Notes from Puzzle Palace

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Another Baxterweb Apothecary Chest auction

It's time again to go get your pennies together and bid on the Stickman puzzle Chest.
I lost the last one, but plan to try one more time.  I'm hoping that this time it comes to Hong Kong.  The auction link should be up and running soon.

In the mean time I'll leave you with a few photos I've nicked from one of the chest owners.  (Many thanks Jeffrey)
 Isn't that just a thing of beauty?  I've been reading about this chest over on Renegade and All reviews so far have nothing but good things to say about this puzzle.

Allard has recently written a blog about the Ferris' Box, One of the beauties inside the Chest.

Remember though ladies and gentlemen, This is your last chance to own such a beautiful piece of puzzle history, but it won't happen if you don't bid!  So get on over to Baxterweb and let me keep my hard earned puzzle cash in the bank.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Triple Trap

I have seen this puzzle many times over the years but have never added it to my cart.  When Hendrik came over for the toys fair ( I asked him to add it to his bag.

It's a simple little 3 piece puzzle that takes a few minutes to put together and a few more to take apart.  As you can see, there are 2 metal rings and a marble in this one.  The object is simply to put the marble into the middles hole in between the rings.  

I'll admit to being stumped for a while.  Metal just shouldn't work the way this puzzle works.  Without giving too much away, it defies all the properties that should be involved.  I brought this along for a testing puzzle, and dropped the marble half a dozen times before I realized what I had to do.  The solution out one of those "I can't believe that works" kind of grins on my face.  

I think this will be a great puzzle to give to novice puzzlers or kids to try and solve.  It might stump them for a minute or two, but I'll guarantee they will have the same silly grin I had once they solve it.  Good entertainment value for the 10€ cost.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Hong Kong Toys and games Fair part 5

Not much to tell, today was the last day of the fair and the last day of fun.
I got up at 10 and headed over to pick up a few samples That I had reserved.  Then went straight into work.  The problem with the fair is that it's at the start of the semester and meetings get in the way.

Thursday evening I had dinner with Uwe and Nick and a few other people.  As always we ended up at the Jade Palace and had Beggars Chicken.  Uwe just loves that stuff.  It's standard fair for at least one night of the fair.  A few glasses of beer and an early night it was for us.  The fair is officially over.

I didn't pick up many toys this year.  Most of what I got I had Hendrik bring over for me.  It's nice to be able to call in the order and have it hand delivered.  I think I'll do the same again when I visit Helsinki and Amsterdam later in the spring.  I wonder who I know there who sells puzzles???

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair-part 4

Today was the last day with Hendrik. I picked him up at his hotel around noon. I was lax this year.  Too much fun and not enough sleep as usual, but this time around the years and work were catching up with me so I had to be mature and head to the office first to do a bit of work. Our first stop was the toys fair where Hendrik and Calvin exchanged a bunch of puzzles.  I just love puzzlers.  One small carry on for clothes, one big suitcase for toys! We weighed Hendriks luggage and it was a whopping 32 kilos!  That's a lot of toys folks.

Kyoo's paper fastener creations
Kyoo solving U&U
We left the suitcases there and headed out for the Hanayama offices.  We had set up a meeting for the day before, but simply couldn't make it.  When we got there, the girl we were to meet wasn't in, but I heard a voice I recognized and walked on in and said hello to Kyoo!  Surprise surprise!  I knew he was in town but didn't expect to see him.  We were shown into the conference room and let loose for a while to play with some toys while he tended to his work.  We got to play a while with U&U and learned how the idea was first conceived.  He also showed us a number of paper fastener creations he's been making. Those are pretty cool.  No two designs are the same.  Amazing when you think of it.  He explained that he can't make one a second time. 

Hendrik solving U&U

From there Hendrik and I headed out for Shum Shui Po so he could look for a last few puzzles.  I think he was disapointed when he couldn't find any trick locks the night before and I know a place that sells some 'tricky' locks.  Not too difficult, but interesting all the same.   I took him foraging through old greasy and rusty bins to find what we were looking for.  Told a few sales people they were crazy, and in the end bought a fish lock for him. We turned a corner and he found a chinese word combination lock, bigger than we saw the night before for a lower cost. Most of these were 3 or 4 dials.  The one he got in the end was 5!  Lucky sod!  Mine is only 4.  Again, my calling the seller crazy helped bring the price down.  All in all it was a good day for him.

We headed back to the fair to pick up his suitcase full of toys then went off for a quick bite to eat before I said goodbye at the airport.  As always, It's hard to see friends leave, but this one I know I will see again in the future.  Expect a hug and kiss at IPP!  I've shared a drink with you now and am allowed my tic. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair-part 3

Monday night was so much fun that I slept away Tuesday.  I know I should have gone back over to the fair, but I honestly think we walked the whole of it on Monday.  My poor head hurt so much that the only thing I could do was sleep it off.

I picked up Hendrik around 6:00 at night and we headed out to meet Michael.  Our initial plan was to go to the peak to see the views, but the sky was so overcast that Michael suggested we give it a miss.

On the way to meet Michael, Hendrik and I found a toys hop that I'd never seen before.  We went inside and walked out with a few mini back spins. 

Once we met Michael, we took the ferry across the Barbour and took a walk along the avenue of the stars.  Another touristy thing to do, but there are some beautiful lights in my city so I just had to.

After a walk for an hour or so we headed out to the temple street night market.  I know there's a guy there who sells puzzle locks, cricket boxes and a few cheap puzzles.  Sadly it was a bust, but we yet again took some great photos.  

HK$350 was insanely high for this one..

Since Hendrik and I hadn't eaten yet, we headed back to TST for some Italian and a bit of puzzling chat.  I was still feeling pretty hungover from the night before so I of course ordered a beer.  That did the trick.  The restraunt got terribly loud so we left and went to the square to order a beer in one of my favorite haunts and puzzle some more.  

Hendrik pulled out 4 puzzles that just tickled us.  Two of which are new takes on old puzzles, a coin safe trick opening box, and a horseshoe that proved surprisingly difficult to solve.  

We stayed out only till midnight because let's face it, were a bit older than we used to be and jäger with a beer chaser the night before was bad news.  Michael took Hendrik back to his hotel and I promised to meet up again in the morning for another day of puzzle hunting and more fun.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair-part 2

Monday was the first day of the fair and I woke up early to meet Hendrik at his hotel to take him over to the fair.  (Every one who comes over for the fair gets the red carpet treatment if they tell me they are coming.)
We took the tram over because I thought it would be a good way to see a bit of HK.  That and the novelty of riding it just tickles me.
We arrived around 10, and hit the floor walking.  It struck me this year that not many puzzle companies were there. Maybe it's been a bad year, or maybe the costs of the booths increased.  I don't know but I just didn't see as many old familiar faces as I normally do.  
First stop was hall 1 to see Dilemma, Mimi toys, popular playthings and Mr. Tangle.  Hendrik was there scouting out possible buys, I was just along for the fun.
That's one mighty big disentanglement puzzle. No Kevin, we didn't solve it.  I think Dilemma had the same puzzles they had last year.  

Mimi toys had some interesting new boxes and a few other new puzzles that they have just released these past few months. Of course, they don't sell in HK and they aren't keen on selling samples, but need fear! Rox knows a guy in China who knows a guy who...
We walked the fair floors for just over six hours! My feet were killing me.  
Michael Ali got there around lunchtime, and we visited a few more booths.  
My find of the year was a metal snake like cube and I made an appointment to return on Thursday to pick up some samples. 

I found the fair to be disappointing this year.  Eastsheen didn't come nor did many of the big companies from China.  I did manage to get an invite to Yuxin's factory next time I'm in shantau. And of course, I had to go say hello to the lads at Beverly. I placed my order for around 20 new crystal puzzles and will pick them up when the guys call me.  While at the booth we saw puzzlemaster and a guy from hanayama so we stayed and chatted for a bit.  

I had to look up Eddie from Eddies magic to set up some English translation thing for him and that was quite nice because we got to go into the inner workings of the booth.  Who knew there were so many magic toys for children. 

We headed up to see Calvin and set up the meeting time for our dinner.  
Hendrik and I both were gifted a sample of the newest puzzle Calvin is putting out.  Mine doesn't look that pretty anymore.  It's a right mess.  

I was famished.  Toys fair is good for my waistline because I don't eat until I can't stand it any more.  We ran downstairs to get a quick bite to eat and a beer.  From there I ran off to meet my friend Jay so we could catchup. This is one of the reasons I love this week.  Lots of old friends.

At six, we said goodbye to the fair and headed out to have a puzzling dinner. Calvin, Tiffany, Sally, Saul, Hendrik, Michael and I were all there.  Rather than bore you with photos of food, I'll toss up a few of us and the toys.

Oh wait, no toys.  Only boys.  Same difference.  I don't remember the food.  Only the company. Tiffany and Calvin parted from us quite early as they had to work the next day. Saul proceeded to tear apart a puzzle and rebuild it
 And when that was done Michael headed for home while Saul and I took Hendrik out for a night cap.  
Now I'm not allowed to out photos up of this, but we had a few more beers, a few dances and all was going swimmingly till Hendrik ordered jäger.  I can't resist that stuff even when I know I should. We managed to get home, and the next day was spent in bed recovering.  I was trying to remember something and blamed the jäger on my poor memory. I'll end here with a quote from Hendrik, "It was perfect."

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hong Kong toys and games fair-part 1

This week is always amazing for me.  It ranks right up there with IPP and the October GZ boys and toys.  I've been  attending the fair for more years than I can remember maybe 15 or so now and each year I continue to look forward to it.  I love to see the new items that are coming out and to meet up with old friends again.  

My fair week began on Sunday when I picked Hendrik Haak up from the airport.  I couldn't let a friend travel all the way here and have him flounder on his own to find his hotel. After a big hug hello I took him to the train and we headed to HK side to drop his bag. From there we went back over to my side of town and met up with Mr. Man and bug for dinner.  Nothing exciting, but it didn't move.  (When I asked what kind of food he wanted, all week long Hendrik said he didn't care as long as it didn't move.)

Dinner isn't exciting so I won't tell you what we ate, instead I'll just jump to the fun bit.  I took Hendrik to the house and opened my bed for him.  I'm a show-off by heart.  I love to let people see my toys.  Now the under bed area is packed tight with toys of all kinds and very hard to see into. We didn't stay there for very long and headed over to the shelves.  You've seen photos of these around I'm sure, but when you get to see them up close and personal it's a different story.  They really are a toy lovers sight to behold.  I kept telling Hendrik it is hard to impress a collector and I meant it.  I kept pulling down prototypes and handmade puzzles.  Anything I thought he might not have seen before.  He was not impressed so we headed out to th balcony and I opened the cabinets.  There he saw a toy or two of interest, but again.  Unimpressed.  But hey, when you own a jugoflower.... 

Of course I had to show him my pride and joy and the berrocals came down off the shelf.  He helped me put Maria back together.  She's been apart since I took her to singapore last year. The girls are all reunited now.  Thank you Hendrik! 
After a few hours of puzzling I took him back to his hotel and promised to return for him early in the morning to pick him up for the fair.  

And that I will write about later.  I've three days/nights of fun and games to make you drool over.  This time I tease and dole it out in small bunches.