Posted on by Gabriel | 0 comments
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Wire puzzles are always something I feel intimidated to try. This type of puzzles are among the hardest you can attempt to solve. Fortunately, not all of them are fiendishly hard. In fact, if you're afraid to try any of the wire puzzles, try starting by the levels 1 and 2. These puzzles can still provide a satisfactory challenge, and on top of that you'll most certainly learn some skills for the harder levels.

The Tango is a great example of such wire puzzles that, while keeping the difficulty level accessible to beginners, can still be a little challenging if you're not familiar with this particular concept (I'll explain better below). The object is simple enough: There are two identical parts that are connected by small rings and a handle with a large ring attached to one of the twin parts. Your task is to remove just the large ring. When you know the solution back and forth, putting the ring back in its starting position will be effortless.

The design of the puzzle is actually very nice and original. At first, I didn't make the connection, but after studying it a bit and solve it I could see the striking resemblance to the classic Horseshoe puzzle (or Hanayama's remake, the Cast Horse, as seen below). If you have solved the Horseshoe puzzle before, the Tango has pretty much the same solving process. Only some minor movements are different, but the essential concept is there. I was amazed at how the same concept can be seen in two completely different designs and still work so well. The solution looks so simple when you finally learn it, but to get there can be anything but...

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I remember when I first solved the Horseshoe puzzle. Not the Cast Horse, though, as I already knew how to solve it when I got the Hanayama version. It took me months to finally solve it. I just couldn't understand how the ring could be freed from the two horseshoes. In my defense, this was shortly after getting into puzzle collecting and solving, so I didn't understand much about metal puzzles and their solving techniques. I still don't... I struggle to solve the harder levels, but with time it gets just a tad easier due to learned skills from other similar puzzles.

The tango has a difficulty level of 2/5, but even knowing how to solve it, because of the Horseshoe puzzle, I still think it should be at least a 3. The solution seems simple for veteran puzzlers, but try to give it to a beginner and see how he tackles it. I sometimes wonder how these ratings are given. Are beginners taken into account or are they given from an experienced puzzler's perspective? It's not easy to answer, and it's certainly hard to have a balanced rating when there are two extreme opposites that share the same interests. Nevertheless, the Tango is definitely a perfect candidate to learn some basic wire puzzles skills.

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Closing Comments:

The Horseshoe is one of my favorite wire puzzles, for obvious reasons. It was the first one I truly learned how to solve and its solution is quite elegant and unique. The Tango, for managing to keep it original, even by using a classic concept, is something worthy of praise. I highly recommend this one, even if you own or have solved the classic version.

Availability: The Tango is available from Sloyd.fi and belongs to their Sloyd Metal Puzzle collection.


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