When someone one day sits down and writes up the top 100 puzzle toys of all time at the top of the list will undoubtedly be the Rubiks Cube, followed closely by more traditional puzzles such as those little plastics trays where you move small blocks around until they form the image of a panda or something.
But things could have been so different if only this early 70s marvel had caught on. Basically Baffle Ball consists of a clear plastic sphere around 20cms in diameter which has 8 cups glued to the inside facing the centre of the ball. Cup No. 1 has a cut-out in its side to enable the player to insert the small black ball and so start the puzzle, the object of which is to progress the ball from cup to cup starting at cup 1 and finishing, surprisingly enough, at cup 8. Every time you missed a cup it was back to cup 1 to start again.
As with all puzzles it looks simple but once you start the problems begin. The box quite clearly states that "it can be done", and I suppose it can, in the same way that an infinite number of chimps with typewriters given an infinite amount of time will eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare or one day Fred will surely win the fight and make that cat stay out the night. But lets face it, most of us havent got an infinite amount of time and dont belong to a cartoon based modern stone-age family.
At least with the Rubiks Cube you knew it was possible to solve the puzzle as you started with a completed cube and there were no end of specky twats popping-up on TV completing it in seconds, but with the Baffle Ball you only had the box and blind faith as proof that it could be done. Believe me, it cant, this ranks alongside the legendary Johnny Astro or stepping out of a plummeting lift/plane just before it hits the ground in things that are just impossible to do.
If youre ever going on a 6000 year plane flight or trapped in some sort of infinite time trap the Baffle Ball would be the ideal companion, try and get your hands on one and find out for yourself.