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

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hanayama Cast Puzzle: Cast Spiral

Puzzle: Cast Spiral
Cast Spiral
Brand: Hanayama
Inventor: Kennet Walker, NOB Yoshigahara
ST: 30 m

This is another Cast Puzzle by Hanayama, rated level five on their six-point scale. It’s shaped like five unique jigsaw pieces put together to form a circle. The puzzle really gives a elegant feeling, and feels smooth when holding it. All Hanayama puzzles seems to be manufactured well, and considering its price, every single puzzle by them is worth to buy. Back to the topic, if you haven’t seen those kinds of puzzles, you will really be puzzled by how this puzzle works. (no pun intended) Exactly what I have experienced-what kind of a puzzle is supposed to be there if it’s only about jigsaw, not considering that there’s only five pieces? Oh how wrong I was. Those kinds of puzzles had a slope in the place where they connect to form a unique interlocking system. Two pieces can slide out in one direction-but will be blocked in the other. That’s easy, you say. The problem is that there’s five! Whenever two pieces want to slide apart, they will be kindly blocked by the other piece beside them. Now the puzzle rating goes from easy to impossible in a minute, huh? This is what I like about the Hanayamas. So when you hold one 
piece and let go the rest, none will fall out, but instead forms a staircase or spiral-like pattern (hence the name). There’s another more original puzzle like this which is a square formed from four jigsaw pieces, in which they interlock just like this puzzle. The spiral has given a twist to the original, changing the shape and increasing the number of pieces.

The staircase-a unique locking system

Having never seen any type of those puzzles before, i was pretty dumbfounded for some time. I have the basic idea of how it should open, but applied it in the wrong way-and not until some time later did I found the correct solution-pretty clever!

The assembly was trickier-If you didn’t have the pieces labeled, or somehow remembered the correct order, you could sort them into what was called the “Cast Spiral Paradox”. The pieces was constructed in such a way that they could only fit in one way, and all other possibilities were denied. But, because of the joins’ different shapes, some pieces will tend to stuck together when wrongly 
placed. In fact, they could be stuck in such a manner that you’d have to get a replacement of the puzzle-pretty dangerous! There was also a alternate assembly which is also a paradox-once you got in that formation you were unlikely to fix your puzzle. So I, always doing a lot of research before I bought a puzzle, were well aware of this and labeled the pieces with a pencil before I dissected them-Although later I was able to memorize the order.

The puzzle itself was beautifully manufactured-and its quality is great. So if you want a hard, beautiful puzzle this was for you! In fact, it was so smooth that one of my fellow puzzlers joked that it could be a hand massager! While I don't suggest that use, the puzzle was definitely worth buying.

You could get your own copy of the puzzle here.

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