(Click to Enlarge)
Today's post is my ninth review for a Jean Claude Constantin's puzzle. By now, I have lost count of the number of his designs I have in my collection, but my guess is that it's between 20 to 25, and that's probably not even a quarter of all his creations.
Enough of facts for now... Ok, one more - Fact is the name of the puzzle I am reviewing and it's a Packing Puzzle... A good one. You have four colored wooden pieces in the shape of the letters F A C T and a single white square. The puzzle comes with its pieces stored in their corresponding indentations and at the back it's a rectangular tray to pack all five pieces inside. It's easy enough to understand, but the solution is all but obvious.
(Click to Enlarge) - Original State
One of the most common things about packing puzzles is that you have to pack a given number of pieces inside an area that at first glance seems impossible. One of the most popular examples of this concept is the classic Four T puzzle. The solution is never straightforward and requires creative thinking to experiment with uncommon piece layouts.
Now, regarding the actual Fact puzzle. The white square gives you a sense of the piece's units (2cm [.8"]). The clever part about this puzzle is that the rectangular tray area looks as a 6x5 unit grid, while in fact it's not exactly 6 units (12cm [4.72"]), but more like 5.9 units (11.7cm [4.61"]), and here lies the interesting fact - There's no way to pack all the pieces with a right angle inside the tray. You have to find a more unconventional method.
I got this puzzle roughly a couple of months ago and at the time, I remember it took me around five minutes to solve it. I had probably a little bit of help by lady luck, but still impressive for this kind of puzzle and a 7/10 in PuzzleMaster's rating scale. After I've solved it, I put the pieces back into their original state and stored it. Just before starting to write the review, I thought I'd give it another go to have a fresh perspective on its concept. With all the puzzles I've been reviewing in these past weeks, I had completely forgotten the solution. This time around, it took me 15 minutes or so to finally solve it. I guess lady luck was out and about...
I won't tell you exactly how to solve it, but I can give you a hint: the A is the key piece you have to worry about. You can see the solution here, but I advise against it if you want to try it for yourself, as ultimately, that's the beauty of solving puzzles.
The Fact puzzle came from PuzzleMaster and costs about $20 CAD. There is a similar version of this puzzle, also by Constantin and it's called Wetten, Dass (German for "wanna bet that"), but it has two different challenges with a movable arrow and as it appears from the photo, an extra piece as well.
After all these Constantin's puzzles and reviews, I'm yet to find one of his designs I didn't like. The Fact puzzle is a great example of what a good packing puzzle should offer you as a puzzle enthusiast - A deceptive solution and a rewarding feeling of accomplishment of something apparently tough to do.