Strange Catapult looking device
I have never been good at nor too interested in disentanglement puzzles, hence my collection is very small as I generally don’t buy any. As far as I can remember the only one that I have ever bought was the Tricky Dick puzzle. Those in my current collection come mainly from Puzzle Exchanges over the last several years.
Anyway, as I was rummaging through my Exchange Puzzles looking for something interesting to solve this week, I couldn’t help but notice this large zipper bag. Inside was the Simplexity designed and made by the late Markus Gotz of Germany. This disentanglement puzzle was Markus’ IPP35 Exchange Puzzle in Ottawa, Canada in 2015.
Unusual Design & CHOICE OF Materials
Disentanglement puzzles come in different varieties and choice of materials. There are the metal tavern type puzzles and wire puzzles (usually thick heavy wire twisted together). Then there are the wooden ones with ropes and/or combination of ropes and wires. There are also those made frombamboo which I call jungle puzzles. What is unusual about Simplexity is the materials used by Markus. His puzzle “uses wood in its natural form by using a forked branch” This is in combination with a rope and a looped wire piece. I do not know what tree the branch came from but it must have been quite a feat to find about 100 similar looking fork branches to make the minimum 100 copies for a puzzle exchange. Moreover the branch of my copy is smooth, so Markus must have debarked and sanded the surface as well. Loads of work no doubt.
Another difference is the goal of the puzzle. The aim is not to remove the rope or any other part of the puzzle (like most other disentanglement puzzles). Rather the objective here is to “reposition” or move the rope from one side of the wire loop (where the longer fork is) to other other side (the shorter fork). The rope is permanently attached to bottom end of the branch and cannot be removed. However it can slide back and forth through the hole it is in.
still in a state of disentanglement
Markus did warn puzzlers to be careful not to entangle the rope around the branch or wire piece, otherwise there would be loads of problems. Well I didn’t encounter this state of affairs. In fact I managed to disentangle the rope “off” the wire loop…which for me was quite an achievement. However, I was stuck at this stage of the solve for quit a few days and as of this post, I still have not figured out how to “reposition” the rope. Frankly, it does not look as difficult as it would appear. But here’s a classic case of a deceptively simple looking puzzle but damn difficult. Apparently, according to Markus there is a “trick” to it and once discovered, the solution is very simple! I have yet to see the trick. Let’s see if I can do better over the coming weekend.