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Bill Cutler Puzzles, Inc.

Although I have long been interested in designing burrs in which removing the first piece can only be done after several other moves have been made, I have not been involved until recently with 6-piece burr designs of this type. A 6-piece burr design which disassembles in such a fashion must of necessity have some internal holes, hence the name `holey 6-piece burr.' I have preferred designing such `non-trivial-to-take-apart' burrs by using larger burr shapes with more pieces and more internal cubes to `play around with.' I had always felt that the 6-piece burr did not have adequate enough internal space with which to make a really interesting design. The contributors to this collection of holey 6-piece designs have seen fit to prove me wrong.

My interest in trying my hand at a holey 6-piece design was started by Stewart Coffin, who by early 1981 had designed three of his own, and challenged his readers to come up with their own designs. The most moves required to remove the first piece in his designs was three. This will be called the `level' of the burr, although the best definition of this number is subject to considerable debate. Stewart offered to produce models of the best design that was submitted. By 1984 he had not received any, so I thought this was a contest that I might be able to win! I began by trying to come up with a level-6 design, but soon retreated to level-5. After a fairly short amount of time, I came up with one, but had to try several variations until I found one with a unique solution. Testing the different possibilities was done accurately and swiftly with a program which I had recently written to disassemble puzzles consisting of pieces built up from cubes.

Stewart declared me the winner of the contest, even though my entry was late, and this eventually led to the appearance in Scientific American of Bill's Baffling Burr in October, 1985. Since then, I have received some 30 holey-6 designs from a variety of people.

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