Jammed Gem – Frederic Boucher & Eric Fuller

I can’t even begin to describe how impressed I am with this puzzle – and I haven’t even really touched it yet. The unboxing process was that intense.

It’s the first puzzle I’ve bought that came enclosed in a moisture barrier bag. I’m nervous to touch it. I’ve never spent this much on a puzzle – it’s like buying a lamborghini and then being scared to drive it. The puzzle is impressive all right. Hats off to cubicdissection for their detailed packaging. it seems they spend as much time focusing on packaging their puzzles as they do with the puzzles themselves. I mean that in a good way.

The presentation is superb, the craftsmanship is superb, how the F do you spell that word btw???

It’s heavy for it’s size and it has a strong aroma that’s got me captivated. I don’t know if i should even touch it.

This is likely the most impressive item I’ve even purchased. I’m enthralled by it.

The corners pieces are ridiculous. whatever wood it is, it’s incredible. using it at the corners gives us full exposure of the length of the grain and also the cross cut. my knowledge of woodworking is small and wood species even smaller, but despite my clumsy descriptions, this puzzle is flat out impressive to behold.

I want to savor it, and slowly uncover the secrets. SD puzzles can be wonderful experiences to solve. I think all serious puzzlers know this. A truly great SD puzzle can be a once in a lifetime experience of frustration, excitement, deep thought, incredible A-Ha moments and more. Is this puzzle one that will take me on an exquisite journey? I certainly hope so. It’s why I spend so much on these puzzles – I want the crazy rush of figuring shit out and overcoming these mechanical (and mental) challenges.

This puzzle looks like a packing puzzle. And, in some respects, it might be. It consists of a rectangular box with 4 restricted openings. Inside the box are a few different pieces. All of that is consistent with a packing puzzle. But, when I look a little closer I see some unique features.

I can see some metal rods in a notch in one of the openings. These sort of rods look familiar to me as I’ve dealt with such things in previous puzzles. Having dealt with these before, I know what to do, and sure enough it works! But what is this thing I’m looking at and what do I do now? Hmm, it doesn’t seem like this particular move goes anywhere, so let’s see what else I can find.

Well, I’ve been searching for a while and all I can find is one internal block moving back and forth. Back and forth, back and forth. I keep moving it back and forth and nothing continues to happen. Sometimes these SD puzzles just sit there, or maybe it’s me that just sits there. Maybe I should move that block back and forth some more..

I eventually wrapped this puzzle back up in the moisture barrier bag and placed it in my humidity controlled container and moved on to others. Little did I know that I wouldn’t pick it up again for an entire year.

Fast forward a year and I’m finally back at it. This thing cost way too much to just sit hidden away. Let’s see if fresh eyes can make some more progress.

Photo courtesy of Cubicdissection.com

A-ha! Hell yeah. I’ve made progress! I guess the fresh eye thing worked because I tried something new based on a very subtle clue and by god, it worked! Progress has been made! This is what SD is all about. Long moments of zero progress followed by euphoric a-ha moments that are motivators to keep going.

Ok. Let’s move on. I now have some more variables to work with and I can see a potential path to the next step. But, as we all know, it’s just not that simple. I suppose that’s one of the many wonders of mechanical puzzles. The solver can see what needs to happen, but is unable to make it happen. This is the barrier we must overcome and when we do, we are rewarded with a-ha endorphins. But, enough of that, I have a puzzle to solve.

Deep Breaths. Heart racing. Shaking hands. I’ve found the next step and boy was it unexpected. For the last 30 minutes or so I’ve been stuck with no results. Nothing. The thing that I thought I should be doing wasn’t yielding anything. I kept trying alternative approaches and kept exploring the puzzle, searching for any clues. I didn’t find any clues, but I did, magically find the next step.

With that discovery, I now had something to work with. Let’s see what happens.

Things are starting to happen, though it did take a bit more thinking and fiddling. But, another step forward and a piece removed makes me feel like victory is within reach. So far, this is pretty damn exciting puzzling action going on over here. I’m in too deep to quit now.

Oh my god. It’s happened again. This move is pretty damn incredible. I’m in awe at the moment, just savoring the rush. Heart racing again. This shit is amazing. I can’t even believe how well hidden this step is – all of them really, but this one is extra crazy. It’s simply incredible. The worksmanship on this thing, the devioius mind that though this up, the design and execution. I can’t say enough. My head just exploded.

It’s safe to say that anything can happen at this point. The puzzle has taught me a lesson and that is not to trust anything. There is nothing that Eric (Rest in Peace) cannot do. God damn this shit is clever.

But with all that, I don’t really know how to proceed. I seem to have several items at my disposal, but nothing is jumping out at me. Time to experiment.

And again, I’ve found more pieces and clues. I had a feeling about this one, but didn’t know where it might happen or when, but it just did. I know, I’m talking gibberish, but how do you write about a puzzle when you can’t describe the puzzle? The move here added another mysterious piece to my growing collection of items. I had no idea this puzzle contained so many things.

The path continued for a bit and I finally figured out how to utilize a certain feature and from then on it was a matter of manipulating pieces, getting lost and turned around and second guessing whether I should be doing what I was doing. But there didn’t seem to be alternatives, so I continued in the confusing direction and suddenly found that I had added another piece to the collection.

Down to the final moves, I felt honed in. I knew it was fast approaching if I could just figure out the sequence that I knew I knew. Well, it may have been a bit of luck, but I eventually removed the piece and found the Gem.

Hot damn that was exciting as hell and was just a great overall experience. I’m just shaking my head because I don’t have the words to describe this all. I’m imagining the whole life cycle of this puzzle, not just me solving it, but the whole creative process behind creating this work of art. It goes so much deeper than just making this puzzle (although that in itself is an incredible work of precision) It’s all the puzzles that lead up to this one, all the trailblazers in the puzzle world, with their ideas and designs, and then the next generation of puzzle makers that push the boundaries of the previoius generation. There’s god knows how many hours of effort Eric put into CD. It all culminates in this puzzle. It’s incredible. Positively the greatest puzzle I’ve ever solved.