I recently came across Wood Wonders, run by Brian Menold. Brian makes wooden puzzles in small numbers, and has several beautiful looking puzzles for sale online. I was ordering a copy of Stewart Coffin’s Convolution from Brian, and Brian felt that given a few minor things that happened when ordering that he was going to send me a free puzzle as a way of saying sorry for any confusion.

MMMM's designed by Hirokazu Iwasawa

MMMM's designed by Hirokazu Iwasawa, made by Brian Menold

I should point out that from my point, there were no issues at all, Brian was an absolute gentleman, and was very quick in getting back to me not only with some other options for the puzzle I was buying, but with lots of great feedback.

The puzzle Brian sent on was MMMM’s designed by Hirokazu Iwasawa. The idea for this puzzle is simple enough. Place the four identical ‘M’ shaped pieces into the box, and close the lid. The lid is designed so that it fits snugly onto the box, and contains an inset block which fills some space inside the top of the box. Brian’s version of this puzzle is beautifully made with a snugly fitting box, and the four M’s made from Zebra Wood.

Your first thought is that this shouldn’t be possible. The pieces are both longer than the box is wide, and tall so it doesn’t look good for a simple solution. The height of the pieces is almost exactly the width of the internal dimension of the box, so it’s a snug fit, and not a lot of room free, or so it appears. There’s a good few ways in which you can put all four pieces into the box, but only one way in which the lid will sit closed on top of the box.

You require a little bit of out of the box thinking on this puzzle, but it does provide a nice challenge, and I have found it very satisfying to open the box, and tip the pieces into an unsuspecting person’s hands then ask them to put the pieces back in. Doing this adds the extra challenge that they know the pieces were in there to start with, so it has to be possible, but doesn’t let them see the solution by opening the box themselves. Maybe there is a cruel streak in me somewhere?

Everyone I’ve given this to has really enjoyed the puzzle, and Brian’s version is very well made. Thanks for sending me this puzzle Brian. I really appreciate it, and it is a very welcome addition to my collection. Look out for my review of Brian’s Convolution soon. I highly recommend you browse Wood Wonders, there are some beautiful puzzles there, and Brian’s craftsmanship is excellent.

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