Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Destroyer

The Destroyer
Well, I'm sure that with a title like that you were expecting something a little more intimidating than this! The Destroyer came in my last (rather large) batch from Puzzle Master. It is a wire and string puzzle and so automatically I was frightened of it! BUT look at the lengths of the pieces of string - it can't be that bad can it? BUT there are 2 pieces of string so maybe it can be!

It arrived in the usual plastic clamshell package with very little written apart from a pair of diagrams showing that the aim is to remove the red loop with the ball on it. The black string and large ring stay attached to the figure 4! In terms of size - it is 9.1 cm square and 2.9 cm deep, made of good quality anodised wire and the string ends have been heat fused - so they won't pull apart. Puzzle Master rate it as 9 in their 5 to 10 range (Gruelling). I personally would put it at 8 but no-one else I have given it to has managed to solve it so I bow to their superior knowledge.

Gabriel reviewed it on his blog in January 2011 and had little trouble with it but did think he may have gotten lucky. No solution is provided - most experienced puzzlers won't need one but if you do then download it from here.

When I took it out of the package it was configured like my photo above and this very successfully hides the exit point. The picture on the Puzzle Master site has the red string looped over the black which, to me at least, potentially allows you to visualise the exit. Luckily, I hadn't looked at the picture for a while. So I started out with no idea where to aim for but quickly discovered how such a short piece of string could get pretty well wound up! Fear began to assail me again! The first thing to try is to take it over the large ring - well you've got to try haven't you? When that doesn't work then maybe take it off and all the way around the other end - Oh dear! Don't go there!

Before I got too hopelessly tangled, I put it back to the beginning and just looked at it and turned it over a few times in my hands - this didn't help me find an exit but as I always say with these puzzles, if there is something unusual about the configuration then it is almost certainly there for a reason - you may need to use it in the solution. There is a very glaring possibility with this puzzle and once I had used it the loop came off within another minute. All in all this only took me 5 minutes - very lucky or a true professional? I'll leave it to you to decide.

The Destroyer - destroyed
It is a very sweet little sequence of moves which are not at all intuitive - I actually laughed out loud when the loop fell off rather unexpectedly! Luckily it is not difficult to put back on again! It took me a few more minutes to work out the most effective sequence and then I handed it to some friends. Remember when I thought that such a short pair of strings couldn't get too tangled? I was wrong! It is possible to have it looped multiple times and create a rather hard to unwind mess. Rule number one! If a set of moves makes a knot then DON'T do it again and again and again! Luckily I was watching, so I was able to back track to the beginning. No-one as yet has solved this, but I'll keep on torturing them with it. Maybe 9/10 is correct.
As the last line on Gabriel's review says:
I recommend it for anyone that likes to think outside of the box.

I totally agree - this is a nice compact puzzle that doesn't knot up too much without really trying. Well worth $12!

7 comments:

  1. I liked this one a lot, despite being a bit easier than it's stated. I was also a bit surprised when I first solved it, but I remember it was a nice feeling. I reckon it serves to break the routine of the more fiendish ones. I still have a few of those to solve :P

    Cheers ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also have a few harder ones in my current stash - Gulp!

      Delete
  2. Looks similar to Cowboy's Hobble, also by puzzlemaster.ca. I haven't tried The Destroyer but Cowboy's Hobble is one of my favorite wire and string puzzles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dammit George! Every time you respond to one of these blog posts then it costs me some more!

      Another one to add to my list to buy!! :-D

      Delete
    2. Dear Kevin,
      Please know that the detroyer has a production error, which makes it waaay easier than the published level 9. The loop with the bead is too long, allowing more moves than intended. It was designed to look like the 'ball and chain puzzle' but with a twist, to disallow the ball-and-chain solution, and introducing a new one. Now that the loop is too long, both solutions are possible, which was NOT intended. That probably explains why Gabriel who reviewed it on his blog in January 2011 had little trouble with it.

      Delete
    3. I have gone back to my copy and I see that you are correct! I have to say that I found the correct solution and I can confirm that you are absolutely right!

      My original review was based on me finding the "correct" solution - I can solve the ball and chain puzzle but I find it very counterintuitive.

      Whilst you say there is a flaw, I now think I like it even more! If you can find one solution then you MUST find the second one!

      Delete
  3. Dear Kevin,
    Please know that the detroyer has a production error, which makes it waaay easier than the published level 9. The loop with the bead is too long, allowing more moves than intended. It was designed to look like the 'ball and chain puzzle' but with a twist, to disallow the ball-and-chain solution, and introducing a new one. Now that the loop is too long, both solutions are possible, which was NOT intended. That probably explains why Gabriel who reviewed it on his blog in January 2011 had little trouble with it.

    ReplyDelete

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