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Mickey is another cute design by Jean Claude Constantin. This little puzzle looks harmless, but like all string puzzles it can become a knot fest in no time. Read further as I share with you my experience with this little devil.
Just like most puzzles by Constantin, the design is quite original. The metal frame, as the name suggests, resembles the shape of Disney's character Mickey. The frame is comprised of two small loops perpendicular to each other, and a string with a bead at the end. The goal, as you might've already guessed, is to remove the string. It's a small puzzle, measuring only 11.5cm (4.5") in height.
Even though I have a "slight" fear for string puzzles, I decided to give this one a chance. Not only because it's a Constantin's design, which is a no-brainer, but also because it's rated as a level 7/10 - That's perfectly doable for a string puzzle, or so I thought...
I remember trying to solve a similar puzzle, the Hangman, a few years ago, when I first started collecting these fascinating objects. The design was different, but the concept had a few similarities. I remember I didn't solve that puzzle at the time, but as I got more experienced with puzzle solving, I figured this one was worth a shot.
To my surprise, I was able to solve Mickey in just a couple of minutes. While the two frame loops look intimidating at first, it's clear that they're part of the solution, so it didn't take me long to discover the solution. Now, like most puzzles in this category, removing the string is just half of the challenge. Returning it to its original position, however, is usually the trickiest part, and this one is no exception.
Suffice it to say, my fear came true when all of a sudden I was faced with all these knots. I just couldn't understand how removing the string was so easy, and now, supposedly doing it backwards was so damn hard. I eventually undid all the knots, but as of the writing of this review I'm still unable to return it to its original state. Also worth noting is that the solution, which I tried to use, is completely useless, because it's not shown in steps - Just two images with multiple string positions, harder to decipher than the Da Vinci code... And yet another one to the pile of unsolved string puzzles.
Solution: If you get stuck with Mickey, try to decipher its solution here.
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Adding a design by Jean Claude Constantin to my collection is always a great pleasure. I didn't get to fully solve the Mickey, but it was still a very enjoyable puzzle, especially being able to remove the string in a couple of minutes. If you like string puzzles, or better yet, if you're good at solving them, this one's easily recommended. If you have the "ability" to make knots appear out of nothing, then stay away from it, you've been warned...
Availability: PuzzleMaster is a great place to get your Constantin puzzle fix. You can find there the Mickey and many other of his designs.