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String/Wire puzzles, or as I like to call them 'Torture' puzzles, are a rare kind of puzzles that I usually tend to stay away from but can't seem to resist for long. It's like a siren song. I know it'll end badly but still I want to believe that it's going to be different and easier this time around... It didn't, at least not with The Glasses.
Since I've been reviewing these string puzzles from Sloyd - I reckon they were eight - I was saving this one for last due to its obvious higher difficulty and I wasn't mistaken. It's one hell of a challenge, which is odd because at first sight the design doesn't seem too much complex, even the wire frame is not very intimidating. Since you all know the concept of 'appearances can be deceiving', you get a pretty good idea of what I went through over the past few weeks.
So, as I mentioned above, the design is very simple. The frame is made in the shape of a pair of glasses, without temples, and attached is a string - a lengthy one I might add - with two beads at both ends. The beads can't go through the two big openings in the metal frame, so a different approach is needed to solve this fiendish puzzle. Yes, it involves knots, and knowing my history with them I always end up creating one too many. The design also reminds of The Rack, another wire puzzle. I don't own it though, so I'm not able to compare them and see how similar they actually are.
Sloyd classifies The Glasses as a level 5/5, and I couldn't agree more. There's no way around it, this is a very challenging puzzle and one of the few hard ones I was fortunate enough to solve, albeit only after a few weeks of on and off puzzling. How did I do it, you ask? I wouldn't know where to start. This is one thing that always surprises me when solving string puzzles. When attempting to untie an undesired knot I sometimes seem to make progress just by accident. It was a little bit like this with The Glasses. When I finally saw the string hanging from the bottom of one of the big openings, the puzzle was all but solved. That was a marvelous feeling, but now, how would I put it back? Long story short, I didn't... Well almost, the string is looking a little funny compared to the original position, but it's close enough. No way am I going through that again in the near future. I consider it 90% done...
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The Glasses are definitely not for beginners, unless you want to end up with an unsolvable puzzle. It you like extreme challenges this is a perfect choice, but don't expect to solve it in a heartbeat. It's something to enjoy step by step, that is, if you like this type of 'Torture' puzzles.