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Friday, 29 June 2012

Bin Laden (Rik van Grol)

Don't worry about the title, there's no relation to the war on terror or any of that madness, this is definitely puzzle related. I managed to win this one from the recent Baxterweb puzzle auction.

Bin Laden by Rik van Grol
Bin Laden was the IPP exchange puzzle from Rik van Grol back in 2006 (IPP26) in Boston. The puzzle was designed and assembled by him, only the parts were laser cut by Buttonius Puzzles & Plastics.

As far as I'm aware this puzzle is made entirely from layered laser cut wood, which does make it look a bit plain, but it does have a pretty sturdy feel to it. I love that little 'legs' that have been added to the base, just a nice touch that wasn't necessary but is really charming to have there.


The puzzle has several simple sounding objectives:

  1. Remove all four coins from their trays.
  2. Get all of the trays into the open position at the same time.
  3. Close all of the trays again.

The name of the puzzle isn't random, it is very relevant to the design. Here's what Rik has to say about it:

  • 'Bin', which is short for 'binary', refers to the solution method.
  • 'Laden' is the Dutch word for 'drawer' or 'tray'.
  • 'Bin Laden' is the name of someone considered by many as the personification of the devil. In a devilish streak I took the liberty to ignore the 'rules' of a true binary puzzle...
Bin Laden - All Trays Open
So, it's a binary puzzle Jim, but not as we know it!

If you've read a few of my past posts you'll know I'm a big fan of puzzles with binary style solutions, it's safe to say I know the sequences to solve these puzzle pretty well. So I got the puzzle out of it's pack and started solving.


I got off to a great start, the sequence was perfect binary, any second now it would be open.....oh.....wait....

At move number seven the final drawer stops halfway. I give it a gentle rattle in case it's gotten stuck...nothing moves. I reverse the sequence back to the beginning to try again in case I'd gotten it wrong, nope, only half way out again.

It took me another 20 or so minutes to properly work out the solution sequence!

It turns out Rik designed Bin Laden to trip up smug puzzlers who happen to know their binary sequences. The solution is devilish, just like Rik says, and really enjoyable to repeat. I'd wager that any binary puzzle enthusiast would trip up on this puzzle exactly like I did, but simply because of that it's worth doing. It's not often a binary puzzle surprises you as the solutions tend to run the same way.

All in all a very cool little puzzle!

1 comment:

No puzzle spoilers please!

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