Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Rik's Tea Box Mod - T42

Rik's Tea Box was Rik Van Grol's IPP34 Exchange Puzzle in London last August.

Designed and made by Rik himself, the puzzle consists of a box containing 10 real tea bags; two varieties, English Breakfast and Earl Grey (hence T-42). The object of course is to "open the box and enjoy a cup of tea".

The name of the puzzle would suggest that the box is a real tea box. It certainly looks real enough since the tea bags all fit rather nicely inside. Made of wood, it has a real glass top which allows you to look inside. 

As in most puzzle/trick opening boxes, the usual approach is to try to examine the outside of the box for clues but Rik's box didn't seem to shed any. I even tried to see if the metal latch and hinges yielded any luck, but none whatsoever. The usual trial and error prevails. Something kept the glass lid locked in its place. The accompanying instructions did contain a hint of sorts but it made no sense to me at the beginning (not until I finally opened the box later).

Nothing apart from the tea bags could be seen inside the box either...until I gave the box a shake and then I detected something inside which sort of gave me a vague clue as to how I might open the box. Let me state here that no force whatsoever is needed to solve this box. This box is a real tea box, and was not built to withstand the normal wear and tear associated with puzzling!

I have kept the lid closed so as not to expose the locking mechanism
After this, within a jiffy I discovered the solution and was able to open the lid. Not a difficult puzzle by any means but the locking mechanism is pretty tricky. I was then able to see how Rik had "modded" the box to retrofit a locking mechanism for the glass lid.

As long as you keep the locking mechanism unlocked, Rik's Tea Box is actually very useful for storing tea bags. But even if its locked, its pretty easy to open the box (once you know the moves). Now here's a puzzle which serves another purpose!


  1. I'll have to give it another try, I have not been able to open my copy!

    1. Hi George, give it another go. While the locking mechanism works pretty well on my copy, it was also a bit finicky at times, due to the nature of the construction and materials used.

  2. How do you solve it we havent been able to figure it out

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