I just got a flyer from Ideal announcing their Rubik's Cube Club,
address Box 72, Hollis, NY 11423, $5.00 for a year. They also have
"merchandise" (no prices included), including cube shirt, tie, patch,
button, bumper sticker, etc. They also have a poster with many of
Ideal's cube-related products on it, including the 4**3 (called
Rubik's Revenge), a 2**3, Rubik's Race, Rubik's Challenge, etc. I
can't tell quite what all of them are.
Also, there are several new group-theory puzzles on the market (here
or in England), sort of related to the barrel. Orb-it is a sphere
with beads that rotate around 4 parallels. In addition, the whole
sphere rotates around a meridian, to bring different halves of
the parallels into contact, changing from 4 separate circles of
beads to one continuous "spiral", or two disjoint closed paths.
Equator Puzzle is a sphere with 3 intersecting (of course) great
circles, each consisting of 12 squares which move around the circles.
The coloring is into 4 segments, sort of like orange slices.
The Trillion Puzzle (will be available from Ideal) is a cross of colored
pieces, 17 of them, four each of 4 colors plus an extra red piece.
They can be arranged with each arm of the cross monochromatic, or in
4 circles around the center. "The cross lies in a circle divided into
3 concentric rings which are independently rotatable, though the outer
ring cannot move when the plunger is pushed in. The middle ring is 2
pieces wide." (From the description in Singmasters catalogue). The
plunger moves one arm (9 pieces) over 1 piece. About 1 billion
distinguishable patterns. And many more - Hungarian Rings, and
Gears, for two. I also saw some which used polarized light, so
it was hard to tell where the pieces should go.
The latest cube I've seen has Pac-man and other electronic game
figures on it.
--- Stan Isaacs