Andrew has been developing several TIC designs that consist of only 3 pieces, which I refer to as puzzle candy. Not a meaty solve that you can sink your teeth into, but something refreshing that you can experience in short burst of time. It may only take you a couple of minutes, but will surely leave you with a smile. And the best part, there are no filler pieces. All 3 pieces are integrally involved in the solution. These 3-piece wonders also don’t have externally visible voids.
With only 3 pieces each, it is not difficult to determine where the pieces go. The entire effort is in discovering the moves and rotations required to entangle those pieces and cajole them into looking like cubes.
I have done 5 of them and recommend them all. Each was made with a white piece, a gray piece (light or dark), and a unique color to make that puzzle stand out from the others. A veritable rainbow of colors enticing you to grab one to enjoy. Each puzzle requires an amazing number of moves and rotations that you can marvel at.
White/Light Gray/Light Blue. Level 7.9 (Although the 9 is mostly rotational moves, which are difficult to enumerate). After figuring out how the first 2 pieces are aligned, you’ll need to determine the sequence of rotational moves to get them in place. Keep in mind that most of the 9 moves are rotations. If you’ve done several of these types of puzzles, this won’t be a problem. If it’s your first, I suggest holding them both up next to each other in their final respective orientation and imagine that they are together while moving and rotating one of them until you have an imaginary separation. Now reverse the process and assemble them for real. The final step is to imagine the third piece in the assembly to figure out how that would be removed/added. This puzzle is the easiest of the bunch and can be solved exactly as you would expect.
White/Dark Gray/Light Green. Level 12.5. After solving ThreeTIC, you may think that the solving process would be the same for all of these puzzles - but you would be wrong. TriadTIC has a very different ordering of assembly for the pieces making it slightly more difficult than ThreeTIC. Of course, you will discover this the hard way when solving it. This puzzle requires a lot of moves to complete like the others, but has the least number of rotations in the solution. Only 2 simple rotations are required to solve TriadTIC. With the explosive growth in TIC designs in the last 2 years, these 2 rotations can be considered on the easy end of the TIC spectrum. If you are unsure whether you would like rotational moves or not, this one is for you to get a taste of what it’s all about.
White/Dark Gray/Dark Blue. Level 14.3. TipleTIC is reminiscent of TriadTIC and although it has its own sequence of moves, it will seem familiar. I think it is the same level of difficulty as TriadTIC or maybe ever so slightly harder since it’s 2 rotations are paired together in a sequence. Of course you should get them both, but if you decide to get only one, I’d recommend this one for the slightly more interesting rotations.
White/Dark Gray/Orange. Level 13.3. Like TriadTIC and TripleTIC, NeuroTIC only requires 2 simple rotations. However, one of these simple rotations is rather sneaky and I found this one to be more difficult than the prior 3. It looks so easy now, but it did take me a while to figure out that rotation. Yes, I know that his one doesn’t start with a “T” and makes it stand out like the ugly duckling. But just like the ugly duckling, this one turns out to be awesome!
White/Light Gray/Purple. Level 16.2. This puzzle is the hardest in the set and requires all pieces to be rotated at some point. All 3 pieces are equals in the TriumviraTIC and they are all required to start working together from the beginning. The rotations were more difficult to discover for this puzzle and it was a lot fun determining how to accomplish them. TriumviraTIC was my favorite of the puzzle candy set.
If you have never solved a TIC, this is the place to start. If you are an experience TIC solver, you will find these to be enjoyable little excursions. My recommendation would be to get them all and have them delivered with all the pieces mixed up together in a Sadleresque puzzle pile - so named after that master puzzle blogger who has his friends mix up his puzzle pieces for him. If you were worried in the past about receiving puzzles unassembled, this is your opportunity to give it a try. You can acquire your own copies on Andrew’s arcWoodPuzzles Etsy shop.
This is the 11th post of the monthly Andrew Crowell Rotations and Obstructions Series - Turning Interlocking Cubes (ACROSTIC). You can find the prior posts of the series here:
- January: Puzzling DNA - GeneTIC
- February: TIC, TIC, TIC - PackTIC II
- March: Green Beer ‘ill Cure What Ails Ya - BioTIC
- April: The Proper Way to Solve a Puzzle - PedanTIC
- May: Will This One Really Be Better Than The Others? - SkepTIC
- June: Space, The Final Frontier - MagellanTIC
- July: Hanging in Suspense - PackTIC V
- August: Fantastic 20+ Move TIC with an 11 Move Non-TIC Alternate Solution - PatheTIC
- September: I Had This Feeling That I Was Going To Like This Puzzle - MystTIC
- October: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy - Fantastic