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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lab Mice Puzzles - now in Finland!!

It started in America, then crossed the Atlantic to Italy. And now, Lab Mice Puzzles are all the rave in Finland. From one of the local newspapers: When one of the Laap reindeer breeders discovered how much fun Lab Mice Puzzles are, he lost track of time and lost his herd. (Santa was NOT happy.)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Custom Extended Rubik's Cube Ebay

This 4x6x7 works almost like the 3x4x5. You must turn the top and bottom layers before you can start mixing completely! This adds to the uniqueness, complexity, and how much fun you can have with the 4x6x7!

$450 on ebay:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Oskar's Cube Now an iphone app

Oskar's Cube ( can also be played on iPhone now. The design and programming was done by Albert Leung and Mikheal Kruk. They present the app at It can be bought at (requires iTunes download).

Thursday, December 17, 2009


People who say "I'm bored" are boring. The Grabarchuk Family has consistently produced challenging, fun, online puzzles. Strimko is a nice variation on sudoku.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Reflex Game

Block Dodge

Takes 2 seconds to learn and 30 seconds to play. My high score: 44. Beat that!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Games Magazine current issue

The February 2010 issue is on the newsstands. Look for this Mechanical Puzzle Correspondent's article about laser-cut jigsaw companies.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ternary Burr !!!!!

Years ago, this Mechanical Puzzle Correspondent had the opportunity to buy the Binary Burr from Bill Cutler and passed!

I spoke with Goh Pit Khiam about 6 months ago about this project after I bought his Ternary Key Puzzle. Brian Young made 30 copies of this puzzle.....and it's sold out!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Micro-Conundrum X3

GarE Maxton has quietly been producing some very interesting heavy metal puzzles. Expensive, but cool. This Mechanical Puzzle Correspondent will dig further.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rubik's TouchCube

The original price was $150 - a bit steep for the average consumer.;jsessionid=C8704FBF618A59A7999FBC9B2E4F3A36.bbolsp-app06-22?id=1218123789980&skuId=9492863&st=touchcube&cp=1&lp=1

Monday, December 7, 2009

17x17x17 Cube

For years, it was 'proven' that no cube could be made higher than a 5x5x5. Fortunately, Panayotis Verdes of Greece never read that paper when he designed his 6x6, 7x7, 8x8, 9x9, 10x10 and 11x11. Of those, only 2 are in production: the 6x6 and 7x7.

Now along comes Oskar van Deventer with a 17x17x17 cube. No copy has been made yet. But if you're willing to be a sponsor, it can be yours for only $3500.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Gravity Puzzles

Mr. Pantazis Constantine Houlis is fanatical about sequential movement puzzles. In the past 2 years he's created a series of 'gravity puzzles.' The diagram above shows 5 squares whose edges should match neighboring squares' edges. Note that each piece is extended into the center. Change the orientation and position by rotating the sphere. Difficult & fun. This Mechanical Puzzle Correspondent is reminded of various rolling cube puzzles. Bravo Pantazis!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Oskar's Floppy Cube

Oskar van Deventer keeps churning out fantastic, magical, twisty, rotational puzzles that this Mechanical Puzzle Correspondent simply must have. Of course the expense: $ 171.93

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Puzzle News - Across the Pond

Laurie Brokenshire just informed me that the Daily Mail wrote up this story in March of this year. In 2007, Laurie was a featured speaker at our very own New York Puzzle Party. He delivered a stimulated talk about Puzzle Vessels.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

National Enquirer Puzzle Gossip

The November 30 issue has a story of my British puzzle friend Laurie Brokenshire and his 10,000 puzzle collection. He built an addition to his house in order to properly store his treasures in a museum-like setting.

We applaud the National Enquirer and wonder when the 'mainstream media' will climb on board and report important puzzle stories. Rest assured puzzlers, this Mechanical Puzzle Correspondent will always fight for the truth! Death threats will never deter us! (On the other hand, getting free puzzles may always influence us.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Math Book by Clifford Pickover

Good news. Hooray! "The Math Book" is finally restocked at Amazon, after the 1st printing sold out in Sept!

The gossip is that the publisher did not anticipate demand and thus did not print sufficient copies. The publishers were worried to have extra copies of books in warehouses that they would rather run out 15 days after the publication date then take the risk, which is what happened. Today, it is finally back in stock at

Read Martin Gardner's review here: (Martin Gardner was the former columnist for Scientific American and current Contributing Editor to Games Magazine.

Game Magazine (December 2009) has a full page review - written by the superb editor Wayne Schmittberger.

The Gift-Giving Holidays are upon us!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

World's Hardest Game

We've heard the term 'hardest puzzle in the world' too many times to count. This "hardest game" consists of 30 levels of dexterity puzzles. I cannot get past level 24. The photo above is from my favorite level: 16.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chess with Cubes

The good people at have come up with another version of chess. Since it involves Rubik's Cubes, we are naturally intrigued.

"As you make progress and play a better game there are a number of chess variants that can be of great interest to someone who wants to play chess on The first that comes to mind is chess with cube. This new variant of chess has been patented and is offered only on Part of the game is playing with same cubes as are used in backgammon to double the stakes."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Games Magazine

The February issue is now on sale. Pieces of Art: Cutting Edge Jigsaws features the amazing puzzles of Liberty Puzzles and Artifact Puzzles. This Mechanical Puzzle Correspondent not only authored the piece, but also took some of the photos.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nutcase: Oskar van Deventer

Another gem from the smartest man in the world: Oskar van Deventer. Extremely difficult.

Look for the version made by George Miller with his 3-D printer:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Octiles - Great Game

Dale Walton invented this terrific game. I'm wondering now what happened to my copy. Probably buried under puzzles. Get the wooden version!

From: which is run by Kate Jones.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New York Puzzle Party

The annual New York Puzzle Party will take place Saturday February 13, 2010. This is the day before the New York International Toy Fair. Many people have emailed me questions about the International Puzzle Party (IPP). The IPP is an annual gathering of puzzle-minded folks. It is by invitation only. Figuring out how get an invitation is a puzzle itself. The NYPP is more open. If you want to come, shoot me an email & I'll provide more details. I anticipate 40 people will attend the upcoming NYPP.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rubik in the Classroom New York Times

Read more:

This Mechanical Puzzle Correspondent has been teaching Rubik's Cube for 13 years at a private school. Kids love it. Especially the solving competition in the school auditorium in front of EVERYBODY.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rubik's Hat or Rubik's Rabbit

This puzzle is very rare. Twist the layers around, hold it up to a light to see all the rabbits. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to talk with the inventor: Ron Druben. He thought that the puzzle was never sold in the US. Not true, according to 2 puzzle collectors who bought it years ago. Ron Druben is also responsible for inventing Tickle Me Elmo.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rubik's Cube Championship

This Mechanical Puzzle Correspondent LOVES Rubik's Cube. However, there are so many championship tournaments which include silly events like solving the cube one-handed. Other events: 2x2, 4x4, 5x5, 6x6, 7x7, Rubik's Clock, Rubik's Magic, Square-1, Pyraminx, Megaminx, and countless others. Some speedcubers have timed themselves using chopsticks.

I attended one of these tournaments in Riverdale, New York (2003?) Nobody was in the audience. Except for the parents of the participants. Boring!

When Roger Bannister cracked the 4-minute mile - that was momentous! But nobody knows (or cares) who holds the current record or what the time is.

Same for Rubik's cube and all the other categories. Having so many categories diminishes the significance of the only one that should count. Organizers of speed cubing events should consider why the general public ignores eating contests.

Nevertheless, this Mechanical puzzle correspondent HIGHLY RESPECTS those who can solve Rubik's Cube blindfolded and those who strive to find the fewest # of moves.

To the Speedcubers: keep doing what you're doing because it's fun. However, please realize that there's a whole world of other puzzles to explore.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


5 years ago the only way to obtain a Dogic was to hope that somebody put one up for auction on Ebay. The typical price: $400.

A couple of years ago Uwe Meffert started making them. Unfortunately, he's completely out of stock and will not make them again! Our advice: when says a puzzle will be offered for a limited time - get it right away. And if you're smart, you'll order 2 copies - 1 for trade.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Games Magazine

Christmas & Chanukah are right around the corner. Get 2 subscriptions: one as a gift and the other for yourself. Games Magazine has a few crosswords, battleships, rebus puzzles and lots of other cool stuff! Superb for adults, also fun for kids.

People who subscribe to Games Magazine - they never throw them out. Because they're something special as opposed to Time & Newsweek.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Book Review: Einstein's Riddle by Jeremy Stangroom

Jeremy Stangroom has done a nice job of compiling classic brain teasers into one slim volume. Perfect for youngsters who are not familiar with Zeno, Monty Hall, The Prisoner's Dilemma, The Hotel Infinity, and the Dollar Auction. Let's not forget Einstein's Riddle!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Shady Puzzles

In the above image, a completed Shady Puzzle. They go by other names. The people at have put together a nice userface for fun solving. The 7x7 puzzles are where the real fun starts.

Christmas/Chanukah are right around the corner. Get some of their books for somebody.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Probability Puzzle from Martin Gardner

Mr. Jones has a bunch of daughters. If you pick 2 of them randomly, there's a 50% chance that both will be blue eyed. How many daughters does he have and what color eyes do they have?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Yesterday this Mechanical Puzzle Correspondent received a phone call from a political pollster about the New York City race for Mayor. (Yes, it was during dinner.)

The first question: "Do you blog?"

"Yes, but nothing to do with politics."

"Sorry, we can't poll opinion makers."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tucker Jones Tavern Puzzles

The good folks at Tucker Jones - Donna & Dennis Sucilsky are running a contest.

"What is it?" Contest #1
Send us an email with CONTEST #1 as the subject line. Include your name and address (required).

Send your answer to

Be as specific as possible with your answer.
Hint: Visit our website for a clue to help you figure out what is shown in the photo.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Brain String

My friend Nancy in Canada is a big fan of entanglements. Brain String is interesting. You move the pegs and watch the inner strings form crazy knots. Good luck disentangling them! Brain String is the brain child of Guido Lap and Oskar van Deventer.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Puzzle King

Betsy Carter has written a novel about her great uncle Simon Phelps who was hailed by Time Magazine as The Puzzle King. Simon Phelps created die-cut jigsaw puzzles and made a mint. The novel is not really about puzzles. It's about Jews moving to America before the rise of Nazi Germany and then trying to get family members out. The first mention of puzzles appears on page 244! Nevertheless, it's still a good read. The real Puzzle King was Morris Einson.

Anne Williams - jigsaw puzzle scholar/expert was consulted by the author.

This blog is hoping that more novels & films will feature puzzlers as main characters!

By the way, look for the February 2010 issue of Games Magazine which will hit newsstands Dec 1. I have an article about MODERN jigsaws.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Puzzles in the News

Geek's puzzling present for traveling pal's nups

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Martin Gardner!!!!

Every 2 years there is a Gathering For Gardner. It's a convention that brings together people interested in puzzles, recreational mathematics, and magic. The next one will be in March 2010. Naturally, I'll be attending and covering the event for Games Magazine.

My favorite Martin Gardner puzzle is the one about the 5 men on an island gathering coconuts.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Microxylometagrabologist

Allan Boardman is the world's greatest Microxylometagrabologist. He specializes in making the tiniest interlocking puzzles. Check out the 3 piece Burr resting on FDR's nose. I believe Allan has attended all but 1 of the 29 International Puzzle Parties. (I've attended 9, by contrast.)

So, go buy his book!

Games Magazine (Sept 2006) has a 2-page article about Allan Boardman. Maybe you can buy an old copy by contacting the magazine. Or check ebay. If that fails, contact me.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Master Pyramorphinx

I've had my eye on getting this puzzle for more than 15 years. Finally, it is made available at

It's challenging! However, this Mechanical Puzzle Expert was able to decode it and come up with a solving algorithm. However, this puzzle can be JUMBLED. I did jumble it, and resorted to taking it apart.

What is JUMBLING? Jumbling is when you make a half turn, and then continue. So in this instance, a corner piece could be moved to an edge or center piece.

Jethro Tull wrote a song about this puzzle concept called Bungle in the Jumble. Most people thought he said Jungle.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Disco Ball

Who needs a disco ball when you can illuminate your party with the new Rubik's TouchCube? Very cool. But essentially the same puzzle.

See photo below.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rubik's TouchCube

Just got my new electronic Rubik's TouchCube. It's completely electronic and has a terrific glow. Since it's still daytime & I couldn't wait, I went into the closet to solve it. Will the editors at Games Magazine appreciate the suffering of this poor Mechanical Puzzle Correspondent?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Double Trouble

Double Trouble - by the legendary Larry Nichols - who invented the first 2x2x2 Rubik's Cube. The Grabarchuk Framily is hosting this little gem. It's an online puzzle that resembles the 15 puzzle. Here's the catch: you must shift 2 tiles at a time.

It would be great to have a mechanical version of this. But this online version is great anyway.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Turbo Mind Twister

The Turbo Mind Twister is essentially the same puzzle as Saturn. (See the previous post.) It's made by out friends at FoxMind. We wrote an article about the FoxMind puzzle products about 2 years ago for Games Magazine.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Saturn Puzzle

The Saturn Puzzle consists of 8 sliding tiles - tricky. A must for the sequential movement fan!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wriggle Puzzles for iphone You can play some wriggle puzzles on this site. They're small - but tough!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hyper Frame

Hyper Frame puzzles are very similar to Lab Mice Puzzles. They're fun & addictive. Just remember to eat & sleep.