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Sunday, 22 January 2012

Impossibly Impossible Jars

As I may have mentioned before, I'm also getting very interested in 'impossible objects'. These are not exactly mechanical puzzles in the sense that they cannot be physically solved, the real challenge is to work out how they were created. Most people just want to know how it was done, whereas I much prefer coming up with all manner of ridiculous theories, and I'm quite happy to never be told the truth.

Here are a couple of 'object in glass' impossibilities that I got hold of recently:

Golf Ball In A Jar - Jared Brzenski
This is a standard glass jam jar containing an ordinary (and used) 'Noodle' brand golf ball. From the picture the size of the opening looks big enough for the ball to pass through, but that wouldn't make it very interesting. In reality the ball is a fraction too large to pass back through the opening, and as such it seems that it will remained forever sealed inside. This jar was made by Jared Brzenski who sold this creation through his Etsy shop. They are well worth a look.

Spicy - Impossible Bottles
This jar looks a little more exotic with it's wooden lid. It was once an old spice jar, and you can even still smell the spice when you open it. There is a padlock inside which is firmly attached to the wooden lid with a metal hook. The key is also attached to the same hook. You can pull the lid up about an inch, but the padlock will not pass through the neck of the jar. The padlock will still function perfectly well, but only if you can manage to get the key into the keyhole.

Now I do know how this is made as I have seen a similar implementation before, so I actually disassembled it just for kicks.
This jar was made and sold by the English site Impossible Bottles, who also have a range of several other incredible (and impossible) creations for sale for some very reasonable prices. Apparently you can even supply them with your own standard glass bottles, and then they will make them more impossible for you. Very clever!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Midlands Puzzle Party No.5 (MPP5)

It's almost time for the next Midlands Puzzle Party (MPP) to take place!

For those of you who didn't hear about these yet, they are a series of very casual gatherings in the UK where puzzle enthusiasts, collectors, designers etc. can get together and essentially sit and puzzle for a whole day in like-minded company.....with light refreshments!

I wrote about my experience of the first one HERE, and a great account of each of the previous events can also be found on Allard's Blog: (MPP1, MPP2, MPP3, MPP4)

The next one will be the 5th MPP gathering since February of last year, and it will be this coming March. Here are the full details:

MPP5 - Saturday 17th of March 2012
10:00 to 18:00

The Gap
39 Oakwood Grove,
CV34 5TD

As the previous MPPs were turning out to be quite popular it was decided that this social club would be hired for the event instead. So for the first time attendees will be asked to pay £5 toward the cost of hiring the club. Any money left over will be used for the light refreshments mentioned earlier.

A discussion of the event and list of confirmed and possible attendees can be found HERE.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Jigsaw Cube

I've seen this puzzle around quite a few times, but as it was always going for quite a high price I never got around to buying it. However a little while ago I found one being sold second hand on eBay for a significantly reduced price, and I thought I'd buy it and see what it's really like.

This puzzle is generally referred to as the 'Jigsaw Cube', and it seems to be manufactured and sold by various different companies, including Eureka and Inform Designs. That probably accounts for why it can be found in quite a few puzzle shops.

Although it is not possible to tell from the pictures, the cube is made up four pairs of pieces, or eight in total. Each of these pieces have inlaid magnets, and as such can only join onto another piece if the magnets attract and the 'jigsaw' cut pieces fit together.

It's also hard to get across the size, weight and build quality of the Jigsaw Cube, and that's the reason that I didn't want to risk buying one for the full price. Now that I've held one and seen it up close I am extremely impressed with the quality of both the metal and the way the magnets have been laid into the individual pieces. The fit and finish is perfect.

The cube measures in at 3.6cm (obviously not including the stand), and as it's made from solid metal and decent rare earth magnets it has a pretty hefty weight to it for it's size.

As a puzzle it's not very difficult, and this is due to a couple of reasons. Firstly; the pieces are made in pairs, so it's easy to tell that the solution requires you to make two identical halves. Secondly; the pieces are numbered internally, which is very unnecessary and a little annoying. This shouldn't take anyone more than a couple of minutes to solve.

If you like having high quality metal puzzles in your collection then this is definitely a puzzle for you. It may have a relatively high cost for it's size, but I think that it is justified in the quality. However as a puzzle it is not difficult at all.

The Jigsaw Cube is currently available from Puzzle Master and Sloyd.
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