Saturday, December 17, 2011

Platypus Puzzle

Inspired by a business trip to Australia, I created a Down Under maze that proved to be the hardest puzzle of them all (so far).  The prize was a pewter platypus in a clear plastic ball filled with sand emptied from my shoes, collected while walking miles of Barrier Reef beaches.

The wrap was a rather large wooden box with a map of Australia on top and iconography resembling native art from the continent: hand prints, kangaroos and snakes. Hidden from view, the insides of the box is a three layer maze into which the platypus ball was deposited. Several dead-ends are included to make it seem like progress is being made, but alas!

At one time I had the path memorized. Good thing I still knew it on Christmas Day 2001, when, after several attempts, Pat had to give up. The thing I hadn't counted on was the weight (every bit of 10 pounds if not more) combined with the size of the box, makes it unwieldy. After a few minutes arms get tired from rotating it this way and that in an attempt to get the rolling ball through the port.  It is a real work out.

I managed to free the platypus that day, but the effort required didn't seem commensurate with the value of the prize. Maybe a trip to Australia would have been an appropriate gift. You never know.