Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Washington Monument

Washington Monument

Brian Young

Brian Young. Puzzle directly available from him via his website Mr Puzzle Australia priced at A$75.90

Type & Classification
Sequential Discovery.

11.8cm (Height) x 6.7cm (Width) x 6.6cm (Depth).

Materials & Construction
Queensland Silver Ash for the Monument , Australian Jarrah for the base, steel, plastic and paper (for the flags). Overall quality and construction of the puzzle is very good, the base especially is very heavy, solid and sturdy. Tight tolerances abound and all moving parts fit well and nicely together.

The Washington Monument was Brian's Exchange Puzzle during IPP32 in Washington DC, USA in August 2012. It also won third prize for the themed puzzle award. The puzzle "is a representation of the Washington Monument right down to the lightning rod in the top..."

The object of the puzzle comprises two main steps, the first which is to disengage the Monument from the base. This first step requires the locking of gravity pins in the puzzle. The second step is to re-engage the Monument back into place by unlocking of the gravity pins . Both steps require the use of "tools" that are found within the puzzle to solve it (trademark of a sequential discovery puzzle). The accompanying instructions state that if the Monument is disengaged from its base by chance without the gravity pins locking, then the solution was not intended and this does not count.

Just my luck! Yes, I manage to get the Monument off the base (by chance) without the gravity pins locked in place. With the Monument out unintended, I was able to take a peek at the insides. This is one of the more unusual sequential discovery puzzles I have come across, in the sense that the internal mechanism is totally unique and unlike anything I have seen before in a puzzle.

For a while I pondered how the internals work, examining the various parts. Slowly I began to form an idea of how the puzzle was meant to be solved. I reassembled the puzzle and tried again, with a different approach. This time around, I got the Monument out of the base the correct way.

But the second step of reassembling the Monument proved to be much harder than the first, just as the instructions had indicated it would be. Here is where the tools provided come in pretty handy but some lateral thinking out of the base (box) is required. Quite a long while of fiddling and eventually everything was back in place.

Difficulty Level
Very difficult. Both disassembly and reassembly pose serious challenges. I took well over one and half hours to solve the puzzle fully and correctly. This puzzle is definitely not for the casual puzzler and even more experienced puzzlers may have some difficulty.

This puzzle is one of the harder sequential discovery puzzles I have come across. This is not one of those puzzles you can repeatedly solve easily tho', at least not for me. The rather unusual internal mechanism I feel doesn't really facilitate straight forward execution of the solution. But then again, perhaps I am just not doing things as correctly as I should.

Notwithstanding, as far as sequential discovery puzzles go, the Washington Monument distinguishes itself for the unique, intriguing and novel mechanism/trick it employs. Still a must-have for the serious collector.


  1. I solved mine the same way! Opened it by accident initially and then worked it out by looking at the internals. Mine doesn't always work for me but it is a good one to bamboozle people with.


  2. One frustrating part of this puzzle is that even when it is apart, the mechanism is not really visible. Hence it involves a lot of intelligent guessing as to what is actually going on inside. Fun stuff! But I still cannot get mine back to the start!

    1. My sentiments alike...well I suppose if it was visible and the guess work is not needed, then it may become too easy, particularly if step 1 was an accidental solve.

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