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"The Chief Tormentor"
The Deliciously Devilish Blog of Puzzling News From Staveland

TAG | Chief Tormentor

Sep 7
2011

Stormy Seas

Piece of Mind?!

The name of this newsletter is a little deceiving for me this week because I’ve had no peace of mind since I began cutting Steve’s new Trick puzzle, Atlantis. I’ve felt like my ship has been sinking for days now. SOS!

Come bail me out!

Atlantis is based on the theory that in 9000 B.C. , the city of Atlantis disappeared in a horrendous storm.

The Journey

Atlantis has been in the works since January. Yep, eight long months. Steve has literally been consumed with it for practically every minute of every day. Just ask Martha! She was trying to get Steve’s involvement in planning a special 50th wedding anniversary celebration and she had a very hard time tearing him away from the puzzle. He’s lucky she’s agreed to keep him for another 50 years.

The puzzle takes you through the workings of Professor Samuel K. Robinson’s research and ultimately reveals where he found Atlantis to be located. That is if you can solve the puzzle! New designs go through many prototype stages but Atlantis has beaten our record. Steve spent hours locked in his home office, working and reworking the puzzle on paper and then he’d come to the shop and cut it in wood. Some things worked, some things didn’t! I can honestly say that all the time he spent on it was worth it. It’s an amazing puzzle. Now let’s talk about the puzzle cutting.

Lost at Sea

When the design was finally ready to go, Steve went through an arduous training session with Elizabeth. It wasa painstaking process because the steps you have to work through in its cutting are intense. The puzzle consists of seven circles, each larger than the next and it’s safe to say, they’re loaded with puzzlement. The difficulty levels range from a not so hard one sword to a hair pulling four swords. I rate the cutting experience a ten plus swords.

Why am I complaining? Because Elizabeth left for vacation and Steve and Martha were finally going to take some time to get their lives back after eight months of living with Atlantis day in and day out. That left little old me holding the bag. Thank goodness I roped Ginny in to help me. I knew I needed a second pair of eyes and ears when Steve went through the puzzle with me. There’s so much to remember!!

The training session went well. I remember thinking, “This isn’t so hard! What’s the big deal?!” Steve and Elizabeth had documented the cutting steps well and Steve incorporated several things into the design to guide us in the cutting. Then he left town and all hell broke loose!

Things started out smoothly, cutting up the puzzles we had worked on with Steve. But then we had to begin anew. Ok, step one isn’t so bad. Nicely done. Step two? Got that! Step three is when the water got choppy. Who would think that one little quarter inch difference in placement of a trick cut could mess something up so horribly? The nature of this design is such that one little mistake messes up the entire puzzle. There’s no saving it. The entire puzzle goes in the trash and you start again. So I did.

Step one, good. Step two, nice. Step three, I learned my lesson there, it worked great. Step four, man overboard! The angle on that baby has to be just perfect or else you get an oval instead of a circle. That’s all I can say about that. Back to the drawing board. Step one, good. Step two, good. Step three, made it. Step four, still afloat. Step five, tidal wave! How did that happen?! At this point I’m cursing Steve and wishing he had been on the island of Atlantis when it went down. Needless to say, it was a learning experience but Ginny and I weathered the storm and came out alive.

The puzzle is AMAZING and I think our puzzlers will love it. This may just be the trick puzzle that I have to own. You all know I’m a loyal Traditional puzzle fan but this design is so cool and clever that I want it for myself. I think it might be a while before I work up the muster to cut it for myself, though.

May your seas be calm- Jennifer

OK, OK, I admit it. Sometimes I, Chief Tormentor, accidentally torment my wonderful Stave crafters. This time I went too far and they rebelled. They ‘forced’ me to sign a contract that I would never, ever design a certain type of TroubleMaker puzzle again…. see below. That’s Paula giving the signed contract the official Stave seal. Hmmmm.. … live and learn.

contract1

contract2

contract3

Jan 26
2011

YIKES! Get me out of this place!

Look at what we’ve had to put up with here on St.John. This hermit crab bite my finger when I picked it up…OUCH!  And I found this scorpion in our bathroom sink and it definitely wanted to bite me. It could not get out of the slippery basin so I ‘helped’ it down the drain. It was as long as my index finger, a BIG one!

2111scorpion

2111hermitCrab

Jan 22
2011

More St. John Birds

Photos taken from deck outside our rental home: Banaquits and bullfinches in bowl of sugar. Crested hummer wondering why he an’t get in on the action.

2111birdsBowl

2111crestedHummer

Jan 19
2011

Night of the ….. Frog

I tell ya, the creatures you see down here on St. John are fascinating. Take this teeny night frog which I almost stepped on the other night. It will sit on a quarter without going over. I got on my hands and knees, put my camera on macro, and placed the camera 6 inches away. No kidding, I was that close. I flashed 3 shots and it never moved. Hmmmm, did I look that appetizing?

2111miniFrog

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