Posted on Mar 1, 2016 by Gabriel | 6 comments
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In the world of packing puzzles, peanuts are a tough nut to crack (fun fact: they're actually legumes and not nuts), especially because of their irregular shape. Not surprisingly then, puzzles with the peanut theme are very challenging for a good reason.

Besides the Peanuts puzzle, featured in this review, I know of only another puzzle with peanuts - the Glass Puzzle Peanuts by Beverly Enterprises. Both are very challenging, although I only had the pleasure of playing with the version you see here, designed and built by Jean Claude Constantin.

The good thing about Constantin's Peanuts is that it's a flat 2D puzzle, unlike Beverly's 3D one. Nevertheless, don't be fooled. This is still quite a challenge to solve, so don't underestimate it. I know from experience that 2D puzzles can be just as difficult as their 3D counterparts, if not more in some cases.

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The Peanuts puzzle features 10 unique peanut-shaped pieces, although some of them are unusually irregular, even for a peanut...but that's what makes it so interesting. The pieces are laser-cut, so they fit perfectly inside the hexagonal frame. Another interesting aspect of this puzzle is that each individual peanut piece has its own shell that can be separate from its kernel. This doesn't exactly make the puzzle that much more difficult, since you can easily tell which shell belongs to what kernel and vice-versa, but it's nonetheless a neat feature of the puzzle. For example, you can solve the puzzle first with the shells only and then pack the other pieces at the end.

As hinted before, this is a very difficult puzzle to solve due to the irregular shape of the pieces. Notwithstanding, you can actually take advantage of the inner shape of the frame to tell which pieces fit or don't fit in a particular part of the frame. This makes the puzzle a little less frustrating, but just barely... Be prepared for a real challenge.

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Closing Comments:

Constantin's Peanuts puzzle is a real treat for puzzle lovers. It's quirky and has all the right ingredients for anyone looking for a tough but rewarding puzzle. I can't recommend enough this one. Give it a go, and I promise you won't go nuts.

Availability: Brilliant Puzzles is the place to find the Peanuts puzzle. You can also get other great puzzles by Jean Claude Constantin.


mike d said...

Thanks Gabriel, nice review. Note for the record that Constantin's Peanuts is (except for the squiggly outlines) logically identical to Creative Crafthouse's Hexagon 10. I just checked my copy and all of the Peanut pieces are indeed stylized versions of the Hexagon 10's pieces. But still a nice variation! I wonder if loosening the geometric regularity makes it easier or harder to pack. As noted by Crafthouse, there should be at least 19 solutions.

mike d said...

Actually, i retract the 19 solutions part. With those irregular outlines, there maybe only one for Peanut!

Gabriel said...

Thanks for the info, Mike. Still not sure who the actual designer is, if it's Constantin or not.

mike d said...

Good Question. I guess for Peanut its Constantin, but the straight Hexagon on which it is based is an older design. Coffin talks about it in Puzzle Craft and used the same pieces for his "Snowflake". Not 100% sure, but i think the pieces are his original design. Need someone more knowledgeable to weigh in here!

George said...

It does appear to me the 10 pieces are the same as from Coffin's "Snowflake" puzzle, although the irregular outlines make for a different puzzle with a unique solution (I would guess).

Coffin does mention he got the idea from a Martin Gardner column, which is now a chapter in the book "Mathematical Magic Show". I believe that the original 10 pieces, with problems, are due to Stewart Coffin.

mike d said...

I didn't know about the Gardner book but found a pdf version online without much trouble. Very interesting stuff and just the right level (for me a least). Thanks for the tip George.

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