Thursday, 19 July 2012

Black Widow

Black Widow
By now the majority of you must know that I really lurve wire puzzles!! I am less fond of those with string because they are just so damn difficult and you just end up in knots. That's not the bad part, however! I only get upset when I then can't undo the knots and have to cut or otherwise dismantle the puzzle. I practically have a heart attack when I give it to someone else and they later hand it back to me in such a tangle that I again have to attack it with scissors (yes Rachel, this means you!!!!)

I wanted some more difficult disentanglement puzzles and so in my last order from Puzzle Master I bought some of the level 9 and level 10 wire puzzles. This one is the Black Widow - it should be a relatively easy one (for an experienced puzzler like me - Blush) at level 9 (Gruelling) and for a beginner should be a real challenge. It arrived in the usual neat Puzzle Master clamshell packaging with a card insert saying to remove the string. It consists of what looks like the olympic rings intertwined with a snake and is made out of strong wire. There is a complete loop of string fed through it with a ball preventing it being fed through any of the rings. It is 6.4 x 10.8 cm and pretty good value at $10. No solution is supplied but if you really have to give up, then it can be downloaded from here! I don't think you will need to download it to solve but it will certainly be helpful to understand what is going on.

I had been dreading this one for a while but couldn't put it off any longer! I was overdue to post something and so bit the bullet! Initial exploration showed me what I thought would be the exit point and I started fiddling to try and reach it. After just a few moments it occurred to me that this was not a simple "find the exit point" puzzle - it became clear that this was another of those mathematical type puzzles. Don't let it put you off - it is not hard maths! It is an exercise in gray binary code like the Chinese rings puzzle or the Centipede and once I realised this it took me only about 10 minutes to extricate the string. I was a little horrified to see that the string did not come off at my expected exit point and when I pulled them triumphantly apart, I quickly lost track of where the actual exit point had been!! As usual, I'm not very bright!!

Black Widow can be solved! Can it be put back?
Obviously, as I have said before, it is not sufficient to just open or solve a puzzle in one direction. It is important to reassemble it and then preferably repeat the process. Having no clue where I had to begin, I rapidly got very lost during the reassembly and many times when I thought progress was being made, all of a sudden I had 2 separate pieces in my hands again! So despite it only taking 10 minutes to disassemble, it took me 4 or 5 times that long to put it back together again! Yep! Not terribly bright!

Next it was time for some photography for this post. Assembled photo taken, I took it apart again pretty quickly and was again taken by surprise at where the exit point was. I took the above photo and tried to reassemble it. Aaaaargh!!! Not again!! Still couldn't remember how to start - really really dim! Maybe I need to give up on puzzling and take up something else?? After another half hour it is back together again and I am just about to download the solution to see why it's so damn difficult! I could have sworn that my second reassembly was different to the first!!

Should you get it? Oh yes! It is a nice logical puzzle which doesn't seem to tie itself in awful knots. It will keep you occupied for a while and has repeatability in its favour - I still can't remember how to do it!

2 comments:

  1. I got this for Christmas this year, in a box with 3 puzzles. Unfortunately I spent a lot of time on one of the other puzzles, and built a mental model of how it worked -- when applied to this puzzle it was easier than I would have liked!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're obviously a better puzzler than me! I kept forgetting what to do!

      I guess if you have done several Gray binary code based puzzles one after another then this would become fairly easy! At least there's no knots!

      Delete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...