|Man of War|
The Man of War puzzle was given it's name because of it's resemblance to a Jelly fish and that it is supposed to have a sting in its tail! The puzzle arrived as is usual in the standard Puzzle Master clamshell plastic packaging and the picture on the cardboard insert said simply to try and remove the string loop from the bottom of the Jellyfish (i.e. take the sting out of the tail). The loop of string has a large ball on it to stop it from being fed completely through the loops in the wire. It is rated as a 10 (Mind Boggling) on the Puzzle Master 5-10 scale. This is the hardest level and so you should be afraid (very afraid)! .....Or should you? I actually would not rate this one quite that high - I reckon it's a 9! There's no solution supplied with it but it can be downloaded from their website here. Anyone who is well practiced at this type of puzzle should not need the solution but any newbie foolish enough to try may well find themselves requiring it. As far as I can tell none of the other bloggers have reviewed it and there is only a single review on the product page giving it 5 stars and saying how challenging they found it. I also would give this a 5 star review.
So how should one proceed with something like this? Rather than just fiddle (which is my usual approach) I decided that there were too many options for this one, so my first step was to just examine it properly and look for exit points and also look for any similarities to previous puzzles. Having perused the Master's (Dick Hess) compendium of wire puzzles in the past, I could easily say that there are still many types of wire puzzle that I have not seen before and that there was a high chance that this one would share nothing in common with anything else.
BUT after a minute or so I had a little Aha! moment. There is a sort of exit point on this but it is very well hidden and the way to get to it is disguised. Only by actually searching for it are you going to see it. So having found it, did I immediately take it apart? Unfortunately not quite as easily as that. Just because I know where the exit is does not mean that I could actually reach it! My first attempt suddenly revealed to me that this was going to be a multi stage operation. I had to abort the first attempt as I started to get knotted up and so quickly backtracked to the beginning and looked again - where did I need to get to? Amazing you need to use the exit point more than once!! After this realisation I moved the loop from one section to another and then to yet another. Each stage requiring just a little more thought. Finally, after another series of moves it came free:
I have to say that I really enjoyed this one - I still don't think that it is a 10/10 but it has a really good Aha moment, a very nice logical sequence of movements during which you can actually see a stepwise progress towards the end and even at that end there's a little extra step making it less obvious. There are several places to go wrong and luckily not too many ways to get it really badly knotted. This is well worth the $14 to own it. I intend to carry it with me for some time yet and torture my colleagues for a while with it!