Houdini Dead Lock

Posted on by Gabriel | 12 comments
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(Click to Enlarge)

I've reviewed two Trick Locks before (see here and here), but the Houdini Dead Lock is my favorite so far. It's part of 3 Puzzle Lock series from Professor Puzzle and this one is level 3, which is the hardest. The small collection can be found at Puzzle Guru in the UK.

Since I started my collection, I've been fascinated by Puzzle Locks. They have all this mystery and enigma around them that built up from centuries ago, when they first started appearing. They can be quite unique and even after you've opened a few of them, the next one will leave you, for sure just as much intrigued as the previous ones.

What makes each Puzzle Lock unique is the way or "trick" that you need to figure out to open them. Some of these locks might not even require a key to open, having an internal mechanism with one or more necessary secret moves, to  unlock them. It is said that Harry Houdini might have used these locks in his escapes, but until today there's no proof of that.

The Houdini Dead Lock, manages to make use of these tricks in a very clever way. I've spent a good half hour with it, trying in vain every possible key position you can think of. The "key" here is to pay attention to every detail about the puzzle, because not everything is quite exactly what it looks like and can also be very deceptive.

The lock comes with two keys, although you just need one to solve it. The designers were probably already predicting that one of them might get broken in one's frustration and decided to add another one just in case...

One thing you might notice about the lock is the part above the key hole. If you try to move it, it won't budge that much, except for a push from the left, but that will not get you anywhere either. To avoid spoiling your experience with the puzzle, I won't reveal the exact way to open it, which unlike other puzzles, once you know the solution, there's no reason to attempt solving it again. What I can do is give you a small hint (Spoiler ahead): The key can also be used in another way, other than using it in the key hole.

If you're already frustrated enough and for some reason gave up, you can see a solution video in the product's page at Puzzle Guru.

(Click to Enlarge) - Solved and Viewed from the Back

Closing Comments:

As I mentioned above, this is my favorite from the Trick Locks I have currently in my collection. Right now, I only own this one in the Houdini series, but I reckon I've made the right choice. It's a nice challenge, not crazy hard, but also nothing that easy you can solve in a couple of minutes. I also like the fact that it's quite hefty and good quality, definitely not something made with cheap materials.

If you haven't yet tried a Trick Lock, I strongly recommend one of this series to start. Puzzle Guru stocks all three and they're all the same price, so it's up to you to choose your level of frustration.


Rob's Puzzle Page (Trick Locks)

Popplock (German hand crafted locks)

Lock Museum

Magic Puzzles.org

Lock Collector (a lot of old trick locks)

Article about an Indian lock collector


Anonymous said...

I have this lock, but it is quite trick to open because the key is not quite large enough to work with step 1 of the solution. I have the second one (with the dial on the front) in the series on my locker, it is by far my favorite trick lock. You can also get these puzzle locks and others at PuzzleMaster.ca (Canadian company, so beware costly and slow shipping).

Roxanne Miller said...

I bought the set of four from serious puzzles. Somewhere in YouTube land there is a video of them.

Gabriel said...

@JMHCubes - Sorry to hear that. I didn't have any problems opening mine. You have two keys, right? Is the other one like that also?

@Katsmom - Rox, do yours have the same "Houdini" package? At the official page, the Professor Puzzle, they only show 3 of them. Maybe those are a different brand.
Puzzle Regards ;-)

Roxanne Miller said...

Not the same packaging. You can see them Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCtp0bAVPyo It looks the same to me. Maybe I'm wrong...I saw the Houdini puzzles, and then saw this set of 4 on serious puzzles. Guess which I bought.

Gabriel said...

Oh, OK then. I guess they're free licensed designs and were re-branded to "Houdini" Locks. Nice choice with the 4 set puzzles...LOL

Anonymous said...

@Gabriel: Firslty, this is JMHCubes posting, my Google account is posting as Unknown for some reason.

Yes the keys were both like that. Perhaps the keys are just generic (they don't change from lock to lock or something like that). The person from whom I purchased it had 3 locks available, and he found and matched up two sets of keys to their locks. It is possible that the keys were not for that lock but just happened to be close enough to work.

Personal views of the puzzle: As far as puzzle locks go, the solution is a bit obvious (though not as much so as those with a fake rivet). Still good enough to give a challenge though. For practicality, I give it a 2 or 3 out of 5. The trick requires you to have a steady, precise hand to open (or at least more steady than you might have when you are in a hurry). They really aren't meant to be practical though.

Do you have any other lock puzzles (other than Lunatic)? Puzzle locks are my favorite type of puzzle because they are common, ordinary objects that aren't quite what they seem!

Gabriel said...

@JMHCubes - Hi, besides those two, I have the Ring Lock (http://mypuzzlecollection.blogspot.com/2010/09/ring-lock.html) and the Trick Lock-Broken Heart that I got from PuzzleMaster (http://www.puzzlemaster.ca/browse/wire/locks/772-trick-lock-broken-heart). The second one is a PuzzleMaster version of one of Houdini's locks, which is very easy. I bought the Ring Lock from toys-for-all.de, but since then, they changed the site to an all German only version and I'm not sure if they sell overseas.
Cheers ;-)

Anonymous said...

I have the Ring Lock as well, the PuzzleMaster Trick Lock 4 (with dial), the one that you reviewed, a large brass lock that I reviewed on YouTube and the forum (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB0IoTrQxtI), the Miscellaneous Lock (designed with Chandler Griscom), and Lunatic Lock.

What would be interesting would be a sequential-movement trick lock, because current locks are restricted to single solutions rather than the general strategies needed for sequential movements. That's why I like Oskar's Gift Cube-different solution each time.

AwesomeGuy said...

Trying this over and over and still can't get the gold square to pop open D:

Gabriel said...

@AwesomeGuy - Have you already seen the solution or are you still trying to solve it?

Unknown said...

hi. do u know if its common to receive the puzzle unlocked out the box?

Gabriel said...

Hi there. It's not common for the puzzle to come already opened. It might not reveal much of the internal mechanism in some cases, but definitely not normal.

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