Monday, 14 February 2022

Axes and Hammer

Let me start by making one thing absolutely clear: I am rubbish at disentanglements!

Yet, for some reason, I decided that I rather liked the looks of Axes and Hammer when it was entered in the 2020 Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition. Some time later I reached out to the designer and managed to acquire a copy… albeit the wonders of the pandemic and its impact on the international postal system meant that I had to be a little mor patient than usual while it wended its way from China to little old Barnt Green – but wend, it did, and I was delighted with the quality of this little guy.

The axes have a nice shape and profile and the hammer is pleasingly solid – marry that with the not insubstantial chain, and you have a puzzle that is not going to allow you to do anything that you absolutely shouldn’t be able to…

At first glance, Axes and Hammer looks like a standard disentanglement – do something where you wouldn’t normally expect to do it, and Hey Presto, the ring’s free! Although knowing that it’s been accepted into the design competition lets you know immediately that it’s not going to be nearly that simple!

And it isn’t… in fact it’s rather tricky – and relies on the puzzler noticing a few little details made possible by some neatly designed features and pretty good tolerances… in fact, there’s one part of the solution that is very fussy indeed – if you don’t approach things absolutely perfectly, you’ll be convinced it’s not going to work… and duly shift your attention elsewhere.

This one’s definitely a puzzlers’ puzzle, in my humble opinion… one for someone who thinks they know what to do and is open to a little lesson in humility from a talented designer… this one doesn’t suffer fools and demands you pay attention to the details, or you end up going round and round in circles. (Yup, got that t-shirt!)  



  1. I'm similar, great at entangling things. It's the dis part I'm rubbish at.

    1. ...I wonder if there's a market for t-shirts that say that...

  2. Also, I would say, among the most beautifully made disentanglments ever. It's a work of art.