Posted on Apr 20, 2012 by Gabriel | 0 comments
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Beehive is yet another great design made by Jean Claude Constantin, an assembly pyramid puzzle comprised by 11 hexagon-shaped pieces. One of the great things about Constantin's puzzles is that most of them are quite affordable and widely available.

The elegant design made with a stylish wooden stand and a wire rim complements beautifully the shape of the finished puzzle. The pieces are made in two types of wood, darker in the tips and in the middle section, and lighter in the outer edges, which makes the pyramid shape stand out even more. While it's a Constantin's design, I'm sure it wasn't built by him, because as you can see, the pieces don't line up perfectly with the stand. Just a bit of improvement cutting the pieces with more accurate tolerances and the appearance would've been perfect.

Because the pieces are all different in shape and color, this is a highly difficult puzzle to solve. The pyramid has a length of 5 by 3 unit hexagons, which in total is 45 units. Given the fact that the darker hexagon shapes are six, and knowing that the pyramid looks the same seen from either side, you would expect to have 18 dark unit hexagons... In fact, there are only 17, and that's quite unusual, to say the least.

When I first started to solve the puzzle, I was unaware that the darker hexagons were one less than expected. And no, there isn't any empty space in the middle, as the total of hexagons totals 45, so the real answer is that one of the middle hexagons has to be light, instead of dark. It took me quite a while before I noticed this. I honestly don't know if this particular characteristic was done with an intent to mislead us or it's just a factory defect, but either way, I didn't like it. If it's supposed to be that way, I don't see the point, because the darker tone units are supposed to be there as a guide towards finding the solution, otherwise might as well have the whole puzzle with one color.

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Moving on... Solving the puzzle with dark and light pieces, but keeping in mind the light hexagon in the middle, the puzzle is still very hard to solve. It took me about two days of constant puzzling to finally solve this. I guess the nature of the pieces is what makes it more difficult, because we're used to the pentomino pieces and it's harder to visualize the hexagon shapes in a 3D puzzle.

Another difficult part of the puzzle is solving it in the stand. My advice is to solve it in a flat horizontal surface instead of the vertical, like the wooden stand. It's easier to visualize what you're doing and the pieces are more stable that way.

The Beehive pyramid puzzle is available at Brilliant Puzzles for about $13 USD.

Closing Comments:

Still not convinced that the light hexagon in the middle is supposed to be there, I liked the design and concept of the puzzle very much. Looks great on a shelf or a desk and it's a very tough challenge to solve. Ultimately, it's a Constantin's design and a collectible, so you can't go wrong with that.



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