As an impressionable youth, I learned that nothing can be “more unique” or “uniquer” than unique. Things are either unique or not. And then I encounter The Baffler, purportedly “the most unique puzzle ever.” Granted, to state that something is “most unique” is a blatant misuse of language. Further granted, it is an impossible claim to verify without an exhaustive exploration of every puzzle known (and unknown) to all puzzling kind. And yet, there is something, shall we say “significantly unique” about the Baffler puzzles.
There are currently three such puzzles available from the bountiful puzzle presses of Ceaco. They are each very well-made. Thick, high-quality pieces; each piece of such a unique shape and design it’s tempting to think of each as uniquer than the other. The pieces fit together precisely inside a thick, 7.5-inch board. There are, depending on which of the three you purchase, either 67, 68, or 78 pieces.
If you have purchased the Spiral of Archimedes, you will probably find yourself trying to solve the puzzle from the inside (the center of the spiral) out. Not that this is the best approach, but rather the most intuitive, given the spirality of it all. On the other hand, should you have bought yourself the Nonagon puzzle, you might consider the outside-in approach more pragmatic. In neither case would you necessarily be right. In all cases, you will, at one time or another, find yourself appreciating the everso compassionately included picture of the completed puzzle, shown in all its carefully outlined and fully-solved glory.
These are good, fun puzzles – pleasing to the fingers, enticing to the eye, engaging to the mind. There are few enough pieces to make you feel that, in time, you will be able to solve the puzzles. The differences between the pieces are subtle enough to keep you surprised, and yet evident enough to make you fairly sure of your progress.
It is clear that the Ceaco people appreciate the artistry of puzzle designer, Chris Yates. They take obvious pride in associating his name with the puzzles. This says a lot about the integrity of Ceaco and unique playfulness of Mr. Yates’ creations. Maybe not uniquest, but unique enough, and, even more importantly, fun. Pleasingly, puzzlingly fun.