This is my 400th post! How time has flown by. And what better puzzle to write about than one coming from a really talented puzzle designer, Shane Hales from the UK.
Shane started designing puzzles several years ago and I have had the good fortune to receive as gifts two of his very limited edition puzzles, first The Circle and later Turn The Plug. His puzzles are limited edition either because he produces only several of a particular design or he gifts them to friends. Until recently, Shane did not sell any but only gifted his puzzles to the lucky few. I am one of them lucky ones who got a Haleslock 2 as a Christmas present!
Recently Shane has progressed to producing puzzle locks. His works are not designed from ground up, example, in the style of Rainer Popp, meaning to say, he designs and produces a puzzle that looks like a lock, Instead, he goes the Dan Feldman way, where he uses existing commercial padlocks on the market and modifies them into a puzzle/trick lock. Shane's locks, the Haleslock 1 and Haleslock 2 were made available for a charity auction and sale respectively on his puzzle site but unfortunately for puzzlers, his Haleslock 2 are all sold out.
So coming back to the Haleslock 2...what is it like as a puzzle? Well, as I have alluded to, it is a typical looking padlock from a brand called Squire. The lock comes with two keys (one without any teeth as can be seen from the photo) and attached by a rather long chain to the shackle. The object of course is to un-shackle the lock.
I had read Allard Walker's blog post on how he had solved the Haleslock 2 and commented that it was "not extremely complex or complicated". For me personally, this couldn't have been further from the truth! I had solved Shane's previous puzzles, The Circle and Turn The Plug without too much frustration and without help, but for some (strange) reason, I could not solve the Haleslock 2 even after multiple sessions of playing over a number of days. Something was eluding me to the point I decided to ask Shane for not one, but two clues before I managed to figure out the first move...and the Hales Lock has four moves to free the shackle.
After the first move was done, everything else became easy and I released the shackle without a cinch. For me, the solution for the Haleslock 2 was totally unexpected. The "trick" (no pun intended) of the Haleslock 2 is IMHO a really a good one not easy to discover. With hindsight, I realized that I had missed something right at the beginning that I shouldn't have. Overall a great trick lock with an original and different idea/concept. Good work Shane!