I haven't had the chance to visit Maurice Vigouroux for three years. So it was a pleasure to meet him again last week.
It was the occasion to get new puzzles, but also to dig out old gems from his stock. Here is what I brought back for myself :
From the top left, we can see a modified version of Adam and Eve, a 12 piece cage with two extra pieces, Adam and Eve, hidden inside. The original design is from Alfons Eyckmans, but Maurice modified it so as to... hem, well, the two characters inside are... in a "different" position
Besides this, the puzzle itself is not very difficult to disassemble, and certainly very diffcult to assemble from scratch. The only originality is in the hidden pieces.
Next, a classic : Extreme Torture, aka Gordian Knot, designed by Frans de Vreugd. Terribly difficult for a 6 piece framed burr. Although not as difficult as the official solution suggests, because there is a rotation the takes place in the middle of the sequence and that allows to solve it faster.
On the top right corner, a new production, very limited in quantity (3 available). It is two Tiros puzzles linked together. Tiros is a level 150 18 piece burr by Alfons Eyckmans. Stephan Baumegger recently had the idea to link two of these burrs into one puzzle. So I looked at the highest level ones in the hope that once linked, the two of them would interfere. But I didn't find any serious interference pattern. These two Tiros just seemed to have to be solved at the same time, with the two links being moved at the same time on both sides.
But once I got the final puzzle in my hands, I noticed something completely unexpected: once 6 pieces were out (three on both sides) it was impossible to proceed ! The links prevent to play the remaining part of the solution. A new bit of sequence featuring 13+15 extra moves has to be performed on both sides to disassemble it. For those who are into this kind of puzzle, the new sequence is very similar to something that already exists in the Muff.
In the second row, from left to right, there is a miniature Burr B (Hordern version) in wenge.
Then a new and funny puzzle called Piggy, a design by Alexander Leontev. Here made in walnut. It is a very good puzzle. 4+5 moves only, but just the right difficulty so that we can scramble the pieces, and try to reassemble it. Another nice feature of this puzzle is that the cage itself is made of independant ordinary burr pieces.
Next, a puzzle that must have been made in 2013. It is a copy of Guy Brette's 4 cross 12.
Next, an old copy of Dic Sonneveld's 9 piece board burr. A very good design here made in glued Carolina pine. Quite fragile.
And to the right, a miniature 18 piece of Maurice Vigouroux in raw Caroline pine. There is something cute in this little puzzle made of simple pieces of wood.
Next to it, the purple framed burr is a 2 Halves Cage 4 A. It was produced three years ago and this one was remaining. Purpleheart is a very good wood for cages. Hard and heavy. Especially for cages that move, like this one.
In the bottom left, an unknown design that looks like of one of the polyhedral dissection of Stewart Coffin. To my surprise, when I desassembled it, I realized that it was made of six different pieces, and to my amazement, these 6 pieces have the exact same repartition of elements as the Scrambled Scorpius, another puzzle that I have been looking for for years.
Bottom center, a puzzle that Maurice used to manufacture in the 2000's. I've been knowing it for quite some time, but I didn't really pay attention to it. I guessed that it was just a variation on the diagonal burr, such as the ones made in Thailand. Well, it is indeed, but certainly not as trivial as the thailandese ones.
I don't know where the design comes from. The outside features 6 halves of classical 6-piece stars. Then there is an intermediate part made of 6 asymetric pieces forming a ring around the core, and the core itself is a 6-piece star with longer pieces. There are two kind of core pieces and they must be placed in the right way to start the puzzle. This is not as easy as a simple diagonal burr. That's a very good puzzle.
And last, in the bottom right corner, a beauty. This is the new Château d'If, designed by Stéphane Chomine, with 44 moves for the first piece.
This is more than the Nickel Box, but less than the Congestion. However, the puzzle feels quite different from the Congestion. The pieces have less voxels, and thus there is more freedom. But the connoisseurs of these kind of puzzle know that more freedom doesn't mean an easier puzzle, on the contrary.
The puzzle is difficult, with many possibilities, but the right sequence looks "cleaner" that the Congestion's one if you know what I mean. It's something that is difficult to explain.
This one is in ebony and cuchi. Heavy woods, and two different kind of aluminium dowels. Mechanically, it is perfect. Maurice made several of them, all with a cage in ebony, but with different woods for the pieces, including cuchi, morado, bubinga, utile, and padauk. He kept one in ziricote for himself.
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