Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Petite Passel of Puzzles – 2D Packers
I recently received a passel of 2D packing puzzles from a very generous member on the Mechanical Puzzles Discord (MPD). These puzzles make great fidget toys when on the phone. On a recent call, I found that I went through 5 of them in rapid succession. To be completely honest, I was pulling the ones that looked easiest while on the phone. The days of deluding myself by thinking that I can focus on 2 things at the same time have passed.
The puzzles of the petite passel of 2D Packers described here have several things in common. The goal is to place a set of pieces that lay flat within a frame with a restricted opening top. They are made from layers of laser-cut acrylic and the frames are held together in the corners by metal hardware. Each puzzle has its own unique set of identical pieces.
NothingYetDesigns. Of the petite passel, this one had the best construction with 2 layers of extra thick green acrylic topped with a thinner piece of clear acrylic. The layers of acrylic are held together by hex socket bolts with capped hex nuts on the bottom to provide a nice set of legs that won’t scratch furniture. Small washers are included both on top and bottom. A slightly thicker washer is included between the clear and green acrylic layers to ensure that the pieces can move freely under the acrylic top once they are inserted. The 6 pieces to be inserted were made with thick white acrylic to provide a nice contrast with the green frame. I really like that the name, designer, and shop logo are engraved on the bottom of the clear acrylic. I don’t know the genesis of the puzzle’s name, but I’m sure that there is a reason for it. If you know or have a guess, you can include it in a comment.
At first glance, this puzzle looked like it would be the most difficult of the group and in fact it was, but none of these puzzles provided a difficult challenge. Pretty soon after looking at the pieces and the space that they needed to occupy, I came up with a way to lay them out. It was a simple matter to then insert the pieces.
I solved this one and thought the solution was trivial. So I did what any experienced puzzler would do and doubted that I solved it correctly. Working at it a bit longer, I found a more complex solution (not to be confused with a complex solution) that I suspect is the intended solution. The trivial solution resulted from the extra space introduced by the spacers, which allowed for unintended piece movements.
My favorite part of this puzzle is the name and I find it a shame when I see descriptions of this puzzle referring to the 5 V pentominoe pieces.
Skinny and Fat Lightning?
It’s obvious that I took great liberties in providing names for this description. My apologies to all parties concerned. If you have any information on these puzzles, please post it in the comments.
Neither of these puzzles will stump you for long and they both provide a similar experience. Lightning only strikes once and after you solve one, the other will lack the same impact. If you get both, I would recommend avoiding solving them at the same time.