Designer: James Fortune

This puzzle measures: 78 mm x 78 mm x 78 mm

Material: Purpleheart, Maple, Walnut

Kevin Sadler wrote about it:

“Recently Pelikan have produced a series of wonderful puzzles that contribute to Goetz’ Burr zoo and I was very pleased to see them continue this with the Hippo. This one has been designed by a relative newcomer to puzzle design, James Fortune, who I have been watching on Facebook for a year now. James has also set up a shop selling his designs that he has 3D printed (I have not tried any of these but they look amazing). For a design to be accepted by Jakub and Jaroslav, it must be pretty special – they always prototype them and check for poor design features like lack of stability or not a fun solve. The Hippo is a wonderful creation which is perfect for all puzzlers interested in burrs. It is beautiful, having been made from Maple, Purpleheart and Walnut with a wonderful bevelled finish and a lovely surprise once you find the correct start of the pathway. It is this first step that I struggled with the most. There are a couple of moves that are nice and easy to find and they are the wrong ones because they lead nowhere. I had taken this to work to play with and during a lunch break people watching me were extremely disappointed to see me go around and around in circles getting nowhere. Luckily I had to work again and used that as an excuse to stop making a fool of myself. Eventually I found the very well hidden first moves and I was on my way. This puzzle has a level of which is absolutely perfect. There are a few blind ends but none terribly deep and a lovely wide circle where a lot of possibilities lead you astray. I managed to get the first piece out relatively quickly once I had found the initial moves but the removal of the next two pieces took me a VERY long time. I could always return to the beginning but I was missing a well disguised move which I finally found yesterday. Usually with these, they become very unstable after a few pieces have been taken out but this one does not. It becomes sort of “squishy” and there are a few possible rotations that need to be controlled but with a little effort the removal of all the subsequent pieces can proceed without collapse right down to the very last pair. This is nothing short of extraordinary! During the solution, the hippo moves about a little but remains fairly static with just the sticks moving around him – he really gets in the way! There is also a particular feature of a couple of the burr sticks that links them together – it does look like they should separate on several occasions but they are firmly hooked up. If you enjoy burrs or want to try them out then this is a perfect puzzle for you.”