April 21, 2011

Get a Clue!

Get a Clue! is an interesting puzzle by Pavel Curtis that I picked up at IPP30 in Osaka. It was Pavel's exchange puzzle it Osaka, and when I heard his description of it, it sounded like a fun little puzzle that I should check out. He didn't have many left over after the exchange, but I managed to pick one up.

I forget the whole schpiel, but the premise is that there has been an attempted murder, and your goal is to figure out what happened by reassembling the broken magnifying glass in two different ways. The instructions say that the goal is to find the clues to a famous fictional attempted murder.

The interesting thing about this puzzle is that there are nine pieces that must be arranged in three levels to form an image, using the transparency/opaqueness of the different pieces. Not only that, but there are two different ways to do this, each producing a different image!

I figured out pretty quickly what the attempted murder was based on various cues, but actually assembling the puzzle proved fairly challenging. I think it took me a good 20-30 minutes to get both images solved. I found one to be easier than the other, which was clearly by design. At first, it is a bit unclear how you can take a logical/methodical approach to solving this one, but it turns out that there is indeed a way to do so once you make the first leap yourself.

I had this one sitting on my coffee table, and folks would invariably be draw to it, only to accidentally dump out the pieces! Usually I would steer them away from it, since it is a bit challenging for a dinner party of non-puzzlers, but two folks were really intrigued when I explained the goal to them. The proceeded to spend what must have been 45 or 60 minutes trying to piece it together. Finally, they figured out the first image, but had to return home before getting the second one. Like me, they were able to figure out the murder victim before actually assembling either image.

Since the exchange, Pavel has revised the puzzle a bit to actually tell you who the victim of the murder was, and that you need to find two things that they were given. I think this makes it just a bit easier, so if you end up purchasing this puzzle and you'd like more of a challenge, don't look too closely at the text on the handle in the image above and maybe cover it with masking tape when you get the puzzle so you don't peek at it. Like I said, you'll probably figure it out who the victim is pretty quickly, so this doesn't matter much.

I can't really think of any drawbacks to this one. Maybe it would have been nice if the victim is revealed only after you figure out one or both images, but in that case, it would have been really hard to figure out what image you're trying to make. I think Pavel made the right choice there.

Overall, a fun little puzzle that I enjoyed solving. I really liked the multiple solutions, since it increased the amount of puzzling enjoyment and was clearly more difficult to design than just a single solution. The laser cut acrylic construction is nice too!

If you are interested, Get a Clue! can be purchased at PavelsPuzzles.com. While you're at it, check out Octamaze too. It is an interesting multi-layered puzzle by Pavel that I wrote about here.


  1. I have been stymied by this puzzle. Pavel lists a hints web page on the description, but last time I checked it was missing. Are the letters on the pieces relevant? That was what I was focusing on.

  2. Hi George, I'll shoot you an email!


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