Let’s start 2017 out with a double dose of frustration. It’s going to be an interesting year so we need to start practicing. One of my favorite puzzle box artists, Eric Fuller from North Carolina, has designed many brilliant boxes over the years, and has crafted even more interlocking puzzles designed by others. As you may recall from my recent review of his Spline Cube #3, he likes to make boxes that are very tricky to open. This time he has collaborated with the prolific puzzle designer Goh Pit Khiam from Singapore to create a double challenge. The fun begins with the “B-Box”, Khiam’s design which is based off of Karakuri artist Hiroshi Iwahara’s Super-CUBI design. That puzzle utilizes a trinary movement system and requires 324 moves to open, while Khiam’s B-Box is a bit simpler, merely requiring 135 moves to access the internal compartment. The “B” likely stands for “Burr”, as in, interlocking mechanical puzzle, because the B-Box can further be disassembled into 6 individual panels which were expertly crafted from maple and mahogany by Eric Fuller. The inner side of each panel is etched with a similar appearing maze, and if you are Khiam, you can probably deduce all 135 movements merely from studying these patterns, but for the rest of us the B-Box is a fair challenge. Particularly difficult is putting it back to the starting position once opened – a fair many friends have singularly failed at this effort. Not that I would know, mine is perfectly squared up again. Ahem.
|B-Box by Goh Pit Khiam and Eric Fuller|
Once opened, as a wonderful reward there is another entirely independent puzzle box, perfectly nestled inside the internal compartment of B-Box. Tip this out and you are holding the “Reactor Box”, a tiny puzzle box which packs a huge headache designed and created by Eric Fuller from walnut, mahogany and paduak woods. Reactor Box is truly diminutive, measuring a wee 1.75 inches squared. You might imagine that a box this tiny couldn’t pack much of a punch, and you would be seriously mistaken. Initial exploration reveals a few initial movements and something rather unusual – a piece falls out into your lap. There are, coincidently, a whole bunch of places where this bit can now go, and you may spend a long time trying to figure out this particular step of the puzzle. All I can tell you is that, once again, Eric Fuller is a devious bastard who is out to sabotage you. The finale is quite wonderful, with a truly satisfying aha moment, and you are treated to yet another tiny treasure inside an even tinier box. You can also marvel at the mechanism inside the “reactor”, which provided the inspiration for Eric’s follow up, the Small Button Box (to be reviewed later this year). Reactor Box demonstrates Eric’s virtuoso skill, hiding the tiniest mechanisms in a perfectly precise “puzzler’s puzzle”.
|Reactor Box by Eric Fuller|
Believe it or not, there is a perfect cocktail to toast the genius behind this double dose of devious delight. It originates from the Michelin starred restaurant in Malmo Sweden named, appropriately enough, Bastard. The home of head chef Andreas Dahlberg, Bastard has been described as “school room meets old fashioned butchers” and “hipster heaven” to name a few. At the back bar, they mix up a perfect concoction of smoky mezcal, sweet vermouth, green Chartreuse and bitters which is known as “Le Saboteur”. Next time you find yourself in Malmo, you may want to check it out, but you can start your own sabotage at home in the meantime with this “guess-cipe” from the cocktail traveling duo over at the Cocktail Detour blog, who have recreated the drink proportions. The drink is impressive, boozy and well balanced. It pairs well with these two puzzle boxes – but you might need one for each! Cheers!
|Le Saboteur from Bastard, Malmo|
Le Saboteur from Bastard, Malmo (proportions provided by Cocktail Detour)
1 oz Mezcal (I used Soltado, a spicy infused tequila)
1 oz Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Green Chartreuse
Few dashes Regans’ Orange Bitters to taste
Stir well to dilute with plenty of ice and strain into a favorite glass. Garnish with a double dose of frustration and keep your wits about you.
|A triple dose of sabotage|
For more information about Eric Fuller see his website at:
For prior puzzle pairings from Eric Fuller: