Saturday, November 19, 2016

Locks and Libations

“My brain is the key that sets me free” – Harry Houdini.  Lest anyone try to lock me into being just a “box” man, I’m pairing this week’s potion with a puzzle lock.  I won’t try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes again by claiming that I’m changing directions and renaming this endeavor “Locks and Libations”, the way I did last April Fools Day with “Twisties and Tonics”.  You wouldn’t believe me anyway.  I’ve featured a few “boxes” which stretched the limits of that definition before, and even started this whole blog with a non-box puzzle (just so I could fall back on that in times like these!).  But I will digress again for just a moment this week to highlight this wonderful puzzle lock from Shane Hales.

The Haleslock 2

Mr. Hales does so from England, where he spends most of his time running his construction company in London.  He is also a master carpenter and joiner, a locksmith, and an ingenious puzzle designer.   In the past he has created an extremely limited series of wooden puzzles which all reside with a few collectors as his personal gift to them.  He has more recently begun giving life to another passion of his, the “puzzle lock”, a curiosity which has been around in various cultures for centuries.  These locks usually appear to be completely normal on the surface, although many are ornate and unusual.  Opening the lock, however, is a puzzle, and the key, if present at all, seldom works as expected.  Many of these locks are wonders of fine machining with intricate mechanisms hidden inside their metal casings. I had the opportunity, thanks to Shane Hales himself, to enjoy his first lock, the “Haleslock 1”, which I featured along with the How? puzzle box (which also has a rather impressive lock) a few months back.  Now I have the pleasure of presenting the next in his series, the “Haleslock 2”.  As a way of saying thanks I am featuring it all by itself this time.

Nope, the keys don't work ...

The Haleslock 2 presents a striking contrast to its predecessor.  The first lock was created from a standard solid brass ABUS padlock and had a single key attached to the shackle by a tamper proof ring.  The key could not reach the keyhole, so that wasn’t very helpful.  Lock #2 is a stout and sturdy (dare I say “Hale” and hearty?) fellow created from a Squire Stronglock of solid laminated steel.  This time there are two different keys secured by a long metal chain with plenty of length to allow the keys to reach the keyhole.  Not that it does any good, so again, that isn’t very helpful.  The little lock is well secured with a double deadlock and bolts all around.  I’m no puzzle lock aficionado and this little gem had me hoodwinked for a while.  It has a particularly nice “A-Ha” moment of discovery which leads you along your way to solving the puzzle and a bit more experimentation (or should I say, lock-picking) will ultimately leave you unlocked.  I’ve heard some say this one is a bit too easy but I found it to be just right.

The Tampered Lock

If this beastly bolt has got you bamboozled you may well need what helps when anything gets stuck – a little lubrication.   An apropos cocktail, called the “Lock Pick”, was originally created with “Larceny” Kentucky bourbon as an ice-tea filled long sipper.  I admit I may have “tampered” with the lock a bit to create this hale riff which (if I do say so) really sets the drink free.  Try one when you need a little liquid libation inspiration.  Thank you, Shane Hales – as I said before, should you be so clever as to tackle this shackle, you will marvel at the brain in Shane.   Cheers!

I'd pick these two locks if I were you

The Tampered Lock:

1 ½ oz bourbon
¾ oz Hum (or other hibiscus) liqueur
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz Earl Grey tea syrup (or substitute Chai syrup for a delicious variation)

Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a tamper proof glass.  Lock down tight before someone else purloins your potion.

For more information about Shane Hales puzzles:

For the previous Hale’s Lock #1 review please see:
How to Hale a Billionaire


  1. Why thank you sir! You are very welcome, and I'll be raising a glass to you !! I like the differences in challenges, so I try to vary that in my puzzles, as well as look for something completely different. So I'm really pleased you like it :-) cheers Shane

  2. Your command of the language is absolutely amazing, beautifully balanced, completely captivating, deliciously divine, Whack! Ouch!
    I'd better stop there!
    I agree the lock is simple but the aha moment is effulgently efficacious!
    Whack! Ouch!