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Today, I present to you another one of the Flabber Floovers' puzzles, the Pulley, manufactured by Family Games America. These are pocket-sized puzzles, usually no more than 10cm (4"), excluding the length of the rope that can sometimes be too long and cause an undesired string of knots. The collection features 12 different designs grouped in four difficulty levels, and the pulley sits at level 3, which means it's supposed to be a little challenging to solve.
The quality of these puzzles is superb, and it's even more surprising knowing they have a low asking price. The material is not your average plywood, it's actually hardwood, and from the looks of it, it seems it's made of birch wood, and carefully polished. The design is sleek and elegant, featuring complex and odd shapes, as if it were made by the most highly skilled craftsmen.
The puzzle consists of three different wooden parts held together by two lengths of rope. One of the parts has a slot large enough to let the part with the bead attached pass through it, but it can't go much further, since the bead is larger than the slot's opening. At the end of the longer rope is a trapezium shape and a ring. This ring is what you should be removing from the puzzle, but as you can see with a closer inspection, the trapezium can't pass through it. A different approach is then needed to solve the Pulley.
How hard is it, you ask? Well, not as hard as the difficulty rating makes it seem. As a level 3, I was expecting a real challenge, since level 4 is the hardest and this one is just a notch down. Turns out, I was able to solve it in a couple of minutes on my first attempt. And the solving process is really simple, with about three different steps needed. I didn't have too much trouble putting it back in its starting position either. It's just one of those puzzles you don't have to think very hard to uncover their secret.
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Even though I think the puzzle was easier than I was expecting, and while this could be interpreted as a let down, I was actually glad it didn't take me that long to solve, because I've had my fair share of frustrations with rope puzzles. This one, was actually a pleasant surprise. I would recommend it to anyone on the fence thinking it might be too challenging. Believe me, it's not. Once you know how it's solved it's hard to forget it, so unfortunately it doesn't have much replay value. Nevertheless, it's still a great puzzle.
Availability: The Flabber Floovers - Pulley came from the Spanish store PuzzlesdeIngenio.com. Worldwide shipping available. Click here to see the other designs in the collection.