Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Ending With a Beginning - CagedTIC 1

CagedTIC 1 by Andrew Crowell
This is the 12th and final post of the monthly Andrew Crowell Rotations and Obstructions Series - Turning Interlocking Cubes (ACROSTIC).  A year ago, I decided to do a post every month during 2020 of one of Andrew’s TIC puzzles after buying a large batch of them.  Of course, I acquired many more of them during the year and the later posts are of more recent acquisitions.  You can tell from the newer acquisitions that Andrew has the 3D printing process figured out and the quality of his puzzles has become excellent.  

CagedTIC 1 is a perfect puzzle to end this series on.  It looks great, it’s difficult, and the “1” seems to indicate that there will be more to follow!  Did I mention that it’s difficult?  Even though I almost always recommend that you receive these puzzles disassembled, you can get this one assembled if you want.  It’s a challenge to even get all the pieces out of the frame.

So let’s get into it.  The puzzle fits within a 5x5x5 cubic area.  The simple frame comprises all of the cubes edges and is made from a marble PLA with the name of the puzzle debossed on one edge.  The 7 pieces that get packed into the frame are made from a light blue PLA and Andrew’s name is debossed on one of them.  The packed pieces leave the center of each of the 6 cubic faces unoccupied to make a pleasant design.  The pieces fall into 3 categories.  

Pieces 1-3

The first 3 are filler pieces that serve as spackle to construct that attractive final shape and each can simply be pulled from the puzzle in a single move.  However, the filler pieces do serve an important function for the puzzler.  They help identify how the other pieces need to be oriented within the frame.

Piece 4

The fourth piece is not difficult to remove but can’t be pulled out in a single move.  It also requires a rotation to extract it from the cage.  

Pieces 5-7

The final 3 pieces are the real challenge.  With only 3 pieces left to remove, you would think that it would be easy to just shake them out.  However it is far from easy and, needless to say, requires several rotations to accomplish.  It’s not even easy to determine which of those pieces need to come out first.  I wasn’t certain which one it was until I managed to free it.  Removing the remaining 2 pieces is not that difficult.

CagedTIC 1 Pieces
I had originally taken the puzzle apart when I first received it and didn’t tackle the reassembly until months later, leaving me with a good challenge.  Of course, I easily got 6 pieces in without one of the difficult trio and them spent quite a bit of time trying to get the trio established within the frame.  Of course, I had to take it apart again for the blog photos and struggled again to get the trio back out.  I know how those 3 pieces have to go within the frame but it’s a struggle every time.  Brilliant puzzle!

Although this is the last of the monthly series of TICs from Andrew Crowell, never fear.  I’m a fan of Andrew’s puzzles and I’ll certainly be including more of them in next year’s posts.  I’d like to thank Andrew for his awesome and prolific output of TICs and other puzzles over the last couple of years and look forward to seeing what the future brings.  I hope these TIC posts have inspired some of you to try and enjoy Andrew’s puzzles.  He usually has some available on his Etsy shop, arcWoodPuzzles, if you are looking for them.

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

November: Puzzle Candy - ThreeTIC, TriadTIC, TripleTIC, NeuroTIC, TriumviraTIC

1 comment:

  1. [quote] I hope these TIC posts have inspired some of you to try and enjoy Andrew’s puzzles.[end/quote]
    Yup! Thank you.
    I think Andrew's designs are great, and I have even outlined a plan to buy several dozen more of his puzzles during 2021. That should translate to a pretty good commission for you. You're welcome.