Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Peter Hajek’s How Box

I first spotted this puzzle in a post on FaceBook from Jakub Dvorak, the leading light at Pelikan Puzzles. He’d posted a few teasing pictures of a rather handsome box with an intriguing key in the foreground. It looked smashing and when I read that it had been designed by Peter Hajek, I was pretty sure it would make a cracking puzzle as well. 

In the following few weeks I heard feedback from puzzling friends who’d seen an early production copy and thought it was a brilliant puzzle so I started keeping a close eye on the Pelikan website for news of the release, knowing that there wouldn’t be a very big production run and I’d have to get in there quickly. I also happened to chat to Peter in the intervening period and he’d pronounced himself quite happy with the outcome, so any remaining doubts were immediately banished. 

When the announcement finally came I had emails not only from Pelikan but also from a bunch of my puzzling mates warning me that it had been listed on the web-site and within a couple of minutes I’d ordered one. 

It arrived about a week later and it’s every bit as handsome as Jakub’s pictures made it look – and it’s not a small box, or a light box! There is clearly something very substantial inside this box keeping it closed. Don’t you love a challenge?

The How Box was available in two colour-schemes – I chose the lighter of the two which uses oak for virtually everything bar the slip-feathers and the front lock plate, which use wenge. 

I was a little confused on first unpacking the box as it was brilliantly packed, but there was no sign of the attractive key that had featured in some of Jakub’s pictures… I managed to stop myself from winging him a quick email to ask if he’d forgotten to include it in the package and I’m rather glad I did!

First impressions of the box show it to be a sturdy number with an obvious hinged top lid, lock plate and keyhole on the front and four feet on the bottom – nothing looks out of place… 

But of course it is – all of it! Peter has a knack for designing great puzzlers’ puzzles – puzzles that use what you know (or think you know!) against you. The solution for this puzzle doesn’t consist of a particularly high number of steps, but each one will have you wondering how the heck to make any progress…

I spent a very happy Saturday morning working my way through the solve – finding something interesting, exploring it and finding how to make it useful and then hitting a brick wall and having to retreat and Think © for a while before finally finding something interesting again and repeating the whole process… quite a few times before I eventually had the box properly opened with a giant grin on my face. 

This is a great puzzle for making you really test what you know and differentiate that from what you think you know!

Peter’s design is clever and fun and Jakub and the guys at Pelikan have done a brilliant job of bringing it all to life and producing a wonderfully sturdy challenge for any puzzlers vaguely interested in secret opening boxes – or even sequential discovery puzzles for that matter!


  1. I begin to feel regret that I pass on this one......At that moment I don't have enough leisure money to buy this box. I hope that I'll have a chance to try it once in the future!

  2. Looks to be a nice puzzle, thanks for the write up