Sunday 16 January 2022

I Cut this Right Down to the Wire

Loki - on the blog for a third time!
Well, we very nearly had no blog post this week. I have been desperately trying to solve something all week and getting absolutely nowhere. My biggest puzzle has been how to run our on call service as more an more of my colleagues either catch Covid and have to isolate or are household contacts and have to isolate. Almost every single day, I get a message that someone who is due to be on call cannot do their assigned duty and need to find an alternative.

Someone suggested on Facebook that I should shine a bright light through the Ages burr from Brian Young and see if I could notice a mechanism or possible movement that might be possible either before, during or after the 2 obvious moves. I got a nice bright torch and shone it across the puzzle towards me, side to side and away from me. I could see the pins that I had seen all along and nothing new. The same old third rotational move is possible (due to a pin) which I am reliably informed is not part of the solution. After a couple of evenings of shining lights, I had to give up - there is nothing new visible. Brian did suggest that the light in Australia was pretty bright but not required for the solution. I guess that Ages will spend another couple of years next to my puzzling armchair before I shelve it. It wasn't cheap so I don't want to put it away without solving it.
What a filling
Broken propellers
I also have a bunch of 2D packing puzzles designed and printed for me by the incredibly talented Alexander Magyarics. I got cocky because I had solved 2 of them after a little while and quickly moved onto the rest. The 2 above look fairly simple but after 2 weeks, I still cannot solve them! I may have to take them to work and force one of my colleagues to solve them for me!

I have also been desperately working on the Loki lock from Boaz Feldman. I had spent weeks and weeks doing the same thing again and again. I have previously said that I could turn the key (which obviously wouldn't work) and sometimes turn the key and be able to remove it whilst turned (occasionally I couldn't reinsert it which was a worry). My madness did not improve until Goetz sort of dropped me a hint that wasn't a hint. I felt rather foolish as I have given this advice to lots of other people and was a little ashamed not to take my own advice. Having used the "not a hint", I was able to continue with the challenge and found "stuff" to use on other "stuff". It was all very exciting and I learned why you shouldn't do these sort of challenges on an armchair with a cat on your lap. There are small pieces involved and if lost down the side of an armchair would make solving it very difficult. Losing them inside a cat would mean a day or two of waiting and a very unpleasant "sifting" challenge at the "other end". Yuk! I used my puzzling non-skills and finally had opened the lock:
I was flushed with success and then crashed back to the ground when I realised that the trick I had used to open it would not work in reverse. OMG! I had an open padlock and couldn't close it again. I have been trying to close it every evening since then (2 weeks). Boaz lent some encouragement and explained why the reverse process wouldn't work and peering closely inside (using my torch again) reveals that he is an absolute master of tricky design and manufacture. 

After 2 weeks, I contacted my tame (but not toilet trained) locksmith mate, Shane and he was helpful enough to make me think about how the lock worked but not helpful enough with a clue - he basically didn't really help at all! In the end it would appear that he has absolutely no memory at all of how he solved it! I was still left to my own devices trying the same thing over and over again. Of course, they wouldn't work and I had to think©.

This afternoon, literally just 20 minutes before starting to write this blog post, I tried something ever so slightly different and yesssssss! I managed to reassemble the lock. Finally after a week of struggling I have something to write about. I nearly missed my schedule.

Loki is a devil of a lock puzzle - Beautifully made with several steps to the solution and including one of the oldest tricks in the book taken to a silly level! Go buy it, you will love it! You should also keep an eye on Andrew Coles' website for the Mind the Gap lock - I loved it and it would appear that Allard thought it was quite fun too. It should be released for sale soon.

Now I need to lie down for a little bit and recover my nerves...except I still have a backlog of toys to play with and really not very much time to do it. Better get to it quickly then.



  1. Great review as usual!
    I just ordered my copy and can't wait to play with it.

    1. You really won’t be disappointed! It’s a really good puzzle.

  2. Hmmm…..
    I hope I haven’t lost any small parts while manipulating the lock?!

    1. Hi Mark, it’s fairly obvious when the parts come out of the puzzle but if you are at all worried then contact me via the contact page and I’ll check with you what you have done and what pieces you should or shouldn’t have.