Wednesday 26 October 2011

The Pendulum Wire Puzzle

The Pendulum puzzle
By now you have realised that I am addicted to wire disentanglement puzzles (actually, I'm not that choosy - I'm addicted to ALL puzzles!) so when I made up a little list of toys to order from Puzzle Master, I couldn't resist adding in one or two of their harder wire puzzles. They all seem to be nicely made and pretty tough to solve.

The pendulum is graded as a level 9 out of 10 (gruelling) so I knew I had to have one! I actually think that it is ever so slightly easier than that but not by much. It arrived in a clamshell package with instructions on the card telling me to remove the golden diamond from the puzzle. The dimensions are 12.4 cm x 15.8 cm and has 2 golden diamond shapes on it - only one of which obviously comes off. There is no solution included but if you need one (I don't think you will!) then it can be downloaded from here.

It looks fairly straightforward but believe me when I say that it is pretty tough! It requires a real stroke of realisation to get it. The aha moment is wonderful!! The first thing that everyone tries is to remove the diamond over each of the 2 large rings - obviously impossible but everyone tries it. If you are an orthopaedic surgeon you try it with some considerable force before being told off for being stupid, at which point they ask for the bolt cutters and require a slap!!! There can only be one exit point and everyone realises this very quickly but then discover that the pendulum itself gets in the way. This is then followed by 15 to 20 minutes of moving it all round and round and round the frame in a vain hope of reversing the positions. I spent one whole evening annoying my wife with the jingling and swearing as I consistently failed to solve it - I gave up in disgust!

The following day I remembered something that the great Brian Pletcher said about the Chain Gang puzzle. He had been struggling for a long time with it when his fiancée pointed out that something must have been made in a certain way for a reason (he's a very lucky man - my wife won't even look at a puzzle!) With this in mind I had a closer look at the Pendulum and a lightbulb went on and stayed on (flickering dimly - like me). About 2 minutes later, it was apart! This is brilliant!

See! It is possible!
There are quite a lot of moves required for this one but none are particularly awkward. This one is really one of my favourites so far of the Puzzle Master wire puzzles. It is not hugely difficult once the aha moment has occurred but up to that point it is very frustrating! I have given it to quite a few people to solve and so far no-one has managed it yet, even two of my more experienced puzzle friends. Definitely a good one for the collection!


  1. Wow, great job solving this one! I bought one and have still not solved it two years down the road.

    Funny thing is I discovered that some disentanglement puzzles, like Ball and Chain, are easier to solve in reverse. So I took a second diamond from another puzzle and tried getting it on. And I succeeded! But I could not remember how I solved it, so now my puzzle is stuck with two diamonds on it and I cannot get them off. :(

  2. Rule no. 1 of puzzles, George:
    Always try and memorise the path you have taken!

    If you are truly stuck after such a long time why not download the solution?

  3. I do not like to look at solutions. I prefer to be stuck for 2 years! I guess I have not gotten frustrated enough, I don't think I have looked at the puzzle in at least a year. Hmm, maybe I will have to give it another try. I'm busting my brain tying to figure out this difference you refer to is ...

  4. I do notice that on the piece with the yellow ball on it, one end is bigger than the other. Am I warm?

  5. Obviously you are a masochist!

    The thing to notice is the dimensions of the main (U shaped) piece on its' left hand side!

    Not too much of a clue but may get you thinking!

  6. SSOOLLVVEEDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yee ha! I just spent about 3 hours with this puzzle. I must say I didn't have an "Aha" moment, although I started to get an idea of what needed doing to get the diamond off. This is a freakin' hard puzzle, IMHO. I think a year from now I will have forgotten how to do it.

  7. Well done George!!!

    I have to say that I didn't find it too tough (fairly difficult but not horrendous). One of my puzzle friends here has just solved it after playing for about a day in total - quite impressive.

    Now you must be ready for the challenge of the Chain gang puzzle again! It is only an order of magnitude tougher!!!

  8. One good thing about unsolved puzzles is they tend to get lost. I will have to find Chain Gang first! I guess it is a good thing to try these disentanglements in order of increasing difficulty.