Saturday, 2 July 2011

Livewire puzzles part 4

Rapid Fire

Rapid Fire
I think from now on the disentanglement puzzles are going to be quite a lot harder! I next tried the Rapid Fire puzzle. This consists of a wire structure in the shape of a gun with a single ring and a loop of cord around the trigger guard. The aim being to remove the cord. The blurb on the Livewire site says:
"Anyone attempting this puzzle should be warned that attention to detail is required, since the path leading to the removal of the cord is difficult to distinguish from the paths which will lead you astray."

OMG!

This seriously meddled with my mind!
It is supposed to be a level 7 but I think it should be rated higher (either that or I am in for some serious difficulty in the next few days/weeks). It is quite clear where the exit point is but not at all clear how to get there. I initially ended up in a hell of a knot before backtracking to the beginning. After this I became much more systematic but still had no real idea how to proceed - all of a sudden the cord was off and I had absolutely no clue what I had done. I tried to put it back and it took 20 minutes! Again no clue how I managed it. Intermittently during an afternoon and evening I played with it and repeated the process probably 4 or 5 times and was no closer to understanding the procedure. Only when I actually jotted down my moves was I able to work it out and get a process I could repeat every time. It takes a series of 3 separate moves to do it and the reversal is not quite the opposite of the way out. Whilst I can now do it repeatedly in seconds, I am not sure I actually understand why it works. I feel this is the first really tough one and was thus very enjoyable. None of my previous experience helped me do this one. My advice is to get this one - the shape will draw people to it and for the challenge as well.

Sleight of Hand

Sleight of Hand
Now continuing with the medium difficulty group we come to the Sleight of Hand puzzle. Quite small and very complexly folded, there is an elongated shuttle looped within it which has to be removed. Initial impressions are that it will just slide off the bottom end after a little manipulation but the ball is in the way! In fact the exit point for this is not obvious at all. It is rated at level 8 on the label. I actually solved this in under a minute! It requires a moderately complex series of moves but to me they all followed an obvious sequence. I initially felt this should be a 6 or 7 but having given it to some friends they really seemed to struggle so maybe I am being unfair.

Weathervain

Weathervain
I was particularly drawn to the Weathervain puzzle - it looks absolutely fantastic! The manufacturers claim that it is pretty tricky to solve as it each move has to be done just right and this also makes it difficult to repeat. I have to agree with them - I thought I could tell where the exit point was and tried to get to it, only to realise that it was incorrect and the exit was somewhere else entirely! The process of even starting the puzzle was the hardest part because if you don't use exactly the right move then none of the subsequent moves will line up correctly and you will end up stuck and having to back-track. It took me quite some time to get this solved, all because of the first move problem. Even having done it twice I still struggled until I eventually realised the rather tricky starting mechanism. This is my favourite of the lot so far for looks as well as challenge! Buy it!!

Pyramid Scheme

Pyramid Scheme
This puzzle is fantastic! The Livewire site states that this is:
"the rarest type of puzzle... the lateral-thinking puzzle. Despite all our research over the last sixteen years, we have uncovered only a handful of them. Of all the puzzles we currently sell, only Pyramid Scheme and Pentangle have solutions that rely almost completely on lateral thinking. The more logical and systematic you are in your approach, the tougher you'll find these two puzzles.... most of our logical puzzle solvers and many of our more creative thinkers have struggled for a longer-than-usual time on this one. They all agreed on one point however: they loved it!"

It looks very similar to other puzzles and the exit looks very obvious. I tried multiple methods to get to it and couldn't do it! I tried everything I could for nearly an hour and failed every time. I gave it to a friend to try (he has just solved several of my most recently reviewed puzzles) and he also failed! Having put it down for a few hours, I tried again later that evening and had a eureka moment. It just sprung into my head, which was empty as usual! A few seconds later it was in two pieces and I was left with a huge grin on my face. Interestingly, I gave this to 2 different colleagues who had never done wire puzzles before and neither took a logical approach - within 10 minutes they each had it in two pieces with absolutely no idea how they had done it!! Neither could get it back together at all! My more experienced friend singularly failed at this one having gone through much the same contortions as I did. This confirms the claim about the logical approach!

This one is so counter-intuitive, it is unbelievable. I repeat, this puzzle is FANTASTIC! If you buy only 1 then buy this one.

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