Monday, 16 May 2011

Livewire puzzles part 3

The odyssey continues! I proceed in ploughing through the disentanglement puzzles from Livewire. This quartet is also in the easy/medium section.

First up is the Equalizer - this is a terrific looking puzzle, shaped like a man. There is a handle on his foot. This was the first one to really challenge me. It took me about 20 minutes to take the puzzle apart and another 20 minutes to put it back together again (although I was cooking a meal at the same time!!). When I tried to repeat the process, I found that I couldn't do it and it took even longer the second time around, much to my wife's annoyance (she complained about the clink clink clink noise whilst we were watching TV)! I have now done it in 3 different ways - the first two being far more complex than necessary. I gave this to a couple of friends to try out - one has been tortured by me fairly regularly and she really struggled with this one taking 20 minutes or so and then could not get it back together. Another newbie to entanglement puzzles failed completely. Whilst this is actually a relatively straightforward puzzle in terms of what is required, the huge complexity of the pieces makes spotting the pathway very tough. This is a great puzzle and having challenged me properly is my favourite so far - buy it for looks and the challenge! Not for newbies!!!

Continuing my trek through the ever harder Livewire puzzle collection, I moved onto the medium difficulty group. To begin with I solved the Abracadabra puzzle - a small, attractive 3 piece contraption in which the aim is to remove the large ring. It is a level 7 puzzle. There are several dead ends which aim to make this harder! I have to say that I found this one fairly easy and wonder whether it should be a level 6. There is a particular movement required to reach the final exit point which is not at all intuitive and it may be that all this practice has made me so much better at these that I cannot really judge the difficulty with any real accuracy now!!! I gave this to the same two friends and maybe I am wrong - the more experienced puzzler managed it but it took her a fair while. She got right up to the end point several times and failed to see the next step and backtracked! She actually did this several times before spotting what to do. The newbie completely failed - in fact they got it into such a mess that I was worried that I couldn't get out of it! I do find this one particularly nice looking and a pleasure to solve - also a favourite for a coffee table!

Have a Heart
Heart Attack
The "Have a Heart!" puzzle is also a level 7 (medium) difficulty and is identical to a tavern puzzle from House of Marbles called Heart attack. The aim being to remove the heart shaped piece from the puzzle. I loved the look of the tavern puzzle version but unfortunately it required a fair amount of force for some of the manipulations which very much diminished the enjoyment of the solution. The Livewire version is not quite as attractive but is much smoother in action. I recall that finding the solution the first time was a quite a challenge (it involves 2 or 3 distinct sets of moves). Interestingly for the wire version the moves do not have to be done in order - it is possible to solve it with different orders of the moves with differing intermediate positions. This is apparently a classic design and so a worthwhile addition to the collection (certainly better in wire form!)

Spirit is Willing
Spirit is willing looks to me a bit like Homer Simpson with a ring around his neck the aim being to remove the ring. Initially when I picked it up I thought that it would be solved in similar manner to the handcuffs puzzle so I spent a few minutes trying to do that particular move from various different staring positions! I then tried to unwind it and really got it tangled up before finally stopping to think. After a moment I realised that the action required was really very simple and the ring slid off just a few seconds later. It is a very similar action to another Professor puzzle wire puzzle called called Maze. I am not sure this should be a level 7, I think I was just being a little bit dense! Giving this to a couple of friends has confirmed that I was being dense - both of them solved it in less than a minute! Definitely should be rated easier - both people commented favourably on the look of the puzzle.

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