Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Anomaly

The Anomaly
Believe it or not - I still have a few puzzles left from my last order from Puzzle Master - I really outdid myself at my last shopping visit! I decided this time to go back to the last of my set from their own selection of Wire disentanglement puzzles. I think this is the final one in the set of level 10 that I had not done - it's called The Anomaly, although I'm not really sure why!

It certainly looks quite a fearsome puzzle for solvers and as I said it is at the top of their difficulty scale - yep, a Level 10 (Mind Boggling) on their 5-10 point scale. It combines a very complex set of interlocking rings, loops and also a medium length of string so what could possibly go wrong? To make it even more confusing there is a knot fused onto the centre of the piece of string which limits a ball to the top half of the string. At the far end is a large triangular ring and loosely on the string is the brass coloured ring which you are supposed to remove. As with this whole series of puzzles it is well presented in a plastic clamshell package which mercifully is made to open easily - I always seem to lacerate myself when I have to open this sort of sealed plastic pack! The puzzle itself is beautifully made with high quality anodised wire and good strong string. Due to the thickness of the wire you would need to be really quite strong to force it.

So just remove the ring on a level 10 puzzle involving string? Easy peasy!! Gulp! Hopefully there'll be no awful knots! None of the usual bloggers have reviewed it yet but there has been a single review left on the product page giving it 4 stars but claiming it was easy but fun! No solution is provided for you but it is available for download if you want it from here.

I stared at this for a few minutes before doing anything with it in the hope that I would be able to see the exit point from the very beginning. The puzzle does seem to have a rather complex set of interlocking pieces and the movement of part of the string is very hindered by the presence of the ball but after just a minute or so I had a little theory - I'm not sure where but I have a sneaky feeling that I have seen this one before or something very similar.

Initial movements of the brass ring show that there are several directions of possible exploration and so with my sneaky feeling whirling around my head (there's not much else inside most of the time), I started a little exploration. I was astonished that in 60 seconds I had taken the ring off!! I found this one really very easy - certainly not a level 10. I would put it at more of a level 7! I also was very easily able to return the puzzle to the starting position and then solve it again - hence obeying Kevin's rule of the puzzle!

Not so fearsome!
So I then handed it to a friend to play with and was startled to see that he struggled - after 30 minutes he had only succeeded in making a rather nasty knot! So maybe my solution was just a fluke? Or maybe a sign of puzzling genius! I suspect it is just that I have had sooo much practice at these puzzles that I seem to have a certain natural ability. I have recently bought the 5 Livewire puzzles that have been produced since my last extravaganza and despite them being all level 7-10, I have managed to do 4 of them so far with only a little struggle.

So is it worth getting this one? It is hard to say! If you are a beginner then it may be too hard as a starter puzzle (I would suggest avoiding the string based ones), as a moderate puzzler then this may well be perfect - tough but not as tough as the level 10 would imply, and finally, as a collector or very experienced wire disentangler then we know you'll buy it anyway! Just don't expect it to challenge you for long. Most of the entertainment will come from torturing others! Either way at only $14 it won't break the bank!

Coming soon to a blog near you!

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