|Free the Key|
It is a pretty big puzzle measuring 11cm long with the disk being 4.5 cm diameter and a very decent weight. It feels fantastic in your hands. It consists of a very large key with protrusions of varying height on either side and a brass disk at the hilt of the key. The disk has slots cut in it of varying heights to take the protrusions. Overall this is a good quality puzzle - the finish is not quite as good as the Hanayama puzzles (there are some casting marks on the key and the brass disk would be nicer with a glossy finish). I think this is pretty good value for money - you get a decent bang for your buck.
The aim is to separate the 2 pieces and then put them back together. No problem I thought, how difficult can this be? They rate this as level 8 out of 10 (demanding) and I think it is probably a 7, as everyone solves it in a fairly reasonable time. However, it is not as straight-forward as it looks; it is not just a case of progressing forwards and rotating the disk one way or the other. There are plenty of dead ends requiring back-tracking, rotating to a different section of the disk and then trying again. The first time I did it, it took me about 10 minutes to take it apart and (shame on me!) about 20 minutes to get back to the beginning.
|Free the Key open|
I have taken this one to work and left it out for all and sundry to pick up and play with. It is so big and shiny that no-one can resist picking it up. Only one person has given up on it (they didn't try for long) and everyone solves it eventually. I love watching people do this - the shock on their faces when they suddenly realise that they have to back-track is just great to see! I first solved this about a month ago and have done it many many times since then. I still cannot remember a solution, I need to solve it fresh every time. This makes for a great puzzle as repeatability is always a bonus with puzzles. I have tried doing it against a clock and even blind! I can do this one now in about 25 seconds and do not need to look at it at all. I do the whole thing by feel alone and it still gives me a buzz each time.
It has met with absolutely universal approval and I can really recommend it to you as a coffee table piece. Even though it doesn't have the finish of the Hanayama puzzles, it is still attractive and has been a big hit with my friends and colleagues. Buy it!!!