Cast Slider

Posted on Aug 20, 2019 by Gabriel | 0 comments
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Vesa Timonen puzzles often have very ingenious solutions that require quite a lot of creative thinking. Many of his puzzles have a simple design, but still the solution will always surprise you. The latest Hanayama Cast Puzzle, called Slider falls into all these previously mentioned categories, and maybe a few of its own. Don't underestimate this one just because it's a level 3/6, as Hanayama has done it again...

The Cast Slider looks like it could be one of those sliding lock devices, which at first glance doesn't look like anything special... Until you take a closer look. The movement is surprisingly satisfying, like a fidget toy. You can keep playing with this indefinitely, even if you don't plan on solving it.

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There are two identical pieces that move in opposite directions with a central piece that rotates in a perpendicular direction. The central piece has two entrances that allow for the other two to slide back and forth, but not apparently to separate them. There's a pin in the center that prevents the pieces from moving to certain positions, and your goal is to find out how to avoid that. Even though it's challenging, the movement of the puzzle keeps it rather interesting and fun, so it's hard to ever feel frustrated.

Now, regarding Hanayama difficulty rating, it's yet again way off the mark. Level 3/6 it is not. It took me quite a while to figure out the solution for this one, and it was basically a fluke, so to speak. This is at least a level 4/6. As you fiddle with the puzzle, certain movements you do are more a reflection of your fidgeting and less a product of your logic reasoning. After a couple of follow up tries I was able to understand how exactly the solution works and it is indeed quite fascinating. It's hidden in plain sight and almost as obvious as the actual simple movement of the puzzle.

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Closing Comments:

The Cast Slider is in my opinion one of the best Hanayama puzzles of the last 5 years. It's no wonder that it took the Top 10 Vote Getter award at this year's IPP (International Puzzle Party). The simple but elegant solution and the great movement of the puzzle combines for a wonderful puzzling experience. Vesa, you did it again!

Availability: You can get a copy of the Cast Slider at PuzzleMaster. Check out other interesting puzzles in the Cast family.


Posted on Aug 6, 2019 by Gabriel | 4 comments
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Zauberseil by Jean Claude Constantin is a deceptively difficult puzzle where the goal is to remove the rope from the metal frame. Made to look like a simple and easy to solve puzzle, this one is actually quite a difficult challenge, even for the most experienced.

The name Zauberseil means "Cotton Rope" in German - it's a rather fitting name, since the rope used here is made of cotton. As you can see, the rope is also much thicker than the usual string puzzles and less malleable, so it's a little harder to maneuver it. It's also shorter than other puzzles, but here it could be considered a good thing, because it's more difficult to create undesired knots. The frame is made of thick metal, so even if you apply some force it won't easily bend and deform the puzzle.

The Zauberseil is made of three metal parts, a large ring and two identical U-shaped pieces. These pieces are entangled together with the rope to form a devilishly difficult puzzle that will surely put your skills to the test. I believe only the rope can be freed from the puzzle, but it's possible that one of the U-shaped pieces could be removed as well.

The puzzle is, in my opinion, at least a difficulty level 9/10. I couldn't solve it yet, so I believe it's as difficult as they come. Judging by the nature and design of the puzzle, I suspect that the solution is only a couple of steps, but they surely are very well hidden under the apparent simplicity of it. If you like a good and near impossible challenge, then this is a perfect puzzle for you.

Closing Comments:

The Zauberseil by Jean Claude Constantin is not a puzzle for everybody. It can become extremely frustrating to solve if you don't have any previous experience with this type of puzzles. However, if you feel courageous enough, then solving it will provide a truly rewarding experience.

Availability: You can find the Zauberseil at PuzzleMaster for just $10.99 CAD. For more Constantin puzzles, click here.

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