Notes from Puzzle Palace

Friday, January 1, 2021

12 Days of Christmas PuzzlePalace style 2020. Day 7.

 7 Christmas puzzles

Now I know most of you are thinking these are puzzles I was gifted for Christmas, but they are not.  Each of these puzzles was a part of my Christmas decorations this year.  The large Christmas tree in the background is called "Around the Christmas Tree".  It is from Bits and Pieces and was produced in 1997.  This 750 piece Jigsaw puzzle when assembled can be glued and stood up as you can see here.  

Under the tree from Left to right is a snowman jigsaw ball by Ravensburger.  It has 77 pieces and was produced in 2007.   You might be able to find it on eBay, or at Ravensburger

Next up we have a hand carved and painted Santa that I got off eBay many many years ago.  His sack is a disentanglement puzzle, and inside he holds yet another disentanglement. 

Next to him is a gingerbread man cube from Professor Puzzle.  It's been out of stock for a few years and I was lucky to find this on eBay.  There is also a Santa, and an Elf in this collection.

The Christmas tree was produced by Jeruel in 2016.  It has 69 pieces and comes in both green and white.  As far as crystal puzzles go, this is an easy solve.  Too bad there are no ornaments to go on it.

In the front row we have a Rubik's brand 1x2x3 shapemod made by PolyTwist Designs.  Somewhere along the way Winning Moves picked it up and branded it.  There is a much cheaper version available elsewhere

The final puzzle in this photo was made by yours truly.  I was upset last year because there are very few Christmas puzzles outside of sticker variations on Rubik's cubes.  I went to TJMaxx and bought a box set of these Chinese made burr puzzles and a few eyes, pipe cleaners and baubles.  An afternoon with the hot glue gun and a bit of creativity later and I made 8 different Christmas puzzles.  All are still fully functional as a puzzle. 

Without realizing it, when I took the photo there was one more puzzle in there.  If you look carefully, you can find a U-Gears Christmas stocking hanging off the tree.  

6 New Brass Monkeys

We all know them. Those two gents from the UK who seriously must be over compensating for something with all this heavy metal hanging around. Really, these puzzles could have been made of plastic or wood and people would have been satisfied.  But noooo, they had to go the extra mile and make everyone who doesn't have these get brass envy.  I can't wait to see them come out with a set of brass (puzzle) balls.

First up we have the trio of Brass Monkey's: the classic one, two, and three.  These are tough little buggers. The first step is of course to work out how to get the protection off without breaking it.  The last thing anyone wants is broken protection. Then, there are these dumb buttons you have to push.  I broke a nail trying to solve one of these things.  George had much more luck than I did with them.

Next up we have the hyperboloid burr designed by Oskar.  This was an IPP exchange given out in wood.  As expected, these two had to go one better and Brass it up.  George played with this one at a DCD and when it became available we just had to grab it. 

Feed the monkey is yet a heavier puzzle from this duo. To keep this blog Rated G, I removed the rather large banana that Mrs. Monkey is eating.  This one is a packing puzzle in the extreme. This poor girl has to have 16 varying sizes of shaft inserted into her.  

With a grin like that, what's not to love.  Nova Plexus sounds like it could be  a good puzzle, but I've no idea because it came in and went right up to the metal room.  George was unimpressed that I had once again brought in shiny puzzles for him.  This pair comes in brass and stainless steel and will probably remain unfinished on the shelf until we get a real monkey over here to put it together.  

Kong.  Who doesn't want big brass rods?  I purchased this one from their Kickstarter campaign knowing it would be hidden away until Christmas.  Well, Christmas came and with it, 4 pounds of rock solid rods.  It now sits on the master bathroom counter waiting it's turn in the queue.

And here it is.  The one we've all been waiting for.  The Joy of Hex.  Yes, you see that right, this set has 4! boxes of hex pieces, it's very own manual of different positions and a hex aid for when you need a little extra help.  

All of these puzzles and more can be found at Two Brass Monkeys.
And yes, I have the Monkey's nuts.

5 Puzzle Rings

The colorful one on the left was made by Carl Hoff.  I believe it is called Wasp.  It can be purchased in a much smaller version at Puzzleringmaker. This particular version was sold to me at an IPP a few years back.  It's much to large even as a bracelet.  I can wear it around my  upper arm.

The large yellow one was made by Oskar and I'm sure you can still find it on his shapeways shop or on Puzzleringmaker.  Again, I bought this at an IPP many years ago.  At the time, it was raining and the dye had not quite set yet.  I looked like I had urine running down my arm from the dye. The green ring is also made by Oskar.  This one can be unwound and worn like a necklace.  This and other variations of it can be found on Oskar's shapeways shop.

The grey ring was made for me by George.  I wanted a puzzle ring that was attributed to Miguel Berrocal but was actually made by Antonio Bernardo. I didn't realize this at the time, and only later discovered taht his rings sell for upwards of $5000.  George made 3 copies of this ring.  We gave one to his son Joe and the other two are in my collection.  They were made on an SLA printer in Hong Kong, and he says as they are so much work, he'll never make another.  I'd love to have one made in metal and perhaps one day I'll send his design off to Thailand...This copy is sufficiently different from the original to not be a copy.  He didn't want to make me an exact duplicate. 

The final gold ring is my wedding band. It was designed by Oskar for George and me.  The difference between this ring and other puzzle rings is that all three bands can be separated when the ring is taken apart.  George's has a phallus like protrusion while you can see mine has an opening.  Yes, they can be combined in a rather interesting manner.  Oskar sells a rated G version called trinity ring on his shapeways page. 

4 (00+) Crystal Puzzles

I started putting these puzzles together Christmas of 2010. The bug and I went to the Toys Street with my then sister-in-law and my niece and nephew to look for some Christmas bag goodies.  We came across the 'bags in bags' store and discovered our first crystal puzzles.  (Not really, but this was the real start of our addiction.) We had a few from the toys fair in earlier years, but this year we found a bag of 20 for less than 1 US$ each.  We bought the bag, took all the duplicates, and gave the rest for goody bags.  This was the beginning of an obsession.  In Hong Kong, the kid and I assembled around 50 of the larger pieces and at least as many keychains.  When we left, her father refused to let us have them. No skin off my nose, I have friends in high places and managed to get all but 5 of my original puzzles back.  Now I hunt auction sites worldwide to find those missing pieces.  

These are simply 3D jigsaw puzzles.  Many come with solutions, but many more do not have them. Knowing how to read Japanese (yeah right!) helps.  But seriously, the google gods know all if you need it. I've found my own special feeling way of solving these puzzles.  Last night I managed to solve 6 dragons of 56 pieces each in less than 2 hours.  After a while it just becomes second nature.  If you haven't tried one yet, I recommend them as a good form of calm.  Perhaps that is why I like them so much.  I  just go into a zone when I'm puzzling in this way.  Very zen-like. 

Since the beginning of the quarantine, I have assembled 530 of these.  I just adjusted my spreadsheet. I guess this is a bit more than 400+!!!

3 3D Printers
My beautiful lover is the father of home 3D printing.  He bought his first many moons ago and spent a long time perfecting the art of 3D printing.  He is the premier prototyper.  When he left his life in California and came to Hong Kong to live with such a woman as I, he left behind his printers.  He engaged the services of a 3D printing company to aid him in his continued puzzle printing.  He used 3D Mart Hong Kong who had wonderful service. When we finally arrived in Boca Raton, he purchased an Ultimaker S5, the same as was used in HK.  He has enjoyed printing many a puzzle on it.  

The next machine we see (with my monkey on top) is a FormLabs 2 SLA printer known for its high resolution and weird method of printing from the bottom.  

The final printer was purchased through kickstarter.  After a scam I endured, I never expected to receive it but the Creality CR-6 SE is in the dormitory installed and ready to go.   Filament is commonly available in the two standard diameters of 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm and now he has two FDM machines to handle filaments of both sizes.

2 Crazy Puzzlers

and a SPH in an APT

A standard puzzle hamster in an advent puzzle tree

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