Cast Quartet (絆)

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This is the Cast Quartet, a design made by Mineyuki Uyematsu for Hanayama and released in September 2007. 

It has 4 pieces. They seem identical, but are actually different, as each pair is the exact symmetrical of the other one. In their initial stage, the two pairs are interlocked and by the way they are entangled, it seems impossible to separate them... Well, it proved impossible for me at least, as I didn't solve it in time for this review, and this time I actually took a look at the solutions, both a .pdf file and a video, and none of them were sufficiently good to make a clear view on how to solve it.

This puzzle has the highest level of difficulty by Hanayama and PuzzleMaster's rankings, 6 out of 6 and 10 out of 10 respectively, so you can be sure to encounter a serious level of challenge. Also, judging by the comments found on the videos and review page on PuzzleMaster, even looking at the solution and solve it is trickier than it looks.

In terms of design, it resembles a bit to the Lucky Clover by Oskar van Deventer, when both pairs are also interlocked at the center. It's also a bit similar in difficulty, as it can be devilishly hard to solve it as well.

Looking at the .pdf solution, I found out that you can do a second challenge after you separate all four pieces, by  interlocking the pieces in a different way and make another shape.

The Cast Quartet is available at PuzzleMaster for CAD $12.95, along with most other Cast Puzzles.

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Links:

Hanayama's Factory Visit (Many thanks to Roxanne Wong for sharing these pictures)

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