Who would have thought that a puzzle based on half eaten food would be an award winning design. However, at IPP36, 3 biscuits with 2 bites each won a Jury Honorable Mention award. This puzzle, designed by JinHoo Ahn, was Bitten Biscuits. It was made from African Sapele. No, that’s not a type of flour, it’s a type of wood.
One of my friends said that he walked up to Bitten Biscuits on the competition table, had a thought, and solved it immediately. He was not impressed. Similarly, I walked up to the table, played around with it for a bite, and was not impressed either. However, my friend was not impressed with the puzzle and I was not impressed with my inability to solve it.
Although I dedicated a good amount of time in the IPP competition room to solve it, I failed and had to move on to the many other alluring puzzles available with the hope of acquiring a copy later on. Later on turned out to be much later on. When ordering puzzles from Puzzle Master last year for the Puzzle-A-Month Challenge, I noticed that they now offer Bitten Biscuits. You could get it either in laser cut wood or laser cut plexiglass. Although I prefer wood puzzles, I usually opt for plexiglass with laser cut puzzles. And who could resist the glowing orange color of the pieces.
As with many of these types of problems, you look at the solution and say to yourself: “It’s so obvious, why did it take me so long to solve it”. I think my biggest stumbling block was that it looked so innocuous, I tried to solve it by simply playing with the pieces instead of analyzing it. A little bit of analysis can point you in the right direction. I sat down with this one several times before finally giving it a deeper look and solving it.
Gaah!!! I looked at the IPP design competition entry description and saw that the puzzle had 2 solutions! Back into the fray I went and pulled out a second solution rather quickly. My experience with finding the first solution yielded the second solution without requiring further analysis.
I normally don’t look at solution sheets but since I found both solutions and a solution sheet was included, what could it hurt to verify the solutions. I pulled out the solution sheet and sure enough, What?! - only one of my solutions was there and the other was different. My first solution, which I strived so hard to discover, was not considered a solution. However, it looked close enough to me and I’m rather fond of it.
The following hidden photo shows my non-solution. Feel free to squint and tilt your head as needed to see the symmetry. If you are interested in solving Bitten Biscuit yourself, DO NOT SHOW THE IMAGE. It will provide too much of a clue on how to find the approved solutions.
*** SPOILER - Bitten Biscuit Non-Solution Image - SPOILER ***
If you would like to tackle this one yourself, it is available at Puzzle Master in wood or plexiglass.