Wood Puzzle Series 4, #1


There’s yet another 3D wood puzzle series available in the capsule ball dispensers. 6 in the set, 200 yen ($2 US) apiece. Initially, I’d seen this machine on the 6th floor of Amu Plaza, but I wanted to wait on getting anything from it for a little while. A week later, when I came back the machine was gone. However, I discovered it a block away at Bic Camera (the other side of the main train station), and I tried my luck then. 3 of the puzzles are repeats – Pyramid, Neo Cross (2-color) and what they’re calling “Masu” (mass?) Masu is a smaller version of the soccer ball I ran on the blog about a year ago. The other 3 are Grand Cross, Lattice and Helios.

I ended up receiving Grand Cross. It’s about 3″ to a side. It’s deceptively easy to disassemble. The first time, I was careful to put the pieces down in order and I could reassemble it right away. Then I made the mistake of taking it apart again and mixing the pieces up. The pamphlet recommends 45 minutes for solving this one. It took me over an hour. I tried every single wrong combination possible before finally stumbling on the solution. The next day, I thought I could take it apart and put it together while taking photos for the blog, but after 20 minutes, I still couldn’t get the solution again. Eventually, I figured it out, and now I’m down to maybe 30 seconds from disassembly to reassembly. I practiced 5 times before trying to take photos again.

You have 6 pieces, all different. #6 is a solid block (the locking piece). #2 has one wide notch. #5 has a wide notch and a narrow notch. #3 and #4 are mirror reflections of each other, with 2 narrow notches. #1 has a kind of finger notch. The goal here is to put the pieces together as if you’re making a wall around a cubical hole, which is where the locking piece is going to go. If you don’t have that hole, the puzzle won’t lock.

Start out by taking #1 and placing #2 under it perpendicularly. This is actually the hardest part to figure out because it’s not intuitive.

Now, it’s not really going to matter if you use #3 or #4. #3 will go on one side of #2, and #4 will go on the other side. Regardless, you want the piece to be pointing up and down, and fitting into the gap to the side as shown in the photo. I’ve found that the pieces aren’t all cut exactly the same way, and they do fit in one orientation better than the other. But, again, it doesn’t really matter because #3 and #4 are mirror reflections.

Take the other piece (if you used #3 above, then use #4) and slide it into the gap so that it lays atop #2. You can see the locking hole pretty easily now.

Align #5 so that it holds #2 and #4 (or #3) in place, and finishes the formation of the locking hole.

Slide #6 into place and you’re done.
I’m still a bit burned out on collecting wooden puzzles, and I don’t want to amass another big box of stuff at this point. On the other hand, I’d like to see how hard Lattice is, and I like the look of Helios. So, I may try getting those two when I have a bit of spare change.

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