About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

P is for Perplexed!

A great favourite of both Christmas crackers and gum-ball machines is the puzzle, coming in five basic forms; the  mini jig-saw (in card or thick paper), the 'Jig-Toy' dexterity puzzle (see top of page), and the following three themes...

Wire Lock Puzzles - Fun when you are younger, but as you get older you realise there are only two mechanisms, and they both involve bringing two junction/joints together into a four-way wire bundle and then either sliding or twisting! Still popular, they used to be issued in  bulk in both magic sets and more generally by toy companies like Merit, as boxed sets.

Chinese tangrams come in various formats, with the aim of making a square or oblong - with no gaps - from a series of triangles and parallelograms, they often came with a little sheet of other pictograms to be made from the shapes, the rule being you must use all the pieces.

The bulky ones in the centre have only one solution and are more modern/current, while the pyramid 9and related cannon-ball pile) are a simple puzzle, when very young it could take a while to get it without help. Indeed, trying to get the balls to make a pile for five minutes, only for a sibling to do it in 2-seconds flat was an invitation to murder becoming a viable lifestyle choice!

Mini ball-bearing dexterity puzzles are the fifth 'group' you often find in both Christmas crackers and gum-ball machines, some easy, some frustratingly hard, some impossible, usually due to the cheap nature of the materials and construction meaning something won't do what it's meant to!

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