March 28, 2011

Puzzle Master Trick Lock #4

Trick Lock #4 is the fourth in a series of five puzzle locks by Puzzle Master that they sent me to review (excluding #2 which is out of stock). Thanks Puzzle Master! If you're just joining us, check out the first post in the series for general information on the quality of this series of puzzles, so you don't have to keep reading similar details.

This lock looks a bit more daunting than the others, since it has a mysterious dial on the front. The dial will turn, but it doesn't seem to do anything! Mine arrived pretty tight, to the point where I couldn't really turn the dial with my bare hands, so I grabbed some pliers and worked it back and forth a bit. That loosened it up, but it is still a bit difficult to turn. I think it will continue to loosen with use.

This one is a good bit more difficult than the others, and took me the longest to solve. I've shown the series to a number of people, and this is the one that usually stumps them for a while, and a few people have just given up on it. I think what makes this one difficult is that there is more going on: the dial turning plus the keyhole can keep you busy fiddling for quite a while trying various hypotheses.

I thought the solution was pretty clever, easily my favorite among the series, but I tend to like more difficult puzzles. This is the only one that had me going for more than a minute or so, which I appreciated. Especially given the price point ($30), I'd like to be kept busy for at least a few minutes.

I think the main downside to this one is the stiffness of the dial. The edge is a bit rough so your hands will hurt a bit from gripping it, which is annoying if you spend very long on it. The folks I showed this to had similar complaints. Other than that, it is quite enjoyable!

Up next, I'll post the last review of #5 and a summary. Stay tuned!

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