|(Click to Enlarge)|
About a year ago, I reviewed the first puzzle designed by my fellow blogger and puzzler Jerry Loo, the Ball in Cylinder #1. The result was a really nice surprise, considering how little experience he had at designing and manufacturing puzzles. The BIC #1 was a superb puzzle, so Jerry had his work cut out for him if he wanted to succeed with his second design. In my opinion, not only he succeeded, but he also outdone himself.
Like the first BIC, the BIC #2 is exactly the same size as its predecessor. There are, however, a couple of subtle differences on the outside, but the biggest one is hidden from view, which is the inner mechanism, this time ten times more complex than the first - At least that's my interpretation. First, the appearance: The more apparent difference is the location of the hole where the ball exits, which sits closer to the edge instead of the center. The other, more subtle, difference is the number of lines found at both ends on the side of the cylinder, where the BIC #2 is sporting two pairs of lines while the first BIC had only one at each end.
Now, the most important difference between the two BICs lies in the mechanism itself, and here is where everything gets complicated. The goal is basically the same on the two puzzles: find the correct sequence of moves that enables you to remove the small ball bearing trapped inside. The way you do that, however, couldn't be more distinct between the two puzzles.
|(Click to Enlarge) - Left: BIC #1; Right: BIC #2|
The only thing similar between the two mechanisms is how you go about solving them. Since the mechanism is hidden and you get very little information just by peering down the exit hole, the only way to get a clue on what's going on inside relies solely on your hearing. That was enough to solve the first puzzle, but here, I'm having difficulty not to throw 'guessing' and 'luck' into the mix. So far, neither one seems to be on my side. I've had this puzzle for the last couple of months and I've lost count of how many hours I lost trying to discover its solution. Not even a lucky solve...
What still has me confused after all this time is the fact that you can actually see a small part of the mechanism through the exit hole. Besides the large ball bearing that's visible at all times and only moves back and forth in one direction, you can also see that small part sliding in the same direction directly below the ball, but I haven't found out what exactly is its use. Since the large ball bearing isn't going anywhere and it's too large to exit through the hole, there should be another ball bearing inside, a smaller one. In fact, you can easily hear it moving inside the cylinder, but it only moves from one end to the other without coming into the exit path where the larger ball is. That's actually another problem you need to worry about once you manage to get the small ball bearing visible, as you might get it behind the large one, which is blocking its exit. I still haven't managed to do that, let alone solve it. I could've asked Jerry for some tips by now, but in doing so I would be admitting defeat, and I'm not giving up on it...yet... We'll see how far my patience gets.
Despite not being able to solve Jerry's BIC #2 in time for the review - I could've simply waited until I had it solved, but that could take months - I can still appreciate it for the complexity achieved and the improvement from the first design. As for what's next, I can only imagine how Jerry will improve on his previous ideas.
Availability: BIC #2 is currently sold out, but you can contact Jerry through his profile page and be added to his waiting list for the next batch.