Tavern Puzzle Collection
Tucker-Jones House, Inc
Metal Disentanglement Puzzle
Background / Introduction
I grew up with a really basic metal disentanglement puzzle in my household (Tucker-Jones House, Inc. who makes this "Smartypants" puzzle also makes the exact puzzle that I grew up with - they call it "Old Shackels"). I remember as a little kid trying and trying to figure it out. Then, once I was shown how to do it, it was so simple! It was really cool to see the mechanics of the puzzle though and fun to show others how to do it.
Years later, and I'm a Mechanical Engineer who hasn't really touched a puzzle like this since I solved "Old Shackels." And now, I ask myself why!? Why has it been so long. I love puzzles. I used to know how to do the Rubik's Cube, one of the greatest puzzles of all time (Koszonom szepen Erno! Igen, beszelek magyarul. Bizony!), but I have since forgotten the sequence of movements. That is really what these disentanglement puzzles come down to as well - distinct mechanical movements in a sequence that will give the desired result.
From the home page of Tucker-Jones House's Tavern Puzzle Collection website:
"Tavern Puzzles® are reproductions of a type of puzzle traditionally forged by blacksmiths to amuse their friends at country taverns and inns. Keeping with tradition, a museum-trained blacksmith from Long Island has reproduced some of these antique designs as well as his own original designs. All the puzzles are handcrafted and individually assembled. Each puzzle is mechanical in nature; removal of the object piece does not rely on force or trickery. (100% Handcrafted in the USA)"
I actually worked in a local Toy Store for a time, and I remember that we carried a good selection of these puzzles. They are very nicely made puzzles and it is so cool that they are all hand-crafted and individually assembled here in the USA! The puzzle comes in a simple bag, but you can purchase stands to actually display the puzzle, and I would recommend that. Mine sits on the shelf, but it would be so cool to have it out on display. A great quality puzzle.
The Tavern Collection is split into 8 different groups with varying difficulty and type of puzzles. "Smartypants" is somewhere in the middle being in Group 4. The object of "Smartypants" is to get the ring disentangled from the rest of the puzzle so that it comes completely free. The puzzle is considered difficult, and it is partly do to some misdirection. While consisting of multiple steps to get the ring off, I wouldn't really consider the steps hard and they are still not that many steps (spoiler alert). I really enjoy it, but at the same time, I think my engineer mind craves the more challenging puzzles!
If you like puzzles that make you think, I definitely think you should give these disentanglement puzzles from Tucker-Jones House Inc. a try. They all are priced at approximately $22 and there are some really cool designs. The puzzles can be challenging and getting one like "Smartypants" might be a good start - you can then tell if you want something simpler or more difficult. I have included a video review showing you the puzzle and below that is a solution video for those interested in seeing how this one is solved. I would love to see more of these in my collection and that is How Lou Sees It!
**WARNING! THE NEXT VIDEO IS THE SOLUTION VIDEO. HALF THE FUN IS TRYING TO SOLVE IT ON YOUR OWN. BUT, FOR THOSE INTERESTED - THE FOLLOWING VIDEO WILL SHOW YOU HOW "SMARTYPANTS" IS SOLVED. ENJOY!**