Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Some enigmas for your X-mas holidays

Hey you, puzzle solver! Those enigmas are for you if you accept the challenge to solve them.
Some of them require obstinacy... So let's begin!

Enigma #1
Let's begin by the most difficult enigma this time and be sure, it is a very very difficult one !
You have to find the numerical values which correspond to the symbols, so that the addition becomes correct.

Enigma #2
Go from "START" the the "END" without going diagonally or going twice through the same "box". The total of your path has to be 54.

Enigma #3
In grid A you can see 4 circles. They are neither in the same row, nor in the same column. 
But 2 of them are in diagonal (look at the arrow).
Put those 4 circles in grid B, so that they are neither in the same colum, nor in the same row, nor in diagonal.

I needed to make the picture very big, otherwise it's difficult to see anything...Sorry about that.

Enigma #4
Draw a circle with a point in the center like in the picture below.
You are neither allowed to use a rubber nor to lift your pencil from the paper!!
This is a tricky enigma, and so you need to "think out of the box" (fashion expression these days that many bloggers or people use...too often?...^^)

Good luck! Enjoy!!

Merry X-mas for you guys, hope you will spend good times with your friends and family and also that Father X-mas will put many puzzles under the X-mas tree. I am sure you deserve them :-)

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Prepare for war: BQTTLE is coming soon !!

War for your nerves because this puzzle will challenge a lot your dexterity !!

This puzzle called BQTTLE was made by Sandor Bozoki (he also makes some impossible bottles with matches inside) and presented during last IPP in London (2014). It is composed of a metal chain, a rubber O-ring and a small glass bottle. 
The good thing with this puzzle is that you cannot damage the bottle with what is inside!

The goal is to free the O-ring. It is not difficult to understand how to do that but really much more difficult to do it. Indeed, it requires a lot of dexterity to solve it, and even using dexterity, this is not an easy task...Reassembling the puzzle is more difficult than solving it. So if you have some difficulties to solve it, good luck then :-)
The puzzle comes with the solution and a tool to take the O-ring out of the bottle in case the chain is too much knoted (you can unscrew the cap of the bottle), which is a good idea.
I was wondering why putting a metal chain that may create knots, but I think it's because it's better than rope for the gravity.

To conclude: a cheap puzzle that you should buy if you like bottle puzzles, but much more important if you like dexterity puzzles! Otherwise, perhaps not the puzzle you should have...

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Tempted to find the lotus?

This puzzle in an anodized blue aluminium and is made by the famous Wil Strijbos.
The name is well chosen (there is a hint in the name for you to know if you have fully solved, think about that...), the color is beautiful, the precision is very good, the shape is very original. I like it !!

You can see a dovetail joint on the bottom of the puzzle (but the two halves of the puzzle cannot move) and a small hole on the top of the puzzle (but you cannot distinguish almost anything from the inside because it is very dark). Nothing seems to move but things can be heard from the inside...but you cannot get any clue from this noice. 
That does not help you to know what is inside, nor how to solve the puzzle.

The first goal is to take the metal disk out. It seems impossible, but I assure you it is possible...However, not so obvious at a first sight. No force is needed of course, and no external tools are needed.
Once you have removed the washer, then you need to keep on searching and using your tools to go further in the solving process, and try to understand where the name of the puzzle comes from.

Washer removed, but the puzzle is not completely solved :-)

The puzzle does not require a lot of steps to solve, but is fun anyway.

Many people have some issues with this puzzle because you can lose things inside, it is pretty difficult to tell more about that without spoiling...But even if this is the case, you can still do things to find your tool.

I cannot put a picture with the puzzle being completely solved because it will spoil a lot and it is better if you understand by yourself the name of the puzzle :-)
If you need any help or need pictures, drop me an email. I will be happy to answer your questions.

Please take care of the following:
-> Don't pull out the black pin (and this does not help to solve the puzzle) unless you want to open completely the puzzle (which is, again, not useful to solve the puzzle completely...) or if you've lost things inside the puzzle.
-> You should wear some glasses when trying to solve the puzzle...Things can shout out violently like a bullet. It would be a pitty to become blind because of a puzzle...

To conclude: this is a very beautiful puzzle with an original shape, several steps to completely solve it (even if I would have appreciated more steps) and a good level of difficulty. The price is affordable and thus, in my opinion, is worth the money.
The only black point of this puzzle is that you may manage to solve it by chance because the puzzle does not give any clue about how it works.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Topological puzzles: do it yourself

As you may already know I like a lot topological puzzles, like those from Dimiter Vakarelov (I talked about them in an older post here).

I saw in a book that I have had since quite long time 2 puzzles that seem to be topological.
You can try them at home, no need for expensive things.
They seem impossible, especially the second one...but of course they are solvable :-)

Hope you will have fun. So here we go:

Topological puzzle 1

What you need: a pair of scissors and a rope.

How to do: put the rope through the pair of scissors like in the pictures below:

Then you can either ask a friend to hold the 2 movable ends of the rope (right of the picture) or you can put your feet on it. The purpose is that the end of the rope becomes unusable. Indeed if nobody holds the end of the rope or if there are some marbles at the end, the puzzle becomes easier.

The goal: free the pair of scissors without cutting the rope or your friend because your friend will be useful for the second puzzle below :-)

This is quite challenging, and reassembling it is more difficult...
Even if you know the solution, if you don't pay attention you may create knots.

Topological puzzle 2

What you need: two ropes and a friend

How to do: just follow the picture below, it is easy to understand:

The goal: you have to be freeded without cutting the rope (or your friend). You are not allowed to untie the knots, of course!

Let me know if you have tried those topological puzzles and share your feeling about them.
You see, puzzles can be quite easy to make, but that does not mean they are easy to solve.
My friends are astonished when I solve them, and when they try to solve them....they fail ;-)
Enjoy !!!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Cast news

This puzzle belongs to the famous cast series of the Hanayama's puzzles and is ranked as 6/6, so very hard. The name of this puzzles just comes from the letters "n", "e", "w", "s" written on the puzzle.
When you move the puzzle, you can hear things inside, but you cannot see at all what you are doing, that's the difficulty.
The goal is easy to understand: you need to separate the 2 parts of the puzzle.

I like the design

If you don't know how to solve it, it may be difficult (so I would agree with the difficulty of 6). But when you know the solution, it is ranked as very easy for me. Because the solution is easy to repeat again and it takes less than 10 seconds to open it again and again.
There are some puzzles ranked 6/6 like cast enigma, or even puzzles ranked as less difficult like vortex (5/6) that are much more complicated to solve again and again, since they need a lot of steps before being solved.

I don't put a picture of the puzzle solved because it can spoil quite a lot... :-)

Moreover, this puzzle has a mecanism that other puzzles have, so it has not a unique mechanism.

However, the quality is good, the price is not expensive, the puzzle is easy to be repeatedly solved. 
For these reasons, you should own it. Especially if you intend to collect all the Hanayama's cast puzzles. 

You can buy this very nice puzzle on Puzzle Master webshop. They even have the SOLUTION!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Isis puzzle

Let me introduce the puzzle with a story: the myth about the Isis puzzles.

"Long time ago, during the Ancient Egypt lived King Tutankhamun .
Powerful and very respected for his wisdom, he sadly died at an early age.
As a King, he was mummified in a sarcophagus incrusted with a lot of diamonds and gold.
Fearing for his wealth, he asked, long time before his death, his closest confidants to spread it all around the world.
His wishes were fulfilled and his wealth was put in many royal pyramids, which were hidden in many countries.
Tutankhamun was smart and he did not want his wealth be found by thieves.
Thus, he created golden puzzles (his favourite color) with devilish cores inside that could only be solved by humble and brave men.
Those puzzles were the first key leading to his wealth.
Currently, former King Tutankhamun can rest in peace in his sarcophagus because not all the pyramids have been discovered"

Here are the characteristics of the puzzles:

This puzzle belongs to a series of 5 puzzles called the Isis (the one I am reviewing), the Ramisis (with a pyramid shape), the Copernisis which looks like the solar system, the Tessarisis which has a cube shape, and the last one that is not yet relased.

So what about the ISIS?

This puzzle is beautifully made in aluminium with CNC machines, very smooth when you manipulate it and quite heavy (450g = 1.2lbs). It was created by Andrew Reeves and are made in UK, which is a proof that they are quality products.
There are many editions for each puzzle. For example, this one is the extreme edition, but there is also the Isis with the original colors (Gold & Blue), the Isis Black & Gold, the Isis Titanium & Blue, what changes is, of course, the difficulty!

Isn't it nice?

Each puzzle is presented in a leather box which highlights the beauty of the puzzle.
The black box fits perfectly with the gold and blue colors of the Isis!
As far as I know, I have never seen a puzzle with so much care given to the box: usually, puzzles arrive in a bubbles wrapping with scotch tape and that's all...
The packaging may be useful...
Here, that's not the case! Of course there is a carton box with scotch tape and bubbles wrapping, but also a beautiful carton box which protects the leather box.
You can really say with no shame that is a work of art!

On the Isis puzzle you can see many hieroglyphics, that makes you think of the Egyptian period, written all around it and the packaging (keep it!) has also many. So, the name of the puzzle fits perfectly with the design of it, and also to the story that goes with (we will talk to this a little bit after).

Please take care of the following: once you have solved any of the puzzles, please read the instructions to reassemble them. Otherwise, you could make wrong things that could jam the puzzles!

If you buy the Isis, that gives you the opportunity to participate to a tresure hunt with many prizes to win!

Let me explain this adventure, the Isis Adventure:

If you buy one puzzle from Sonic Games, that gives you the right to open a pyramid with money to earn.
You can open as many pyramids as you want, provided that you have the same number of puzzles.
So, if you own 3 puzzles, you can "open" 3 pyramids, whereas if you only have 1 puzzle you will be eligible to open only 1 pyramid.

What is a pyramid?
There are real pyramids that may be located in many places around the world, in some shops for example. They are kept by pyramid guardians.
The virtual pyramids can be seen on the internet.
The reward for opening pyramids is money! And for sure, the pride of having been able to solve the hard enigmas.
If you are the 1st person to open it, you receive a lot of money, if you are the second you receive a bit less.
Luckily, it is explicitly said if a pyramid has been opened, so that you don't go to the pyramid localization for nothing...

How to open the pyramids?
First, you need to buy the Isis or the Ramisis puzzle and then you enter the code on the internet by registering your puzzle.
Then, you are showed with a map about the localizations of the pyramids.
To open the pyramids you need to solve enigma and get a code.
You also need to solve an enigma to know where the pyramids are (city, place, and so on)

Are there still unopened pyramids?
Of course, and many! Because enigmas are difficult!

What about the enigmas?
Well, there are many enigmas and you can work on many as you want, but you will only have the right to open 1 if you have only 1 puzzle, as mentioned before.

If the pyramid is in the USA and I live in Europe, how to do?
Well, either you are sured that you have the right code, you book your plane and you try to pay less for your plane that you can get rewarded from the pyramid...
But the best option for this is to open the virtual pyramids you can find on the internet. However, the prize is less huge for virtual pyramids than for real pyramids.

What is the goal of having many (or all the) puzzles?
Well, first you can like challenges and be willing to solve all the puzzles, and even the most difficult puzzles for each series of puzzles.
Moreover, if you own the Isis and the Ramisis, you can try to solve a special enigma that gives you the right to open a platinium pyramid, which is a pyramid with a lot a lot of money, much more than for the "regular" golden pyramids.
So you can imagine how difficult must be the enigma to solve ;-)
And as I said before, if you have 4 puzzles, you may be able to open 4 pyramids, and thus to fund your purchase! ;-)
There is also a special prize (with a very huge amount of money to win) if you are to first to solve all the puzzles.

What about the packaging?
Haven't you been told not to throw away everything? ;-)
Don't throw the packaging away. First, because it is handsome. Then, because it protects the leather box. And finally, it may have an enigma written on it, with perhaps prizes to earn!

Any other prizes to earn?
Sure there is a very very rare and special puzzle to win: an Isis puzzle Gold & Silver encrusted with 1 carat of 5 diamonds. Only 4 of these puzzles have been made and they are worth $25,000.
To be able to win this puzzle you need to solve 4 enigmas that you will find in the adventure code book. They may be the hardest enigma of all the Isis adventure thus...
The aim of the book is also to explain the story of the puzzles, the pyramids, the creation of the firm, how to run this international business, it's kind of biography. Andrew Reeves has been dedicating so much effort since many years to create this business, to think about the pyramids, the enigmas, the design of the puzzles... Realize all the work needed! All the travels to many countries to hide the pyramids, to build a network of people to work with (be the guardian of the pyramids, sell the product, etc.). That is so much work!! And for all of his work, I have only one word: CONGRATULATIONS!

To conclude, you should buy this puzzle (and also the other ones of course) if:
  • You like solving puzzles: they are challenging!
  • You like collecting puzzles: there are many colors with different levels of difficulty
  • You think that the design is important for a puzzle: they shine a lot, smooth and pleasant to play with, the name is not choosen randomly, etc.
  • You like having a puzzle with its box (and a leather box!) and not only a bubbles wrapping...
  • You want to participate in a wonderful and tremendous treasure hunt and earn a lot of money and other special prizes!

I think every people may find interest in the reasons mentioned above ;-)
And perhaps through the treasure hunt, you will better discover yourself, who knows.
Remember the famous "cogito ergo sum" ("know well yourself first") from Descartes, and this may be the best discovery!

"Discovery" is the word that best embodies the concept of the Isis adventure: you need to discover how to solve the puzzles, you need to discover the enigmas, the places where the pyramids are located and the passwords...So, be curious!

Coming event 

If you live in France or close to France, this may interest you a lot: 1 pyramid will be hidden in the suburb of Lille (north of France) from the end of November until it is found.
Remember, you first need to solve enigmas (so first buy an Isis or a Ramisis and open it) and crack the code to have the right to open the pyramid.
But at least you know a bit where it will be ;-)
Get ready and hurry up, time's running out so fast!!

HERE you can buy the Isis puzzle and many others!!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Perrier bottle puzzle

I bought some bottle puzzles from Wil Strijbos which I will review in other posts.
Wil Strijbos makes a good job when he protects puzzles: they are wrapped in a certain way that the pieces that may shake during the delivery are maintained in place, so that nothing can move and break the puzzle. Indeed, the things inside the tricky bottles (here a plug) can rattle during the shipment and break the bottle...

This a classic Perrier bottle (so in glass, of course) with a metal tube inside. You need to take the plug out of the bottle without any force or shaking. The metal tube is the real obstacle, without it the solution is simple. With it, the solution requires thinking...
It seems impossible, well...it is possible! You just don't know how to solve it ;-)


Be careful: too much shaking can break the bottle...(it did not happen to me because I knew that...). The bottle is provided with a cap, keep it !! By the way, you should always keep everything that goes with Wil's puzzles.

The solution is very "elegant", and to solve the puzzle you need to try things, you need to use what you have...no external tools are required to solve the bottle.
You may manage to solve this puzzle with dexterity, but first this is not the intended solution, and then you may need to shake to bottle...and may break it...

Solved!! What?! Nothing has moved unless the plug?...So strange :-)

Just to avoid any bad ideas you may have:
-> don't put water in the bottle! Of course with water the plug can move to the top, but then because of the tube some water will stay in the bottle...!!
-> don't put anything inside the bottle

I think that if you like bottle puzzles, that is a "must-have" in your collection not only for the design but also for the solving process.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


This puzzle comes from a famous puzzle designer from the Netherlands: Wil Strijbos.
Wil is more "specialized" in metal puzzles (even if he has made many bottle puzzles), most often puzzles that you can't see what you're doing.

I will review many puzzles from Wil. The first challenge when you order from Wil is to open the package! It is very well wrapped (luckily) with a lot of scotch tape. So you try to find the beginning of the tape because you fear that if you use a knife to open the box, you could damage the puzzles inside the box...No worries: the puzzles inside the box are very well protected !!

Back to the puzzle:

The puzzle is made of a spanner, a metal chain and a metal ring. The goal is to free the metal ring, just as simple as that! The spanner could have been used to screw nuts in a previous life (even if I doubt because it seems very new), but now it is used as a puzzle ;-)

3 steps are needed to solve this puzzle. The puzzle is easy but fun to solve and fun to have for its unusual design. You can let you friends play with it without fearing that they could damage it because it is very sturdy.

Wil made another smaller spanner with a plastic ring. It is solved the same way as the big spanner, and if you want both (good luck to find the smaller one though...), you should begin with the bigger spanner. Because as it is more fragile (not a metal ring but a plastic one), you could hesitate doing things...

This puzzle is not expensive but it's not because puzzles are expensive that they are good. Often, you can have some more fun with the cheapest puzzles...This is a good example.
So I recommand this puzzle. Not for its puzzling aspect if you like difficulty, but for its unusual shape.

If you want it, contact Wil. You can find his email address by searching on Google. 
Remember, Google is your best friend.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Puzzle cube with subway tickets

One of my hobbies is origami which is the art of folding paper, coming from Japan. Perhaps I will put a link to some pictures of what I have done so far. I will see.
Origami includes folding animals (like fishes, lions...), geometrical shapes using only one sheet of paper, or many sheets which have to be assembled without glue and those are called "modular origami". Many more folding techniques exist. 

So why do I talk to you about that? Well because I made a puzzle using subway tickets that I fold like origami. See below:

I made the puzzle using quite a lot amount of tickets.The cube has a side length of about 10 centimeters (3.9 inches). I think this is quite original.
As for the difficulty, it is not overly difficult but still a bit challenging.

This puzzle is not as sturdy as metal (of course) but it's ok if you are not a brute ;-)

I also made other interesting model using subway tickets (see below). The first from the left required more than 3,000 subway tickets (!!) and has a side length of about 30 centimeters!! It took me years to collect all the tickets.This is a fractal and more specifically a Menger sponge. I don't think I will go for a bigger Menger sponge because it would have a side length of about 1 meter, would be very heavy, and would need something like 66,000 tickets.......

Hope you like it

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Topological puzzles

I came accross to some new types of puzzles that I did not know before: topological puzzles, here made by Dimiter Vakarelov.
He teaches maths in Sofia (Bulgary) and has been making topological puzzles for years (he also writes books about them)

Those puzzles are hand-made, in metal or wood and with colorful ropes. I like a lot the design with the different shapes, for example the "heart" puzzle, or the "cherries on a stick" puzzle. 
From left to right: "ring on a stick", "cherries on a stick", "spiral-3", "heart", "bracelet"

They are really nice, and they fit well in a collection of puzzles. And Dimiter has made many more topological puzzles. The names of the puzzle fit well to their design.

The goal is to free either the rope (with the balls) or some metal or wooden parts of the puzzle, by moving the rope in a certain way, making it go under some parts of the puzzles...
Most of the time it seems impossible, really !! But there is a solution (of course)!

I managed to solve "ring on a stick" (on the right)...humm how to put it again?...

I managed only to solve one puzzle called "ring on a stick", and I did it by chance...So now I have difficulties to reassemble it...I could cheat by removing the knot under the wooden crital, but I prefer using the "regular" solution.

Note that sometimes there are variation about the "design" of the puzzle, like below with "ring on a stick" puzzle.
At the beginning I feared my puzzle had a problem, but don't worry, there are not any problems! The way you solve it is still the same ;-)
The shape of the stick is not the same, but it has no impact on the solution!

As you may have understood, the difficulty is hard, even really hard. The design of the puzzles is very nice and unusual. And to finish, Dimiter is a really nice guy to chat with.

Support the work of a talented craftman and enjoy his hand-made topological puzzles ;-)

Below are some other examples of his work (there are many!):

Drop me an email if you want to contact Dimiter.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Inside Ze Cube

Hi cube lovers, this is ZE puzzle you should have!! 

Let me explain you a little bit this puzzle.
The name of this puzzle is a pun: "ze" is the French pronunciation of "the" in English. So from the name of the puzzle, you know that you will have to discover what is inside of the cubes and solve them, of course.
These puzzles are mazes but with the plans written on both side of the cube. The goal is to navigate through 7 levels from the beginning to the end. Once arrived at the end, other plans are written so that you can "easily" go back to the beginning by following the maps. There are dead ends, traps, sometimes you need to make the marble go to an uper level, so you need to turn upside down the cubes...Everything is done to trouble your mind.

These puzzles have been designed by French guys who created their firm thanks to crowdfunding, and they succeeded in obtaining all the funds (and even more) on time.
As this is quite new for them, so there may have been some small issues on puzzles which I pointed out to those guys. For example, you need to "push" quite strongly to make the marble leave its receptable for some cubes. For other the marble can leave its receptacle too easily. It was their 1st batch of cubes, so they will improve them for next batches.
And you know at the begginning no puzzle is perfect...

The pictures I took come from cubes with their first packaging (the packaging has changed).

It looks easy the way it works. Well always easier showing than doing...

Take a closer look, and you will see that the packaging provides the marble from leaving its receptacle during the shipping. Good point!

The cubes are in sturdy plastic and are ranked from easy to very difficult. There are 2 "easy" cubes (one transparent and one blue). The other cubes are "regular", "mean", "awful", "vicious" and "mortal".
The names are Easy0, Mean0.....Mortal0. So you may understand that for the next batch of cubes the names will be Easy1, Mean1...and so on.

What's good with the cubes is that you can open them, so that you can analyze the levels and if you are lost you can easily restart the puzzles. The levels are numbered so that you cannot be wrong when you put them in the box, and there is like a "safeguard" on each level so that you know in which position you have to put them. Everything is done to avoid errors. Good job !!

Difficult to see, but each level is numbered

However, you cannot do this for all the cubes. Here is one difficulty: for the vicious you can't open the cube, and for the mortal you can't open the cube and no plans are written. So when you're lost, good luck :-)
Another difficulty is how to read the maps. Believe me it's hard! First because you need to understand them. Second, you need to understand where the marble will go from one hole of one level to the other level(s) (sometimes it can fall from many levels at the same time...!).
Then you have to move the cube in the correct directions. As for me, I have difficulties to have a 3D representation of the maze in my mind, so it is all the more difficult...
7 levels are written. Read them from left to right

Here is the link to order your cubes. Sometimes they make reduced prices for some events, you need to check.

Hurry up, you need THE cube ;-)

When you have many cubes you can have fun and try to mix some levels from one cube with the levels of some other cubes to create a new cube. Well it can work...or not...

Here is the link of a brilliant French guy who developed like a software that allows you to see if your cube is solvable if you mix some levels (you need to get at least 100%, otherwise your cube won't be solvable), and it also allows you to help you navigate through the maze if you're lost:

As a conclusion, good puzzles to have, (very) hard to solve (even for the easiest one since you need to understand well how it works).

If you don't intend to buy all of them (but you may want to collect all of them), I strongly advise you (even if you're the best puzzle solver in the world...) to buy the cristal one (easy level) and another a little bit more difficult.
I started with the mean cube, and it was too difficult to start, so I bought the cristal easy one to better understand the maps...

Time your speed and try to beat the best challengers

Have cubing fun !!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Unknown name

I got this puzzle long time ago in a magazine dedicated to puzzles. I don't remember neither the name of this puzzle (if anyone can help me), nor the difficulty, nor the type of wood used...
The only thing I remember is that is was quite cheap.
The goal is to put together the several pieces of the puzzle to make a pyramid as you can see below:

The pieces of this puzzles are balls glued together to form different shapes.

As for the difficulty, I would say that it's not easy, but not very difficult; I would say medium. 
You need to fiddle around which piece you put first, and then try many combinations with your remaining pieces, put in a different way the pieces (they can move).
To conclude I would say that this a a fun puzzle to play with, and it is always funny to let it try to your friends and see that they have some difficulties to start this puzzle ;-)

Will you start like this...?

Or will you start like that...?

POST EDIT: the name is "The infernal pyramid" and the magazine was called "Classic Puzzles & Brainteasers". Unfortunately I did not keep it (I cannot find it...) ;-(

Sunday, 26 October 2014

To start

This blog intends to share my puzzling hobby with you guys.

I don't own all the puzzles I will review here. I have some of them, I played or borrowed others from friends or at some puzzle parties.

I will review some different kind of puzzles like metal puzzles, wooden puzzles, maze puzzles...from unknown designer to very known ones. That is not because some unknown designers make some puzzles that they are not good, and they may even be better since they are not mass-produced.

This is my first blog, so please be kind with me. You can share your points of view, leave some comments. No worries, this is also your blog :-)

Have puzzling fun !!