Something will go here one day soon...Gaiety, merriment and dancing, etc.


Regular visitors here will have noticed the refurbishment is taking longer than expected.  This is mainly due to me getting very hooked on tracing my family history, which seems to have more skeletons than a medieval plague pit, and as many black sheep as a farm with several black sheep. 

Read about it here.


Puzzle news

 Recent Puzzle News. . . . The Collective Burr. . . . Berlin Puzzle Party. . . . San Francisco. . . . Very Old Puzzle News. . . . Old Puzzle News. . . . BurrTools Tutorial. . . . Pentacube Pile Up. . . . Post-Prague IPP European Tour. . . .Martins First Big CRAPP. .Links coming soon.

Pictures from my collection here, and other bottom-of-the-barrel scrapings from the puzzle world...




“The greatest puzzle is a single sheet of blank paper and a few moments. One can fold it, tear it or just ponder its fearful opportunity.”


5th August 2016 - I noticed that with a tiny bit of effort and imagination the logo for the Olympics could be redesigned as an ambigram, Rio 2016.

8th June 2016 - Here’s a real life puzzle.  I think I know something.  How do I find out if you already know the same thing, without having to tell you if you do not know it, and without arousing your suspicions?  Suggestions?

26th April 2016 - It was with very great sadness that I heard that our very good friend Robert Reid died earlier today.

picture mosaic 3

April 2016 - I will be updating this more frequently, but after I have completed the full upgrade.  See the box to the right.

17th December 2015 - I’ve never seen a Star Wars film, but the new one is partly filmed at Puzzle Wood. There’s a maze of pathways winding through the gulleys of mossy rocks, via twisted roots of yew trees, and bridges, lookouts and other things you can find on your way round.

25th July 2014 - I have just discovered that clicking on many of the photos on this site no longer takes the viewer to a larger version of the picture. This is due to some change made by Flickr who host my photos.  I am investigating the cause, but I do not think the solution will be quick or simple. This link takes you to a roughly chronological directory of all my photos (54,000 of them!) and this link takes you to an index page.  Either of these options should help you find what you are seeking. Oh, the puzzles are here.  (Spring 2016, total site revision undersay.)

Even more July 2014 - I have lived in and around Greater London for all my life (so far...).  I have seen all the usual tourist sites, and I love looking for the bizarre, unusual and off-beat alternatives to The Tower of London and Buckingham Palace.  If you are anywhere near the entrance to Heathrow Airport, and have an interest in maps, here is one for you.  I quote from the Ordnance Survey site, which has more details:

    “You may know that the origins of Ordnance Survey go back to a triangulation survey carried out for King George III and The Royal Society between 1784 and 1790. The survey was determining the relative positions of the Greenwich Observatory and L’Observatoire de Paris, and measuring the distance between the two observatories. Major General William Roy FRS RE, carried out the survey under the authority of the Master General of the Board of Ordnance, and Roy’s first action was to measure a survey base-line across Hounslow Heath during the summer of 1784.


    “The two terminals of this base-line are marked by contemporary military cannon set in the ground muzzle upward. The north-western portion of the base-line is now occupied by Heathrow Airport.  As a result, the north-western terminal now lies just north of the Northern Perimeter Road of the Airport, adjacent to Nene Road. It is approx. 200 metres east of the northern entrance to the tunnel which provides access to Terminals 1-3 of the Airport and also within 150 metres of the Bath Road, the route of the ancient Great West Road. King George III and other dignitaries of the time would have travelled between London and Windsor Castle using this road, and would have used it to visit William Roy and his survey party as the 1784 survey work progressed.

The other end of this baseline is a 30 minute walk from our house. Pictures here from the local museum, and another link here

Viewing time is about 30 seconds and there will not be a queue.

July 2014 - A word of warning.  The media has been full of stories about increased security for international flights recently.  While I was able to sweet-talk the security lady at San Francisco airport in 2009 into  accepting that the ten-inch long, finger-thick nails in my rucksack were a harmless disentanglement puzzle, it did make me more aware of the risks of  hand-carrying sharp, dangerous-looking or difficult to open puzzles in carry-on luggage. 

Give thought to how you pack new puzzles for the flight home.  You do not want to have to dismantle an 18-piece burr or million-move secret opening box while the whole queue looks on.

I always used to put the heavy items in the carry-on stuff in case the hold  luggage is too heavy, but I give it more thought now.

On a very different subject, over the years I have designed many mechanical puzzles. Most of them exist in a single prototype here at home. One of my IPP Exchange designs was copied without my authorisation and sold extensively across the US, and it put me on my guard. Just lately I have decided that it is pointless having these ideas stashed away, and I plan to photograph and document them. That will also help prove my copyright.  Watch these spaces... If you are looking for new puzzles to make and sell for a commission, or for future IPP Exchanges, do come back.


June 2014 - Alice thought that I should check that you know that if you are visiting London this summer, London buses will not accept cash payments after 7th July 2014.  Passengers must have Oyster cards, tickets bought in advance, or be able to use swipeable contactless bank cards. Read thisand this


June 2014 - The three acrylic objects on the left are quite chunky, about half an inch thick and 5-6” across.  I don not know if they are meant to be a puzzle, but a friend managed to make a symmetrical shape from them. Any comments would be welcome. Imagine them made from 5, 6 and 7 hexagons.


April 2014 - A few recent stories from the press around the world that should interest puzzlers, gadgeteers and mathematicians coming now.

My grateful thanks for all the above stories, to all the usual contributors including Patty O’Dawes, Laura Vaverages,  Les S. Calyay, Mayor C. Boku, Jackson Timbers, Jenny Tay-Lear, Lynn Gweeney, Sally Forth, Scarlett Billows, Nell “Blue”i Dnto, Annette Kirtin, Klaus Trefobick, Noah Vale II, Emma Ryeskan and of course Anthony from Latvia.  We still call him Riga Tony.

March 2014 - Any puzzle friends visiting England this summer are welcome to contact us for any local information or other help we can give.

If you are having trouble forgetting how to open your favourite trick box, why not try a secret-opening bee hive.  Researchers in Canada presented bees with a series of artificial flowers that required ever-more challenging strategies, such as moving objects aside or upwards, to gain a sugar syrup reward.

If you are thinking of entering the trendy (!?) world of wearable computers, you might find out here that the concept is nothing new.  Back in the 17th century, one pioneering designer in China created a functioning  smart ring.  Developed in the Qing Dynasty era (1644-1911), the ring features a 1.2cm long, 0.7cm wide abacus that sits on the finger.  Also available in inches.


I started this web site in about 1998.  As of Autumn 2016 it is getting its biggest ever refurbishment. 

My goals are to include more current information, more pictures, no dead links, consistent format and typeface, better readability on more screens, and to get rid of characters that display badly.  But no free beer.

It is a bit untidy and experimental ...but just wait...

Text first, then pictures to be replaced.

Then the missing links.