Saturday 23 September 2023

Simple Lock 1

Simple by name… simple by nature?

Most definitely not!

I missed out on the first release of this puzzle a while back, but on Louis’ most excellent recommendation, I joined the waiting list and managed to grab a copy from a subsequent batch… and I’m rather glad I did.

It is an exceedingly handsome little beast – plenty of nicely brushed aluminium, a super-solid looking stainless-steel shackle and a conspicuously removable plate on the back. (The lock comes with a hex-tool and an instruction to only use it after fully solving the puzzle in order to see your serial number inscribed inside.)

The accompanying key actually fits in the keypath (great start!) and will actually turn (we’re two-for-two already!) and you may even be surprised when the shackle starts coming out (it’s all going swimmingly so far!), but there’s a rather large “but” in your pretty immediate future at this stage!

Roundabout now things go a little Pete Tong, and you may well find yourself picturing Ben, the creator of this little monster, having a laugh at your expense.

Somewhere along the obvious path you need to take, you will find yourself unable to turn around and head back for the safety of your starting position – game on… ready or not!

That whole bit of the journey takes mere seconds… the rest of it took me many, many weeks!

At various stages I had a shackle in one hand and a locked-up padlock with a key that wouldn’t budge in the other – in fact that was quite often the position.

There are some lovely discoveries and some very subtle little touches that had me barking up the wrong tree for an awfully long time. There’s a tool or two to be discovered (including some “where the heck did that come from?”!) and then a really long (‘twas for me!) journey of discovery to work out all of the steps required to get everything back to the starting position.

It's really an excellent puzzle from just the solve perspective - what makes it really mind-blowing IMHO is taking the back cover off and seeing just how elegant the innards are – there is zero over-complication anywhere. Every precisely shaped piece is there for a reason – some to allow you to do something, most to stop you from doing something.

Ultimately this puzzle’s design really earns its name – just don’t be fooled into thinking that the name will be descriptive of the solution in any way, shape or form!

Bravo Ben!

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