Until I did a Google for the meaning of French Point, I thought all razor blades for shaving were the same. Not that I know any better since I use a pocket electric shaver on my own face. If you clicked on this link, you will find the various types of tips/points for shaving razors…stuff you never knew existed. Well, I will get back into the puzzling bits now. French Point is a “folding puzzle” made in the likeness of a French Point shaving razor and this was the IPP37 Exchange Puzzle of David Litwin. This is the second time he has done this razor theme, his first being “Straight Up”, his IPP35 Exchange Puzzle in Ottawa, Canada. Since this year’s IPP37 was in Paris, the name association was just perfect!
Like the Straight Up two years ago, French Point’s objective is for the puzzler to open and close the blade. But David has upped his ante a notch. What is quite different now for the French Point is that the “blade” this time is actually made of metal, not plastic as in the Straight Up. Three layers of thin aluminium (I think) sheets joined together form the entire length of the blade. The handle while plastic, retains that lacquer covered shiny look. The blade has some curved cut-outs which looks (very) precision cut; by CNC cutter maybe? Could David have used a real razor blade for his puzzle? Well, maybe since there is machine cutting anyway, but it might have been too dangerous for play! All in, very nicely executed and the quality and finish is very high; even the box it comes in looks expensive.
The French Point comes unsolved, so the blade is locked into the handle. Without going into too much detail about how the mechanism works, which surely will be a spoiler for sure, a series of tilt and flip motions are necessary to unfold the blade. One can hear some rattling noise inside and you know for certain that there is something restraining the blade. It didn’t take me too long to feel my way to the solution-since nothing is visible on the outside and obviously trial and error here and there is required to solve this puzzle. But I had a bit of trouble and it took me a tad longer to fold the thing back together, even tho’, ironically, I can now see the “hidden” locking mechanism and how the trick works. I reckon there is an efficient and correct way to get the blade open in a jiffy and I thought I had nailed it. But still it eludes me now and again.
If you are interested to get a copy, its available from David’s website at US$70/-.