Rainer Popp is definitely the master of puzzle locks… he has a reputation for producing challenging puzzles in the form of beautifully crafted locks, so his new designs are eagerly anticipated by both puzzle and lock collectors around the globe.
When I spotted an alert from Rainer to say that his newest design, the innocuously named T10, was available for sale, I immediately dropped an email to my favourite puzzle purveyor to ask if any might be available and ordered one on the spot… and I’m very glad that I did as they seemed to be pretty much all sold by the following morning – in fact, as I sit writing this I’m not aware of a single re-seller who has any in stock… :-(
It arrived on a Monday evening and it’s a brute, weighing in at about a kilo – it looks every inch the big, solid, secure padlock. Designed to look like a padlock made up of stacked steel plates, it’s made of, err, stacked steel plates, topped and tailed with brass bars and the obligatory stainless steel hasp. It comes with an interesting key and the padlock has a very obvious place to shove it…
A cursory examination of the lock in its unsolved state shows an interesting feature… and once you start playing with the mechanism, you instantly know exactly what you’re trying to achieve…
So the first thing we do is insert the key and turn … and something rather magical happens – hypnotic even… to the extent that I spent probably the best part of an hour experimenting with that simple little motion, and a couple of variations on it… if that were it’s only party trick, I’d be sold on it… but it gets better!
From your initial experiments you’ll learn how to influence things, and that there are obstructions to just how freely you can choose to influence those things… sometimes that can be a right pain in the shackle!
I spent a really long time in this phase of the solve… getting myself to the place where I thought I was able to pretty much do everything that I wanted to be able to … almost – there was always one little element that eluded me, and I’d pretty much concluded that it was impossible… and that was the little breakthrough I needed: allowing myself to think that it might be impossible.
From there there’s a delightful little discovery that literally provides the key to further progress… and it still took me more than a week to finally solve the thing from there… I had it so close for ages that I could just about reach out and touch the solution, but it refused to budge… turned out I was actually quite a long way off, it just looked like I was close… and in the end it had taken me many, many hours over the course of three weeks to finally solve it…
This thing is a brute of a puzzle – nobody is ever going to open this one and feel cheated out of a sense of achievement – EVER!
In fact, I’d probably go as far as to say that if Rainer didn’t ship them with a solution booklet, quite a few of them would remain unsolved.
Investment-grade hard-core puzzle lock from the master…
Too complicated. I watched one of the top solvers in the world not even get started on this one. One step in the solution makes me grit my teeth. I know of two locks that have jammed mechanisms. I have most of his locks. No problem parting with this one. The others, no way.ReplyDelete
...I suspect you won't lose money on the deal, John. ;-)Delete
This is an extremely difficult puzzle. But an engineering achievement. I love trick locks and know how most work. But this took me many many hours.ReplyDelete
After dismantling mine (highly recommended NOT to do this) there is no way for the lock to jam. But moves can get mixed up and give that impression. So don't worry it'll never break. Just needs patients !!
A collector at the New York puzzle party had one that was terribly jammed. Maybe jammed it the wrong word, but the key required more force to turn than could be applied with average hand strength. This developed at the party while other collectors were attempting to solve it. Says he loosened it up by soaking in oil overnight.ReplyDelete
I can't post here exactly how it was jammed, but it was only when getting one specific plate to move. This gives nothing away because it is simple to get plates to move.ReplyDelete
John, I know exactly what you talking about. Please PM me if anyone needs help.ReplyDelete
If it helps Eric has my contact detailsDelete
Wonderful review, as always Allard.ReplyDelete
Shane, I'm the collector whose lock locked up, I've since got it in perfect working order.
Thanks Eric! - Glad your T10 is up and running again... I heard of one other that appeared to lock up good and solid, but when it was left alone for a while (to cool down?!) it was restored to full working order once more... weird.Delete