It’s time to praise the mohawked master of mischief, that devious delighter of mis-direction. Eric Fuller, whose Cubic Dissection wooden puzzle company is booming, can probably teach a masterclass in running a successful small business. His woodwork is of the highest quality, using the finest materials, yet offered for the lowest price, which is all carefully calculated and planned out. He is also getting a reputation for impressive customer service. Let’s raise a glass to all of that.
|Triple Locked Box by Eric Fuller|
In fact, you might need to raise three glasses to toast this particular puzzle, the Triple Lock Box. Eric is known for his love of misdirection, and often plays on assumptions when designing his puzzles. One of Eric’s earlier creations, the Triple Lock Box takes this to an extreme. I think he has mellowed out since then, believe it or not, despite what you might think if you have experienced some of his more recent work. The Triple Lock presents itself as a simple appearing affair, plain in appearance except for two indents on the side panels. A few versions have contrasting wood on the sides, like this one, made with Canary and Chechem. Other than that, there is no distinguishing feature. The box also behaves like one might expect, with typical sliding panel movements that quickly reveal a glimpse of the beautiful red Paduak wood interior. Things start to get interesting now, as a mechanical component inside is exposed, and a tool of sorts. Aha, this is a sequential discovery puzzle, and there is a “key” to unlock all the locks. Very interesting …
|Contrasting sides and some indents ...|
… very frustrating. At this point, everyone who has ever encountered the Triple Lock Box, remains. In fact, there was an old video that Eric made long ago in which he demonstrates how to navigate the locks. The video was a puzzle itself to track down, as Eric had lost the file long ago. I managed to obtain a copy from another brilliant puzzlist who had the foresight to save this type of thing (thanks AW!) and we both keep it safe now for research and archival purposes, of course. IF I had looked at it, and I’m not admitting anything here, I would have seen that the video STARTS at the point where I left off earlier, and doesn’t even bother to describe the process to get there. The puzzle is truly devious, and has an absolutely brilliant secret that is amazingly well hidden. If that weren’t enough, once (IF) it is discovered, there is still the matter of multiple completely hidden locking mechanisms to navigate. Eric comments that his newly acquired (at the time) metal machining skills allowed him to bring the box to life. Incredibly, all the machining remains invisible, hidden completely inside the box and never exposed even after fully opening it.
|Plain and simple? Not so much ...|
One final story deserves mention here. Serendipitously, at the same time that Eric was making his box, Robert Yarger was also creating his own 3-Lock Box. They had been in communication, perhaps sharing some notes, and Robert mentioned that the name for his box was based on the famous Jimmy Hendrix song. Eric insisted it was actually a Sammy Hagar song, but Rob was not buying it. If you check the description on Rob’s website for that box (Stickman No. 8) you will still see the reference to Jimmy Hendrix. He left it that way for posterity, and a good story, even after realizing that Eric was right, “3-Lock Box” is a Sammy Hagar song.
|Three Keys Cocktail|
To toast this incredibly complicated box belied by its simple appearance I made a special cocktail which has similar properties. The “Three Keys” is a remedy to the Triple Lock. It may not help to open the box but it will certainly ease the mind and delight the palate. The cocktail is completely clear, yet contains an incredible symphony of flavors. The drink is anchored by the first “key” - a very special tequila, the Don Julio Anejo 70, a robust and delicious anejo which has been filtered completely clear. Anejo tequilas are aged for at least 1 year in small barrels which impart a smoother, more complex, rich flavor and a dark amber color, yet this one is crystal clear. The second “key” is found in the lightly bitter aperitif Cocchi Americano. Key limes provides the third key, and these are also prepared in an extra special way.
|This one is clearly a winner|
Clarified cocktails date back to the eighteenth century, when milk was a popular way to mitigate the effects of acidic drinks on the sensitive stomachs of the day. Milk clarification causes curdling of the liquid, but when the results are strained the resulting cocktail is clear, smooth and richer in flavor than before. It also helps to preserve the drink, which was of particular importance long ago for large batches of punch. For this cocktail I experimented with three different techniques for clarifying the lime juice. There was no need to clarify the whole cocktail as the other ingredients were already clear. Clarified juice is more intense and flavorful as well. Of the three, simple filter straining, milk washing, and Agar Agar filtering, the latter was most complicated but clearly the winner, for an exceptionally clear look and bright taste. The three keys are tied together with Luxardo Bitter Bianco, an incredible spirit from the 1930’s with flavors similar to red bitters, including sweet fruit, deep orange, honey, rhubarb, baking spice, anise, and wormwood bitters, but amplified by another clear distillation process. The final cocktail is bold, balanced, refreshing and surprising, with a satisfying lime pop. Here’s to not judging a book by its cover, or a box, or a cocktail, or a person, for that matter. We are all complicated creatures worth unlocking. Cheers!
|Three Keys is the solution to this box|
1 ½ oz Don Julio Anjeo 70 te"key"la
½ oz Coc"key" Americano
½ oz clarified "key" lime
¾ oz Luxardo Bitter Bianco
Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a favorite glass. Garnish with three keys.
For more about Eric Fuller:https://cubicdissection.com/
The Small Things