Puzzle 385 - Happiness is a Unicorn

By Custom Puzzle Craft

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Puzzle #385 - Happiness is a Unicron
For more Unicorns, see K. Chin prints

Puzzle #385 - Treat Piece and Hexel Solution

As it happened (from my Journal archives)

January 25, 2003

3:15 pm - Spent about six hours designing the Hexel set for the eBay puzzle. The long time was due to the extreme design precision required to make the Hexel "puzzle within a puzzle" work. I'm leaving soon to do a little cutting, but just for a couple hours, as San Diego's "biggest fireworks display ever" (Six barges full of explosives going off at once, choreographed to music, for 20 minutes) will be held this evening (Superbowl hype event!) and traffic to get anywhere near the event will be huge. I'll be leaving "hours" in advance, along with someone else from Mixed Media. Tomorrow morning I'll finish the puzzle and then take the afternoon off to watch the Superbowl and the 2+ million dollar 30 second commercials! The auction will start on Monday as well a new puzzle cutting marathon. Backlog unchanged.

11:32 pm - I started cutting the eBay puzzle. I've decided I'm going to cut the puzzle in Swirl Curl instead of Creative so as to not compete with the introduction of the Hexels, also due to time concerns. I cut three of the seven Hexels and just a few other pieces. I plan to complete the puzzle tomorrow morning.

January 26, 2003

8:52 pm - Got up early and worked most of the morning and well into the afternoon, and finished #385, Happiness is a Unicorn, shortly before Superbowl kickoff. The puzzle has a scalloped border and about 245 Swirl Curl pieces, and has seven Hexel figurals. These figurals were the most harrowing figurals I've ever cut - the tolerances required to make them work as designed were very, very tight, grueling - pushed me to my limit, so these pieces are something special. The Hexels successfully connect in all combinations although there are a couple situations were the connections are quite tight and care is required in their disassembly. In retrospect, the Hexels should be redesigned, again, so they would not be as fragile and easier to cut - although they are more robust than the prototypes I showed here earlier this month. I haven't assembled this puzzle from scratch - and I suspect that since there are so many similar pieces which may fit into the Hexels, that the best strategy may be to assemble the puzzle without the Hexels and then place the Hexels at the end, to avoid force fits of incorrect pieces with possible damage.

The seven Hexels may be assembled as a separate puzzle, with various solutions. The Hexels may be assembled to form a hexagon, I've found two solutions so far, there are probably others. I'll be auctioning this unusual puzzle on eBay starting tomorrow or Tuesday.

The Jester is a Treat Piece. Besides the Jester there is just a little additional color line cutting. I thought The Observer might show up to witness the Hexels, but he was a no show. The paper is not the best, it is like the paper in Fantasy Faire, and I did have to glue down several lifts.

From the auction description:

The January 2003 auction, the 25th in the 100 Puzzles Project has been launched!

This puzzle contains some very unique figurals - a Puzzle within a Puzzle!!!

This is the 25th Custom Puzzle Craft wooden jigsaw puzzle to be offered in my ongoing 100 Puzzles Project of almost-monthly auctions, planned to run through the year 2009 or there abouts.

"Happiness is a Unicorn" A Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle cut by John Stokes (the seller of this puzzle)
8 5/8" by 11 15/16" with Scalloped border
245 pieces, Swirl Curl cutting style

A Puzzle within a Puzzle!
Featuring HEXELS

Figurals: Seven different Hexels
Jester Treat Piece

This puzzle features a print by the late K. Chin, an artist I've occasionally featured in this series of puzzles.

This puzzle is cut in my Swirl Curl style, and includes my standard signature piece (signed, dated and numbered on the back) and a second piece marked on the back indicating the puzzle belongs to the 100 Puzzles Project. Some of my curls are pretty deep in this puzzle and I think the overall effect of the cutting style is pretty cool in this image. The Jester image has been cut out as a "Treat Piece". There is just a little other color line cutting in this puzzle.

The main feature of this puzzle is the figurals! This puzzle contains seven very unique figurals - Hexels - something I invented during bed time during a recent illness that I'm now over - pieces which may be removed from the puzzle and assembled to solve a second puzzle!

These seven Hexel trick pieces may be assembled to form a Hexagon with one of them fitting in the center. Not the one the Jester is standing over - but maybe... if the other six are rearranged - but maybe not! There may be many solutions

A Hexel is a piece with six connectors equally spaced in a hexagonal arrangement, with the connectors cut in three styles, with two connectors per style in each piece. The connectors are of a special design so that they are "bisexual" in that any one of a particular type can connect to any other one of the same type, meaning there are 12 ways each Hexel may fit into any other Hexel! The design I chose for the Hexels required "harrowingly extreme care" while cutting - some of them are on the fragile side - but all of them are whole with no cracks. Almost all of possible fits are very nice, although a few are a little tight, so care is required. As you can see in the puzzle picture, below , the Hexels are "just" puzzle pieces scattered about in the puzzle!

The Jester hasn't caught the Unicorn - but he did get a nice Spiral Curl!

Note: Puzzles with this image may be ordered from my Gallery for $220, however the Hexel Set is NOT included for this price. I haven't put a price on Hexels should anyone want to order any, in fact I'm not even sure if I'll ever cut them again, but this is not to say I won't ever cut them again! I've figured that there are 16 possible Hexel connector arrangements, of which seven are included in this puzzle, so someday I may cut the full set into another puzzle, although I may modify the design.

This puzzle is noteworthy in that it is the first (and so far, the only) puzzle I've cut with Hexels.

Happiness is a Unicorn
K. Chin
Date Completed
January 26, 2003
8 5/8" x 12"
Cutting Style
# Pieces
Color Line Cutting
A little
The Seven Hexels - and a Jester Treat Piece

© John S. Stokes III - Puzzle Crafter & Webmaster

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