First release of revised edition, December 2000
[Puzzle World Home] [Introduction] [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Puzzle Index] [Color Plates]
Note: This list may not be complete.
|1||The Ortho-Cube Puzzle||1970||1||*|
|1-A||The Cube Puzzle||1971||1||*|
|2||The Pentablock Puzzle||1970||1||*|
|3||Snowflake Puzzle Worksheet||1|
|4||Sirius, The Star Puzzle||1971 & 1972||1||*|
|5||The Spider-Slider Puzzle||1970||1|
|6||The Four Corners Puzzle||1971||1||*|
|7||The Jupiter Puzzle||1985||1||*|
|8||The Nova Puzzle||1972||1|
|9||The Square Knot Puzzle||1972||1|
|9||The Square Knot Puzzle (supplement for new version)||1986||1|
|12||The Triangular Prism Puzzle||1980||1||*|
|14-A||The Second Stellation Puzzle||1980||1|
|14-A||The Second Stellation Puzzle||1984||1|
|15-A||The Fusion-Confusion Puzzle||1990||1|
|21||The Cuckoo Nest Puzzle||1977||1|
|21||Assembly directions for the Cuckoo Nest puzzle||1990||1||*|
|22||The Locked Nest Puzzle||1977||1|
|22||The Locked Nest Puzzle (solution to six-elbow version)||1977||1||*|
|23||The Scrambled Scorpius||1978||1|
|23-A||The Egyptian Puzzle||1993||1||*|
|24||The Saturn Puzzle||1978||1||*|
|25-A||The Hexsticks Puzzle||1979||1||*|
|26||The Four-Piece Pyramid Puzzle||1979||1||*|
|27||The Three Pairs Puzzle||1979||1||*|
|28||Truncated Octahedra Puzzle||1979||2|
|29||The Half-Hour Puzzle||1980||1|
|29||The Half-Hour Puzzle (21 problem shapes)||1983||1|
|30||The Convolution Puzzle||1980||1||*|
|31||The Octahedral Cluster Puzzle||1980||1|
|32||The Broken Sticks Puzzle||1980||1||*|
|33||The Twelve Point Puzzle||1980||1|
|33||The Twelve Point Puzzle||1984||1|
|34||Augmented Four Corners Puzzle||1981||1|
|35,36 & 40||Six-Piece Burrs||1981||3|
|35||Solution to Burr 305||19842||1||*|
|37||The Star-of-David Puzzle||1981||1|
|37||The Star-of-David Puzzle||1990||1||*|
|37-A||The Star-of-David Puzzle, improved||1990||2||*|
|39||The Rosebud Puzzle (obsolete)||1982||1|
|39 & 39-A||The Rosebud Puzzle||1983||1||*|
|40||The Interrupted Slide||1982||1|
|41||The Unhappy Childhood Puzzle||1983||1|
|42||The Seven Woods Puzzle||1971||1||*|
|43 & 44||The Sleeper-Stoppers||1972||1|
|43, 44 & 45||1984||1|
|52||The Pennyhedron (revised)||1984||1|
|53-56||Supplement to Square Knot||1973||1|
|60||The Garnet Puzzle (obsolete)||1984||1|
|60||The Garnet Puzzle||1985||1|
|61||The Setting Hen Puzzle||1984||1|
|61-A||The Distorted Cube Puzzle||1988||1|
|61-A||The Distorted Cube Puzzle||19963||1|
|62||The Nine Bars Puzzle||1983||1|
|62||The Nine Bars Puzzle||1990||1||*|
|65-A||Thirty Notched Rhombic Sticks||1987||1||*|
|67||The Peanut Puzzle||1988||1|
|67-B||The Pennydoodle Puzzle||1989||2|
|68||The Confessional Puzzle||1994||1|
|68||Analysis and Solution to The Confessional Puzzle||1994||2||*|
|68-B||Confessional, long version||1995||1||*|
|73-A||Seven-Piece Third Stellation||1996||1||*|
|74 & 74-A||Square Face Puzzle||1990||1|
|77||Pieces-of-Eight Puzzle (supplement)||1986||2|
|80||Thirty Pentagonal Sticks||1987||1|
|81-A||The Two-Three Puzzle||1987||1|
|81-B & 81-B-1||Four-Legged Stand||1987||1|
|81-C & 81-C-1||Double Four-Legged Stand||1987||1|
|83 & 83-A||Pentagonal Stand Puzzle||1990||1|
|85||Twelve-Piece Separation Puzzle||1988||1|
|85||Twelve-Piece Separation Puzzle (assembly directions)||1990||1||*|
|85-A||The Geodynamics Puzzle||1994||1|
|85-A||Geodynamics assembly instructions||1995||1||*|
|87||Modified Five-Piece Puzzle||1992||1||*|
|92, 92-A||Queer Gear and Second Gear||1996||1|
|95||The All Star Puzzle||1990||2||*|
|96, 96-A & 98-B||Wild Burrs||1994||1|
|97||Crooked Notches (revised)||1995||1|
|99||The Disinclination Puzzle||1994||1|
|101||The Isosceles Puzzle||1994||1|
|101-A||The Iso-Prism Puzzle||1994||1|
|102||The Incongruous Puzzle, analysis and solution||1995||1||*|
|103||The Missing Piece Puzzle||1995||1||*|
|111, A, B & C||Lost & Found, Lucky Star, Star Dust and A-B-C||1995||1|
|112||Burr Muda Assembly Jig||1996||1||*|
|115 & 115-A||Fancy This!||1996||1|
|126||Stew's Scrap Pile||1997||1|
|131||Six of Diamonds||1997||1|
|160 & 160-A||Venus||2000||1|
|160-B, C & D||Venus||2000||1|
|166||Shouldered Spider Slider||2000||1|
|* Indicates that explicit assembly
directions are included.
1 Hexagon shaped booklet.
2 Reprinted in 1995.
3 Revised 1996.
4 Before being folded.
5 Revised 1990.
6 Draft only.
|Instructions for Various AP-ART Puzzles||1973||1|
|Directions for Making Jupiter-Saturn||1983||1|
|Bill's Baffling Burr||1984||1|
|Bill's Baffling Burr||1986||1|
|The Blue Mahoe Story||1|
|The Third Stellation||1986||1|
|Old puzzle serial list (obsolete)||1|
|Odyssey of the Figure Eight Puzzle||1993||2|
|Use of Multi-Colored Woods||1995||1|
|Serial List of AP-ART Puzzles||1998||5|
|1970||Ortho-Cube, Pentablock, Snowflake|
|1971||Sirius, Scorpius, Four Corners, Cube, Jupiter|
|1972||Sirius, Scorpius, Four Corners, Nova, Jupiter|
|1974||Star, Four Corners, Triumph, Super Nova, Square Knot, Giant Steps, Hex Prism, Triangular Prism, The General, Dislocated Scorpius, Jupiter, Dislocated Jupiter|
|1975||Same as 1974 plus Waffle, Pentablock, Pyracube|
|1977||Pin Hole series, Cuckoo Nest, Locked Nest, Snowflake, Pentacube, Jupiter|
|1978||Pin Hole series, Cuckoo Nest, Locked Nest, Snowflake, Scrambled Scorpius, Saturn|
|1979||Pin Hole series, Cuckoo Nest, Locked Nest, Snowflake, Scrambled Scorpius, Saturn, Hexsticks, Four-Piece Pyramid, Three Pairs, and Truncated Octahedra|
|1980||(Supplement to 1979) Half-Hour, Convolution, Octahedral Cluster, Triangular Prism, Broken Sticks|
|1981||Scrambled Scorpius, Saturn, Hexsticks, Four-Piece Pyramid, Three Pairs, Half-Hour, Convolution, Octahedral Cluster, Triangular Prism, Broken Sticks, Second Stellation, Twelve Point, Augmented Four Corners, Six-Piece Burr, Star-of-David, Snowflake, Truncated Octahedra|
|1983||Three puzzle liquidation sale lists were issued in this year.|
|1984||Garnet, Setting Hen, Pennyhedron, Nine Bars|
|1984||Inventory list: Snowflake, Second Stellation, Scrambled Scorpius, Hexsticks, Augmented Four Corners, Diagonal Cube, Garnet, Pseudo-Notched Sticks|
|1984||Inventory list: Snowflake, Scrambled Scorpius, Hexsticks, Twelve Point, Garnet|
|1985||Inventory list: Snowflake, Scrambled Scorpius, Hexsticks, Garnet|
|1985||Inventory list: Jupiter, Corner Block, Cornucopia|
|1985||Inventory list: Jupiter, Hexagonal Prism, Second Stellation, Triumph, Scrambled Scorpius, Four-Piece Pyramid, Three Pairs, Burr #305, Improved Cluster-Buster, Diagonal Cube, Garnet, Square Face, Cornucopia|
|1985||Inventory list: Jupiter, Hexagonal Prism, Second Stellation, Triumph, Corner Block, Garnet, Cornucopia|
|1985||Special offer - Cornucopia No. 105747|
|1986||Bill's Baffling Burr, Burr #305, Cornucopia|
|1987||Boring Puzzles - Four-Legged Stand, Double Four-Legged, Pentagonal Stand, Thirty Pentagonal Sticks|
|1990||Fusion-Confusion, Twelve-Piece Separation|
|Dec. 6, 1971||New York|
|Jan. 1978||Scientific American|
|Jan. 1979||Fine Woodworking|
|Nov. 1984||Fine Woodworking|
|Sept. 1985||World of Wood|
|Sept. 1985||The Woodworker's Journal|
|Sept. 1985||The Lincoln Review|
|Oct. 1985||Scientific American,|
|March 1986||The Woodworker's Journal|
|Feb. 1987||World of Wood|
|Dec. 1991||Fine Woodworking|
Counting just the numbered, finished designs listed here, there are about 250, starting in 1970 and covering a span of 30 years. In my previous serial listings I included rankings to indicate which I considered to be the most (and least) satisfactory designs, both from my own perspective and as judged by others. I omit that ranking in this publication, but some of it can be inferred from the descriptions. Instead I have chosen to compile the following list in which I have chosen one favorite design to represent each special category of AP-ART puzzlement.
Jupiter (#7). This was always a favorite at craft shows and with customers, as mentioned in Part 1, although in my view more an example of woodcraft rather that a puzzle. The need for attractive woods in six contrasting colors led me into the wonderful new world of exotic tropical hardwoods and the International Wood Collectors Society.
Scrambled Scorpius (#23). Whenever you explore some new design idea, you find yourself up against the realities of the natural world. Seldom do things work out quite as you might wish, but here they surely did. The six dissimilar, non-symmetrical pieces conveniently proved to have only one solution and essentially only one order of assembly, even more difficult than I had intended. Recently I have made multicolored versions Scrambled Scorpius (#164) that are easier to assemble.
Hectix (#25) and Hexsticks (#25-A). This is where it all started. I have been asked many times: "How on earth did you ever come up with that idea?" No one was ever asked that about a checkerboard dissection. It is the surest indication of successful creativity that I can imagine. Incidentally, the closest analogy that I can think of in other fields of creative endeavor is not to be found anywhere in the art world but rather in classical music.
Triangular Prism (#13). This early design could be considered just a simple exercise in combinatorial mechanics. The intriguing geometrical solid that results is just one more example of the wonders which lie hidden in the natural world waiting to be discovered by some lucky explorer. Simple modifications to the underlying structure led to a large family of related designs.
Locked Nest (#22). I include this one as representative of the whole category of pinned sticks and my favorite among them, especially the 6-elbow version, of which only a few were made. There is something profoundly satisfying about joining things together with pins and holes. The first construction toy that I can remember from earliest childhood was a Tinkertoy set, and I rate it the best toy ever invented. Happily, they are still made, of wood believe it or not, and practically unchanged from the original.
Four-Piece Pyramid (#26). This one is representative of the whole family of joined polyhedral block puzzles that are so utterly confusing to assemble. I could have chosen Octahedral Cluster (#31). Unfortunately they demand advanced woodworking skills for the required accuracy and are prone to breakage unless made with very strong glue joints. Some of mine had doweled joints for extra strength.
Rosebud (#39). Not my first satisfactory coordinate motion puzzle, that was Three Pairs (#27), but long a favorite with puzzle collectors, especially the version made with Tulipwood and Rosewood. This was the first to include an assembly jig.
Confessional (#68-B). Of all my recent designs created by coordinate distortion, this was one of the most satisfactory and baffling. Too bad it was so hard to make. This is a good example of a familiar, century-old puzzle (Altekruse) which, by a simple modification, becomes something altogether new and different.
Twelve-Piece Separation (#85). Another example of how sometimes nature cooperates perfectly. I discovered the one surprising solution by using the old trick of first gluing it together assembled and seeing if it would come apart. It did, but just barely! For years I shunned including explicit assembly directions, but here I thought it was justified.
All Star (#95). We must include at least one that constructs multiple polyhedral shapes, extending the recreational potential. Others that might have been chosen instead are Star-of-David (#37), Fusion-Confusion (#15-A), or Peanut (#67). Only about ten of the All Star were made. In order to be entirely satisfactory, these types require very accurately made pieces using stable woods.
Burr Noodle (#106). Used as an exchange puzzle at IPP-17 and given out disassembled. It looks simple but I wonder how many were ever assembled. The design required some rather sophisticated (at least by my standards!) calculation of the bizarre angles. I might have carried out some of these mathematical calculations more adroitly 30 years earlier, but they keeps the brain cells exercised and I love doing it. How come it is that I, the analyst, who derives the most enjoyment from all of this, and not the paying public? It always struck me as strangely unfair.
Fancy This! (#115). A departure from previous designs, this unusual seven-piece polyhedral model is serially interlocking, meaning that all pieces are dissimilar and can be assembled in one order only, with a key piece completing the assembly. The multicolor symmetry provides helpful hints, but one version used as an IPP-17 exchange puzzle used all one wood for added puzzlement.
Cluster's Last Stand (#119). Another coordinate motion amusement but more sophisticated than any of the previous ones. And unlike most, it requires no dexterity, which can be a distraction. It emerged triumphantly from a long process of development and experiment, which included calculation of odd angles. If it had Edward Hordern stumped for over a month, it must be hard.
Few Tile (#133). This simple yet baffling four-piece puzzle is representative of some recent creations that rely for their success on exploiting the psychology of puzzle solving. In this example, force of habit will invariably lead one to start by fitting a square shape snugly into a square corner, which will immediately misdirect the hapless puzzle solver down a dead end path. Even better, the more experienced puzzle solvers are often the ones most likely to fall into this trap.
Sphinx (#156). This design evolved from a long line of development and experiment going all the way back to the Jupiter, which it very closely resembles in external appearance but not in other ways. The Jupiter was really just an intriguing sculpture in colorful woods that came apart. To make it somewhat more of a puzzle, the six dissimilar woods were arranged in color symmetry, and the problem was not only to reassemble it that way but to discover four other arrangements with less obvious color symmetry.
What I hadnt yet learned back then was that most persons dont like to follow complicated directions and will be content to just assemble it any way possible. That is how you will nearly always find them assembled. Next in this line was the dislocated Jupiter in plain wood with identical but non-symmetrical pieces, somewhat more interesting to assemble. Only a few of these were made before being superseded by the Saturn puzzle, which had six pairs of dissimilar non-symmetrical pieces. It was supposed to have only one solution, but Stan Isaacs soon discovered a second.
In 1978, after much trial and error, I came up with what promised to be an improved design with twelve dissimilar non-symmetrical pieces, only one solution, and essentially only one order of assembly. A rough prototype was then made, which was put aside along with dozens of other experimental models and forgotten, only to be rediscovered twenty years later. In 1999 I made a few minor improvements and produced it as the Sphinx. It came in three slightly different versions, depending upon the number of dissimilar woods used and their symmetrical arrangement, which in most cases served as an aid to assembly.
Trusting that my assumption of only one possible solution holds up, I do not see any further improvement possible in this particular direction. The dozen or so of these that I have made were all with my most choice exotic woods (depleting my supply) and with doweled joints for added strength. If I had to choose just one example that best represents my AP-ART creations, I suppose this would be it. Ah, but then ...
As I write this, just thirty years have passed since my first AP-ART sale, which was on Nov. 27, 1970. It has been a bewildering exercise trying to summarize nearly half a lifetime of haphazard creative effort in these few pages. My grandchildren are older now than our children were when I began. I find myself widowed and living with someone else. My greenhouse/workshop in Lincoln now lies quiet and vacant, basking indifferently in the rays of departed glory. This amazing computer now commands more of my attention than any of my woodworking tools.
The emphasis in this publication has purposely been on the physical description of my various AP-ART designs. What is really more important, of course, is not the mechanical properties but what they represent in terms of discovery. The physical models could be regarded then as just the medium for conveying these fascinating recreations to someone else. As a practical matter, their sales to the public are what provided the income that keeps the whole enterprise going, as well as providing invaluable feedback. But above all else, at least in my experience, the artist is driven first and foremost by the sheer rapture of whatever it is that he or she does and the desire to share it with others. Then and only then comes the practical matter of mastering some technique through which to do it.
In looking back over my Summary list, I find that it is skewed in the direction of the baffling and confusing. Part of the reason for this is that recently much of my creative effort has gone into designing puzzles for the IPP puzzle exchanges. The harder the better, as far as those collectors are concerned. On the other hand, in my Puzzle Craft publications, one of the points I have tried to make is that often the simplest things turn out to have the greatest appeal for the general public.
There is a general misconception that we puzzle designers are bent on making our devices ever more diabolical and confusing. I was often asked at craft fairs which was my most difficult puzzle. To begin with, that question is impossible to answer because there are so many different kinds of difficulty. It is usually easy to make a puzzle more difficult simply by increasing the number of pieces, but for what purpose? Aside from the puzzle exchanges, I expect my puzzles to be assembled, and depending upon the situation, I have often included hints such as color symmetry to aid in the solution.
One final comment: I could never really figure out why people bought my puzzles, but I am deeply grateful for all their generous support over the years. For me, all the joy was in exploring for new ideas and developing them into practical working models. I encourage others to discover this fascinating world of geometrical recreations, especially children, and the younger the better.
[Puzzle World Home] [Introduction] [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Puzzle Index] [Color Plates]
|Puzzle World ©1997-2012 by John Rausch
For questions or comments regarding this site, contact the chief metagrobologist: