Sunday 7 January 2024


Definitely Not a Trillionth (10-12) of a Puzzle!

PicoLock from Boaz Feldman
It's beautifully presented
Ouch! Allodynia after surgery is a bit of a bugger! It is not helping me solve puzzles! It is very hard to prevent clothing touching your groin whilst sitting or moving or doing much of anything. I'll leave you with an image of me maybe solving puzzles naked to try and decrease my pain! 🤣🤣🤣😈

I watched as a bunch of people picked up the latest locks from Boaz Feldman and always intended to buy them for myself. This was especially reinforced when Allard reviewed both Loophole and the PicoLock and really seems to enjoy them. But with me being me, I kept buying gorgeous wood and kept running out of money before I bought the new shiny locks. Eventually, I managed to save up enough cash and quickly sent it to Boaz before any more wood showed up and both the latest puzzle locks arrived at the beginning of December. I took my customary photos and set to work on the Loophole first (encouraged by Allard's review) and having failed to turn the key I looked elsewhere and, you guessed it, failed to find anything else! Yep so far I have found NOTHING useful. I put it down and played with a few other shiny things that had arrived at roughly the same time and then, having been coshed by Tramadol, stopped solving anything for a little while. I put the locks aside on my newly cleared desk for later investigation.

Then, just before New Year's eve a bunch of us attended Peter Hajek's End of year Puzzle Party (EPP) and had to show off our favourites from 2023. A few people did mention the PicoLock as in their top three from the year and with the sheer calibre and experience of these puzzlers, I was very quickly enticed back to the locks. This time I decided to try and decrease my frustration and try the PicoLock. I had been Think©ing about the Loophole but my mind was blank.

PicoLock is a standard Nabob padlock from Israel which has been obviously tampered with. There is a hole in the side through which you can sort of see into the keyway and on the opposite side something has been drilled and filled. Boaz always provides the key on one of those wire keyring things keep it safe. 

Yes, I know that it won't be helpful but I have to do it - I put the key into the lock and turn. We all know that it won't be helpful but if we don't do it then those pesky voices won't stop muttering in the back of your head ("maybe it might to something or maybe you might learn something"). I probably should worry about those voices in my head! I turned the key and.... it wouldn't turn! Not entirely unexpected. Time to inspect it properly and see what you can see/do. I often use the light on my phone to illuminate holes etc and as a man of a certain age, use the magnifier function of the phone to be able to properly see inside said holes. Not terribly helpful. Poking at the holes with the tip of the key and my fingernails is not helpful and I'm beginning to worry that it will be another total failure. 

As is pretty common for me, I completely ignore what I have already learned (Mrs S says it is because I am not terribly bright and I can't argue with her) and I reinsert the key into the keyway and this time it turns. Huh!!!! Why now? Some further fiddling revealed something interesting and gives a hint of what Boaz might have done. He's a sneaky bugger! This interesting thing starts me on some of my usual tricks to try on locks and for a very long time, I couldn't to anything until, Aha! I could do something. It was only a small thing I did but it opened up a very unusual step. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen a puzzle lock do that before. After this unusual step, I received a tool and had no idea what to do with it. I was stuck for a while. Time to Think© yet again... Ouch!

At this point, I realised that something special might be possible (no clues here!) The next part of the sequence was classic Boaz - stuff was hidden from you in very clever ways and only Think©ing would find it. I then found another wonderful thing which led to a really clever manoeuvre - in fact, I really cannot believe that he managed to do what he did. After the best part of a day of play, I had an open lock and a huge grin on my face:

There really are NO spoilers here
I can see why this was in the top three puzzles of 2023 for several puzzlers. It is fabulous! I was significantly helped by buying and paying with two at the same time. There is a subtle difference between them that gave me a little clue for one of the steps. You definitely need to buy two puzzles to help Boaz and definitely help yourself with a clue.

I think this might be one that I might take to work to show off to colleagues. I think the orthopods in particular might appreciate the metalwork that has been created here.

If you live in the Americas then it may be easier for you to buy it/them from PuzzleMaster here and here.

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