We are still working on discovering the secrets of the DNA puzzle, but where in there is the puzzle gene? Would looking for the puzzle gene in the DNA puzzle be a meta puzzle?
Speaking of the torch, my wife can’t understand why anyone would display firewood in the china cabinet and occasionally reminds me of the bonfire that will be held when I go. I frequently have to remind her that she shouldn’t burn through the family fortune all at once. (Upon reading this, my wife pointed out that she was more than willing to have firewood in the china cabinet and was actually the one who made room for it.)
These thoughts were sparked by Andrew Crowell’s new puzzle, GeneTIC. The puzzle has a difficulty rating of 188.8.131.52.5 (This is my best guess from counting the moves by hand, but I’m sure that Andrew has an official count generated from his program that will be released in a future puzzle update. Counting rotational moves is not always straightforward). This is the latest addition to the puzzles Andrew has labeled “Hardest”. However, in my opinion, this puzzle should be labelled excellent instead of hardest based on the feeling that I had after completing it. Not difficult, but very enjoyable.
Each of Andrews TICs is a treat and I think of them as puzzle candy. Each one provides an enjoyable experience from first inspection to determine where the pieces need to reside up through determining the gyrations that each piece requires to get there. I recommend GeneTIC as an exemplar of this process.
As with many of Andrew’s Turning Interlocking Cube (TIC) designs, there is a big cage/frame piece that holds several smaller pieces together in a cube. GeneTIC has 5 of these smaller pieces, with the smallest being what I am coming to consider the classic “Crowell TIC piece”. These innocuous looking little pieces move, rotate, and provide a lot of fun without falling out of the puzzle.
Being a TIC (not you, the puzzle), you know that there is a rotational move required somewhere. For GeneTIC, 4 of the pieces require rotations and the single piece that is not rotated is the odd one out. In other words, TIC on steroids, and in a 4x4x4 cubic dissection format! As a puzzle designer myself, struggling to conceive TIC designs, I can only marvel at the prodigious output of the Crowell TIC production engine in both quality and quantity.
Pre-Shipped vs. Received
With 16 of these puzzles at the beginning of this year, I decided to do an Andrew Crowell TIC series with a dedicated entry each month. GeneTIC is the January post and the first for 2020. My biggest challenge will be to space them out over the year and keep from doing them all at once now.