Push Box 3 is a puzzle box and third in the series of Push Box puzzles designed and made by award winning puzzle designer, Dr Simon Nightingale of the UK. As the name would suggest, the previous incarnations of the puzzle were the Push Box and Push Box 2. All three puzzles share the same kind of material, Corian and of similar size and cubed-shape. The object of course is to unlock the drawer and pull it out of the box, but it does not extend fully. The difference amongst the three is the internal mechanism used to hold the drawer of the puzzle locked (or unlocked). All three are also Dr Nightingale’s Exchange Puzzles for IPP34, IPP35 and IPP36.
Unlike the previous two Push Boxes which I managed to solve it one way or another without help (and within a relatively short time), the Push Box 3 stumped me the moment I got it out of my puzzle cabinet. I was very surprised to see that the drawer was already out-meaning the puzzle was in the solved state. My first thought was that Dr Nightingale had changed his design to make the goal of the puzzle to “close the box” this time, instead of opening it. So I decided to try to solve it on that basis instead. I must say I spent quite a lot of time on the box over a number of days but couldn’t get anywhere. Like the previous boxes, there is a ball bearing rolling around inside somewhere and the drawer is spring loaded and refused to stay inside. I even entertained the idea that the puzzle may have been damaged during transit from Paris back to Singapore.
Finally I decided to throw in the towel and shot an email to Dr Nightingale to consult him (no pun intended). Dr Nightingale replied to say that the “open box” was already solved; meaning that perhaps the long plane ride had caused the puzzle to open solve itself accidentally. Anyway he gave me some directions as to what to do and after another longish period, suddenly the drawer went in and stayed shut-so it wasn’t damaged after all.
Like the previous two versions of the Push Box, I still have no clue how the mechanism of this puzzle box works. But I am happy to return it to the shelf with the drawer nicely tucked inside the box. Will there be a Push Box 4? Well, I will know when I attend IPP38 this coming August.