Notes from Puzzle Palace

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Following on from my magpie self, I've decided I may as well just give in to it.  So I went on an eBay hunt for brass puzzles.  Locks a plenty, but those don't really do it for me (yet).  So I'm off looking using a different search term and came up with the puzzle shown here.  

This puzzle was first invented by Rocky Chiaro. The original design can be found on his webpage.

This version was sold by Bits and Pieces a while back. I missed it in the original run but when I saw it on eBay I recognized it for what it was and snapped it up. A lucky purchase at a halfway decent price.

I won't post a solved photo of it as it gives away the solution. Overall, it's an easy puzzle to solve. I've given it to friends who are puzzlers and non-puzzlers alike and both were able to solve it within a few minutes, it's a fun little time waster that won't let you down. I'd highly recommend one if you can find it. Money well spent.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Computer chip

I have a number of different versions of this puzzle. Some made of wood, some made of aluminum, this one made of brass.

I purchased this puzzle from Mr. Puzzle around a week or so ago and I have to say, I'm impressed! I received an email from Mrs. Puzzle telling me the puzzle order was on the way and that she and Mr. Puzzle would see me next August. I love the personal touch. I really shows great people who run a great business.

This one was purchased simply because it caught my eye. Like I said, I have it already and know how it solves so there is no challenge there. But oh my is it pretty!

The puzzle itself is tiny. The baseplate that all the pieces go into is no larger than a US quarter. The rods are around two inches long. A cute little thing!

Another nice feature of this one is that little hook you see on one of the rods. This is there to keep the rods in place. For this puzzle, unlike the wooden versions I have, it's a necessity. Because of the smoothness of the rods they very easily fall out.

Solving wise it's not too much of a challenge. Once I pulled out all of the pieces I gave them a good scramble befor starting reassembly. Even this didn't add to the challenge. See all that really needs to be done is a bit of counting.

All in all though it's a nice little puzzle. I see this morning that Mr. Puzzle is out of stock but wooden versions can be purchased through creative crafthouse.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Two keys lock

Well, I started this magpie thing so I may as well continue with it. The puzzle I bring you today was invented by VESA Timonen and was given out as an IPP32 exchange gift by Nancy Alliegro. The box has written on it that it's manufactured by Bits & Pieces so I'm guessing that it would be offerd up for sale at some point in the future. I've yet to see it though.

The puzzle starts off as seemingly impossible to solve. There are two keys attached to the shank of the lock and the puzzlers job is to unattached them. A bit of twisting and turning reveals a split shank that spins freely. The novice will notice that the split can be slightly separated, but that won't do any good. It wouldn't be much of a puzzle if the keys could be removed in the same fashion as a regular key ring now would it?

I won't tell you any more about the solving because I don't want to give its secrets away. I will say that it threw me a good surprise. As I was sitting with it under the table trying to not make too much noise, the keys suddenly went flying. If I weren't mucking about when I should have been concentrating I would have laughed out loud.

There is a nice little twist to this one that tickled me. While the solve only took a few seconds(!) it would be worth getting for that chuckle moment when it's solved. I wonder when it will be released to the market....

Monday, January 21, 2013

Why I hate bloggers and how I became a magpie

Today I went to a testing session sans puzzles.   This gave me plenty of time to think and read and sadly for my pocketbook, order more puzzles.  So what does one think about when stuck inside for the 16th day in a row.  One thinks about puzzles of course.  Then I started thinking about other bloggers and the next thing I knew, I was rereading old posts from some of my favorite bloggers.

With that came the lamenting of puzzles not purchased.  Had to go hunting then for those puzzles didn't I.  To bad I didn't find what I've been missing.  I checked every online shop I know, I went through ebay and still no puzzles.  Oh well, one day after all, they are only toys...

This set me back to thinking about why I like puzzles to begin with.  My grandfather started me on wire disentanglements.  I quickly outgrew these when the Rubik's cube came out and I stayed with those for a log long time.  Over the years I bought some Hanayama, but not nearly as any as I have now. A few wire puzzles would get added every now and again, but again, they were few and far between.

And then I met Tom.  He gave me a metal puzzle that just tickled me.  And that started the hunt for shiny bits.  Since then I've managed to find lots and lots of them!  I have a stack of Wil's puzzles, a box full of Hanayama (all but Harmony and I'll have that in time) and other wire disentanglements coming out of my ears.  I've some Rocky bolts, I've a number of locks, I've some Berrocal's, I've got tons of Bits and Pieces shiny bits....I've become a magpie.

And a hoarder.  Seriously.  You've all seen photos of my shelves, well the under-bed and the two cabinets on the balcony are just as bad.  The only thing I can do is blame the bloggers.  The more I read, the more I want.  See, it's all their fault, and that brings me right back to where I began....reading old posts.

*I should have woken up earlier and brought some puzzles along this past weekend....

Monday, January 14, 2013

Jerry's Ball in Cylinder puzzle

Fellow Blogger Jerry Loo blogger gone inventor! posted about a project he was working on. I sent off a message right away congratulating him and at the same time saying I'd love a copy. A short while later I received an email asking for my mailing address.  I was pleasantly surprised when I got a box from Singapore come in last week.
all balls inside

Because I was entertaining guests, the puzzle was put on hold until this past Sunday.  I brought it along for my usual puzzling/testing time.  Having read Kevin's blog post about it I was very careful as I didn't want to loose my balls.  I gingerly removed the tape and pop! Out came a ball bearing.  Luckily I had read that this would happen and had already prepared a towel to catch the ball in.  I popped it back in and started to twist the balls around.  Yep. It was good and stuck!  Now to solve it!

This puzzle sings!  It makes such beautiful sounds, but unluckily for me I couldn't work on it during the session.  It just made to much noise.   I had to put this away until the next day.

I'm glad I did too.  I sat down to play with it and spent a good deal of time with the puzzle and a flashlight rotating it around trying to see what was going on.  No spoilers here, but suffice it to say it was good fun to solve.  I popped the ball out and had to drop it back in again to see if I was clever enough to solve it without the aid of a flashlight.  Again the singing of the puzzle.  I just love the tinkling sound that it makes.  No luck for me.  The ball was good and stuck and I needed to spend some time to get the ball out again.  But the good news is, I managed.  And being the puzzler I am, I dropped that ball in yet again and went one more time!  This time it took me less than 20 minutes to work it out.  Three times the charm right?  I stopped and grabbed a few of the Strijbos cylinders for a comparison.  Jerry's Ball in Cylinder ranks right up there with these puzzles.
a comparison with the Strijbos cylinders

Jerry's puzzle is slightly taller than the others in the photo.  It's almost the same diameter of the AlCyl.  If you are interested in getting Jerry's new puzzle, go contact him over on his blog!  The fun involved in this one won't let you down.  And the quality!  It's a beautifully tooled aluminum puzzle.  Very professionally done.

The Hong Kong toys and games fair part 2

The fair is over and the guys have gone home. There is so much to write about this year again. Where shall I start? How about with a nap? I'm exhausted!

And that is just exactly what happened. Michael's wife and I took the train back together and dang if I didn't fall asleep on her. What is it about exhaustion and train rides? I was lulled to sleep rather quickly. Bless Ada, she woke me up as she got off to make sure I would be ok.

opening the last gift of Christmas
The toys fair started on Monday the 7th.  But as the 6th was Epiphany...we had to take photos of the kings gifts first!  This was so much more important than the fair!

When you enter the fair, the first thing you see are the Glass display boxes and a giant display going into the main hall.The display boxes are good ways to see what is available but are always purchased by the same companies each year.  Jeurel, Dilema, and 4D puzzles had window boxes again this year.

 We met at Wil's hotel at 9 and headed out for the fair.  Wil had meetings, I had meetings and we knew Monday would be it. We walked the whole of the first floor and because of my anal nature, hit the other booths we wanted to go to.  (I logged the floors etc. before the fair to save time and walking)

The first stop we made was at a company from the UK selling tetris products.  Stationary, lights, soft toys.  A whole range of items.  From there we just wandered around looking in booths to see what there was to see.  I'm sorry to say, it was all the same old stuff.  We went to Dilemma and were told it was nothing new but the packaging.  Jeurel had some new toys and I placed an order.  I'll have to run to the office later to pick them up.

I enjoy watching the people and the toys that are around.  As I said, there weren't many new toys, but this toy car display by KinSmart was pretty cool! There were 2 four-lane bridges here. The only thing that could have made it better would have been to have the cars moving.

There are often a number of larger booths like this one on each of the floors.  This year I saw less than years past.  I wonder what the reason was?  Oh well, it was on to find more toys.  We saw some nice electronic cubes, and a few new electronic games, but no real puzzles per say. the company that makes flashpad came out with yet another game, but to be honest I'm not sure if it is ready for release or not.  I still haven't seen the one from last year.

It was interesting for me, because as I was walking I was saying hello to those I've known through the fair for years.  At the same time, Wil was doing the same.  A good example of this was the lads over at the MiMi booth.  We both were acquainted with them.  Tom must have been bored out of his mind.  So this booth was a bit of fun. Wil disassembled a puzzle or two then reassembled them-differently!  Poor guys will have fun with those now.

she lives
Half a Rox
We ran into people from Recent Toys, Bits and Pieces,Hanayama,  and a few more that will remain nameless.  Wil decided to introduce me to Eddy from Eddy's Magic.  I've heard of him through Mark, but have never met him.  Monday that all changed when he cut me in half!  (Cool trick and no, I won't tell how it's done!)   I'm sure I'll see him again because I'll be doing a bit of editing help for him in future.  And don't worry all, I'm back in one piece again! (and in the classroom too)

From there we headed over to T & J Toys (another group of people known to both of us) to say hello and who should walk up but Mark!  Great timing.  We all got to watch on as he performed a few magic tricks for us.  He never fails to amaze with those now does he?  They had a few new toys this year and we looked at them.  Sally very nicely told me to come back on Friday and pick up a Panda.  If you look closely you'll see a number of different shapes on their walls.  There's a nifty neat one coming out by them, but I've been sworn to secrecy again.  Not to worry though.  You'll all see it sometime next year.  We talked a bit more then headed down for lunch.  And who should we run into but Mark again.  After we finished he performed a bit of magic for Tom and we headed back to the fair for a little bit longer.  Of course I stoped in to say hello to Richard and get the annual tangle.  I've plans to meet up with him later in the week when Uwe gets back.
not nanoblocks

nanodots snake
I met up with my friend Jay for a coffee and a hug and before we knew it, it was 5:00 and we had to head out for dinner.  As we were leaving, I ran across the NanoDots booth.  This is the year of the snake, can you tell?  There was a nice (not) nanoblocks display of some guy ripping his chest apart...

Off to dinner with Michael, but first we had to swing by his shop.  There was the usual handing over of gifts that Michael does each year and Wil placed a rather large order of a few puzzles.  Then off we went. Dinner was in a local restaurant that we have eaten in before so it was good.  We chatted and ate until quite late and headed over to TST east for a few drinks.

Now it was turning into my kind of a boys and toys!  We taught Wil how to play liars dice and he got to hug a pretty girl!  Since it was her birthday they ordered the birthday roast suckling pig (no, I don't know so don't ask me) and we all ate a bit.  At around 12 we took Wil back to his hotel and headed home.

Tuesday morning saw me at a meeting and I had a bit of work to do in the afternoon but that was ok.  Wil and Tom met and did man things while Michael and I worked.  We met up in the late afternoon for a trip to the peak-a must for all tourists according to Michael. (I'd have rather gone to 101 but at the price of the drinks I was vetoed)

After the cable car ride back down, we headed off for dinner at a hot pot restaurant that turned into a dai pai dong instead.  Very local food! My request was the pigeon which was delicious and greasy as always!  Wil taught us some new tricks with rope and chopsticks.  The locals were also enthralled!  That girl behind Michael looked on all night long.  We called an early night and I took Wil home while Michael and Tom went off home.

even the boys from work played
Wednesday was bitter sweet.   I had a department thing all day while Tom, Michael, and Wil got to have fun at Hanayama and in Michael's shop.  I hear that Michael taught Wil how he builds puzzles while I slaved away.  We met up at Dan Ryans around 6:00 where I was recharging with the guys from work.  Of course, I pulled out a puzzle or two and managed to get them to give it a go.  We left to go buy Tom an iPad and to show the guys Michael's puzzles in my office.  Around 8:00 we hit Wil's hotel and checked him into in town check in before heading off to the airport.  Dinner was something local again, and I ran out to get Wil a set of matchsticks he could take with him on the flight.  (He told me his last box was confiscated) Not matchsticks really, but rather  a set of chopsticks with a fancy bag to hold them in.

After we dropped Wil at the gate, Tom, Michael and I headed back to TST east for another round of drinks.  I guess we parted company around 3:00 because we had to meet up again at 9:00 to take Tom to the airport.

He got off ok and we are right back where I started...wanting another nap.  I hope to be back to my normal self again mid-week.

Until then, there are a few videos on my YouTube channel to watch.  Just the puzzles/games I picked up this year. Not many because I simply didn't have the time to make the connections I've made in the past.  But then as I said, there weren't that many new toys this year.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hong Kong toys and games fair

I'm on my way to pick up Wil and Tom. This is probably my 15th year or so of going to the fair. Today I'm going in as a buyer and not working a booth for the first time in six years that I'm not helping someone in a booth. It will be a different perspective for me this year. I'm really looking forward to it.

Stay tuned for an update in about five days time....loaded with anecdotes, photos and hopefully new puzzles!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

An internationally puzzling weekend

I have had the great pleasure these past few days to have puzzle visitors in town for the Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair.

The first is none other than Wil Strijbos.  He's an amazing man who's just great fun.  The second is my brother at heart, Tom Sun.

Both gents arrived on Friday, and we've spent a great deal of time together since then.  I picked Wil up at the airport and we headed off to his hotel.  It was rather late, but then Tom and SmaZ came over.  Those two had been on a short trip to meet up with Leslie Li so they were dropping Tom's things at his hotel while I was getting Wil.  It was a very coordinated arrival and meet-up.  We chatted puzzles a bit then went out to a late dinner.  At around 1 we all parted company and made plans to meet the next day.

Saturday I met Tom and Wil at the hotel around 12:00 with a bug in tow and we headed off for my house.  Wil wrote to me earlier in the year that he wanted to see my puzzle collection and since I just love showing it to all who want to view it we decided Saturday was as good a day as any.  But first.  Lunch.  Dim Sum and other Chinese treats at a restaurant near my house. Mr. Man and Miss N. joined us and a couple of hours later we were back on the way to the house.

We started with the puzzle shelves above my desk (which by the way is a real tip because I've loads of puzzles there to photograph). Now you all have probably seen photos of it but I've added another here just as a reminder. I've hot to say these two showed a lot of restraint. Unlike others who have seen my toys the waited. They looked. Date I say it? They savored the moment of the initial grab.

They couldn't have been more different. Wil asked me for my favorite puzzle so I handed over tower of babylon and Tom grabbed the Topless Box.

The Topless Box is still unopened. That's one tricky mother. But given that we had 1000's more to look at we moved on.

Wil told me I was missing a 7 step aluminum burr and we had a laugh over my 2-sheep Jugo flower then moved on to the Karukuri boxes. Tom played with those while Wil grabbed the void Tutminx. Me? I watched on and smiled a lot. The underbed got opened and we puzzled on. Around 5 Wil asked to see the balcony puzzles so we moved outdoors. He laughed at the cabinets and Tom had to help me get the doors open. It seems that 12 years in the weather hasn't kept them well lubricated. We opened every box out there in the tall cabinet and Wil mentioned that he hadn't seen the old ones yet. I opened the last box and pulled out an unopened Japanese puzzle. I handed it to him and said I had no idea what it was. Both he and Tom had a good laugh at my expense. (and that's why all love Rox. I'm good for a laugh if nothing else.). Turns out that Wil made the puzzle years back. And here's his name written in English on the packaging. And here's Rox using the illiterate line. Some English instructor I am.

I pulled out some old columbus egg type puzzles and gave one to each. The material is so old and brittle I hope they make it home without breaking.

Around 7:00 we broke for dinner which bless the bug was a mix of German, Italian, and Chinese. She wanted everyone to feel at home.

After the brief respite we went back to puzzling. I closed down the bed without really having gone through it much and went back to the shelves. Over dinner we were discussing the value of puzzles and I mentioned the chi gung ball. This started a dig for puzzles that Wil may not have seen before. He mentioned the poor turning of a Meffert's puzzle but took it all back when I mentioned it was a first run sample. This of course led to the hunt for others of its type.

The hunting and twisting and dismantling went on for around four more hours until Mr Man mentioned that he had to work the next day. Tom and I took Wil back to his hotel and then the two of us made our way back to our own homes.

We all agreed to meet up Sunday around 12:30 to hit the street markets and do some puzzle/curio hunting. We started off with a quick bite to eat. Poor Wil was starving. Tom had already eaten and I was full up with chia. Lunch was a hoot because Wil ordered a rice dish that came with cold meat. Mine had an omelet attached that I wasn't expecting (I really should learn to read.). But it worked ok because Wil polished it right off.

Next stop was looking for a street filled with odds and ends. Unfortunately almost all the shops I wanted we're closed. We kept moving and ended up walking down a street filled with man tools and then one with lots of beefs and buttons and other girls things. Funny thing on this street. Both Wil and Tom bought "puzzling supplies" here while I watched on.

Back to the man tools street and what should we find but that the shops I was looking for had moved over three blocks. That's an oddity of HK, whole streets move when redevelopment is going on. It was all ok in the end though so I was happy. An hour or so rummaging through stalls and more curiosities were bought. We started looking in the man tool shops and Wil found a man tool that he instantly turned into a puzzle. It was such a hit that Tom and I both had to have one. The shop keeper was happy because between us we bought out all his stock! Wil's ability to turn something so simple into a puzzle astounded me and really made me realize why he's the dealer of the puzzle world.

Mr. Man and bug met us as we were hunting for a mini screw driver set that Wil wanted-he liked my set of man tools! We were able to find many versions of it around, but not the same one I had. In the end, I like the one he got better and may just end up going and getting one myself. His set has Allan wrenches in it, mine doesn't.

Mr. Man went off in search of his own needed tools while the rest of us carried on to my favorite wholesale street. We stopped for a rather interesting desert then headed out again in search of those hit and miss puzzles that I'm so fond of finding. I handed Wil a box that I bought the year the Olympics were in Beijing and haven't ever been able to open. When I told him my story he bought it right away. That puzzle was never put back into the bag and we all played it in an attempt to open it for the rest of the night.

We all ate dinner together and over dinner Wil even got Mr. Man puzzling for a bit. We parted company and I took the guys to the Temple Street night market. It was new to me as well because I haven't been there in 18 years! A bunch more curiosities were bought and by the time we headed back to Wil's hotel the bag must have weighed ten pounds.
We called it a night around ten because we all agreed to meet early for the fair. Me? I went into the office until 2 so I could be sure of having a full day with them on Monday.

I'm now blogging via phone for the next few days so all photos will be posted at the end. Sorry all. In all photos faces are purposely cut off I was asked to do this. Most of you already know what they look like anyway and for those that don't....I made a promise.

On the 12th day of Christmas

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
12 other puzzlers
David Litwin, Bram Cohen, Eitan Cher, Mr. Yao, Jason Smith, Steve Winter, Vesa Timonen, Peter Wiltshire, Mike Toulouzas, Ayi Li, Wil Strijbos, and Stuart Coffin.

11 Oskar Van Ds
10 Chinnimoto's
9 Robert Stegmann's
8 Jerry Slocum's
7 Eric Fuller's
6 Tony Fisher's
5 Richard Hess'
4 Mr. Fok's
3 Da Yan's
2 Brian Young's
And Stickman in a pine tree

It's day 12 and this little story has come to and end.  I thought the best way to do that would be with 12 final puzzlers!  Links and photos are provided where available.  Go look, go buy, go make sure the designers keep designing and the puzzlers keep puzzling!

Dave Litwin, Geert Hellings
David Litwin is a long time friend.  He's designed and built my collection of elemental puzzles along with a few others over the years.

Bram Cohen, Adam Cowen, Bob Hearn
Bram Cohen in addition to being a computer wiz has had a number of puzzles made by Hanayama as well as being the inspiration for many of Oskar's designs.

Eitan Cher is a young up and coming puzzle designer.  He's currently doing post-graduate work in Chicago but still finds the time to put out a puzzle or two.

Mr. Yao is the man behind Witeden.  He's designed a number of his own puzzles and that number keeps growing.  In the past few months he's put out over 10 new puzzles.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith first brought the helicopter cube to the market.  recently he has been designing a series of deep cut puzzles.

Steve Winter is new to the puzzle building scene.  He specializes in mazes, but has recently designed  few twisty puzzles with a maze built in.

Vesa Timonen has been designing puzzles for a while now that can be found in shops all over the world. He works in all media.

Peter Wiltshire is another relatively newcomer to the world of puzzling.  His Ferris box won the 2012 Jury Prize at IPP.
Peter Wiltshire

Mike Toulouzas builds beauties in wood.  His Judges Gavel won the first prize at IPP in 2011.

Ayi Li is a designer of a number of new twisty puzzles. I love Ayi because like me, he calls his puzzles TOYS!

Wil Strijbos is the dealer of choice for the puzzle world.  One and all go to him for their puzzling fix.
Wil and Tom

And finally...Stuart Coffin. He has got to be the builder of puzzles with the most designs to his name.  As he numbers each design, it is fairly easy to keep track of what he's made.  At IPP this year I picked up number 258 "Octet in F".  That sure is a lot of puzzles!

(AND 12 bloggers blogging (Gabriel, Allard, Kevin, Jerry, Neil, Brian, Oli, Moises, Gunnar, Scott, Tom, and Rox of course!))

Neil Hutchinson and Allard Walker
For a real enjoyable trip through puzzledom, click on the bloggers names above. Some of them you might have seen before  others may be new to you, all are enjoyable reads. This was my originally intended ending, but as I went through all the puzzle designers in the initial write-up of this blog back in December, I realized that not all the bloggers are designers   For this reason, I changed it to the above 12th day, but since we all enjoy reading about puzzles and people, I thought I'd leave it in here for you to get a small bit of extra Christmas cheer!

designer and blogger Scott Elliot
Merry Christmas all!  I hope you enjoyed my little poem this year. I only wish there were more than 12 days of Christmas as I have many many more than 12 puzzlers I'd like to introduce you to.  To do that and learn more, I guess you'll just have to continue reading my ramblings.  The more I do these, the harder they get.  It is becoming more and more difficult to come up with ideas....But next year....well, I'm already thinking ahead now aren't I?

And just for you Mr. Stickman:

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
12 puzzlers puzzling AND bloggers blogging
11 Oskar inventing
10 Chinny spinning
9 Robert Webbing
8 Jerry Collecting
7 Eric building
6 Tony cutting
5 Richard Hess'
4 Mr. Fok's
3 Da Yan's
2 Brian Young's
And Stickman in a pine tree

(Are there enough verbs in there for you now? I left them out intentionally because I wanted to name names and tell tales!)

Friday, January 4, 2013

On the 11th day of Christmas

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
11 Oskar Van Ds
10 Chinnimoto's
9 Robert Stegmann's
8 Jerry Slocum's
7 Eric Fuller's
6 Tony Fisher's
5 Richard Hess'
4 Mr. Fok's
3 Da Yan's
2 Brian Young's
And Stickman in a pine tree.

Oskar has got to be one of the most prolific puzzle makers I have ever met.  I think he's made more puzzles than most companies.  Looking at his website is great fun if you want to see a few of the designs he's made over the years.  It is in no way comprehensive but it's a good start.

What I find to be amazing about Oskar is that he can design in anything.  And I do mean anything.  He has a number of the Hanayama puzzles that he's designed, he's done puzzles in wood, and he works quite a lot in plastic.  He's made twisty puzzles, burrs, take-apart's, calendars, and toys!  The guy is a walking puzzle!  He's made so many that I wouldn't even begin to try and list them.  I'm sure I'd never be able to do it.  I'll bet money you have at least one design by Oskar in your collection.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

On the 10th day of Christmas

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me
10 Chinnomotto's
9 Robert Stegmann's
playing with a tippie top
8 Jerry Slocum's
7 Eric Fuller's
6 Tony Fisher's
5 Richard Hess'
4 Mr. Fok's
3 Da Yan's
2 Brian Young's
And Stickman in a pine tree.

Stephen Chin is the master of the lathe!  When I first met him he was playing with a puzzle he called "La Bomba"  Truth be told, I wanted to kill him with his bomb and I'm pretty sure he wanted to kill my bug.  He was playing with that puzzle on the table and she just snagged it from him.  No manners at that time.  She has never forgotten that puzzle or Stephen and keeps pestering me about it year after year.  I know she wants me to buy her one, but since she has professed to "hate puzzles" I refuse!  (Mean mom I am)

Stephen's puzzles are always good for a smile. I have had great pleasure in showing one of his eggs around to people everywhere.  If you can ever get your hands on that one, it is THE puzzle to have!  His "Ze House of Mouse Ze Duong" is a hoot and then some.  It kept a smile on everyone's face who played with it.

Not only are his puzzles good for a laugh, but the man is as well.  Stephen smiles and laughs almost as much as I do.  Hmmm.  Maybe I should rephrase that to say MORE than I do.  (maybe it's all that gas)  I've never met another like him and that just might be a good thing.  Too many crazies in the world already.  But at least Stephen is one of those good crazies!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

on the 9th day of Christmas

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Camera shy Rob
9 Robert Stegmann's
8 Jerry Slocum's
7 Eric Fuller's
6 Tony Fisher's
5 Richard Hess'
4 Mr. Fok's
3 Da Yan's
2 Brian Young's
And Stickman in a pine tree.

Rob is great for his puzzle page!  I have been drooling over that one for I don't know how many years now.  I also am pretty sure I have been bidding against him on some of his most recent updates.

Another thing you may not know about Rob is that he designs his own puzzles as well!  His IPP exchange this year was designed by himself, and he's been known to design a burr or two over the years.

Add to that a very good host who entertained the bug with a bit of historical knowledge that she refused to take from mom, and an all around great guy to have a drink with and I think I've picked a winner in today's post.
Rob has kindly sent me a photo to add here.
Post edited to get Rob's name spelled right!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

On the 8th day of Christmas

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
8 Jerry Slocum's
7 Eric Fuller's
6 Tony Fisher's
5 Richard Hess'
4 Mr. Fok's
3 Da Yans
2 Brian Young's
And Stickman in a pine tree.

For those few folks who have been living under a rock and don't know, Jerry is the founder of IPP.  I won't insult anyone by giving a background story that is probably best NOT told by me.  What I'll do instead is introduce him as I know him.

I first met Jerry in person at IPP 30 in Japan.  He was so nice in making sure that I had lots of fun and that I was meeting people.  He was kind enough to do the same for my husband and was a real doll to bug who at that time was still a royal pain.  Every year since then, I have delivered puzzles to IPP for Jerry from Uwe and I'm sure I will continue to do so as long as I'm still invited.

Jerry very kindly donated his puzzles to the Lily library in Bloomington Indiana.  if you are ever in the neighborhood  do drop in and take a look around.  It is really a puzzlers dream and the staff at the library are pretty amazing!  If you can't make it out there, it is mostly online now and you can just go and drool over the photos that are up.  I do!