Thursday 23 August 2012


In the midst of all the wonderful coverage of the goings on at the last International Puzzle Party (IPP32) in Washington DC by my fellow bloggers I have hesitated to post a mundane puzzle review. Especially as I can't make it a positive one!

Amongst my last hoard of puzzles (a term I have taken to using to describe the suitcases of my friends who went to the IPP) from Puzzle Master, I received a wire and string puzzle called Keyhole. I got this one because I had decided that it might be a good idea to try my hand at some of the more complex wire puzzles to give myself a bit of a challenge. This one is indeed at the top of their scale at 10 out of 10 (Mind Boggling). Plus with the apparent simplicity of it, I thought it would be a pleasant solve process. Made of wire, sturdy string and painted wooden baubles it measures 12 x 4.9 x 2.5 cm and is a nice tactile puzzle to hold and play with. No solution is included but one can be downloaded from here.

I am always very frightened of puzzles that contain a large length of string because it usually means that quite elaborate contortions are required to solve them (see my review of the Coathanger puzzle from Livewire puzzles) so I thought that this would be ok as the length was fairly short. Now I must revise my reason for fear - any puzzle with a length of string that is long compared to the size of the rest of the puzzle is going to be very difficult! It is certainly true of Keyhole puzzle!

My initial fiddling did not get me particularly close to the solution but did sort of allay my fear that I would end up with a huge knot! All my first endeavours produced a tangle which I was easily able to unravel. Unfortunately I was calmed too quickly - I soon ended up in a gigantic unravelable tangle! The only way I could sort it out was to flex the wire structure and force the ends though to literally untie the knot. Eventually I had it simplified enough that I could force it back to the beginning and I started again. This nightmare scenario kept happening to me and I have to say really ruined my enjoyment of the puzzle.

I carried it around with me for weeks but got nowhere apart from rather good at forcing the puzzle back to the beginning. Eventually by shear fluke I solved it! I was left with the 2 pieces in my hands and absolutely no idea how I had achieved it! It was time to put it back!! Absolutely no chance!! I had to admit defeat and downloaded the solution. I think it took me about 1/2 hour to follow the instructions (there are 17 steps!!) and reset it! I did try again to solve it but really cannot do it.

I have finally given up on this one completely - just like the Coathanger, I have tried to follow the instructions and still cannot do it! I find that the photos are just too low a resolution to allow you to follow them properly! Despite being only $12, I cannot recommend this one unless you are a total savant at string puzzles which I, obviously, am not!!

1 comment:

  1. don't feel bad... even Markus thinks this one is insanely hard!
    I wish puzzles like this had a "reset" where you could intentionally
    detach the string (without cutting it) to un-knot the messes you are definitely going to get on the way...