All Five

Posted on Dec 30, 2011 by Gabriel | 5 comments
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Physicist Wayne Daniel is the inventor of this fantastic puzzle. The All Five puzzle is actually a 5-in-1 puzzle containing the 5 platonic solids - An icosahedron (20 faces), a dodecahedron (12 faces), four octahedra (8 faces), an hexahedron or cube (6 faces) and nine tetrahedra (4 faces).

Inside the package, with the puzzles, comes a DVD with special features, such as a presentation on how the puzzle is built and how it is solved, also with the history behind the platonic solids and the mathematics involved. Featured as well, is an interesting biography of the inventor.

The puzzle contains a total of 37 pieces (when first developed in 2004, it consisted of 41) and the idea is to build each smaller puzzle (solid) so that it fits into the immediate larger one, reminiscent of a matryoshka doll. Essentially an Assembly/Packing puzzle, each solid will fit perfectly into the corresponding one, without leaving a single empty space.

The larger solid, the icosahedron, comes in five pieces, all different. It's a bit complex, but not that difficult to assemble. I love the stripes pattern on this particular solid, which is the one you only see when the whole puzzle is solved.

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The next puzzle is the dodecahedron, with only three pieces, that will nest inside the icosahedron. With such  a small number of parts, this is an easy one to solve. Worth noting though, is the different wood work used on this particular solid, in order to differentiate between the pieces of another one, which is a nice touch, not to have all puzzles with the same appearance.

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Following the dodecahedron is the cube, an hexahedron with six jigsaw-like pieces, similar to what you see in a Happy Cube. This might seem a little hard at first to solve, but with only six pieces and careful observation, it becomes easier to spot if a piece will connect to another or not, because of the indentations on each piece (no two pieces are the same). The's only one solution to solve the cube.

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The hardest part of the All Five puzzle is to fill the cube, but first, you have to fill the largest tetrahedron, that will also fit inside the cube, which is very easy to solve by the way, with only two pieces.

The large tetrahedron is filled by the smaller octahedron found in the puzzle, and four smaller tetrahedra. It's not hard to come up with this solution, but since it's probably the first you'll solve, it might be a little tricky, with all those smaller pieces around, to complicate things.

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When you have the large tetrahedron solved, it's time to place it into the cube and find a way to get all the remaining small pieces inside as well. The smaller pieces with a stripe pattern are what makes this stage of the whole puzzle, much more complex and devious. 

If you take a closer look, each four stripe pieces form an octahedron, when correctly put together, but they won't be grouped like this in the actual solution. Instead, alternated with the remaining four tetrahedra, they will fit perfectly around the larger stripe tetrahedron, already inside the cube.

After the cube is filled with the smaller solids, the puzzle will now be much easier to assemble, because the hardest part is already solved.

Closing Comments:

The All Five is a fascinating puzzle and a work of art. What makes it so extraordinary is the harmonious relationship between each solid and the way which is presented to you. Each puzzle is very well elaborated, most are somewhat easy to solve, with the exception of one. After all, it wouldn't be so fun having to solve only easy puzzles...

The All Five is available at SeriousPuzzles.com for $43.95 USD.


Jim Eadon said...

Wow, I am going to get one of these. You know, I begin to like the idea of collecting puzzles! Platonic solids are just incredibly fascinating! I have plans based on them myself!

Gabriel said...

Hi James,
Collecting puzzles is a wonderful experience and an adventure. There are just so many out there that even if you have thousands of them, your collection will never be complete. But that's also what's fascinating about it.
Another great thing about collecting puzzles is that it's not your average object collection, where they're just lying around a drawer or a shelf collecting dust. With puzzles you can pick them up and play with them, give them a proper use.
To get an idea of the wide variety of puzzle types, check out Rob's Puzzle Page (this website was what inspired me to start collecting puzzles).
Cheers ;-)

Alucard said...

Amazing Matryoshka-styled puzzle!

Unknown said...

I would love to get one of these. When I look for it, they are listed as discontinued. Does anyone know where I can buy one? Thank you!

Gabriel said...

Hi, Mr. Puzzle, in Australia, seems to be one of the last places that still carries this puzzle: http://www.mrpuzzle.com.au/prod131.htm

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