Wednesday, September 18, 2019

5 Is the Magic Number - PenTIC

PenTIC by Andrew CrowellA lot of puzzlers are now finding themselves attached to TICs.  You can blame Andrew Crowell and his TIC incubator.

Andrew is the current grand master of designing Turning Interlocking Cubes and has generated many amazing TICS in the 4x4x4 cubic dissection format.  Many of his designs are a product of a program that he wrote to help produce his designs.  It’s astonishing that a program can produce the types of complex rotations that are found in his puzzles.

PenTIC is a level puzzle designed by Andrew Crowell requiring 5 Rotations.  Andrew places this puzzle in the medium difficulty category for his puzzles and recommends taking this as an assembly challenge, so if you have the opportunity, order it unassembled.

The format of this puzzle is one large frame piece with other four pieces that have to fit within the frame.  Unlike HypnoTIC, reviewed earlier in, Mesmerized by – HypnoTIC, the location of the pieces is not that difficult to determine.  The difficulty is in determining how to get them there.  Of course, the rotational moves required to assemble this puzzle are the highlight of the solving process.  It took me a little bit of time to determine the rotational sequences required and I thoroughly enjoyed working on it.  Not that difficult, but very enjoyable.

PenTIC PiecesWhy did Andrew call it PenTIC?  In his own words: “PenTIC (5 is the Magic Number) requires 5 moves to free the first piece, 5 separate rotations, and is made of 5 pieces with 5 different wood types.”  I also made sure that this was the 5th paragraph to ensure that there were five 5s.  I think that’s enough 5’s to justify the name. 

The version that I have was made by Andrew himself and is a beautiful puzzle made with Maple (the handle), Zebrawood (the cat), Wenge (the twisty T), Yellowheart (the corner), and Tigerwood (the cage) with a teak oil finish.  (Piece names gratis from my wife, who likes to attach identities to pieces and provide an accompanying story for the steps of the solution.)  The pieces are all nicely beveled and the largest piece uses dowels to strengthen a few of the butt joints.  The light dowels contrast nicely with the dark piece.

PenTIC is planned to be released soon at Cubicdissection.  You can also find a lot of Andrew's designs being made by Brian Menold at Wood Wonders

Additional information on Andrew Crowell’s TICs can be found in the prior post, Mesmerized by – HypnoTIC.


  1. Of course you name the pieces in the puzzle, how else can you put the puzzle together. LOL!! Have fun!

    1. I completely understand the need to get to know the pieces. When solving a puzzle, I usually start tinkering with the pieces to get an understanding of how they work with each other. This helps me establish a relationship with the pieces, but I've haven't reached the point where I was on a first name basis with them yet.

  2. Hi ZenPuzzler

    I think you like the TICs puzzles like me;for me it was also astonishing that Andrew´s program could help for finding the solution with These incredible rotations; I made in the last months and weeks all of his 4x4x4 TICs as a Special collection in my huge collection of wooden puzzles

    1. Yes, I love TICs and Andrew's designs are fantastic. I'm jealous of your collection, especially since I know what nice work you do crafting the puzzles.