What Did I Get Myself Into HQ was, surprise – a W.D.I.G.M.I. puzzle. In a recent puzzle gathering, everyone who had a copy confessed to not having solved it. This inspired me to reshuffle my life priorities to get this one checked off.
W.D.I.G.M.I. was designed and made by Tanner in collaboration with Tye Stahly from NothingYet Designs. The puzzle is a 2D restricted-opening packing puzzle made from acrylic. The frame is in the shape of the question mark and made with smoky translucent top and bottom and a black middle layer for sides. There are 3 openings in the frame but only the largest will admit the pieces. The other 2 are to there to help move the pieces.
In addition to the frame, there are 7 pieces made from opaque purple acrylic and represent the characters: W, D, I, G, M, I, and ?. I particularly liked that it was based on a triangular framework, instead of a rectangular one. Anyone familiar with Tanner should not be surprised that the color purple was chosen for the pieces. Usually Tanner bends the phrase What Did I Get Myself Into so that it forms a question mark, but thankfully, we only have to pack the first letter of each word along with a question mark into the frame.
I can neither confirm nor deny if there is a sole solution or whether multiple solutions exist. However, I can confirm that finding a solution was a challenge.
Tanner and Geneva are on a mission to spread puzzle joy to the world and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do next.
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Mini Lock is a simple interlocking burr in the shape of a padlock consisting of a frame and 3 simple pieces. Two of the pieces form the body of the lock while the third acts as the shackle.
Cubicdissection recently released a version of Mini Lock in wood, which was still available at the time of this post if you would like your own copy. A 3D version is also sometimes available at ARC Puzzles.
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Continuing the trend of designing restricted-opening packing puzzles with 4 simple looking pieces, Hajime Katsumoto has provided us with 4 PAC. The box has a single slot opening to permit the pieces to be entered and several poke holes for you to insert your fingers for manipulating the pieces. However, for this packing puzzle, the pieces are round, allowing for new types of rotations within the box. This novelty helped 4 PAC win a Jury Honorable Mention award in the Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition in 2021.
This puzzle looks innocuous. After all, we’ve solved several of these 2x2x3 packing puzzles with simple looking pieces. This one looks even easier with the pieces made from cylinders, which support rotations around the cylinder’s axis. When I first saw a photo of this puzzle, my initial reaction was that it could be trivially solved in several ways. Deep down, I knew this would not be the case and was summarily reengaged by a comment on the Mechanical Puzzle Discord server: The solution doesn't use the scoop move. The scoop move? Was this the move that my trivial solutions were based on. Indeed it was. After more thought, this move is obviously (I use the term obviously loosely here since it obviously wasn’t obvious on my first pass) impossible. However, it would have been possible if the top of the box had a thickness of 0 (that’s mm not inches), which the mental construct within my mind indeed had.
Having cleared its reputation of trivialness, I decided to print a copy to solve. Given the nature of this type of puzzle, it’s easy to deduce how the last piece goes in. That only leaves figuring out how to add the first 3 pieces.
|No Scoop 4U
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
It’s swirly, whirly, wavey, and curly. It’s Wavelinks designed by Rod Bogart. In addition to being an excellent puzzle, it also has some appeal as a fidget toy.
I first encountered Wavelinks in the Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Competition room at IPP38. I wasn’t able to solve it in the limited time that I had but was duly impressed. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one impressed since it won a Top 10 vote getter award.
The version in the IPP competition was made by Shapeways, which provides online services for SLS manufacturing. Upload a design and get copies made and sent to your home. Before everyone had their own FDM printer at home, this was the best way to achieve rapid prototyping for puzzle development using non-cartesian geometries (I refrain from using the term square to avoid connotations associated with Cast Square). Even now, although more expensive, SLS is still probably better than FDM for puzzles such as Wavelinks. You can still acquire copies of Wavelinks from Rod’s Shapeways shop.
I had the opportunity to reattack Wavelinks at an RPP (A Decade of Puzzling - RPP 2019) where someone brought a Shapeways copy that they had acquired. This time, I was able to solve it fairly quickly while still appreciating the movements required to solve it.
Much to my surprise, a kickstarter project was announced in 2022 by Craighill to produce Wavelinks. Their campaign announcement had beautiful photos and videos of the 4 pieces (I refrain from using the term quartet to avoid connotations associated with Cast Quartet) made in contrasting silver and black. It was a complete no-brainer to join the kickstarter.
There is a video in the Kickstarter campaign where the pieces fall into the solved interlocked state (I refrain from using the terms spiral, vortex, and twist to avoid connotations associated with Cast Spiral, Cast Vortex, and Cast Twist). I suggest that you attempt this catch the wave move. Once everything is lined up, the pieces really do drop like that. I’m sure some would consider that video a spoiler, but I don’t think it’s really giving too much away and the appeal of the video is obvious.
I’m very happy that this puzzle was finally released in a format that it deserved and should become available in puzzle shops soon. I’ve incorporated it into my weekly exercise routine but if you prefer a much lighter copy for your workout, the plastic version is still available on Shapeways.