The exploration of a junior puzzler in this vast puzzle world!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hanayama Cast Puzzle: Cast Enigma

Puzzle: Cast Enigma
Brand: Hanayama
Inventor: Eldon Vaughn
ST: 40 m

Unsolvable Puzzle!!!-or is it?
I realized that I wasn't reviewing my poor little collection in order-Has ben a while since I brought some of them. Hope it doesn't affect this blog! This is the Cast Enigma (yes, sorry for reviewing Cast Puzzles all the time, be patient... Other puzzles coming), rated level 6 (a.k.a MAX) on the Hanayama scale. In fact, it has been so hard that some people considered it unsolvable. I was NOT aware of this fact when I bought this. At first, I was buying this as a birthday present for one of my puzzler friends, and to be sure he got it on time I purchased it a couple of weeks earlier. Well it was so tempting sitting ghtere on my shelf! What happens with a tempting puzzle and a puzzle obsessionist? NOTHING if I was buying it for a friend, so it arrived as his doorstep undamaged. But it so tempts me that I brought an extra one right after his birthday. As you know, I am a serious rookie, so I am not planning to buy Enigma at first when I'm stuck with some level fours. But you know what happens with a hopelessly obsessed puzzler and money! So there a enigmatic chain lay at my hands.
The solved unsolvable

The puzzle consists of three parts, two of them being spiral-looking, and the other one is a distorted "O" shape The thing was polished in a kind of aged gold color, and certainly looks nice if you hang it. Not-so-attractive if it was jumbled up on a shelf!

As of me, I've found this puzzle as very straight-forward, and except one move that delayed me a little, I worked smoothly through and the thing was in pieces in 20 minutes. As of assembly, I have watched closely, and it took me around the same time to put it back. Not here to boast at all, but I have found nothing enigmatic about this one.

The Next Section Is For People Who Already Solved The Enigma
The same thing? No...
And what now? Well, I am not sure if the designer even realized this: There's two other alternate assemblies to challenge you! I've found those when I'm fiddling with this on a very, very bored Saturday. Anyone who solved the Enigma will know how the longer spiral piece and the "O" piece come out. Put them in upside-down, and you've got a alternate assembly with a mirror image of the original Enigma. For people familiar to the puzzle it should not be hard to assemble/disassemble using the method, but it is a fun approach!

Whole-new stuff
The second one is more complicated. Assemble the puzzle having one of the pieces upside-down but with the other up straight will result in a whole-new puzzle. Looking at the picture, you will realize that the bottom two parts has switched! And no this is not a middle state of the original puzzle! It is your own matter to figure out how to exchange the two pieces ad turn it to its starting position.

Back To Normal

So over all a fun and challenging puzzle. Great to buy, as it can took you quite a while (sadly not in my case). A must-have in your collection.

The puzzle is available from Puzzle Master here.


  1. Hi Wil,

    I agree that this one should be rated as a 4 or 5 and not a 6. It only took me about 20 minutes. But having said that I have given this to a lot of friends to play with and none of them has managed to solve it. These are not dumb people - they are senior doctors and nurses!!

    Despite the ease of this one, I absolutely love it - it is one of my favourites because you can see every part of what you are doing and the movements are lovely. I find myself going back to it and doing it again and again.

    I look forward to the pictures of the alternative assemblies - I had not realised that there was more puzzling to it.


  2. Man....I must be missing something obvious with this one. I managed to get both pieces on the central loop but from there I'm stuck. I've been messing with this for weeks! While I'm not a puzzle pro, I have managed to solve a few of the level 6 Hanayamas so I'm not sure what I'm missing. Reading that it's "straightforward" for you though gives me hope and I'll start looking for more obvious solutions. Love your blog! :-)

  3. OK, I FINALLY figured this out. How do people come up with these??