The Cast Cricket is Hanayama’s own version of a puzzle, which first appeared back in 1898. This new version released ten years ago, in April 2002, by the hand of puzzle collector James Dalgety, hopefully stays true to its origins. James also designed another puzzle for Hanayama, the Cast Medal.
The puzzle is an homage to the game of the same name, played since the 16th century. It depicts two of most known elements in the game, the bat and the wicket, which are entangled. Your task is to separate them and then, put them back to their original state.
As always, the design of any Hanayama puzzle is aesthetically very pleasing. Both parts are made in brass and well polished, giving a nice clean look. The main part of the puzzle representing the bat has sort of a propeller-like appearance to it, comprised by six bats. You can see in the photos below that the configuration of the bats is different in both sides.
Hanayama rates the Cricket puzzle as a 2/6 and PuzzleMaster as a 6/10. Bottom line, this is far from being a complex puzzle. However, I did have more difficulty than I was expecting. Maybe I was over-complicating things, but it took me two separate tries to solve it. The first time, it was probably half an hour and the second only less than 10 minutes. The lesson learned here is that if you’re having trouble solving a puzzle, it’s no good to keep going frustrated. Just leave it to rest and try again some other time. It worked for me…
Looking closely at the puzzle and its features, you can see that the bats all have a single pin at different positions, except for one. The odd one out with two pegs is the key to solve the puzzle. All the other bats with pins can pass through the middle gap in the wicket, but not the one with pegs, and that’s when the groove in the middle top comes in handy. After you work out how to get the bat with two pegs to pass through the two openings, the puzzle is solved. You’ll have to twist and turn the bats a few times to get there, though. For a complete solution, click here.
A perfect gift for any fan of the sport, the Hanayama Cast Cricket was a joy to play with. Not at all complex, but still quite fun to solve, it can prove to be a pleasant surprise for the more experienced player.
Hanayama Cast (in English) – Very useful website in English, with plenty of information on all things Cast.
Hanayama’s Factory Visit (Many thanks to Roxanne Wong for sharing these pictures)