Sunday 19 March 2023

A Second View Through The Window

Dick Hensel's Window Lock 2
Imagine my utter horror to be wearing the same dress to the party sorry, publishing a review of the same puzzle as good friend and much better puzzler, Allard! His post on this puzzle is much better than mine - go read it now!

I now have 3 Locks from Dick and every single one of them is Shane's fault. He keeps getting early copies (he’s a locksmith, after all) and showing them off on Facebook which, of course, tempts me into rattling off another email and once more, rattling off some PayPal. Luckily I took delivery of this whilst Mrs S was away at the outlaws. By the time she came back I had it secreted away amongst all the others. To all you men out there, you know the answer you get to the question "is that new?" (Shoes, clothes, handbags, jewellery etc.) and the answer is "oh no, I’ve had this for ages". This can apply just as equally to puzzles. When asked about whatever I’m fiddling with, I can reply: "I’ve had this one ages!" And luckily, to Mrs S they all look the same! This means I can sneak them in whilst she is away and she will never know…apart from the Ring door camera which does give things away a bit. Doh!

The middle puzzle lock in the group is the Hensel lock mark III and was the first I bought from him and even after nearly 6 years, remains unsolved. I have had it on my desk for years and can only find a few moves. I’m a puzzle lock eejit! I really enjoyed the first Window Lock - both of these are a mixture of a dexterity puzzle, a maze, as well as very constrained sequential discovery puzzle. The fact that it looks like a lock is entirely incidental.

They all look very similar in shape and size and I think this version is made from oak. It has 2 ball bearings inside and a rather complex maze of pieces which form a bewildering set of baffles. Some of them clearly block the opening of the shackle and others seem to be there for no good reason. But… everything is there for a specific purpose. The initial fiddle with the shackle shows it to be blocked by the large ball bearing so it’s time to try and move it out of the way. Easier said than done! It’s a bit of a bugger manipulating everything with just the small ball bearing as your solitary tool. Through the window you can see everything but not really knowing what to do, you end up trying a few things u til miraculously you discover some parts are held together by a magnet and you need to break them apart with nothing apart from a ball bearing. Having found the first sequence, I realised that that there was another piece holding the shackle in the locked position. Time to move the ball elsewhere and try to release it. Again, easier said than done. Trying to move the ball without losing the gain already made is a challenge in its own right and then trying to undo the path blockage you have made getting there is a fun diversion. 

I finally moved to the second challenge an unblocked the restriction only to find the shackle still had a third element locking it in place. Right then, off we go and release that. Erm…except I couldn’t! It would appear that I had done it in the incorrect order! Damn! Who would have thought that a lock needed a specific sequence of moves to open it? Not me obviously but then, as previously stated, I’m an eejit. I had to relocate the element I’d already done and move to the required position to start again. After that, time to backtrack and redo my mistaken second move. Aha! The lock opened and I was startled to see the way it actually opened. 

No clues here!
Re-examining the sheer amount of difficult moves that Dick had put into this design and the precision required to make the tiny pieces that move on each other, held by tiny magnets, I am staggered at how well it works. Re-locking the puzzle is "just" a matter of reversing the steps but because gravity and pushing/pulling against magnets is so important, this I actually NOT quite so straightforward. Slightly different pathways/moves are required and for one move in particular, quite a lot of dexterity.

I have solved this a few times over the last week and still enjoy the process. I know exactly what to do in what order but actually doing it remains a bit of a dexterity nightmare. I love it! If you can find a copy of this then it’s well worth it.

Now, who wants to help me "launder" more puzzle deliveries so Mrs S doesn’t find out about them? 


  1. This is David Hensel… sitting here with my father, the master puzzler, enjoying your review. Cheers!

    1. Fantastic David! I’m glad he has seen my review. Your dad is indeed a master puzzle creator. I have loved both his windows locks and also hope one day to solve the Hensel lock.