Thursday 21 February 2013

Gold Coast Parking Meter

Gold Coast Parking Meter

Brian Young

Brian Young. Puzzle directly available from him via his website Mr Puzzle Australia. Priced at A$85 but it's really only A$84.90 because the puzzle contains a 10 cent coin...but you will have to break the puzzle to get it out.

Type & Classification
Sequential Discovery. Probably the first time this term is used to classify a puzzle. Since then there have been a host of other puzzles bearing this classification including Fuji 1707, Houdini's Torture Cell, A Plugged Well, Danlock, First Box and Lotus.

16.3cm (Height) x 8.1cm (Width) x 4cm (Depth). Quite a large puzzle as far as size is concerned and fits well in the hand.

Materials & Construction
Yellow Leichhardt for the meter body, Mackay Cedar for the stand and acrylic/plastic for the meter readings. Overall quality of construction, fit and finish is very good. The stand is much stronger than it looks and unless you use total brute force, it is unlikely you will break it or anything else.

The Gold Coast Parking Meter was Brian's Exchange Puzzle during IPP27 at Gold Coast, Australia in 2007. As IPP27 was held at Gold Coast, Australia this was a themed puzzle. According to Brian, "this puzzle is a representation in wood of one of the Duncan parking meters used on the Gold Coast from the 1960's onwards" 


The object here is to get the 10c INTO the parking meter, not OUT! This is a sequential discovery puzzle; meaning that you execute a series of steps in a particular order with the aid of "tools" found within the puzzle in order to solve the puzzle. No external tools are needed (or permitted).

Based on my own count, there are about 5 steps required before the coin drops into the puzzle. Thereafter, another about 4 steps to reinstate the puzzle back to the unsolved, original state.
In the solved state, the coin has dropped
into the  meter and not visible
Unlike the more recent puzzles of this genre, the genius of this one lies in its simplicity of design and execution. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the mechanism/trick to the puzzle and how the "tools" are used.

Difficulty Level
For the novice, this puzzle will prove very challenging but for the more experienced puzzler, it is not overly difficult. I took about 15 minutes or so to solve this one, although I was stuck for a few moments in my progress after step 2.

While the Gold Coast Parking Meter may be the Godfather and pre-date a number of the "modern" and mechanically more sophisticated sequential discovery puzzles in terms of design and materials used, nonetheless, from a puzzling aspect, it still manages to provide sufficient fun and challenge with a-ha moments. Well worth acquiring if you like this particular genre of puzzles as much as I do.

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