Thursday 28 June 2012


So in my last post, I described all these rather expensive (and beautiful) handmade puzzles which I had bought from various craftsmen around the world. Whilst I absolutely love these, I am well aware that many people can't afford to buy such things and these are actually less good value in terms of puzzling than the ones I have bought from Puzzle Master and other stores. I like those for the beauty of them and the craftsmanship. In fact I have spent quite enough for a while and always find myself coming back to the various wire, twisty and Hanayama puzzles they supply. In terms of "bang for your buck" you really cannot beat this store! Plus of course - they just have so much to choose from, I spend hours surfing and choosing toys to play with without feeling guilty.

At the recent Midlands puzzle party, I discovered that the puzzling community seem to think of me as a bit of a wire puzzle specialist! This has never been my aim - I lurve ALL puzzles! But I do keep coming back to them!! They are so simple and yet can be such a tremendous challenge - real value for your puzzling money.

So this time I am going to describe the Mosquito wire puzzle. This one looks like a nice simple construction with a short length of string (meaning it is less likely to cause that horrible knotted feeling!) and a nicely made yet simple looking set of wire rings etc. This is a very reasonable $10 and is rated by Puzzle Master as 8 out of 10 (Demanding) on their difficulty scale - the only user review on the site states that it is "very difficult!", so I couldn't resist it could I? It comes in the usual nice clamshell package and has only the instructions to remove the string. Dimensions are 10.6 x 13.2cm. There are no instructions included but if you need help then get them from here.

Now, many many times on this blog, I have stated that I am "not very bright" and often also stated that I have almost no memory at all! In fact I regularly cannot remember whether I am going up or down the stairs if I stop half way! And almost every day I wake up next to the present Mrs S and wonder who she is - apparently I am married to her even if I have no recollection of that! I certainly hope so because she has cost me a fortune in shoes and handbags!!!

So why mention that here? After I solved the Mosquito puzzle, I took it to one of the private hospitals I work in and handed to one of my assistants whom I have infected with the puzzle habit (Sorry Neil!!!) He then reminded me that he had showed it to me about 3 months earlier!! I suddenly recalled it when he reminded me that I had upset him greatly when I solved it in under 2 minutes when he had been struggling for several weeks!

Is this puzzle difficult then? I would say that the 8 out of 10 is about right. It is moderately tough! The second time that I had solved this one, it took me about 5 minutes (I'm obviously getting older!). When I did Neil's version I was really careful to ensure that I memorised the exact positions needed to put it back together (it is not puzzle etiquette to open someone else's puzzle and leave it in the solved position with no-one able to reset it). This time, with my own puzzle I was not so careful and having gotten the pieces to look like this:

Solved with a smile!!!
..... I then found myself in the usual position of having absolutely no clue how to put it back together again. It took me about 15 minutes to reset it! In fact having left it for a few weeks, I redid it to make my photos for the blog and also photographed several other puzzles. I then found that even leaving it in the solved state for an hour left me unable to put it back together again with ease!

I really like this one - it is quite tough to do and undo, it is really tough for newbie puzzlers and it doesn't knot up at all. Plus it looks nice! For $10 you can't go wrong - go on you know you want one!

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