Sunday 23 February 2020

A Lock for a Titan...Not Me?

Or...Thank Heavens For Shane!

The Titan Lock
When word of the Titan's Treasure puzzle Lock came out last year I was not sure about whether to go for it. I am really not good at locks and Mrs S keeps complaining that they are not beautiful on my display shelf and that the weight of them is causing the shelf to bow downwards. So fearing the wrath of "she who packs a hefty Whack! Ouch!, I held off. I was very tempted when Allard posted his very favourable review and I finally saw Allard's copy at an MPP and watched from afar as several decent puzzlers had fun with it and Amy got the piss taken out of her during her solve process. OK, I was convinced! I contacted Sashko to ask if he would let me know when another batch was being produced and a month or so later some PayPal changed hands and a nice shiny and very well presented puzzle arrived.

There is a story to the puzzle: Apparently, a wealthy Titan decided to hide his treasure from evil forces and lock it away. He engraved his tame on the lock and engraved it with a K (visible on the other side to the picture above). He then lost his treasure and it is our job to find it again (of course we then have to lock it back up again). As with all puzzles of this type, no external tools are allowed - you have a booklet with the story, a snapped-off key with the rest of it glued to the booklet.

Yes, I know it's probably a stupid thing to do (and let's face it, it's not the most stupid thing I did with this puzzle!)... I had to try it! Put the key shard into the keyway of the lock and...nope! It won't even go in. There are a few grub screws around the puzzle and the shape of the key is quite conducive to certain manoeuvres. After this, there are 2 identical tools to play with:

Wo what can I do with these?
Having found 2 slivers of metal, I set to trying all sorts of stuff with them and the key in the hope that I might achieve something. The key could now be inserted but I was too frightened to push it inside for fear of never getting it back. I tried other stuff and erm...nah! Nuffink happening here! I got precisely nowhere. That was back in November last year and after a week or so I reassembled it and put it aside in the hope that a breather might give me time to think© and make a breakthrough.

Thinking is not my strong point and I failed to have any ideas. After my recent TIC success, I thought to myself: "self, its time to try the lock again, maybe you are better at them now". Hahahahaha! No chance! One lesson that I did learn is that grub screws are REALLY hard to find when you drop them on an operating theatre floor! Our floors are ceramic with grey patterns in them and it took me a rather unpleasant half an hour of grovelling about hoping that I would eventually find it and that it wasn't covered in blood and "other stuff" when I did retrieve it. Phew! Found it nice and pristine. Having got all my pieces back to a place of safety, I tried a few other ideas but nothing worked. Time to actually do some work!

In desperation, I asked Shane, the lock genius (he IS a Master Locksmith as well as a puzzle savant), is it safe to insert the key into the lock? He reassured me that the key will always be retrievable. Gulp...OK, here goes and click, I push it in and promptly saw it disappear beyond reach.

The key shard is way up inside and a pin has clicked out underneath it
Having pushed the key inside, there is only one thing to do...try to turn the keyway using one of the tools. Yes, I can hear you laughing at me! No, it didn't work. Now I have a puzzle lock and a key stuck inside (does anyone remember the DanLock? Similar problem...if you don't have one yet then get one straight away!)

Minor panic ensues and I have to try and think yet again - my brain hurts from attempting to think more than once in a year. It becomes clear why the key shard had some features that didn't make sense at first and also explains why the tool count reaches two. A day later and I am back where I started and more discussion with my lock genius friend. I thought I had tried doing the correct thing but it would appear that my method was not careful enough. I try again but carefully and AHA! the lock opens:

Major headway but still no treasure
Flushed with success despite not finding the treasure I peer inside in the hope that the treasure will be visible and...of course not!

No room for anything in there
 Groan! Time to think again! Practice makes perfect and I thunk some more but this time with success. There is another reason for the presence of 2 tools and careful use of both of them reveals another possible move with the lock. A little shake about and I found the treasure:

I solved something! Thank heavens for Shane!
Having retrieved the treasure I also realise that a piece of lock has come out and it's going to be a bugger to put back in place. I left it for a while to gather my frazzled nerves back to calmness before attempting the reassembly.

OMG! That took quite some doing. I had a fully reassembled lock and decided that this is definitely not a puzzle to give to people at work! My poor nerves couldn't stand the stress of watching someone else play with the potential of losing so many tiny pieces. Allard was absolutely right, it's a really good puzzle and quite a fun voyage of discovery but, do make sure that you have your own personal Shane to give you some advice when you need it. A tray to catch pieces might also be a good idea and don't try this over a grey patterned floor!

I've had this for a few months and got nowhere so far!
I should probably try my B-Lock II next - maybe my lock success will be shared across puzzles?

Shane, where are you?

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