Octo-Star Cube

The Octo-Star Cube is an absolutely wonderful twisty puzzle which should be in everyone's collection! It's a mass-produced version of the Octocube, first designed by David Pitcher. It's made by Calvin's Puzzle, and this is generally known as the Pitcher Octo-Star cube from Calvin's Puzzles. It shape-shifts, but is in cube shape when solved. To buy this puzzle, click here.

The Basic Plot
  1. Return to Cube Shape
  2. Reduce Centers
  3. Reduce Edges
  4. Solve Reduced Cube
  5. Fix Parity
1. Return to Cube Shape

When this puzzle is properly scrambled, it sometimes gets very tricky to turn. To start with, find 4 corners which are in an edge position. Place these corners onto one face, so that the corners are sticking out, not up. In other words, if the face is the Up face, the corners will be pointing out towards the F, L, B and R faces. Now, find 4 edges and place them between those corners using simple turns. When this is done, you'll have 4 corners in the edge positions, and 4 edges in the corner positions. Once they're all there, turn that face 45°. This alone will improve the situation significantly.

After this, the goal is to twist any edges in the edge position which have been twisted. To do this, turn the face containing the edge 45° so that the twisted edge is in a corner position. Now perform (F'RFR')x2 or similar, to orient the edge correctly. Then turn the face back 45°. Do this for all such edges.

From here, the goal is to place all remaining corners into the corner positions and all remaining edges into the edge positions. This is done with simple turns, always by turning the desired face 45°.

The entire process is shown in the video below.


2. Reduce Centers

Reducing centers is the longest stage, because the cube keeps coming out of cube shape briefly. It's not difficult to do, rather just tedious.

The goal here is to place 4 small triangles around the large center, on each face. Do each face one at a time. It can take some figuring out to get edge pieces lined up correctly to enable the appropriate 45° turns to be made. Find a desired triangle and position it in the FL position. Turn the upper face 45° so that its position is now in the UL edge position, move the triangle up, then return the upper face 45°. As with most things, this is far easier to understand by watching the video below.


3. Reduce Edges

Reducing the edges is fun, and is definitely the most interesting and rewarding part of the solve. A completely reduced edge contains a small triangle, a large triangle, and two kites. For these purposes, a reduced edge initially does not need to contain the large triangle.

To match either a small triangle with a kite piece, or else a small triangle/kite with another kite piece,  place the pieces at UL and UR. Rotate the upper face 45°, either clockwise or anticlockwise, so that the move L2 R2 D2 R2 L2 will bring together the two pieces. This is the basic, and very simple move to reduce edges.

Sometimes it's necessary to change the position of a kite within the edge it's sitting on. It's much easier to see this than to have it explained, so I'll leave it for the video. Similarly for the situation when the last edge needs to be reduced.


4. Solve Reduced Cube

At this point, the puzzle may be solved as a 3x3x3 cube, using whichever method you prefer. I do basically an edges first approach, but in the video below, use only the EPS for the whole thing, not the CPS. If you do not encounter the parity of two swapped corners, you're done. Otherwise, see the next section.



5.Fix Parity

To fix the parity of two swapped corners, turn once face 45°. This completely fixes the parity issue, but of course, the cube is now out of shape and unsolved. We then re-solve the cube, starting with re-reducing the centers, then re-reducing the edges, and finally re-solving the 3x3x3 cube. It doesn't take long and is a very simple process to carry out.




And that's it. Your Octo-Star Cube is now solved. I trust this site has been helpful. If you have any questions or want some clarifications, please use the comments to do so. To buy this puzzle, click here.


Geranium Puzzle

The Geranium Puzzle is technically not a twisty puzzle, but even that assertion is debatable. You turn the circles through a perspex cover. So technically it could be called a "turny puzzle". This puzzle is an absolute killer of a puzzle. So far, I believe I'm only one of two people to have solved it on their own without a computer program. I'm definitely the only person to have produced a tutorial video on it. This all makes me feel happy, and sometimes I think maybe I'm not so dumb after all.

The puzzle took me a loooong time (basically a week of constant work) to figure out, and nearly killed me. It's a super-difficult puzzle. It was produced by VeryPuzzle.

As a change in this blog post, I won't be writing detailed notes on the solve process. Instead, I'll give a barebones outline of how to solve it, and trust that you watch the videos to see it. It's definitely easier to see what's going on in the videos.

 To buy this puzzle, click here.

The Basic Plot
  1. Fix Trapped Triangles
  2. Place Crowns
  3. Attach Triangles to Crowns
  4. Place Center Pentagons
  5. Place Remaining Triangles
  6. Endgame
1. Fix Trapped Triangles

The goal of this stage is to have all circles freely turning and then fix any trapped triangles.

a. Position stems
b. Position arches
c. Place pentagons correctly above arches (not next to stems).

d. Fix trapped triangles

R'  L'(36)  R  L(36)
DL'  (L R' L' R)  DL
(L'  DR  L DR')  (R' L R L')  (DR L' DR' L)
L'(36)  R'  L(36)  R


2. Place Crowns

L R' L' R and similar

Some will need changing orbits.
(DL' L')   (L R' L' R)   (L DL) and similar


3. Attach Triangles to Crowns

(L R' L' R)  DR  (R' L R L')  DR' and similar


4. Place Center Pentagons

(L R' L' R)  DL'  (R' L R L')  DL and similar



5. Place Remaining Triangles

From Up-Left, cycling downwards
L R' L' R
(DR L'  DR' L)     (R DL' R' DL)     (L' DR L DR')
R' L R L'
(DR L'  DR' L)    (DL' R DL R')     (L' DR L DR')

From Up-Left, cycling upwards
(DR L'  DR' L)   (R DL' R' DL)    (L' DR L DR')
L R' L' R
(DR L'  DR' L)    (DL' R DL R')    (L' DR L DR')
R' L R L'

From Up-Right, cycling downwards
R' L R L'
(DL' R DL R')   (L' DR L DR')    (R DL' R' DL)
L R' L' R
(DL' R DL R')    (DR L' DR' L)    (R DL' R' DL)

From Up-Right, cycling upwards
(DL' R DL R')    (L' DR L DR')    (R DL' R' DL)
R'  L  R  L'
(DL' R DL R')    (DR L' DR' L)    (R DL' R' DL)
L  R'  L'  R



6. Endgame

Normally, the setups for the last 2 or 3 triangles are the most difficult part.





And that's it. Your Geranium Puzzle is now solved. I trust this site has been helpful. If you have any questions or want some clarifications, please use the comments to do so. To buy this puzzle, click here.


8x8x8

The 8x8x8 Cube is the next step up from the 7x7x7 Cube. The ultimate solution takes care of this cube in much the same way as the 6x6x6. The basic idea is to reduce the cube so it's essentially the same as a 3x3x3 cube. Once that's done, it behaves like a 3x3x3 cube, with the notable exceptions of a possible inverted edge when placing edges, and also two swapped corners at the end of the solve.

To buy this puzzle, click here.

The Basic Plot
  1. Solve centers
  2. Reduce edge hextets
  3. Place edge hextets
  4. Solve corners
Step 1: Solve Centers

This is similar to the Rubik's Revenge, in that there is no fixed center piece. Although you can solve any colour in any order, I'll begin by solving the white center. Next, solve the yellow centers, on the opposite side. The basic technique is to place a row of yellows, then turn the face, and then put back the displaced row of white centers.

Once the white and yellow centers are solved, complete two more centers. They don't need to be next to each other, and they can be any two of the four remaining colours.

The last two centers are harder than the others. But not much. Fortunately, a corner piece series will come to our aid here.


Step 2: Reduce Edge Hextets

All centers are now in place and it's time to match edge pieces to create edge hextets. You'll notice that instead of there being 1 edge piece joining two faces, there are 6. The goal is to first match 11 of the edge hextets. Once that's done, the last edge hextet will either be correctly matched automatically, or else will need further dealings. It's almost always not going to be possible to completely reduce an edge in one go, but the following is the general technique. Use the edge piece series as follows
  1. Find edge pieces needing to be matched
  2. Bring them together (centers will be disturbed)
  3. Use an edge piece series to move the matched edge hextets onto a different face. Make sure that the replacement piece is not already a matched hextet.
  4. Return the centers
It's a simple procedure, and will work nicely for most of the edges. However, since there are 6 edge pieces needing to be brought together, and only 4 faces to do it on, you'll often find that it's not possible to make a hextet straight away. For example, if you're making the green-red hextet, but there's one green-red edge piece next to another green-red piece which is inverted, you'll need a different strategy.



Before you know it, you'll be down to three edge quartets left to make and then two.

This video will show how to get down to the last edge.


Help! I Only Have One Unmatched Edge Hextet Left To Make.

While it's common to end up with a single unmatched edge hextet, this is not a problem on the V-Cube 8. We can fix the problem by turning either the bottom two slices one turn or the bottom 3 slices one turn, then resolving centers. After this, the edge hextets will match up without issue.


Step 3: Place Edge Hextets 

Now treat each edge hextet as a single edge piece. Turn only the outer layers. Position the edges exactly as you would for the 3x3x3 Rubik's cube.

Help! My Last Hextet Is Placed But Inverted?!?

This will happen some of the time. The fix is the same as for this situation on the Rubik's Revenge. We turn the bottom 4 slices one turn, then re-solve centers and re-match edges. Once this is done we may place all reduced edges without issue.


Step 4: Solve Corners

This is the same as for the 3x3x3 Rubik's cube. Carry out corner piece series until you have only 3 corners remaining. Then carry out the end game.

Help! My Last Two Corners Need Swapping?!?

This will happen some of the time. The fix is the same as for this situation on the Rubik's Revenge.
  1. Rotate the top half of the cube 180°
  2. Remove the unmatched edge hextet using an edge piece series
  3. Return that same edge hextet but inverted (make it piece 3)
  4. Turn the whole cube 180°
  5. Remove the unmatched edge hextet of the same colours as before using an edge piece series
  6. Return that same edge hextet but inverted (make it piece 3)
  7. Rotate the top half of the cube 180°
  8. At this stage, your cube has some of the edge hextets out of position. Proceed as normal to re-place the edge hextetsand solve the corners.
It's a simple method, and it's much easier to understand by watching it happen.



And that's it. Your 8x8x8 Cube is now solved. I trust this site has been helpful. If you have any questions or want some clarifications, please use the comments to do so. To buy this puzzle, click here.


Helicopter Dodecahedron

The Helicopter Dodecahedron is an amazing twisty puzzle. It turns on its edges, while being in the shape of a dodecahedron. It can be solved using the ultimate solution.

This tutorial is a tutorial for a non-jumbling solve. The solve is long enough without jumbling.

 To buy this puzzle, click here.

The Basic Plot

  1. Solve the bottom face.
  2. Solve middle layers.
  3. Solve the top face.
Step 1: Solve Bottom Face

To solve the bottom half, we'll first place the white centers, making sure the edges are correctly oriented. Once they're in, we'll solve each of the corners in turn. But we'll need to have the lower equator edge upside down, so that when we turn the bottom face corner in, the lower equator edge is correctly oriented.

This video will set out the process.


Step 2: Solve Middle Layers

In this step, we work our way around the equator, placing each piece around the equator as we go. It's all done using simple turns.



Step 3: Solve Top Face

First, orient the edges by turning them if necessary. Next, we place the top face center pieces using nothing more than the EPS. 

Next, place the top face corners using such moves as 

(LF)x2 R   (FL)x2 R

This will cycle the FL->FR->BR corners.

Next, orient the top face corners using such moves as

(BRBL)x2    y2    (BLBR)x2    y2'

This will twist FL anticlockwise and FR clockwise


And that's it. Your Helicopter Dodecahedron is now solved. I trust this site has been helpful. If you have any questions or want some clarifications, please use the comments to do so.  To buy this puzzle, click here.


Skewb Xtreme

The Skewb Xtreme is a new skewb modification produced by Mefferts. To buy this puzzle, click here.

The Basic Plot
  1. Solve Corners
  2. Place Centers
  3. Twist Centers
Step 1: Solve Corners

Begin with any corner piece. Place the 3 corners surrounding it using simple turns. Once those 4 corners are in position, the remaining face may be turned to place the other corners. At this point, either all the corners will be placed or oriented, or else you may need to twist 2 or more corners.

To twist the front corner anticlockwise and the back corner clockwise, perform

L'RLR'  F  RL'R'L  F'


Step 2: Place Centers

Placing the centers is quite simple. At this stage we're not concerned with orienting them. To cycle 3 centers from L->U->F, perform 


(L'RLR')x2  DL  (RL'R'L)x2 DL'

Alternatively (not shown in video), to cycle 3 centers from B->U->F, perform

(R'LRL')  y2  (R'LRL')  y2


Step 3: Twist Centers

The only part of the cube which may now not be solved are the centers. These may be inverted in pairs. To flip the L and R center, perform


(L'RLR')x2  F  (RL'R'L)x2 F'




And that's it. Your Skewb Xtreme is now solved. I trust this site has been helpful. If you have any questions or want some clarifications, please use the comments to do so.  To buy this puzzle, click here.

Windmill Cube

The Windmill Cube is a twisty puzzle which is a cube when solved, but which shapeshifts nicely when scrambled. It's a shape modification of a 3x3x3 cube. The picture shown gives an indication as to why it's called the Windmill Cube.

To buy this puzzle, click here.

The Basic Plot

  1. Solve F2L + Top Edges
  2. Solve LL Corners
Step 1: Solve F2L + Top Edges

Since it's a shape modification, we should expect some things to be different. Indeed, before tackling the edges, we need to deal with the centers. Four of the centers have an orientation to consider. Then we place four bottom layer edges using the edge piece series. After this, place 3 bottom face corners.

Then, use the remaining corner, and the EPS, to place the remaining edges. At this stage, most of the F2L is done.


Step 2: Solve LL Corners

To solve the last layer corners, simply carry out an "up up down down" EPS on each corner until they are all placed. At the end, the final bottom face corner will also be placed.




And that's it. Your Windmill Cube is now solved. I trust this site has been helpful. If you have any questions or want some clarifications, please use the comments to do so. To buy this puzzle, click here.

Hexaminx Layer by Layer

The Hexaminx is a beautiful twisty puzzle. It's a megaminx which has been shape-modded into a cube shape. Despite being essentially a megaminx, the solve is not nearly as simple. We have orientation of most pieces to consider. This puzzle shapeshifts, and becomes almost unrecognisable. I'll be solving the hexaminx by building it up layer by layer. This is not the only possible method of solving, but in my opinion, is by far the most interesting. It also allows you to build confidence as you see the cube shape forming. To buy this puzzle, click here.

The Basic Plot
  1. Solve First Face
  2. Solve Equatorial Edges
  3. Solve Equatorial Corners
  4. Solve Upper Equatorial Edges
  5. Solve Top Face Edges
  6. Solve Top Face Corners
1. Solve First Face

To begin with, choose a center piece. There are 2 center pieces of each colour. I normally start with a white center. Place 5 edges around this center using simple turns or edge piece series (FR'F'R and similar). The important thing is to make sure the adjoining centers are correctly oriented before placing the edges.


Now, between each of those edges, place the appropriate corner using EPS. If the corner is directly above its position and oppositely oriented, then carry out 3 EPS.



2. Solve Equatorial Edges

To place the lower equatorial edges, we need to sacrifice one of the first face corners. (It makes sense to not solve the 5th of those corners for this purpose.) We simply turn the 5th corner around until it's underneath the position of the desired edge. Then place the edge using EPS. Finally, return the corner. This ensures that the other 4 first face corners remain solved.

Once all 5 of the lower equatorial edges are placed, we then turn the 5th corner on the first face above its position, and place using 3 EPS.



To place the upper equatorial edges, it makes sense to work your way around the puzzle. There are 10 to place. Due to the centers having orientation, each one needs to be turned in using EPS.


3. Solve Equatorial Corners

This stage contains two sections.

Lower Equatorial Corners

These are the hardest to place, not because of the moves required, but rather due to the 2-move setup required. We turn the corner around the upper face, so that it is above its position. We then turn the position of the corner up to the top face, then turn the corner in, then return the position. It's quite a simple process but is a little difficult to describe. 


Upper Equatorial Corners

Thankfully, these corners are much easier to place. We simply turn the corner in from the upper face using EPS. It also makes sense to retain the 5th of these corners unsolved for the following section.



4. Solve Upper Equatorial Edges

Again, the upper equatorial edges are placed using EPS. We turn the 5th unsolved corner from the previous section around the puzzle until it is underneath the desired edge. We then place the edge, and return the unsolved corner.

Our goal is to end up with 4 of the 5 equatorial edges solved. We can leave the 5th edge and corner undone to help us with the top face pieces.



5. Solve Top Face Edges

We now essentially have only the top face to go. We use the 5th unsolved upper equatorial edge to help us place each of the top face edges. We do this, of course, using the incredibly useful EPS (apologies for the redundancy).

Near the end, we will encounter one of 3 scenarios.

1. The last 3 edges will be in a 3-cycle. Solve as normal.

2. Two edges will be in position but flipped. To deal with this, move them out of position with an EPS, and then back in correctly oriented.

3. One edge will be in position but flipped! This is a unique situation encountered on the hexaminx. It occurs when one of the rectangular edges is also flipped. But because the rectangular edge has no orientation, we don't see this. We fix this as we would above.



6. Solve Top Face Corners

The final stage of this solve is to place (and orient if necessary) the corners. Again, we use the EPS to place each of the corners in turn. At the start, one of the top face corners will be in the 5th upper equatorial corner position. Find the top face position of this corner and turn it around to above its corner. Place the corner using EPS. Then repeat with the new corner. Keep doing this until all corners are in position and all edges are returned.

If you finish with everything placed but 2 corners twisted, then apply the standard corner rotation fix.

I strongly recommend watching the video below to see all of this in action!




And that's it. Your Hexaminx is now solved. I trust this site has been helpful. If you have any questions or want some clarifications, please use the comments to do so. To buy this puzzle, click here.


3x3x5 by Reduction

The 3x3x5 Cuboid is a twisty puzzle where the standard 3x3x3 cube has had a face attached to top and bottom. This cuboid shapeshifts, due to the 3x5 face. I'll be solving this cube using a reduction method, which I think is the simplest method to solve it. To buy this puzzle, click here.

The Basic Plot
  1. Return to Cuboid Shape
  2. Reduce Edges and Corners
  3. Solve Reduced Cuboid
1. Return to Cuboid Shape

To begin with, place the orange and red edges. We don't need to solve them as such, just put the edges into an edge position. This involves nothing more than simple turns. Once the edges are placed, we can place the unreduced corners, which are currently sticking out all over the place, by using the corner piece series for cuboids. This is

(U R2 U' L2) x2

This process will flatten the sticking-out corners and return our puzzle to cuboid shape.



2. Reduce Edges and Corners

The first stage of the reduction is to attach the outer edge pieces to a corresponding inner edge colour. This is done by using the edge piece series, such as U F2 U' F2.

Once all edges are reduced, we reduce the corners. This also uses the corner piece series as above, and cycles UBL->DFL->DFR.

If we find there are two corners remaining which need to be reduced, this means we have a single swap of corners, but no swaps of edges. In order to fix this problem, we turn the upper face one turn. This creates a single swap of edges and no swap of corners. But we can easily re-reduce our edges using the edge piece series. This process will therefore mean that we will have a 3-cycle of corners at the end.



3. Solve Reduced Cuboid

Stage 3 is probably the simplest stage of the solve.

First, we use simple turns to place the middle layer edges.

Then solve the reduced edges and corners exactly as for a 3x3x2 cuboid, ignoring the middle layer.

As with a 3x3x2, it's possible to end up with two reduced edges needing to swap. The fix for this is to turn both the upper two layers one turn, then resolve the reduced edges.




And that's it. Your 3x3x5 is now solved. I trust this site has been helpful. If you have any questions or want some clarifications, please use the comments to do so. To buy this puzzle, click here.


X-Cube Tutorial

The X-Cube is a beautiful twisty puzzle where the standard 3x3x3 cube has had an extra face attached to 4 of its sides. This puzzle shapeshifts, and makes some quite bizarre patterns. I'll be solving this cube by reducing it to a 5x5x3 cuboid, which I think is the simplest method to solve it. To buy this puzzle, click here.

The Basic Plot
  1. Return to Non-Shapeshifted Form
  2. Reduce Edges
  3. Solve Reduced Cuboid
1. Return to Non-Shapeshifted Form

As a side-benefit of returning this puzzle to non-shapeshifted form, we'll solve the white and yellow 3x3 face centers as well. The edges can be placed using simple turns.

When we place the 3x3 corners, we'll also be flattening the pieces and will therefore take it out of shapeshifted form. The basic move is the corner piece series for cuboids, which is

(U R2 U' L2) x2

This will cycle UBL->DFL->DFR.

The only other thing we'll do to complete this stage, is to place the middle layer edge pieces, between the white and yellow faces.

It's a simple process, and involves turning the edge's position on its outer 3x3 face up to the top layer, move the edge into position, and turn the outer 3x3 face back down.



2. Reduce Edges

In speaking of the three edge pieces that need to be joined together, we can think of the puzzle as a cornerless-5x5x3. This means that we can treat the central edge plus the two adjoining corners, as an edge triplet which needs to be reduced.

To do so, we place an adjoining corner-edge 180° away from its center-edge, and then turn the puzzle to join them. This temporarily breaks the centers we've already done. Once the edge triplet is complete (or doublet if we can only do two pieces at a time), we use the edge piece series (U R2 U' R2) to move the completed edge onto an adjoining face, then return the messed-up centers. This is basically the same as the edge reduction on a 5x5x5 cube.

The only complication is that due to the puzzle having been shapeshifted, the "corners" can often be wrongly oriented. So that even if we bring pieces together, it won't complete the edge due to the wrong orientation. To get around this we place the corner on the opposite face, and then turn that face one turn. This changes its orientation and allows us to reduce the edges. We must of course remember to "unturn" this face at the end.

We reduce the edges in this manner until there are three left. Complete one of the last three edges as before. If both of the other edges are also completed, this stage is done.

If not, one of two scenarios will be in place.
  1. A 3-cycle of corners
  2. One swap of corners

To deal with a 3-cycle of corners, we use the corner piece series for cuboids (U R2 U' L2) x2 to cycle the pieces home.

To deal with a swap of corners, turn any of the outer faces one turn, and then re-place the two outer edges. This will fix the corner-swap but we will still need to re-reduce 3 or 4 of the edges. Once we have, we'll be left with a 3-cycle and can finish the edges as above.


3. Solve Reduced Cuboid

Stage 3 is the simplest and quickest stage of the solve.

First, we make sure the middle layer edges are correctly oriented. One or two twists will achieve this.

Next, we solve the reduced cuboid as though it were a 3x3x2 without corners, ignoring the middle layer.

As with a 3x3x2, it's possible to end up with two reduced edges needing to swap. The fix for this is to turn both the upper two layers one turn, then resolve the reduced edges. 




And that's it. Your X-Cube is now solved. I trust this site has been helpful. If you have any questions or want some clarifications, please use the comments to do so. To buy this puzzle, click here.


Cross Cube

The Cross Cube is a puzzle which has an extra 3x3 face attached to each of the faces of a 3x3x3 cube. The one I'm using is a mass-produced version produced by Calvin's Puzzles. If you want to buy it, you can do so using this link.

The solve is among the easier of twisty puzzle solves. However, there is an interesting parity case which may be encountered.

The Basic Plot
  1. Solve Edges
  2. Solve Corners
  3. Fix Parity
1. Solve Edges

The edges are solved using nothing more than simple turns and the edge piece series. I solve them in a fairly methodical manner, beginning with the white cross, and proceeding up the cube until only the upper edges remain.

Near the end, you will either finish with a 3-cycle of edges, or else a swap of edges. To deal with the edge swap, simply turn the upper face one turn, and re-solve the edges.


2. Solve Corners

To place the corners, we use the corner piece series, being either

U R U' L'  U R' U' L    or else    U' L' U R  U' L U R'

There is no set order to place them, but it does seem semi-logical to build a face at a time. The best case scenario is that you'll end with a 3-cycle. If so, place them and the job is done. If not, the parity fix will be required. We'll look at this in the next section.


3. Fix Parity

The parity on this puzzle shows itself as two swapped corners. Everything else on the puzzle will be solved. The fix is as simple as could be: just turn a non-babyface one turn. That's it. Once that's done, re-solve the edges, then re-solve the corners.




And that's it. Your Cross Cube is now solved. I trust this site has been helpful. If you have any questions or want some clarifications, please use the comments to do so. If you want to buy it, you can do so using this link.