Saturday 27 February 2016

Haleslock 1

My friend Shane fools me regularly… he’ll quite often rock up at an MPP, shove something in my paws and silence me for absolute ages while I try and solve his latest creation. 

His main series of puzzles are absolutely terrific, but his recent adventures into “Interval” puzzles has been pretty darn good too… and I know that I haven’t been the only person to suggest to him that his interval puzzles would go down rather well if he ever decided to make some for sale – heck, there was virtually a queue forming at MPP already! 

At the last MPP Shane had a slightly modified padlock that he was challenging us to unlock with the key provided… and then he wanted our feedback as he was considering possibly making some up for sale… I think I can safely say that the feedback was pretty unanimous with several of us wanting to throw money at him there and then…

Over the course of the next few weeks he teased us with pics of a shed-load of German locks arriving in his workshop, and then the odd pics of various levels of abuse being meted out to the assembled (innocent!) locks.

Toward the end of that process he put a pic or two of the final product up on his website and posted an email around inviting folks to express an interest… and he was probably hoping to shift most of his stock before passing some onto a couple of potential re-sellers… except that within a couple of hours he’d had more takers than he had made locks – which would have left him in a bit of a pickle, so he ended up having to ration his sales on a sort of lottery basis before reducing the volumes that he was planning to pass on to the re-sellers… it’s a good problem to have, as problems go, but it did up the pressure on the poor lad to finish them off rather a bit! 

A short while later I received my copy of Haleslock 1 courtesy of the Royal Mail… and Shane, who refused to take any of my money! (Thanks mate!) 

There’s a key attached to some sort of key ring around the shackle, but that’s not the really interesting bit – at least not to my mind… there’s some pretty serious modifications going on down in one corner of the lock, albeit with no apparent way of doing anything with it… apart from that, the lock appears(!) to be unmolested apart from a serial number on the top of the lock and Mister Hales’ customary signature on the side, just above all that weird modification I was going on about… all-in-all a rather professionally produced puzzle… nice job that man!

Soooo, what’s it like as a puzzle, then?

In a word: GREAT!

If you haven’t seen one of Shane’s locks before, you’re in for a treat… there’s several layers to solving this one… starting from the little set of instructions that tells you not to damage the key ring securing the key to the shackle… "key ring" might be a bit misleading here – the key is attached to a very strong device that seems to be rather well locked onto that shackle… but call it a key ring and challenge the puzzler to extract the key might just sound like a cruel joke for a while…  

(Shane’s used those key rings on some of his previous (short-run!) puzzle locks and heard that some people found the key ring almost as challenging as the locks – so they were duly incorporated into his first production puzzle…)

Find a way to release the key and you can at least pop it in the lock and see if the lock just magically opens – err, NOPE. 

Prepare to spend a while navigating through a few layers of sequential discovery before you can finally stand a chance at opening the lock – and even then it’s anything but simple… the test model he was trying out on us at MPP was just the last bit – and that’s what we were all prepared to pay for and sign up for on the spot… Haleslock 1 has that and a sequential discovery problem or two to solve along the way.

Shane has done a great job of producing a really great-looking puzzle in his workshop… he’s virtually giving them away at the prices he’s charging – I really cannot recommend them highly enough if you like puzzle locks… but I’m afraid you will struggle to find any more for sale – Shane doesn’t have any left and I think there are only one or two re-sellers who may have a few copies – they’re definitely worth tracking down though…


  1. Thank you ! Again you along with Kevin are very welcome to no.02 always. The encouragement and feedback (positive and negative) keeps me going and I cannot thank you enough. And before Mr (or Mrs?) anonymous makes a comment, I was as fair as possible with my distribution. So please anyone who wants one hunt one down from a reseller and enjoy ! Good luck.

    1. ...thank YOU Shane for providing the fun! :-)

  2. Awesome review mate! I'm really glad that someone else also found this puzzle a real challenge! He's so self deprecating - somehow he doesn't understand just how good he is as a designer and maker. I'm proud to own his puzzles and that he considers me a friend.


  3. Thanks Kevin! He IS a first class lad!

  4. #5 is open too now :D
    The prototype is great, but the additions in this final version make it extra neat!

    1. Well done Chris! :-) Do we know if you beat Jack S-S yet? ;-)

  5. received mine yesterday. enjoying it quite a lot (and I don't even collect locks!). I haven't solved mine yet, but am making progress...

  6. Received mine today. Looking forward to seeing what this has in store for me (likely a lot of frustration, profanity, and unadulterated enjoyment).

  7. Replies
    1. ...not that I'm aware of... not reputable sellers anyway - there is one rogue who's been trying to flog a copy for an extortionate price (MANY times the price he paid for it) for some time now. :-(