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A few years ago I reviewed the first of the Houdini Lock Series, a collection of trick locks, each with a different trick and mechanism. It took me a while to get the second puzzle in the series, Under Lock and Key, but better late than never...
The build quality of this lock is very similar to the first one: sturdy, made with solid metal parts, quite heavy and works exactly as it should - well, not exactly as you'd expect, but that's a given when it comes to a trick lock. Always deceptive, but quality is very good. The size of the lock is roughly 4.8cm in diameter (about 1.9").
The look of the puzzle is identical to any other ordinary padlock, but the similarities are merely aesthetic. Look closer, and you'll find it's much more than a simple lock and key. The main feature of the puzzle is a rotating disc with eight numbers engraved on it. The numbers have an alternating pattern, which may or may not have something to do with the solution.
The provided key fits on the keyhole, but it doesn't seem to produce any effect, whether you turn it left or right. Like any good puzzle lock, there's a couple of clever red herrings that will try to get you off track. Is the solution finding the correct sequence of the disc? Or is it trying to make the key work? Is the key even necessary? Are there any hidden clues? All these questions and more will pass through your head during your solving process, but that's part of the fun, isn't it?
The difficulty of the Under Lock and Key is a tad more challenging than the Dead Lock, but if you keep at it, you'll eventually discover its secret. It has that a-ha moment when you finally get it. I've seen many different mechanisms on trick locks and this one was new to me, which is always welcome in any puzzle.
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Puzzle locks are always a good choice to trick family members and friends. They're an excellent source of entertainment in any social gathering, but also an object of admiration and fascination for its clever tricks and ingenious mechanisms. The Under Lock and Key from the Houdini Series is a very nice puzzle at an affordable price.
Availability: You can get the Under Lock and Key puzzle at Brilliant Puzzles for $19.95 USD. The others in the series are also available.