to scan all the pages. I knew I was in for a bunch of erasing and the puzzle was just too nice to ruin.  Well, HK heat and humidity being what it is, I took out my handy dandy laminator and sealed those colors in quick.  (yes, I have a laminator, and no, I don't have a problem with that-I'm just a bit um neat!)

I've loaded a sample page here that can be seen on the webpage listed above. Sadly, Laminated pages just don't photograph well with my phone, and I'm no longer sure where the scan copies are....

When I was working the puzzle, I sorted out the cost. (Mind, this was back in 2007!)  I'll add my post from the forum here:

"In the mainRunes page it says over 300 puzzles. I've just spent an hour counting because I'm stuck again, don't want to quit, but have to for classes. (It's like the loss of an old friend) Anyway, I came up with 297 puzzles on the basic 26 puzzles if you count the top and bottom keyword as a puzzle, which I suppose they are. I've come up with another 35 known puzzles from the forums, and the puzzles on the pages. Plus I suppose the grey boxes on the cover is a puzzle as well. That gives me a total of 333 puzzles.
Now, this is where my newly acquired math skills come into play. With the extra cost I had to pay for shipping to HK (No, I'm not complaining!) that comes out to 6 pence per puzzle. Great value for money! It's also taken me almost 2 months to get the first 297 puzzles give or take a few done, so it's great value for time as well.

When does the next one come out Oracle? Any more dead friends you've recently heard from? :lol:"

Even at the 27 pounds that it is now, it's still good value for money.  

I won't add that my English as a second language niece also enjoyed bits and pieces of it.  She likes a good Rubik's cube every now and again so I decided to open her puzzling mind to a nice bit of pen to paper....Unbelievably, she still talks to me. :lol:

For me, it's off to the airport.  Fingers crossed I get some puzzle hunting time in.  Hopefully I can post about those great new wooden puzzles I just got soon, if not....I'll see you in 2 weeks!  Happy Puzzling!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mini Single post

Today's puzzle is a simple little thing made by mini.  Our local Toys R. Us has a bunch of these in and I thought "I'm pretty clever, I'll buy a bunch and solve them in an afternoon."  And then I woke up.

Well, you can't say I'm not confident.  I bought 4 of them.  I solved 1.  So far the mini puzzles are wining.  But I'm not defeated yet.  Can't keep a good puzzler down. 

This is one of those wood/rope/ring things.  The object is quite simple really-take off the ring.   (I find myself repeating that phrase about the simple object.  I really need to learn some new vocabulary.)  A long time ago I was quite good with these things.  Not so much now.  I guess you can get out of practice and just forget how to think.  Add to that the not talking to me and these puzzles just got knottier and knottier. 

And that my friends is what makes these puzzles such great fun!  The knots.  I dare anyone to solve a rope puzzle without tying it into at least one knot.  I swear it just cannot be done! 

With this set of 4, I spent a couple of sessions fiddling around.  I really couldn't say how much time I spent on each one, but it was long...too long for what they are really. Can't call me a quitter though. So the solved puzzle?  After I got the ring off, I put it back on again, because as my fellow blogger Kevin says, it's not solved until it's assembled again.  And just for good measure (and to make myself feel a bit smarter) I did it a few more times before I put the puzzle back in the box again. 

One down, three left in my puzzling bag....

Friday, June 8, 2012

Drive Ya Nuts

Today's puzzle is an oldie but a goodie! I bring it to you because I was thinking of an old friend a few days back and this was one of the puzzles we played. His mom very nicely gave it to us to solve and left us alone because she just knew that we were such good kids puzzling was what we did. (Oh, did I forget to mention that my friend was a he and that he was my boyfriend all through my youth?) Seriously, we puzzled.

"Drive ya nuts" did just that. I do know eventually we solved it but I'm sure it took us quite a while. Drive ya nuts was first made by Milton Bradly in 1970. I was reading various places on the net and saw 1987 as the date, but because of the old boyfriend and the dates we dated I had to do an extensive search to ensure I wasn't nuts! It consists of 7 different hex shaped pieces with the number 1-6 on each side. The object is to match up the numbers on the touching sides, all the way around so they match. This is a fun puzzle to agonize over on a rainy afternoon. Closely related to this is the puzzle "circus 7" or "circus puzzler". This one has 7 'tents' with the sides being a different color. I've shown both puzzles below in a scrambled state.

Notice the two different versions of the circus puzzle. Actually, I have 3 but didn't want to unseal the last one. From what I can tell from Jaap's page there are a number of different versions for this. I'm not so sure about the "drive ya nuts' I've had 3 different versions over the years; an orange base, a green base, and the one shown here. The other two I have given away so I can't check. If anyone I've passed these two puzzles on to would check and reply, I would be grateful!

Fast forward from my teen years and the start of this post to the present day. My friend is now married with kids of his own (as am I-and not to each other). We have managed to reacquaint ourselves after a 20+ year 'separation' and a while back we were chatting about the 'Drive ya nuts' and our kids. It seems that he, like myself, has passed this one on to his sons. I can't remember the details, but I do know it has been solved by them, not so by the bug yet but she'll get there one day.  I'm also very pleased to know that the trusting mom is still doing well after all these years.

For those of you that want solution photos.....scroll down.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Laker Cubes

Today I bring you a set of magnetic cubes.

 I've had these in my closet for quite some time now.  I would have to guess that I bought these pre-bucky balls simply based on the amount of dust on the cover.  And that is why I got them out.  Not the dust, the bucky balls.  I have a set or three under a variety of different names and as I was playing with these the other day I couldn't help but think I had something similar somewhere else.  And of course, I do.
The Laker cubes were made in 1982.  I simply love the warning on the back.

If you loose a piece you are in trouble. Or maybe that's a real nice way to Not have to deal with careless people. Tell them up front there are no replacements.

So these are a set of 27 cubes that have magnets in them. The polarity is such that it appears no two pieces are the same. The object according to the insert is to make a 3x3x3 cube out of them. Easier said than done I tell you. I fiddled with these cubes for a full on testing session and had a Eureka! Moment at the very end of the day. I managed not only to get the cubes into the 3x3x3, but also to lift it off the table. So I know I solved it. Or did I? It fell apart after about 5 seconds.

Which brings me to a question. Do magnets loose their magnetism as they get older? Are they like high school cheerleaders who spend too much time in the sun? Something not quite right after a few years, but holding on for dear life in the hopes that all will be as it once was.....Oh dear, what is she on about? Another puzzle for you all to work out...

Next post.....One for an old friend!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Puzzling visit

I love it when my friends come to town. I get a chance to visit a bit and play with the new puzzles they have bought and brought over.  Today was a double treat because Kim is here for a month as is Otis.  Both showed up on my doorstep around 11 and we had a day of chat and toys.

I ordered pizza for lunch and sadly for Kim, a couple of PR representatives showed up just as the pizza did. Sorry bud I know you must have been hungry.

And that my friends is the whole reason for the visit.  Not pizza.  We can get that anywhere, but rather the PR people.  It seems that there is going to be a competition again this year in HK and Kim asked if I would put a puzzle or two on display.  Yeah, why not.  So over they came to see what types of puzzles I have.  (I think it was really more because Kim hasn't been before and he wanted to see. :) ) We played for around 2 hours before those ladies showed up, and a photo or two was taken. I'm not sure exactly what they played with, but I  know there was a puzzle or two that got solved. Thank you very much!

The ladies from the PR company showed up and it was around two hours of asking questions and answering them, pulling puzzles off shelves and taking photos of them all. When they left, poor Otis had a sore throat from so much talking and said he was feeling a bit tired. We brought them down to the transport stop and came back to the house for a now very cold pizza. (Thank heaven's for those nukers) As usual, we had a lovely chat and then got up to play around a bit more. This time I opened up a set of cabinets that Otis hadn't gotten into before and I am pretty sure he enjoyed himself. He dug out a puzzle/game, and I got him to play a round or two with me. Then bug came in to snap a photo for me and the next thing I knew, I wasn't playing, she was. This was a game of 3d Tic-tac-toe. Otis had never played before so I won the first few rounds. When he and Katherine played, it was a tie-one game each.

As usual, Boxes of puzzles were opened that I forgot I had and I also enjoyed seeing a toy or two that hadn't been viewed in years. As Otis was leaving he commented about not having opened the cabinet in a while-it had been about 3 years-so it was good he came. I got to check out some long lost toys.

It wasn't all just looking at my puzzles though. Otis brought over a couple for me to check out. One, is from DaYan, the mercury verions and a special edition for the China Cubers.
green just doesn't do it for me. Not sure why. The Other made me turn green with envy. Sadly, I didn't see this offer because of that thing I do called work until after all had been sold. Such a shame because I would have ordered one. It was nice to play with for a while though. Beautiful puzzle!

At around 6 Otis left to go meet his mom and it was time for me to pack up the cabinet again. Otis kept apologizing for not helping finish the packing, but you know, I was honestly glad he didn't. It gave me a chance to pack a few other puzzles I had laying around away. I can walk in my room again now! Yeah! All in all, it was a good fun day. I'm glad they came over. And if any of you are in HK fromm 5-7 October, do head over to Plaza Hollywood in Diamond Hill and join in the fun or maybe just take a look at some pretty nifty toys.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Lenticular magnetic butterflies.

My puzzle for today is made by ceaco.  It's called a magna puzzle and there are many many different versions of the things.  I have shells, swirls, dinosaurs, you name it, I think they have made it.

This is one of those standard 12 piece matching tile puzzles with a slight twist.  The pieces are lenticular.  So what does that mean?  It means you have a very hard time seeing the bloody butterflies! Those things go flying off in all different directions depending on which way the tile is flipped.

Overall, it's a very easy puzzle.  A great one for the kids to play with.  I would say get one, but I'll warn you about the negatives as well.  If you suffer from motion sickness-forget this puzzle.  If you have old eyes-forget this puzzle.  If you've had a glass of wine-well you get the idea.  Although it is a fantastic fun easy one to do, the flicking and moving of those butterflies is really a headache.

I think it took 2 short breaks at most to solve.  It is one that is consistent in that aspect.  If you are a sucker for comic video....