Distract and delight your friends and family on the long,
cold winter's night with...
When the days are short and the nights are cold, evenings
at home all too often seem to consist of little more than
stoking the fire in the old woodburner. And although the
warmth of the flames provides physical comfort, you may
well find yourself craving a bit of mental stimulation as
you while away the hours indoors.
The little brainteaser shown here is simple to assemble,
requires only common tools and materials, and is guaranteed
to provide both challenge (when you try to figure
out how to separate the heart- shaped piece from the other)
and pleasure (when your victims attempt to solve
the puzzle while you smugly watch)!
A TWIST HERE, A TURN THERE
To create your own brain-boggier, gather together three or
four wire coat hangers, a couple of pairs of stout pliers,
and a cylinder—a socket from a wrench set, for
example—about one inch in diameter.
Cut the coat hangers and bend and assemble them as
indicated in Figs. A and B below. Form the loops around
whatever cylindrical object you've selected to use for that
purpose, and create the heart- shaped piece by any method
you choose. (I just use my hand as a pattern . . . shaping
the wire around my fingers.) I recommend that you lightly
weld, epoxy, wire, or tape both the loops and the heart
piece closed ... to strengthen the toy and to
I've gotten a great deal of pleasure from making these
no-cost bafflers for my friends and family ... and in
almost 20 years I've never seen anything else like them. Go
ahead and take a crack at solving the puzzle, and
then—if all else fails—see the accompanying
sidebar for the solution!
Caution! Read this only as a last resort!
The Simple (?) Solution
If you're scanning over these words, you're no doubt so
frustrated and perplexed by this mind-bender that you've
got a pair of wire snippers on stand-by. Well, try to
stifle the urge to resort to such ignoble force, because
the system's not impossible to beat!
First off, look at Figs. A and B to identify the parts of
the puzzle so you'll understand the directions (left-handed
persons will want to move Loops 1, 2, and 3 to the left
side of the drawing, and Loop 4 to the right side, and
continue from there).
Begin by grasping the heart of the puzzle at Point B with
one hand, and the main part at Loop 4 with the other. Now,
place Point A through Loop 1 .. . slide Loop 3 down through
Point A ... and work Point A so that it's "inboard" of Loop
2. Then push Point A through Loop 2 and over Loop 3. Move
the heart-shaped piece straight "inboard", and your puzzle
should look like Fig. C.
To complete the maneuver, put Point A through Loop 2, then
put Loop 3 through Point A and push "inboard" . . . you're
You can return the heart to its original position by
working the solution backwards. Doing so is a tad easier
said than done, but some practice (and patience) should see