Saturday, April 13, 2019

After a While

When it comes right down to it, who really cares what the difference is between a crocodile and an alligator.  I wouldn’t want to meet either one hiding in the water. I’m not going to contemplate whether it has a wide or pointy snout as it tries to eat me. I’m not going to be able to look at its lower teeth protrusions when its mouth is shut, since its mouth will be wide open as it tries to eat me. I suppose I’ll know if I’m swimming in fresh versus salt water, but I’m sure I’ll forget at that exact moment, as it tries to eat me.

Chubby Crocodile by Juno

Of course, if it’s a charming puzzle box from Juno, I’ll assume it must be a crocodile, since Juno lives in Australia, and everyone knows about Crocodile Dundee, after all. They’ve got crocs in Australia! And by the looks of it, their crocs are extremely well fed. Juno’s “Chubby Crocodile” is an adorable puzzle box in the shape of a rotund reptile. Deep inside its belly is a storage cavity full of the remains of its last meal. Juno’s initial idea for this puzzle was for it to be an interlocking burr or kumiki type puzzle (the Japanese equivalent to a burr, often depicting a figure such as an animal) in the shape of a tortoise, but it ended up being too skinny, so he changed it into a fat crocodile instead. As the project was drawing to a close, he and Yukari thought it would be fun to put some objects hidden inside. Juno came up with some ideas and designs that would be efficient to cut on the router, so you may find a skull, a thighbone, a fish bone, a Gray (alien) or perhaps a slice of bread inside your croc. The bread is a running joke they have with Kevin over at Puzzlemad, who insists that something is not a "box" unless you can put bread in it. 

Don't let it fool you with those crocodile tears

The Chubby Crocodile is incredibly dynamic. From the moment you pick it up, it begins to move. The legs move, the head and tail move, even the eyes move. It’s fun to simply manipulate the initial sequence, so that the stubby little legs waddle up and down as if the crocodile is trying to run away. It knows you are about to carve it up and see what it ate for dinner last night. There are a few clever tricks here, as would be expected from Juno, and the discovery is fun. This one is not too difficult, and not too simple either, a perfectly entertaining piece with a few different elements. As always, it is expertly and beautifully crafted by Juno on his CNC router, and finished and polished with all manner of other equipment. Apparently Juno likes his workshop toys. That may upset Yukari, his wife and business partner, but if it means he is making wonderful puzzles like this, it’s certainly fine with all of us!

Chubby Crocodile Cocktail

I found a drink called the “After a While, Crocodile” by Elizabeth Dodwell, a cocktail author and purveyor of the blog “MixnSip”, which uses equal parts apricot brandy and triple sec with the juice of one lime. The idea was to drop half the lime shell into the murky drink so it looked like a crocodile floating ominously near the surface. As I am inclined to do, I tinkered with the recipe a bit a steered it towards the margarita variation it was always meant to be, albeit with apricot brandy rather than tequila. 

This croc likes apricots and oranges

I have a wonderful apricot rakia, a special type of fruit brandy originating from Eastern Europe, which worked really well here. I also used Pierre Ferrand’s Dry Curacao in place of triple sec, because it’s amazing and I love it. I’ll use pretty much any excuse to add it. The result was a deliciously refreshing cocktail which is at once familiar (margarita, anyone?) yet novel and hard to place due to the featured apricot rakia, an unusual experience for most. This drink would satisfy the hungry crocodile in all of us, or would be lovely to sip on while running for your life while one tries to eat you. Cheers!

Beware this pair ...

Chubby Crocodile

2 oz Kinsman Apricot Rakia
1 oz fresh lime juice
¾ oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
½ oz simple syrup

Shake with ice and double strain into a favorite glass. Garnish with lime peel croc frozen inside a clear ice cube (for safety).

For more about Juno see:


  1. I have to say that it was not me that declared that a box had to be able to store bread! It was the great George Bell - I am not one to argue with George and it appears that neither is Juno.

    I'm glad you enjoyed this one - not tough but remarkably fun!


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