Wednesday 24 October 2012

Sandfield’s Locked Drawer

This brilliant puzzle was Robert Sandfield’s exchange puzzle for IPP30 in Japan. It’s beautifully made by Kathleen Malcolmson who also had a hand in designing it... and when I saw a few of them on Robert’s table at the best puzzle party (cue Jeremy Clarkson tone) in the world, I took one straight away (and paid for it as well!).

It comes in one of the usual Sandfield-branded draw-string bags and it’s a reasonably unassuming little box with a drawer on one side of it. Something inside rattles, a bit like a coin. The drawer is a bit looser than I’m expecting given the puzzle’s name, in fact you’ll find that it pulls right out – which is a real surprise given that it’s Sandfield’s Locked Drawer – until, that is, you pull it all the way out and there’s a little click, at which point you realise you’ve been had ... NOW it’s locked – locked OPEN!

...and that’s the start of the little odyssey... you have an open drawer with a coin in it, assuming you didn’t open it upside down, in which case there’s now a coin on the table! Try turning it upside down, spinning it, or even blowing gently on it, nothing seems to help. Shaking it brings up some new noises though... intriguing – where was that before?

From there on there’s a great little journey of discovery to find a few useful tools, some hidden places, a weird mechanism that won’t do what you want it to ... until you understand it and then ultimately a series of steps to return the box to its original state, ready for the next victim.

A beautifully disguised little sequential discovery puzzle that packs way more discovery than I was expecting – and I love giving it to folks and telling them what it’s called and watching the look on their faces range from “That’s not a puzzle, it just opens” to “Oh ... bugger!”.

Does that make me a bad person?


  1. Thanks for bringing it to MPP mate, i'm really pleased to have had the pleasure of solving this one. Its another puzzle with just the right amount of fun to it. Pure quality!

  2. I loved it! But do you have to keep mentioning the "blowing in it" episode? Haven't I suffered enough? ;-)


  3. Brilliant puzzle! I'm really glad you brought it along for us to try out. P.S: Kevin has never suffered enough. ;)