Date: Sat, 19 Sep 92 20:00:00 -0400
From: Mark Longridge <mark.longridge@canrem.com >
~~~ ~~~ Subject: pyraminx revisted
Notes on the Pyraminx
---------------------

According to Dr. Ronald Turner-Smith there are 5 different Pyraminx
puzzles, all of different complexity. The following are listed in
order from easiest to hardest (to the best of my knowledge):

Pyraminx Star: Easiest of all pyraminx??
A simplification of the popular pyraminx because of the
little uni-coloured (usually grey or silver) tetrahedrons
on the 3 middle pieces of each face. Effectively all
middle pieces on this pyraminx are the same colour!

Snub Pyraminx: Same as standard pyraminx with tips removed

Popular Pyraminx: The standard pyraminx of which appeared in vast
quanities after the cube caught on.

Senior Pyraminx: This is a mystery puzzle. No one seems to know anything
about it, yet Turner-Smith's book refers to it and
gives the maximum number of moves for it! It is between
the Popular Pyraminx and Master Pyraminx in difficulty.

Master Pyraminx: All the moves of the standard pyraminx plus 180 degree
turns of the edges (just the strip, not the whole face)
446,965,972,992,000 combinations. Interestingly in the
ads for Dr. Ronald Turner-Smith's book "The Amazing
Pyraminx" the Master Pyraminx is cited as a puzzle
superior to Rubik's Cube because there are no centre
pieces and it's harder! (Both points debatable IMHO)

Also Turner-Smith gives the following maximum number of moves for
each type of Pyraminx puzzle: (The popular pyraminx is now known
to be 11 moves at most or 14 moves if the tips are included)

Type 1          24 moves   ??
Type 2          28 moves   ??
Type 3          38 moves   ??
Type 4         215 moves   (Senior Pyraminx)
Type 5         255 moves   (Master Pyraminx)

Also it is known that transparent pyraminx puzzles were made. This
would be a good idea for the cube as well. Meffert also considered
a textured pyraminx for the blind, and ones with leather and wood
finishes.

All the post-cube puzzles compare themselves to the cube, such as
the Master Pyraminx, and more recently Smart Alex. It seems that
Rubik's Cube is the benchmark for all others to compare with.

Alas, Uwe Meffert's puzzle club was a bust. Barring unique prototypes
(perhaps Singmaster or Hofstadter have a Master Pyraminx, I'll check)
none of the following were produced: (most of these are documented in
the extremely rare "Pyraminx The Exciting new 1982 range" or the even
more obscure 1983 edition booklet. Both of these have full colour pages
with photos of cardboard mockups of all the variants.)

1982:

Pyraminx Star (exists in small quanities, in Constantin's catalog)
Pyraminx Pentagon, Pyraminx Hexagon (Computer Simulation/Mockup only)
One can also imagine Septagons, Octagons etc...
Pyraminx Barrel Junior, Pyraminx Barrel Senior (Mockup only)

Pyraminx Disc Chess (Prototypes exist)
Pyraminx Ultimate (as shown in July 82 Scientific American, Mockup)
Pyraminx Crystal, Pyraminx Ball (Mockups, July 82 S.A)
I'd really like to see the mechanism for a working crystal!
Pyraminx Assembly Puzzles, 4 types (They exist)
Pyraminx Octahedron (An octahedral skewb, I believe Braun & Bandelow
some) Gerd Braun is the inventor of the Moody Ball (rare but exists)
Pyraminx Tetrahedron (Ben Halpern made a prototype)

1983:

Crystal Ball (Looks like an orb, definitely not the same though)

However....

Just a few days ago I got Constantin's catalog. Surprisingly there is
a picture of Josef Trajber's Octahedron inside. Also there is a picture
of what appears to be a Pyraminx Ball. Other ideas he includes are a
2x2x2 siamese cube, new variants on Fisher's cube, e.g. Fisher's Domino,
and a Pyraminx Ultimate for 180 DM!

...and so the search for new cube variants continues. Please send me
your
comments (Does anyone actually own a working Master Pyraminx??) I'm
also interested in exchanging full cube lists with other collectors.

Mark Longridge                 Email: mark.longridge@canrem.com
259 Thornton Rd N