Aloha Kākou puzzlers,
Before I go any further, yes, you are at the correct blog! This is JL Puzzles, not a certain other highly esteemed blog I frequent. I have not turned colors, just indulging in a bit of moonlighting between Puzzlemad assignments. Jerry has very graciously offered me space here to write and I thought it best to take full advantage. What I post here at JL Puzzles will be a little different from my current fare. The intent is to put out shorter, quicker posts on individual puzzles. Something easier and faster that won’t take up my whole weekend, but which will still be of interest to the solver/collector/designer community. It remains to be seen if I can actually pull that off. It’s hard to sit down and write, but once I do things seem to get away from me.
So today let’s look at a puzzle which wasn’t even intended as a puzzle, per se, the Flight Case. You may recall a blog article a couple years back concerning a pair of de facto puzzle boxes produced by Joe Porper? Flight case is along these lines. Precisely along these lines. It is a “gimmicked” box employed by magicians to convincingly, and impossibly, disappear and reappear items. Although primarily useful for magical routines, it is also very interesting as a puzzle box.
Flight Case was designed and produced by working magician Leo Smetsers from Holland. As such, it comes complete with a routine which, with a little practice, even I could pull off. But that was not my intent in purchasing it. I wanted to solve the box.
Upon arrival of my Flight Case, I duly locked it with the miniscule brass padlock provided and then proceeded to explore. Within about 10 minutes, trying this and that, I managed to get it open. The mechanism is actually very simple, but also well hidden. Quite invisible, in fact. Examination of the exterior provides no clue to the mechanism, although there is plenty of room for speculation. In terms of difficultly, I would say it is moderate to low for the experienced puzzler. It is much easier than Strong Box 2.0 and perhaps equivalent to Strong Box original. It could be handed out for examination during a routine, but not for too long!
How does it fly?
Although Flight Case is not difficult from a solving perspective, I think it would be of interest to serious puzzle box aficionados. Difficulty is not necessarily the defining quality in a puzzle box. Craftsmanship, beauty, and design ingenuity all play their part. Certainly within the very narrow subcategory of trick magic boxes, Flight Case stands out as a very high quality item on all counts. It functions flawlessly with perfect fit between moving parts.
Construction-wise, with its faux-wood panels and riveted aluminum and steel frame, it stands apart from everything else I have seen. I’m not a puzzle box guy by any means, but I do keep my eye on them (often lustfully). Like the best puzzle boxes, Flight Case is a hand-crafted item made in small numbers, usually to order. The price reflects this, running north of 200 USD. Though not in the stratospheric range like some boxes, it is a serious purchase.
I wouldn’t recommend Flight Case to anyone who is principally interested in the solving aspect. It probably won’t provide sufficient value based on that criterion alone. But if you take the broader view, this box may be something to consider. There are a very small number of high quality trick boxes produced by the magic folks. Joe Porper’s Strong Boxes are probably the premier example, but Leo Smetsers’ Flight Case is in the same class and is a necessary item for the committed collector. And hey, once you have it, why not put it to use? The routine can be mastered by anyone willing to put in practice time. It would be great for friends and family entertainment. And on the practical side, it’s the only way to get full value for your money.
That concludes my short but sweet maiden JL Puzzles blog post. Thanks so much Jerry for this opportunity! Back over to you….
A big thank you to Mike for a very nice write up on the Flight Case. I am already looking forward to his next article!