Saturday, August 23, 2014

Astonished by Mike Erre #01

To sell Jesus on the basis of meeting felt needs is fine so long as we define how exactly He “meets” those needs. If meeting those needs means the removal of the sin, sorrow, and disappointment of human life, then we’ll be perpetually disappointed. If meeting those needs means that Jesus uses our unfulfilled desires to keep us dependent and reliant upon Him, then we’re getting close to the secret of the full life that Christ offers.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dian Sheng 3x3x2

This was the cheapest one I could find, and it is a bit disappointing. It does not turn very well around the circle. I have attempted to loosen it up by adding lubricant, but it hasn't helped a lot. Maybe some. I think I will avoid this puzzle maker in the future.

On the plus side, as I was playing with it, not only was I able to remember how to solve it without looking at my notes from the past, but I also came up with a new and better way to solve the two edges that are adjacent to the corner.

Drat. I should have written it down immediately. Now I can't get it.

(Later) OK, I've come up with something but I don't think it is what I came up with this afternoon. But here it is. After getting the circles filled correctly locate the corner—on this puzzle it is the red, white, blue corner. With the white circle on bottom, use either setup moves or EPS to place the blue-white (or red-white) edge on top and across from where it needs to go. Spin the corner to the top so that the blue-white (or red-white) is directly across from its spot beside the corner. Do (M2 U2) x 2 to move it across. Move the corner and edge that are now paired up back around to the bottom.

I think this is easier than the former method I used, but probably not a whole lot. I think it is somewhat similar to what I came up with earlier today. It seemed so intuitive this afternoon.

August 20, 2014
After a number of scrambles and solves, the turning quality has improved enough that I am not quite so disappointed anymore.

CT Square-1

I have so enjoyed the Cubetwist Bandage Kit this summer that I decided to get a CT Square-1. Earlier in the summer I played around with the Super Square-1 enough to work out another "map" to getting back to cube shape, but the Super Square-1 is such a pain to align that it is not at all fun to play with, and if puzzling isn't fun, then what is the point? Yesterday I scrambled and solved the CT Square-1 several times and it is fun to play with.

In The Land of 52 there are several paths that you can run across.

If you come to 12 [121212] go to 32 [3212/3212].
If you come to 22, 24, or 36 go to 44 [44/44].

If you come to 23 go to 21 or 25. [52/2313 can go to either 52/2115 or 52/2511 in one twist.]
If you come to 21 or 25 go to 2H/44.

If you come to 14 [141111] go to 33 [3311/3113].
If you come to 13 go to House/33, then go to 2H/2T.

Once at 32 or 44, go to 2T/2B.
From all others, go to LH/RH.

Go to 2H/2H, and from there to Cube.

The above is not supposed to mean anything to anyone except me. If you can figure out what I am talking about, you have probably figured out how to solve the Square-1 without my help! :D

OK, if someone does run across this and cares, here you go. 52 means you have 5 adjacent big slices and 2 small slices on one side. 2313 means you have 2 bigs 3 littles 1 big 3 littles as you look clockwise and start with the most bigs. 21 means you have 2 bigs 1 little at least 1 big and who knows what. 2H means 2 Halves of a square that don't make a square, which according to my numerical scheme is 211211. 2T means the top half of 2H. 2B means the bottom half of 2H. LH means Left House, which according to my numerical scheme is 211112. Similarly RH is Right House and is 221111.

When I first started analyzing the Square-1 I was naming things according to the way it looked, but the deeper I got the more difficult it got to come up with unique descriptive names that I could remember, thus the numbering system.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

New Puzzles from

Awhile back our house was broken into and around 40 of my around 80 puzzles were stolen. During the summer I replaced the CT Bandage Kit and got tons of use out of it as indicated by previous blog posts. After we got back from our summer trip, I ordered 8 puzzles from Some are to replace stolen ones, some are new to me. Here is what I got.

  • Lanlan Curvy Copter replaces the Curvy Copter and Helicopter Cubes that were stolen.
  • CT Square-1 replaces the Square-1 that got stolen and the irritating Super Square-1 that I wish had. It is just the alignment thing with the stupid circle part. Now that I have a nice Square-1 perhaps I'll play with it enough to no longer need the notes I made way back when I first figured it out.
  • Cyclone Boys 2x2 Cube and 4x4 Cube. These are colored plastic cubes, which I like a lot, and they seem to work well.
  • DianSheng Crazy 3x3x2 replaces the 3x3x2 and Crazy 3x3x2 that were stolen. This one does not turn very well. Perhaps with some lubrication it will work better.
  • Dino Skewb or F-Skewb is new to me but I think it is sort of like the Master Skewb that was stolen only simpler.
  • QJ Fourleaf Clover Hollow Ball appears to be a very nice 2x2x2 puzzle. I hope Annie likes it.
  • 2x3x4 Camoflage Cube is brand new to me. I've never had any of these before, or anything like it that I know of. Should be fun.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bandage Cube Kit—Cross Road Cube

We traveled from Prague to Sacramento on the 5th of the month. Along the way I worked on the Cross Cube and documented the adventure in a binder. Here's the story—

A lot like the Meffert's Bandage Cube, or the Bicube, only the 2x2x2 block of pieces diagonally opposite the 1x1x1 of the Bicube is unbandaged, so is indeed more 2x2x2 ish.

Since I have had the Meffert's cube for a long time and am somewhat familiar with the screwy color scheme he used, I tiled the Cross Cube to match, so as to avoid any confusion.

On the first scramble the blue-white and orange-white edges fell into place as I oriented the centers. The big challenge was pairing up the blue-orange-white 2x1x1. After that I solved it as the Bicube with no problem.

On the second scramble I made sure each piece was scrambled. Getting the 2x2x2 corner was somewhat challenging but I finally got it and went to my Bicube solve. All was going well until I got to what should have been the last step—the 743 3-cycle. But instead, 7 and 3 had to swap and flip. Huh?!?

Figuring it had something to do with the 2x2x2 corner, I used it to twist one of the pieces to the other one. Things were pretty messed up so I re-solved and 7 and 3 were no longer swapped. 7 and 8 were! But at least they weren't flipped. :D

Decided on a new approach. Point greens down since with the little ones on the blue side they could be pointing back without pointing them back. Then put the 1x1x1 on top on the left and do a mirror solve. By the time I did what I could do, I put the greens at the back and fixed the top and... found 3 and 6 were swapped.

Tried something else—don't remember what—ended up needing a 4-cycle, which is not any better than a swap. So I did a 5-cycle to see what would happen. 4 and 6 were swapped. Did the place #5 algorithm. It then needed a 6-cycle. Did it repeatedly, and it just cycled through a bunch of 6-cycles until it came back to the single swap.

A little background. I got up at 4 AM in Prague to get ready to go to the airport and fly home. We flew to London. Had a several hour layover. Flew to Dallas. Had an even longer layover. On the flight to Sacramento I wrote:
Altogether it has been a very long day. In Dallas I scrambled the 2x2x2 corner and couldn't get it back. During the biginning of the flight to Sacramento I tried and failed and was getting frustrated. Being awake for 24 hours may or may not have something to do with it.
After forcing down a can of Ginger Ale I tried to sleep. I slept some although I dept waking up. Finally I decided to get the cube out, solve it as much as possible, then retile the pieces I couldn't solve. But instead of the red-yellow-green corner, I was using the blue-white-orange one as the #2 corner. After several tries through the #5 routine I noticed the blue-white-orange had twisted and was paired up perfectly with the blue-white edge. I put them home. Then #6, #8, and #1. I don't think I had to cycle 743. It was solved! No pair swapped! Somewhere in the trying to solve the 2x2x2 corner I suppose, I remedied the swap problem. 

Played around with it for a bit more. Somehow twisted #2 clock and #8 anti. All else was still solved. How? I had an idea, but hadn't written it down. Started writing. 

Fi U L F U Li U2 (#5)
F R U Fi Ui
Fi U L F U Li U2 (#5)
Fi U L F U Li U2 (#5)
Double swap; 743; double swap; 743 x 2

The above twists #2 anti and #8 clock.

I still do not know how to systematically fix the situation in which 2 pieces need to swap.

August 7, 2014
Today I saw that
Fi U L F U Li U2 (#5)
F R U Fi Ui
Fi U L F U Li U2 (#5)
Fi U L F U Li U2 (#5)
times two twists #2 clock and #8 anti. Can that be?

And after more experimentation and solving, I finally scrambled it in such a way that I got the single swap again. And still have no idea how or why or what to do about it.

August 8, 2014
OK. I have an idea. An intelligent guess. From solved I did R Bi Ri. That took the orange-white edge out of place. Then I tried to keep track of things but got hopelessly lost eventually, but managed to get the orange-white edge back home without turning B 90°. Upon solving the cube from there, I ended up with 2 swapped pieces, 3 and 4. I just don't have a nice neat algorithm for doing it. I think the single 90° turn of B key to the single swap situation. It isn't polished but I got something.

R B Ui L Ui Fi L D2 L2 does a 90° turn of B then restores the blue-orange and white-orange edges. It wasn't easy to unlock the resulting bandages on F and R, but eventually got it and solved the puzzle! Yay!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Bandage Cube Kit—Double Block Clock

The Sune Thing (TST)
Green on Right; Yellow Up
R U Ri U R U2 Ri (DE)2 Ui L Ui Li y2

Everything else is done with Green Up; Yellow on Right

Corner Twisters (edit 8/12/14 below: a better way found)
2, 3, 6, 7 anti; 8 clock
(TST)—R (R U Ri Ui) Ri—(R U Ri Ui)x3

2, 8 clock; 3,7 anti
(TST)x2—R (U R Ui Ri) Ri—(R U Ri Ui)x3—R (R U Ri Ui)x3 Ri—(R U Ri Ui)x3

2, 7 clock; 6,8 anti
(TST)x3—(R U Ri Ui)x3—R (R U Ri Ui)x3 Ri—(R U Ri Ui)x3—R (U R Ui Ri)x3 Ri

2, 3 anti; 6, 8 clock
(TST)x4—R (R U Ri Ui)x4 Ri—(R U Ri Ui)x3—R (R U Ri Ui)x3 Ri

2, 3, 6 anti

3 anti; 6 clock

2 anti; 6 clock
CT#3—R (R U Ri Ui) Ri—CT#2—R (U R Ui Ri) Ri

3, 7 clock; 6, 8 anti

So far I've solved it once. I forget now which CT I used at the end. I'd like to do multiple solves and keep track.

August 4, 2014
It is really pretty simple to solve all the edges, even if they need flipped. Permuting the corners hasn't been a problem either. It is orienting the corners that can be difficult. Got down to needing to twist 2 and 8. Twisted 2 and 6, then swapped 28 and 36, then twisted 2, 3, and 6. I finally ended up needing to twist 2 and 6, which I could do. Something like that.

August 12, 2014
In spite of what I said on the 4th of the month, I was not able to flip edges today when I tried to solve Double Block Clock, until I looked at the flipper for Double Block. Here is how it plays out for DBC:

Flipping Edges—R (U2 L F Li U2) Ri (U2 L F Li U2) (U R2 Ui R2) flips UB and UR and double swaps some corners.

Twisting Corners—Doing the Edge Flipper twice twists 2 anti and 3, 6, 7, and 8 clock.

Twisting 2 anti and 3 clock the easy way—((R Ui Li B L U Ri) (R U Ri Ui)) x 2 (R U Ri Ui) x 3

August 14, 2014
Although I found an easier way to twist corners 2 and 3 a couple days ago, it still isn't so easy to access all the corners that may need twisting. So I kept experimenting along the same lines—

Twisting 2 clock and 3 anti—((R Ui Li Bi L U Ri) (U R Ui Ri)) x 2 (U R Ui Ri) x 3

Twisting 3 anti and 6 clock—(R2 Ui Li B L U2 Ri Ui Ri) x 2 R (R U Ri Ui) x 3 Ri

Twisting 2 clock and 8 anti—(R2 Ui Li Bi L U2 Ri Ui R U Ri Ui Ri) x 2 R (R U Ri Ui) x 3 Ri

It is a simple thing to swap 2 with 3 and 7 with 8, so it would be a simple setup to twist 3 and 7.

It is a simple thing to swap 3 with 6 and 2 with 8, so it would be a simple setup to twist 6 and 8.

This covers 5 of the 10 pairs of corners that may need twisting. But of course each of these twists a pair in opposite directions. I'm thinking that in combination with the Edge Flipper Corner Twister ... I don't know ... many actual combinations could be dealt with. But I wonder how many others could not.

August 15. 2014
An endgame: The green-yellow and orange-yellow edges were swapped and the corners were in a 4-cycle. B 90° turned the swap into a 3-cycle, but, of course, one of the edges was the blue-red. So I had to move something that wasn't part of the 3-cycle into BD to replace it, do the 3-cycle, then move the blue-red back. A lot of edge-flipping was needed too, including the blue-red, so it got moved out, flipped, and moved back in again. When finally the edges were all solved, 5 corners needed permuted. Two quick Triple-EPS left me with all of them permuted, and 2 needing to twist anti and 8 clock. I used an EPS to swap them, then did the 2 clock 8 anti twister, then undid the setup move. Done.

Another endgame: Similar situation with edges, but this time I tried to make fewer trips in and out of BD, doing the cycle and flip during one trip. When all the edges were solved, corners 3 and 8 needed to swap, and corners 6 and 7 needed to swap. A Sune, Triple-EPS, Antisune permuted them, leaving 6 needing a clockwise twist and 8 an anti twist. I twisted them, but the wrong way, so did it again, but messed up somewhere—I think on the UR EPS. After re-solving the edges, it needed a 26 37 double swap. Several Triple-EPS later the corners were permuted and 3 needed to twist clock and 6 anti. I set them up with a swap, did the 36 twister, and undid the setup.

In both of the solves above, getting to the endgame required moving the red-blue piece back home without a simple B 90° move, as that would put it back into a single swap of edges scene. I used R Ui Li B L U Ri to move it out. But is there any reason I couldn't use Ui L2 D L2 U instead?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Bandage Cube Kit—Double Block

Double Block is another one of Burgo's creations. On October 28, 2012 he posted:
OK, Mildly Addicted here :oops:
I thought I'd make an easy one.. turned out to be `a little tougher` than I first thought. *Warning* this one's trouble :wink: . I called it the Double Block.. for more than one reason. My method for this one is a little scrappy at present, see what you think.
He listed it as Difficult, and added another bandage, calling it Double Block Clock, which he listed as Very Hard. I don't know about Double Block Clock yet, but Double Block fell together nicely for me. I wonder if there is something in the scrambling that I am missing that would make it more difficult. I don't think so, but if someone would like to challenge me with a Double Block scramble, I'd me more than willing to try it out.

With the two blocks solved and Green Up and White on the Left, the 5 corners, and 5 of the 7 edges are easily permuted with moves of R and U. My main algorithms?

1. (Ri U R Ui) x n and (R U Ri Ui) x n where n is an element of {1, 2, 3}. In other words, EPS, Double-EPS, and Triple-EPS.

2. Ui L2 D L2 U moves FD and BD into U and R.

3. (R U R Ui R U R Ui R) swaps UR and UB and cycles 4 corners.

4. (R U Ri U R U2 Ri)—Sune— works with Yellow Up and Green Right, but in my solves so far I haven't used it to move edges.

5. I haven't come up with, or needed, a 3-cycle of corners. The 3 double swaps have been adequate for permuting corners.

6. Twisting Corners—to me, this is what puts this puzzle in the Difficult range. First, I'll give the algorithm, then I'll explain how I came up with it.

Twisting 6 clock and 7 anti Steps
1. Hold Yellow Up and Green on R.
2. ((Right-hand Sune) (DE)2 L (Left-hand Sune) Li (DE)2) x 3
3. Hold White on Left and Green Up.
4. (R U Ri Ui) x 3
5. (Ri U R Ui) x 3

No long, complex, unfamiliar sequences at all! But how did I come up with that process? Well, I knew I could use Sune with Yellow Up and Green on the Right. I knew that because of the 2x2x1 block I couldn't use the Sune/mirror method of twisting corners simply. But what did I have to lose. Figured I would try to do something like it and see what happened. I did it 3 times to preserve the edges. After step 2 I went back to White on the Left and Green Up and looked at the corners. I saw that corner 2 (FRU) needed to go to 3 (RFD) so I did the Triple-EPS that would do that. Then I looked at the corners and saw that 2 and 7 (URB) needed to swap, and 6 (DRB) and 8 (ULB) needed to swap, so I did the Triple-EPS that would do that. Then I looked at the corners and noticed that 6 twisted clockwise and 7 anti-clockwise. Golden. :D

August 3, 2014
Oh no!!!! I was afraid it couldn't be that easy. After having such an easy time "figuring out" Double Block, I moved on to Double Block Clock. The Clock part made it impossible to twist corners as with Double Block. So I was exploring different things I could do with it, and discovered a whole new way of scrambling Double Block that does funky things like flipping edges. So no more DB Clock until I have a go at the revisited Double Block with new twists and turns not covered on the first go round.

7. Flipping Edges—(U2 L F Li U2) Ri (U2 L F Li U2) R flips UB and RB and restores FD.