Intro

This is the kind of puzzle it started with for me. There exists a large variety of these puzzles and therefore you can buy such a toy for either 5 euro's, or 100, whatever you like. Several brands sell them, and as the main brands/series are usually easy to recognize, I use the series to divide them up here.

Click to jump directly to Cast iron, Eureka's, Mini wire, Mini string, Chinese

Cast iron

This series is very beautiful. From the Japanese company Hanyama Toys, who made them: "Britain in the 19th Century. The nobles and citizens, brimming over with pretentiousness and curiosity is said to have created the boom in puzzles. A great variety of puzzles came to exist during this period, speaking for the times. Among those puzzles, we began to attempt to bring back to life the “Casted Metal Puzzle”. The material, die cast zinc, is made by melting and pouring a zinc alloy into a metal mold. Upon its completion after grueling effort, the puzzle series was named the “Cast Puzzles” series. This is due to its manufactoring process name, the die cast method." I sorted them in order of difficulty, the hardest one on the bottom.




Cast Violin
is the easiest I own in this series. It has level 2/6 and looks appealing.






Cast l'oeuf
obviously got his name from its shape. Even the chicken is not forgotten in the imprint! The two 'mazes' have to be walked through simulateneously with a little knob connected to the other plate. It has level 4/6.





Cast Spiral
This is one of the most appealing puzzles I have. It looks really good and was relatively difficult to construct the first time. The level is 5/6. The difficulty mainly lies in reassembling I would say.






Cast Amour
A masterpiece by Akio Yamamoto. The keyword of this puzzle is 'Love'. The idea is simple: take it apart and reassamble it. With level 5/6 it is quite a difficult one.




Cast Duet
At first glance, it looks as if there is only one ring hanging from the grid but there are in fact, two rings attached with a magnet. Can you separate the rings from the grid and return them to their original positions? After you conquer that, next, try also to fit the two rings at the four-crossing points on the grid indicated by the numbers. The level of difficulty increases as players aim for crossings with higher numbers.






Cast Elk
Very nicely done. The puzzle consist of two elk heads, which are entangled through their slightly assymetric antlers. It also is difficulty level 6/6, but I find it less difficult than the others. Again it is the lack of possible moves that at first makes it seem unsolvable.





Cast Quartet
This is one of my personal favourites. It looks very good, and has two solutions. Clicking the image will give you now the second solution. With 6/6 it is a difficult, but mainly for the second ('two rings') solution, the one shown here is not so incredibly difficult. The only disadvantage is that a bog part of the difficulty lies in lack of space to move...




Cast Chain
With difficulty level 6/6 you would expect quite a hard puzzle. And so it is. The lack of space to move doesn't help in getting the clue. I just got it and have not yet solved it.





Cast Enigma
The patent on this puzzle is from 1975 in America. The slightly twisted puzzle made by Eldon Vaughn should be taken apart and rebuild without much force. It is also difficulty level 6/6. I just got it and have not yet solved it.



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Eureka's entangled puzzles

As yet very incomplete....!




The Gordian Knot
This puzzle looks very complicated. It is actually not that hard to solve. The difficulty level is 3/4, including (as usual) 'back to start', which I found the most difficult part.





The Iron Heart
Joyce gave me this one. The difficulty level is 2/4 and indeed it is not so difficult. In my case, the glue of two poles sticking in the floor didn't last too long.



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Eureka's mini wire puzzles

Eureka also has many small versions of entangled puzzles. They are sold in many game related shops (at least in the Netherlands) for just a few euros. I put them here in order of model number. The numbers that are missing are obviously the ones I don't have (yet). The are grouped per two. The upper text between pictures belongs to the left picture. The other belongs to the picture on the right. There are many more to come!


Model 01 is apparently the first in the series. It's quite easy (level 1/4)...

Model 03 looks very nice and is slightly more challenging. Still one for the starters, though, with level 1/4.



Model 06 looks very simple. The trick of this one will regularly reappear, and it is especially in this case, not too hard. Level: 1/4

Model 07 looks nice and is slightly more challenging. With level 1/4 it still not a real challenge.

Model 10. The first of this series that starts to be a bit interesting. With its many rings it took me a little while to get the hang of it. It has level 3/4.

Model 11 took me quite a while. It turned out to be a little bend bit bend, which made me think I was not allowed to take the one crucial step. Still a nice one though, with level 3/4.

Model 12 again has a lower difficulty level: 2/4. It basically is the same trick as Model 06, but now for three rings. Once you know Model 06, this is not much of a challenge anymore.

Model 16 looks more complicated than it actually is. Again a level 2 puzzle (out of 4) that looks a bit chaotic.

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Eureka's mini string puzzles

Comparable in price and fun to the Eureka's mini wire puzzles displayed above. These are made of wood and string instead of metal.


Model Z
Don't ask me what this name comes from, probably a lack of originality. The idea in this case is not to remove any of the pieces, but to move the bead from one loop to the other. I have seen quite some different variants of this. The difficulty level (2/4) is well chosen.



Tricky Dick is of level 3/4. It took me a while before I understood this one. In the mean time I solved it a few times by accident, shich helped a lot in understanding it.


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'Chinese' entangled puzzles

These things are very popular in China, and that's where I bought a set of small ones. For simplicity I share the others that are similar here as well.



The locked-up cube
is one of the biggest of my Chinese puzzles. The idea is simple: free the (not quite) cube from the slightly asymmetric cage it is locked up in.



Soon many more to come!

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Marcel R. Haas

Address:

Leiden Observatory

Niels Bohrweg 2

2333 CA Leiden

The Netherlands

Oort Building, Room 436

Telephone:

+31 - (0)71 - 527 8436

E-mail: mail@marcelhaas.com