|Hanayama Cast Padlock|
|The original cassette|
(pic from the design competition site)
JinnHoo Ahn has also been responsible for the Cast G&G (which I have solved but not actually reviewed for some reason (despite having a Hanayama version as well as a hand made wooden copy).
Having been greatly taken with the original version most puzzlers were delighted to hear that Hanayama had expressed an interest in making a copy for mass production and after a rather long wait it finally arrived at the tail end of 2015 and took another few months for it to be routinely available outside of the Far East. Hanayama had to make some difficult decisions and to ensure easy production and to keep the costs down the anodisation was skipped and almost as lovely copy was produced.
The goal is to take the four pieces apart, and then restore the original shape. The interior is comprised of two elliptical pieces, locked together tightly around the circular pieces which would appear that they should easily be released. However, despite looking at it for a while and sort of being able to see instantly what was required, it is just not that easy to actually get it to happen.
My initial exploration made me think that it should be quite simple - just line up the gaps in the elliptical shackles with the semicircular centres and then slide it apart! Oh no! Not so easy - everything can be lined up but the sliding motion is blocked! Hmmm. At this point I was reduced to doing what everyone else who was discussing it on Facebook was doing and just fiddling with it to see what would happen. Several people expressed amazement that they were able to solve it with minimal concentration.....in fact they were able to solve it in their coat pockets! Yes, it would come apart when they were blindly fiddling with it in a pocket. They were then left with the 4 pieces and not only to work out what they did but also how to put it back together again.
Needless to say, I was not so lucky as to solve it blindly. After about 15 minutes I suddenly had an entirely new configuration and it looked promising. I wasn't really sure how I had managed it and in panic I tried to reverse what I had done and that took me another 10 minutes. At this point I could not work out how to repeat it! Not terribly bright - in fact it's amazing that I manage to get dressed in the morning! After a further 15 minutes I was able to make that move as and when I wanted and return to the beginning. I could not get any further however. Over about a week of evenings whilst watching TV with Mrs S and jingling away quietly enough not to receive a Whack! Ouch! I managed to get into a third conformation and again could not work out how I had achieved it and also really couldn't reverse it. I continued to play and try to return to the beginning with no success. During a particularly good episode of "The Good Wife", whilst not watching my hands, I noticed a new sliding motion occurring and suddenly I had this:
|Solved! It really is as stunning as that - I had no idea at all how I had done this|
I could slide them back together but for a very long time could not work my way back to the beginning. I knew what type of moves were required but it just wouldn't happen and the secret to that is effectively the secret to the whole design. It is very clever indeed and only by asking yourself "why are the pieces so loose?" can you fully understand the genius of the design.
I am actually tempted to say that this puzzle should be rated as a 6 out of 6 or 10 (Mind Boggling) out of 10 by Puzzle Master. However it is not quite as tough as the Cast Quartet or Cast Vortex and so maybe it should be a 5½? The worry bead potential of this one is definitely not to be underestimated - I have been playing with it for absolutely ages and I never seem to get tired of it. The correct sequence of subtle moves are just so clever. This one is not really for kids or newbies but any reasonably good puzzler really MUST have this one in their collection. Buy it - at $15 (£11) it is well worth it.
An Update on the Cast Hexagon
|Assemblies of the Cast hexagon - thanks to Stan|