Sunday 12 November 2023


Boaz Feldman has been carrying on the family tradition of creating excellent puzzle locks for a good few years now and this year he entered his latest baby, Picolock, in the Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition.

I had a couple of goes at it in the Design Competition Room and I can confidently state that I made absolutely ZERO progress, so when the Puzzle Party rolled around, I made sure that I had some cash to hand over to Boaz for a shiny new copy of Picolock.

Back at home I had several more goes at trying to open the lock (yup, that’s the goal!) and continued my unblemished record of not troubling the solution in any way… I did get to know the lock rather well.

You receive a neatly engraved, ever so slightly modified 40mm Nabob padlock. The key(?) is attached to the shackle by one of those ubiquitous super-strong cable keyrings. All of that comes in one of Boaz’s neat little embroidered pouches along with an instruction card – there can be no doubt what the goal is and that you shouldn’t be using any external tools…

Over the course of my several unsuccessful goes at opening the lock I explored what I considered to be all of the usual tricks of the trade – there are one or two interesting visual clues and I found myself focusing on them… but unable to make anything useful of any of my observations.

If truth be told, I did rather obsess on one of those visual clues rather a lot and I’d pretty much convinced myself that something magical would happen with a particular feature, only I failed to find the secret release that would allow that to happen… and in the end I spent most of the three intervening months concentrating on those things, and getting nowhere at all… not that any of my friends took the proverbial – well not much… well…

In the end I found I’d succumbed to the gravest of errors: not properly discounting something before moving on and leaving it behind – it turns out there was something I could do that I’d previously convinced myself wasn’t possible because I’d explored all of the possible avenues exhaustively… well, not quite.

…and having revisited that avenue, a whole new world opened up before me and all of a sudden, I was on a wild and exciting ride of new discoveries, tools and techniques and soon enough, an opened shackle.

Having spent three months being thoroughly baffled, the final fifteen minutes of this journey were sheer excitement and joyful discovery – the three months of zero progress and self-doubt are totally forgotten and once again I’m an enormous fan of Boaz’ creativity and serious puzzle-designing-chops – Picolock is exceptional and deserves its place in the family dynasty.

Great work Boaz!!

...and the good news is that Picolock is now available for sale at Boaz' webshop over here...


No comments:

Post a Comment