October 7, 2009


For my birthday this year my family got together for brunch at a restaurant near where my folks live, up in Beverly, MA. Brunch was quite tasty, and I got a new puzzle: the YOT by Hi-Q Products. I couldn't resist giving it a try, since we were done eating.

It is a bit tricky to tell from the picture, but the purpose is to remove the lid from the disk, which will allow you to remove the coin. It twists but will not pull off unless you can figure out the trick.

As a somewhat experienced puzzler at this point, there are a few things that one tries with hidden mechanism puzzles, so I tried the thing that first came to mind. Sure enough, it worked, much to my surprise and the surprise of my parents who expected to see a bit more of a challenge from this $35 puzzle. Oh well! It is quite well made and has a nice weight to it.

The fun began when the rest of my family tried to attempt my feat: I had done the move quickly, just in case it worked, so nobody had seen what I did. It got passed around for a while; my cousin tried it, my grandfather, my mother, my aunt, all with no luck! Some of them had the right idea but weren't quite able to open it. Eventually they convinced my girlfriend to try it, who thought she had seen what I did, and she was able to open it, much to everybody's amazement.

That is part of the cool thing about this puzzle: you can open it right in front of somebody without them seeing what you have done (if you are sufficiently sneaky). In fact, it was originally designed as a magic trick. Here's a funny slideshow on YOT.com of a fellow supposedly using this puzzle/magic trick to pick up a woman at a bar.

Overall, I would say that this is a fun puzzle to frustrate novices with, but is too easy for a moderately serious solver of hidden mechanism puzzles. You are paying for the quality and precision of the puzzle here.

I haven't tried the YOT II yet, but am somewhat tempted. It is quite a bit more expensive at $60, so that is a bit off-putting. Leave a comment if you've tried it, I'd love to hear what you think.

Tomorrow, I'll write about another great Oskar van Deventer puzzle in the Hanayama series.


  1. Cool George! I have been curious about it but haven't got one yet. Let me know how you like it!


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