Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Put It To The - Side Lock

Side Lock by Andrew Crowell
It had been awhile since I’ve played with an Andrew Crowell puzzle, so I headed over to the arcWoodPuzzles shop on Etsy to see what’s new.  Andrew is a prolific puzzle designer and there’s always something new.  Amongst the fine selection of puzzles, I discovered several intriguing burr lock puzzles and decided to give them a try.  The first of the two that I selected was Side Lock.

The first thing that surprised me when the puzzles arrived was how big they were.  They were twice as big as I was expecting, providing a nice heft for 3D printed puzzles.  The puzzle consists of the frame and 6 other pieces: 4 short burr pieces, the longer burr side piece, and the shackle.  As expected from puzzles 3D printed by Andrew, the fit and movement of pieces is excellent.  The puzzle is also quite attractive, made using a marble-like filament for the frame and shiny blue, green, and purple filament for the pieces.

Since Side Lock arrived assembled and my preference is to attack these types of puzzles as assembly challenges, I quickly disassembled it and planned to leave the pieces untouched for a couple days while any vestiges of piece movement memory quickly decayed.  Quite honestly, at this point in my life, anything over 5 minutes is overkill.  A couple of months later, I found the pieces and attempted the reassembly.

Side Lock Pieces
With an empty frame and 6 pieces, I began tackling the reconstruction of Side Lock.  There is a feature within the frame that matches one of the pieces thus revealing the location of the first piece.  With the location of the first piece known, the location of the next piece becomes obvious.  At this point, I’m thinking, “This is easy, only four more pieces to go!”.  However, this was the end of Easy Street forcing me to kickstart that old clunker of gray matter.  Where once the old brain could breeze through these problems, I can now feel it wheeze through the process.  Eventually, the pieces found themselves in the shape of a lock once again.

I really like these lock shaped burrs and at 19 moves to remove the first piece, it’s a nice little challenge.  The one thing that I would like to see changed with the puzzle is to have the name debossed on the outside instead of on the shackle hidden in the frame.  I like to be able to reference the name without having to disassemble the puzzle.  However, I realize that this is my personal opinion and that there are people that don’t care to have the outside of their puzzles defaced with any type of lettering.

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