|Scenes from the 2006|
International Puzzle Party
The 26th annual International Puzzle Party was held in Boston, Massachusetts, in July 2006. The IPP was founded in 1980 by America's foremost puzzle collector, Jerry Slocum, and is organized by Jerry and a trans-continental committee of metagrobologists.
Here are a few scenes from the invitation-only puzzle sale and swap, where designers display their creations on long tables in the hotel ballroom, and collectors mingle to find new treasures and old rarities. Kate participated in the puzzle exchange with her design tailored just for the occasion: the Boston T-Party puzzle, served up as teabags in a large boat-shaped vessel that had to be assembled from lasercut parts. We thank Thomas Atkinson for programming and cutting Kate's crazy design and actually getting it to work:
The Puzzle Exchange takes most of a day, and on the following day it's a free-for-all of displaying and selling puzzles of every kind. Here's the very compressed display that Kate set up to entice browsers. The front of the table has a row of puzzles open for play. The Kadon table was very popular with the children. Interestingly, the main collectors are mostly male adults. Kate and the few other lady designers form a tiny minority of the attendees.
Kadon also produced the puzzles for Andy's exchange. It was a very clever combination of polyhexes Andy called YES!, because only 3 shapes were used: 4 Y, 5 E, and 5 S. Andy had proposed a series of tricky challenges. Here's what it looked like assembled in an almost symmetrical pattern we nicknamed "Sad Clown":
This was also the year that the Nob Yoshigahara lifetime achievement award was established, and the first recipient to receive this honor was Stewart Coffin, America's preeminent puzzle designer and master craftsman. Here he is, at the formal banquet, not knowing that he is to be the honoree, as even his family kept it a total secret while they were preparing for the event. It was more a roast than a toast, but the great love that everyone has for this legendary puzzle maker kept it hilarious, and Stewart's own great sense of humor and aplomb made his presentation the high point of the evening. Stewart has authored several books on puzzles in addition to making them. Noteworthy is The Puzzling World of Polyhedral Dissections. You can read it online here. His newest is Geometric Puzzle Design, which Kate helped to proofread many years ago.