Wednesday 28 December 2011

Mirror Image

Puzzle Master's Mirror Image
I blush to admit that I have even more puzzles to review from Puzzle Master. When I placed my last order, I must have had a rush of blood to the head - because this series of reviews seems rather prolonged!!! But, you all know by now that I cannot resist a new puzzle! The next one on my list is the Mirror Image wire puzzle. Oh god! Not another wire puzzle, I can hear you shout. It is you shouting isn't it? Not the voices again, I hope! Actually it could be Mrs S - she hates puzzles that jingle and has taken to shouting at me if I "do it in public" or within earshot! It's not fair really, I don't complain about the noise her shoe and handbag collection makes (and it really is a large collection) and I certainly don't complain about the space they take!!

This puzzle is one of Puzzle Master's own brand and comes in their standard clamshell package with the insert explaining that the aim is to remove the shuttle (they call it the handle). When solved, the string remains wound onto the large interconnecting ring. It consists of 2 "mirror images" with a string attached and the shuttle entwined through a ring and around the string. The shuttle cannot just slide off due to the presence of a ball which will not pass through. It has been rated as a level 9 (Gruelling) out of 10 - I don't actually think it is quite that tough, more of an 8. When unfolded, it is 15.2 x 7.5cm and yes, it jingles!!!

No solution is provided (and the more experienced of you shouldn't need one) but if you find that it is required (hopefully only after several hours of trying!) then you can download one from here.

I initially picked this up with some considerable trepidation. As soon as you add the flexibility of a piece of string to an entanglement puzzle, the complexity goes up enormously making the solution much harder to find due to the huge increase in possible movements. But, it is not the complexity that makes me frightened, almost every string type puzzle I try has ended in some serious knots. With one or two actually requiring me to dismantle the damn thing to untie the knot. Luckily this one is not so bad - the solution does not require a very very complex intertwining (most of the work is with the shuttle) and it doesn't seem to get really badly tied up (thank goodness).

My initial attempts just ended up with me briefly tangling and then on pulling apart it looked exactly as it had done. I gradually tried more and more complex things with both string and shuttle and only succeeded in making the string loop itself around the ring an extra turn (which I could not undo no matter how hard I tried - having forgotten what I had done to loop it!) I actually got sidetracked for about 20 minutes trying to unloop it and had to get the picture out to make sure I knew how it was supposed to appear. After about an hour of failure, I had to sit down to dinner with Mrs S and afterwards it was time to call my mother (unfortunately she takes my wife's side and cannot understand why I am obsessed with these blasted toys).

During the call (we were on speakerphone) I had a brainwave so went and picked up the puzzle to try it out. This was very brave of me - I received a very deep burn from the laser stare but couldn't hear the loudly mouthed "don't you dare play with that thing whilst chatting to your mother"! Luckily Mrs S (the older) couldn't tell! I made a couple of moves and got punched when it made a slight jingly noise. This made me let go of the shuttle and IT FELL OFF!

Shuttle separated!
Who says men can't multitask? I'm sorry, guys, I have let the cat out of the bag - my wife has seen a man multitask and I just know she will tell every other woman in the world! Damn!!! (Rox, you are an honorary man for your puzzle obsession and I know you wouldn't tell another woman!!!)

The instructions on the packaging say that it is harder to put this one back together than to take it apart and they are absolutely right! Especially as I had lost my concentration (due to the punch) when it came apart. It must have taken me another 20 minutes to reassemble it before I could recreate the moves I had done. In fact after several redos, it still sometimes flumoxes me if I don't put it back immediately after separation.

All in all this is a really nice puzzle - you should definitely buy one and make sure you leave it for a few minutes between disassembly and reassembly; that way you get twice the puzzling! Thank you Puzzle Master!


  1. Ouch! I really need to get a new hobby and buy a purse. Maybe fill it with shoes.

  2. :-) and men multi-task? Only when I see it.