Cast Duet

Dr. Oskar van Deventer, from the Netherlands was born in 1965 and started designing puzzles as young as 12 years old. He designs puzzles as a hobby and is a senior scientist working on network and answering control. He designed this puzzle and it was manufactured by Hanayama in 2006. Dr. van Deventer has designed hundreds of puzzles, winning prizes internationally. He has a very interesting Website showing many of his puzzles, it’s well worth visiting.
The Cast Duet is one of the most difficult in the Hanayama collection. Hanayama gives it a Difficulty Rating of 5 of 6, Puzzle Master rate it 9 of 10. Like all Hanayama puzzles, it is of excellent quality, made of heavy cast metal, with polished gold and silver finishes.
There are grooves on every square and the rings. The ring can be split and has magnets to hold it together. The object is to separate the ring and remove each half.
Also, at each corner of the center ring, there are 4 triangles with 1, 2, 3 or 4 dots. For further challenges get the ring to go through the 2 squares at the base of the triangles (center side, not corner squares). The challenge increases as you go from 1 dot through to 4 dots. This is a great puzzle as it can be played with over and over again.

You can purchase this puzzle and get the solution at Puzzle Master.

Cast Hook

The Cast Hook is an interesting puzzle, somewhat similar to many hooked nail or wire puzzles. It seems simple at first, as these types of puzzles need to get spaces or openings lined up and then with a simple move, they almost fall apart. However, this one just doesn’t seem to want to co-operate. I think that is simply because the space and tolerances are just so precise that unless one gets it in exactly the right place, it refuses to budge.

It was designed by Vesa Timonen of Finland. He is a well recognized designer of elegant and deceptive mechanical, or hand held puzzles and has won awards at the International Puzzle Design Competitions .If you would like to see more of his puzzles, you might check him out on the Web, or visit the IPP (International Puzzle Party) site.

This Is another one of the excellent puzzles in the Hanayama collection. As with their other puzzles, the quality is exceptionally good. This one appears to be made of brass, and is heavy and strong so as to give lots of use without being bent or otherwise damaged. As to Difficulty it one of the easier in the Hanayama collection, and suitable for all levels of expertise. If you get stuck, don’t give up, or give it away; there are helpful videos on YouTube, or PuzzleMaster will e-mail you a solution.

Cast Laby

I decided to place my review along with the several others for this Cast Laby listing. It is made by Hanayama but sold by different companies and at different prices. However; they are all alike. The designer claims he found a puzzle in Britain at a flea market from the puzzle craze days of the 19th Century. He successfully revived the puzzle in a new form as we see here. It is a very challenging puzzle and claims to have a Difficulty Level of 5 out of 6. .That means a lot of novices will have a lot of difficulty solving it and more seasoned puzzlers will find it a good challenge. It basically has rather small mazes on both sides; and the object is to negotiate the other ring through the labyrinth and remove it. Since the mazes are small, it seems a simple task, that is, until you try.
It is made of heavy cast metal and will withstand lots of use without being damaged. As with all puzzles, excessive force is not required. It doesn’t come with a solution; but if you find you need a little help, PuzzleMaster will e-mail you a solution, or if you’d prefer a video, YouTube has a couple. It took me a bit to figure out the name, Laby, I guess it’s obviously just short for Labyrinth.

You can purchase this puzzle and get the solution at Puzzle Master.cast_laby


Cast U&U

Hanayama seems to release Cast Puzzles faster than I can get them. It looks like my Cast collection is always incomplete… My latest effort in keeping with the tradition of adding puzzles to a never-ending collection is the Cast U&U, an intriguing design by Kyoo Wong, who also designed the recent Cast Delta. The theme for the U&U is “complexity”, but it might as well be complication, since it gives you no clues or hints for the solution. The puzzle was presented at this year’s 34th IPP and was one of the winners of the Jury Grand Prize award.
The Cast U&U is comprised of two almost identical U-shaped bolts and four almost identical nuts. These subtleties in the design are so small that you need to study each part very thoroughly. The two pieces have a natural silvery color, much like any other metal bolts, with no special coating – It would be scratched very easily otherwise. The size is quite small, but average for a Cast Puzzle, each part measuring 4.5cm in diameter (1.8″).
The first thing you notice when you study the puzzle for the first time is that the nuts can rotate freely up and down the bolts, but they can’t be removed. This immediately tells you that the solution must make use of the right positions for each nut. The bolts are not entirely round, they’re actually flatten on both sides. The aperture between the two ends of each bolt is so narrow that you can’t separate them by simply pushing them out.
Hanayama has rated the U&U as a level 4/6, but after having solved it within 10 minutes, I reckon it’s not that challenging. Even putting it together again is not that difficult, although you have to keep the nuts correctly aligned, just like for when you solved it. The difficulty of the puzzle is pretty much finding the correct alignment of the nuts, which is easily overcome by a careful examination or at least some trial and error.
Closing Comments:
Hanayama has yet again produced a great addition to the Cast Family. The U&U is a pleasure to play with, but that’s already guaranteed with any Cast Puzzle. With 62 different designs already in the series, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to choose the best ones. Nevertheless, this one belongs at least in the top 20.Availability: The Cast U&U is available at PuzzleMaster for $12.95 CAD. You can also find all the others of the Cast series.


New Hanayama Website (in English)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)

EZ Atom

The EZ Atom Puzzle was designed by Doug Engel. He started designing puzzles in 1962,;and since that time he has designed over 100 puzzles. To get an idea of the beauty of some of his puzzles, visit the PuzzleMaster website. Click on the subject of Inventors and Designers and 6 of his puzzles will appear; EZ Atom being one of them. His puzzles shown, range in difficulty from 5 to 8 out of 10; EZ Atom being 6.
It consists of 3 pretzel shaped metal pieces.  The major difference being that the Silver piece has 1 opening, the bronze has 2 openings and the gold has 3 openings. Also the Silver piece has a small bump that seems to lock up the puzzle. In the center is a glass ball, locked in by the 3 pieces. When manipulating the puzzle, it rattles a bit due to looseness. Normally puzzles do not require excessive force to solve, especially cast metal ones, but a hint here is that this one does require some.
The puzzle is well made, of heavy cast metal and they have a high quality Gold, Silver and Brass finishes. It looks like it will stand up to lots of use. The price is very reasonable, considering the quality.
It is an attractive puzzle and that makes it a good ornament as well as being inviting for people to “give it a try”..
The object is to take the puzzle apart, then put it together again.
The puzzle is about 3″ X 3″ X 3″ and weighs about 8 ounces.

You can get the solution as well as purchase the puzzle at Puzzle Master

 3D Puzzle Buster

3D Puzzle Buster is a neat little introduction set for anyone interested in puzzles, optical illusions, quizzes, etc. The pack consists of 9 thumbnail size wire puzzles. These are age old puzzles and are very simple to solve and actually the way they are solved is much the same way. There is small 3 3/4 X 3 3/4 inch booklet of 48 pages which gives a full page illustration for solving each wire puzzle. The rest of the book consists of 29 puzzles and answers. The quality of the wire puzzles is quite poor as the wire is very light and can be easily bent and deformed, ruining them. The other puzzles are fairly good and with a little time can be solved by kids or adults. Now let me explain my title. On the back of the package the price is stamped, $7.99 US,$10.99 Cdn. That is plenty to pay for this item. However, it is being offered here for $99.15.This is a ridiculously high price and anyone who pays that much for this kit will be very disappointed. Then there’s the shipping weight that is listed as 2 pounds. At the most this item weighs only about 3 or 4 ounces. You can purchase this puzzle at Amazon.


Conestoga Playmate

Tavern Puzzles get their name from their history of being available in Taverns to entertain and challenge their customers. In order to withstand lots if heavy use, they were made of forged iron by local blacksmiths. Also, they are much larger and heavier than conventional wire puzzles. Therefore, they can often be offered as smaller wire puzzles.

The Conestoga Playmate puzzle has been around for a long time and goes by various names and made by various companies and even by local puzzle makers.

Where the name Conestoga comes from, I don’t know; but an older name for it is the Gingerbread Man Puzzle. That name is obvious from the man shape at the top of the puzzle.

As to difficulty, it has to be rated as fairly easy, particularly for anyone who is familiar with the Horseshoe puzzle. It would be a good choice as a starter puzzle, but would provide very little challenge to an experienced puzzle solver. It would be a great choice to bring out to challenge a group of people as an ice breaker or table topic.

You can purchase this puzzle and get the solution at Puzzle Master.


Cast Nutcase

Another great puzzle in the Hanayama collection. The Cast Nutcase was designed by Oskar van Deventer of the Netherlands and was added to the collection in 2007. At this time there are 60+ puzzles in the collection and in each package is a colored insert showing all the puzzles along with their Difficulty levels. These puzzles make great gifts, stocking stuffers, etc, for anyone who likes the challenge of a good puzzle There are no solutions provided with the puzzles, but there are hints and other help available on the net or other websites negating the temptation of discarding it if one cannot solve. Also, even after solving and putting away for a while, they can be challenging all over again. This puzzle is available from several companies and is packaged in different looking packages. But don’t let the packaging confuse you, they are all made by Hanayama and the quality is all the same.,though the price might vary.
Hanayama give it a Difficulty Level of 6 out of 6, Puzzlemaster rate it 10 out of 10.Some Reviewers have said it is not really that difficult, It all depends on how one perceives the puzzle is put together, how nimble and sensitive one is in manipulating the puzzle, and also with a bit of luck thrown in. The threads on the pieces can add a little challenge and a bit of lubricant will help here. However, be warned that excessive force being applied when seemingly jammed will result in cross-threading and damage the puzzle. If shaken, a small nut inside can be heard, but it is only a distraction, and doesn’t involve solving.
My best advice is to pretend you are a safe cracker and feel the pieces move and work from there. I often remark on the beauty of Hanayama puzzles; but this one doesn’t have much beauty to it. It looks like a nuts and bolt thing, nothing more or less.
It is sturdy, made of heavy cast metal with a bronze finish. It is about 2″ X 1″ and will not break or be damaged as long as excessive force is used, which may damage the threads.
Left laying around or handed to someone, looks like it would be simple to turn off the nuts; but it soon shows that there is something “Wackey” with this object; and now the fun begins.

You can purchase this puzzle or get a solution at Puzzle Master.

Cast Amour

Hanayama claim the Cast Amour puzzle has a difficulty of 5 out of 6. PuzzleMaster rate it 9 in a difficulty of 6 to 10. A “novice” would find it that difficult, while an”expert” might find it somewhat easier. It is a very eye-catching puzzle. Made of heavy metal, it has a shiny gold metallic finish. It also has a small loop at the top, allowing for it to be worn on a chain, though not included. It is about 2 ” in size, so easily carried in one’s pocket. It, like other Hanayama cast puzzles, is very well made of excellent materials, and will stand up to a lot of use. The object is to remove the two loops, one male and one female, and then put them back together. Excessive force should not be used, nor is it needed. This puzzle was designed by two expert puzzle designers, Oskar van Deventer of the Netherlands and Akio Yakamoto of San Francisco. Both of these designers utilize the magic of 3-D Printing in making their puzzles. A search of their names as puzzle designers on the Net will show some of the many unbelievable puzzles they have designed.

You can purchase this puzzle as well as get a solution at Puzzle Master

Cast Marble

Another gem of a puzzle from Hanayama. True to form, the Cast Marble is beautiful to look at as well to hold. It is quite small, 1 1/2 X 1 1/2 x1 inches. It is also quite heavy for its size. It is made of solid metal and has a polished chrome finish. I am sure it will retain its beauty after years of use. It has a difficulty of 4 out of 6 to solve and similar difficulty to reassemble. However, with a little practice it can be taken apart and reassembled quickly, This aspect will amaze people when they try to solve it. There is one clue that must be discovered, or one can twist and turn it to their heart’s content, and not solve it.
The puzzle was designed by Bram Cohen & Oskar van Deventer. Oskar is a very interesting inventor from the Netherlands. He uses the modern methods of 3-D printing in making his puzzles as the pieces are so intricate that they would be difficult to make using normal casting or machines. There is interesting information on the net about Oskar van Deventer, how and why he invents puzzle as well as examples of many of his wonderful puzzles.
Like many Hanayama puzzles, they are well made and small, thus lending themselves to be carried around in your pocket and brought out to entertain and challenge friends. Most of these puzzles are attractive and hence are not intimidating.

You can purchase this puzzle as well as get the solution from Puzzle Master

Cast Cylinder

I believe Cast Cylinder is the 61st Cast puzzle in Hanayama‘s collection. It was designed by one of the world’s foremost puzzle designers, Vesa Timonen of Finland. He has designed many puzzles as well as several in Hanayama’s Cast collection. Anyone who is familiar with this collection will probably be familiar with Cast Loop, which is arguably the most exquisite one in the collection; and It is also one of his designs. It too, is such a magnificent design that if laying around, one would collection. Anyone it was a puzzle. Then, once they realize that it is a puzzle they are amazed. It could even be worn as a piece of jewelry.
Vesa Timonen is renowned for his elegant and deceptively simple (read but difficult) puzzle designs. He has won a number of awards at the International Puzzle Design Competition. His amazing puzzles are beautiful in design, but should not be under estimated as to their difficulty.
Now, with his Cast Cylinder, he has once again come up with an elegant and challenging puzzle. Hanayama rate its Difficulty as 4 out of 6;while PuzzleMaster rate it 8 out of 10.If anything, I would suggest that it is at least that difficult. It is not a puzzle a novice would likely quickly solve, but would give a seasoned puzzler an AG! moment when solved. Most would think that a safe cracker would have to be highly experienced to solve a combination lock, and some of the same skills, or at least a similar approach is in order for anyone who expects to open up the cylinder.
Like all, Hanayama Cast puzzles, the quality of materials and craftsmanship is superb. Being rather small, about 1 1/4 X 1 1/4 inches, it will fit nicely in one’s pocket and be readily available to create instant interest in any gathering of puzzlers regardless of their solving skills.
So you’ve solved…now put it back together!!

If you are totally baffled, don’t despair and toss this little gem. You will find a helpful video on YouTube or get a solution from PuzzleMaster.

You can purchase this puzzle at Puzzle Master.

Bosun Metal Puzzle

This heavy wire puzzle is about as simple as any you’ll find. Bosun Metal Puzzle is so sturdy, made of heavy nickel coated metal and virtually indestructible. It would make a good stocking stuffer and something to amuse young and old alike. To someone who thinks they can never solve these types of puzzles then they will be pleased and even surprised when they solve this one. Last night, while I’m out to dinner with 6 adults and one 7 year old boy, I brought out one of these simple wire puzzles and it got everyone’s attention. It quickly made the time pass as we waited for our dinners to arrive. You can purchase this puzzle at Amazon.


The Lagoon Group Mega Maze – Titan (difficulty 7 of 10)

The Lagoon Group Bendy Buzzle is based on a test that has been used for years by the medical profession to test a patient’s eye and hand coordination. You may even have your doctor try this test on you just after the he tapped your knee with his little hammer to check your reflexes. Or maybe during your army enlistment medical check-up when he held your family jewels and asked you to cough. The only thing missing with the medical profession was the sound effects but then, when did examiners ever have a sense of humor? Pull this Buzzle out whenever you are looking for tension reliever or anytime you want to liven up things. The concept is the ultimate in simplicity. All one has to do is to move the hook along the wire from one end to the other without touching the wire or the Buzzle to give an irritating laugh. Does it look simple? Well as simple or hard as you want to make it, as the wire can be twisted and contorted to make the task as tough as you want. It will lighten up any party or gathering and could be a great safety device to bring out when someone has had a few drinks and is wondering or needs to be convinced they shouldn’t be driving.  As the cost of everything the government and police seem to do keep skyrocketing. This little device could do the job as well as any expensive breathalyzer on the market. My grandchildren are coming over tonight and I know they’ll love this Buzzle. You can purchase this puzzle at Amazon.

Cast 5&5 Metal Brain Teaser Puzzle

Cast 5&5 Metal Brain Teaser Puzzle is one of the easiest Brainteasers you’ll find. It is very well made of heavy nickel coated metal and is virtually indestructible. It is a good choice for a basic starter puzzle. It can be solved by anyone who applies a little patience and perseverance. It is excellent to carry with you as an ice breaker, or time killer in a restaurant or pub. It is a puzzle that doesn’t look intimidating and once one person, young or old, solves it, everyone will want to give it a try. Twisting and turning is the road to solution and excessive force is not needed. As an added challenge, after solving it, try it with your eyes closed. Or once a few have solved it, have someone try solving it as the others count how long it takes. It’s amazing how the challenge increases when people work against time. This can be a great stocking stuffer or party favor. You can purchase this puzzle at Puzzle Master.


Tangled Nails


Puzzlemaster Brain Teaser Puzzle – Tangled Nails is a classic that has been around for a donkey’s age probably ever since there have been nails around to bend. It’s so simple, it could be found as a “surprise” in a box of popcorn or a Christmas cracker. It can be bought alone and made of heavy, polished or stainless steel nails or in a set of several lightweight wire materials. An ideal puzzle to give to someone who is absolutely convinced they “could never solve a puzzle, so there’s no use trying”. Just to convince them how easy it is, tell them to hold each nail by the tip in each hand, twist and turn. There you have it! You can solve it! You can purchase this puzzle at Puzzle Master.

Cast Cylinder

The Cast Cylinder is Vesa Timonen‘s latest contribution to the ever growing series produced by Hanayama. Launched in August 2013 as the 60th puzzle in the series (if my calculations are correct), the Cylinder has a very interesting design and concept. Like many others in the Hanayama collection, the appearance of the Cylinder doesn’t give you any hints as to how it should be solved. Luckily, and unlike Hanayama, they give you a pretty good hint in the description that will sure help you with your task. The theme for this puzzle is “lock”.
The Cylinder is presented in a chrome color and consists of two rings that rotate freely in 360º. Within the rings are three apparently similar pieces that don’t appear to be affected by the rotation of the disks. These pieces don’t move up or down, and the rings can’t be separated either. With a little persistence, however, you’ll see that the pieces can actually be moved.
That’s when the Hanayama hint in the puzzle’s description comes in handy. This is a quote from the actual description: “go about it as if you were cracking open a safe”. That’s also why I mentioned this is unlike Hanayama. They don’t usually give out hints for solving their puzzles, so I was a bit surprised by it. Following this important piece of information I proceeded slowly by rotating one of the disks until I saw something that could indicate I was on the right path. I’m not sure how many complete turns I made with the ring, but it took me a while to finally see some progress.
Eventually, one of the three pieces slid down a bit and I was ecstatic. I wasn’t sure what do next, so I continued and tried to see if one of the other pieces would fall down as well. No luck this time. After some more fiddling I was able to find out that the piece that had slid down could rotate independently from the rings. Again, after doing this for some time, another piece slid down. The two pieces were now side by side with only the third one still in its original position. Some more fiddling and now one of the pieces had fall down even further. The three pieces were now in a cascade, each one lower than the other. From here, the puzzle was a step closer to being solved. It wasn’t long before I could remove the first piece and then the remaining two. A couple of extra steps were needed, but I won’t reveal all of the solution for you.

Now, all I had to do was putting the puzzle back together again. You’d think that’d be easy after seeing the internal mechanism, wouldn’t you? Well, all I can say is that this task is even harder than taking it apart. I can’t remember the order in which the pieces were removed, and the process is anything but straightforward. I tried to follow a solution guide, but that only includes the description of the solving process and doesn’t show which piece is first removed. Note that two of the pieces are identical. So, as of now, the puzzle hasn’t still returned to its former glory.

Solution: If you find yourself stuck you can download the solution here.

Closing Comments:

The Cast Cylinder is quite difficult to solve but, to my surprise, I’m finding it ten times harder to put it back together. This is classified as a difficulty level 4/6, and I agree with it if you’re only taking it apart. However, doing the reverse is as difficult as any of the 6/6 level puzzles. Prepare for some frustration with this one.

Availability: You can find the Cast Cylinder and all the others in the Hanayama series at PuzzleMaster.


Oskar van Deventer has done it again. Cast Twist is his latest puzzle for Hanayama’s flagship series which makes him one of their biggest partners with 12 designs in his name already. Released last October, the Cast Twist, formerly known as Snake Ball, is a level 4/6 and its theme is “Tangle”.
The puzzle consists of two apparently similar, but distinct parts that start out entangled in each other. Since the two parts appear almost identical, Hanayama chose to coat them in two different colors, silver and gold. The contrast also looks gorgeous and gives the puzzle a shiny and elegant appearance. The size is slightly bigger than the Cast Donuts, with a diameter of 4cm (1.6″).
The goal of the Cast Twist is somewhat straightforward, but still a bit overwhelming due to all these grooves that criss-cross the entire surface of the puzzle. There’s a protrusion in each piece that you’ll be able to use in order to navigate both mazes, so you should pay attention to their position at all times, albeit being difficult at times, because of the tight tolerances between the two pieces.
The first movement that you’ll be able to perform will be to slide the gold piece across the silver one, but you’ll be immediately stopped with almost nowhere to go. The only course of action is to study which path the silver piece should take, and at first your options are limited. As you move further along more paths will open, but so will do many dead-ends. It’s here that the puzzle becomes tricky, and solving it will require a good dose of trial and error, but that alone won’t get you far. You need to figure out how to get to the exit.
As mentioned above, the difficulty level of the puzzle is 4/6, but after spending almost an hour solving it and putting it together, I honestly think this one deserves a higher rating. A 5 would most certainly be a better fit for what you should expect when you try it yourself. Putting it back to its original position won’t be a walk in the park either. It’s equally challenging due to the long path you must take from start to finish.Solution: If you feel your brain “twisted”, you can download the puzzle’s solution here.

Closing Comments:
Oskar’s Cast Twist follows the Hanayama tradition perfectly. A superb design, combined with a fun and challenging solution, and made with high quality materials at a competitive price. It’s no wonder that they sell like hotcakes. Highly recommended, as usual.Availability: You can find the Cast Twist, and all the others in the Hanayama series at PuzzleMaster.

Release the Ms Metal Brain Teaser Puzzle

Release the Ms Metal Brain Teaser Puzzle is an excellent puzzle. It has been made by many companies and is still one of the most common puzzles around. To be blunt, it is a classic. It has a difficulty of 4 out of 10. It is made of heavy metal so it is almost impossible to break. It is a puzzle that most people could solve with a little perseverance. It is a puzzle that will get passed around when a few friends are socializing. It looks much simpler than it is and since it doesn’t look intimidating, once one person solves it, someone else will be anxious to try. The thing I like about this puzzle is that even if you have solved it, you just need to put it away for a while then later on, get it out and it becomes another challenge to resolve. Some puzzles like this one are difficult to take apart. However, this one can be put back together almost instantly. This is highly recommended for anyone who likes puzzles or a challenge of any kind. You can purchase this puzzle at Amazon.