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The Big 30 puzzle is a bit special for me as it represents my recent entry into the 30's. I first saw it when I was choosing puzzles from PuzzleMaster and immediately caught my attention, since I was very close to celebrate my 30th birthday. It was designed by Allan Stein and it was his exchange puzzle at IPP 30 in 2010.
As the name suggests, the puzzle is comprised of two main pieces in the shape of a 3 and a 0, and a string with a bead at the end. The string can't be moved to another part of the puzzle and is somewhat tight, so don't try to force it or it'll break. The goal is to remove the 0 shape and then return it to its starting position.
Besides the catchy name, the design of the puzzle is very elegant too. The string has a golden coating and the bright red bead makes a beautiful contrast with the silver wire. PuzzleMaster's wire puzzles are very well made and resistant, and unlike others in the same category it doesn't leave an unpleasant smell of metal in your hands.
So, the puzzle looks nice, but you might be asking yourself if the challenge itself is really worth it. It very much depends on how you see and solve metal puzzles. If you don't like an easy challenge it's probably not for you, because it's rated as a level 6/10 by PuzzleMaster. Since I'm not very good at wire or string puzzles, I thought it had the right amount of challenge.
I wasn't able to solve it right away. I had to fiddle with it for a good 10 or 15 minutes before I was able to free the 0. However, even after that I wasn't sure exactly how I managed to do it. It took me a while longer to figure out how to put it back together, and only after the second successful attempt I was sure of the right steps to solve it. Looking at it now, I understand why it's classified as being this easy, but even so I believe that experienced puzzlers will find it fun to solve as well.
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Solution: If you get stuck in the 30's, you can use the help of PuzzleMaster's solution here.
You don't need to be 30 to fully enjoy The Big 30 puzzle. It's not challenging enough to frustrate you or to make you think really hard, but then again you don't need to spend hours with a puzzle to have a good time with it. This makes a wonderful gift for someone approaching his 30th birthday.