Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge, a “trick opening” puzzle  is designed by Stephan Baumegger and it also won a “Top 10 Vote Getter Award” during the IPP37 Puzzle Design Competition.  Stephan is a prolific puzzle designer (at last count with 191 designs on PWBP) well-known for his interlocking burrs, but not just typical looking ones. Take a look at his Puzzleisure Facebook page and you will find an incredible number of unusual but identifiable “themed” burrs, produced with outstanding beauty, quality and craftsmanship.

I was rather delighted when I received the Moulin Rouge from Roman Gotter during my IPP37 puzzle exchange with Roman in Paris recently. What was a bit surprising tho is that Stephan’s Moulin Rouge doesn’t follow the themed burr concept that he is famous for….in fact at first glance it looked a bit “Karakuri-ish”. But still the puzzle has a French theme connected with IPP37 – Moulin Rouge (in French means “Red Mill”) is a world famous cabaret in Paris.

And so the puzzle resembles a miniature windmill. The object is to “help” Colette, a can-can dancer who’s trapped inside the mill to “escape”. Practically speaking, it means you have to find a way to open up the windmill to discover Colette who’s inside. A trick opening puzzle box one can call it perhaps.

The Moulin Rouge is made of a combination of exotic hardwoods (Amarant, Merbau and Beech) and takes roughly 8-9 moves to solve. No external tools are necessary and yes, as you might have guessed, the fan of the windmill does serve a purpose other than being decorative.

Unexpectedly I was stuck at the last step of freeing Colette. For more than several minutes I could see Colette but could not fathom a way to get her out of her “trap”. For a while, I though Stephan had inadvertently left out something from the puzzle which was necessary to solve it. But as I realised later, I had myself to blame for being careless and not paying close enough attention to the overall puzzle itself. Everything was there which I needed. Nonetheless all ended well and out came Colette. For Exchange puzzles, the Colette is unpainted, like mine in the photo but as I understand, those copies that are for sale have a very detailed painted Colette.

A nice little puzzle indeed! The Moulin Rouge is very well made and provides an adequate amount of challenge, at a level of difficulty which is “just right” for an exchange puzzle.

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