Tee-Pause is a great example of how presentation in puzzle designing makes a big difference to distinguish great puzzles from average ones. The puzzle itself is a fancier version of an older packing puzzle, The Four T. There are quite a few versions of this puzzle out there, and I happen to own two of them besides the one you see here, a plastic one and a wooden one. My favorite so far is the Siebenstein-Spiele‘s version, designed by Jürgen Reiche, the Tee-Pause.
This packing puzzle is very simple. It consists of only four identical T-shaped pieces that need to be all neatly packed inside the tray. There’s a major difference between Siebenstein’s version and the original, and that’s the actual packing area, which is round. Well, not perfectly round, since the bottom is flat, making things a little more interesting.
As expected, Siebenstein’s presentation is flawless. Each of the four pieces has a different color, including the frame itself. Built from laser-cut wood, both pieces and frame have perfect shapes and when solved, all pieces fit tightly within the tray area. The size is a bit small, the diameter measures only 8.9cm (about 3.5″), but since you’re manipulating only four pieces it’s not an issue.
When I saw the puzzle for the first time I suspected the solution was very similar to The Four T, but what really sold me was the look of the puzzle. Since I already knew how to solve the original version it didn’t take me long to solve it. The small detail on the bottom actually makes it slightly harder, as the area is truncated and you have to pack the pieces with the exact orientation. Nevertheless, it’s still basically the same solution and if you already solved the original version there’s not much challenge left. This is classified as a level 8/10, but even knowing the solution I don’t think it’s more than a 7.
If you love Siebenstein’s puzzles you can’t go wrong with Tee-Pause. Yes, it’s not a new puzzle per se, but the overall presentation makes for it and it’s a must have in any collection.