Sunday 17 April 2016

In the Interim.....

Turn the Plug
This week has also been another rather busy one for me and not helped by the fact that Mrs S went gallivanting back up to Edinburgh to visit her family for a good few days. Now whilst this has decreased the risk of a Whack! Ouch! it has also meant that I have been left a list of chores and some DIY to do. It also means that the usual household stuff that she takes care of is left for me. This has left me rather short of puzzling time.

But in the interim I received something from Shane which I just could not resist! This is the Turn the Plug puzzle and is one of what he calls his interval puzzles i.e. they fill the gap between his major creations and in his words are not intended to be taken seriously and are just a bit of fun. I had heard about this one a while ago but never actually seen one in the flesh/wood before. It's a pretty hefty thing and for "just a bit of fun" it is beautifully finished. Apparently Shane has been chatting to a number of master craftsmen recently and been gaining knowledge about how to finish wooden puzzles. This particular puzzle has his old method and is stunning - Lord knows how beautiful things will be when he tries a new improved method! I am sure that Mrs S will not want this particular puzzle on show because of it's rather unusual hardware but it will HAVE to go on the sideboard in the dining room along with my now embarrassingly extensive Hales collection.

The rear view showing the plug to be turned
The aim of this puzzle is to turn the plug on the back of the puzzle (presumably connected to the lock on the front) to the open position. This seems simple enough - take the key, insert into the lock and turn it! Done! Nice and easy! Except...... the supplied key is fixed into place and I cannot see any way to use it without damaging things. He expressly forbids banging or using any force. Maybe there is a secret underneath?

That seems rather robust
The base is screwed on tight so no obvious other way to get to the plug or interior of the lock. The keyhole cover rotates freely and allows fingernails barely inside but not enough to manipulate the lock! I was usual - not very bright! Shane seems to mistify me every time.

Each evening whilst Mrs S has been away and enjoying herself, I have spent a lonely (albeit laser stare free) time playing with a few puzzles including some jingly ones but mostly exploring this. After 3 evenings of getting absolutely nowhere, I made a discovery by accident - actually the cat made the discovery - he's much brighter than I am! After finding that very well hidden discovery (no, I'm not going to tell you what it is), I thought I had everything I needed to simply "turn the plug" but no. Shane has done more than hide things! The little bugger has tampered with things so they don't work properly! How does he do that? How does he do it without leaving any marks?

It took me another hour to discover what I needed to do and I think I only worked it out because I had solved the Hales lock 1 as well as one of his other lock designs. Giving this to a beginner might be a very frustrating thing - hmmm, now there's a thought.

Awesome! The key is still in place (or maybe it's just back there for the pic)
It is very clever and really well hidden. I am very flattered to continually receive these wonderful gifts from him (all his puzzles apart from the recent Hales lock 1) are always given for free to his "agents" around the world with certain Terms and Conditions that preclude their subsequent sale. He could make a fortune from these but is only interested in making friends and keeping them entertained. Thanks mate - even as "only an interval puzzle", this has kept me entertained for several days!

Before I carry on with the chores that "she who is frightfully violent if I forget" set me, I just want to tell you about one of the jingly things that I had been working on whilst she had been away. A very dear friend of mine had advised me that another of Lambert Bright's puzzles should also be in my collection and when it came up in the last Haubrich auction, I snapped it up - I was forced to bid a bit higher than I wanted to but still got it. I always find that if I pay too much then I end up a little peeved with the puzzle for a while so I just put it aside and only recently got around to playing with it.

Shoot the moon

The Shoot the moon puzzle comes beautifully packaged with a very nice story on the card it is packaged with. Setting aside the story the aim is to remove the 2 coins that are rather tightly bound to the two crossed arrows. The coins can be moved freely around the puzzle in the hope to get them to somewhere where they come off but due to the rather small ring of string holding them together, there is very little that can be done to separate them. After about 10 minutes of fiddling and jingling (free from the laser burning stare) I had a new idea and had a go. There is literally only just enough string to carry out the required move and everything must be absolutely perfectly positioned for it to work but I soon had this:

It is a thing of beauty
This is quite unique. It actually isn't difficult but I don't think I have seen that idea in a puzzle before. These are quite rare so worth picking up if you see one come up for sale.

Have a look at my New additions page to see some puzzles that arrived earlier this week - they are something that I have very little experience with so I went to the master for some to start me off.


  1. You are always very welcome Kevin and you flatter me yet again with more coverage than I deserve !!

    1. I always give credit where it's due! It's not as complex as your main puzzle series but it certainly kept me thinking for several days! A wonderful fun challenge! Totally original!

  2. Just remove it from the wood and install in your front door. Now you need to solve it every day!