WINNER! Puzzlers’ Choice Award 2022 Puzzle Design Competition
Announced 11th December 2022 See all the results here.
This puzzle has been a long time in the making. Brian had a concept for the major step in the puzzle way back in 2018 and began designing the puzzle around that. Perhaps the most difficult part of the design is to know when to stop adding things to the puzzle. After almost 3 years in the design process, it was time to get on with making it. It hasn’t quite been ‘ages’ yet (pun fully intended!) but getting real close.
Abraham’s Well has many separate steps to solve with a level of complexity comparable or surpassing previous multi-step sequential discovery puzzles like the Plugged Well or the Opening Bat. There is definitely a lot of puzzling in a very compact space. The puzzle can be separated into 23 individual parts. There are another 21 parts that are glued into the body and never actually come out of the puzzle.
A huge part of the puzzling is to work out which of these 23 parts are tools, and which are not. The tools are very well hidden.
No bashing, no external tools, and no brute strength are needed to solve Abraham’s Well. You don’t even need to tap anything. There’s a tool for every step of the puzzle, you just have to find it.
There are elements in the puzzle Brian would consider as much easier than 10/10. But he’s incorporated completely new ideas in this puzzle too so that always throws a spanner in the works and makes the puzzle harder. Overall, we do think it’s a very difficult puzzle. To work it out with his intended solution we believe it’s definitely worthy of the 10/10 rating. And so far the feedback from the puzzle community supports this too.
Another interesting factor contributing to the difficulty of the puzzle is that even if you’re able to take the puzzle apart using a non-intended solution or even just by chance, you cannot reverse engineer the solution just by seeing all the pieces laid out in front of you. This is quite unlike most other puzzles that we know about.
With so many levels how will you know when you’re finished?
The ultimate goal is to find the uniquely Australian token Brian has placed inside the puzzle. There can be no mistaking once you’ve found it. Although it might take a bit of googling to understand, this small pewter object represents a link between Australia and Abraham’s Well. Clue: ANZAC 1917
All the parts of the puzzle, both woodworking and metalworking, are made and machined here by Brian and his team at Mr Puzzle. Making the brass parts for this puzzle is a massive undertaking. But it’s not only lathe work. Brian thinks he’s used every piece of machinery in his shed to make this one. In fact, to Sue’s surprise he announced he needed to buy his own milling machine; seems it doesn’t take much encouragement for Brian to buy more tools. Around here we all think that sometimes he designs puzzles just to have an excuse to add to his tool collection!
Abraham’s Well is made from Queensland Maple wood (with some Silky Oak and Jarrah inside. Silky Oak is particularly used inside because it’s very stable). You’ll see from the photos the colour of this wood can vary quite a lot from a light pink to almost rust-brown and every shade in between. Some puzzles even have the colour graduation on the same body.
There are magnets (of course!) and lots of brass pieces, some stainless steel pins & hex head nuts and allen keys.
Size: 65mm x 65mm and 100mm tall to the top of the windlass support posts.
Solution: A step by step solution is now available for the puzzle.
Update 9th December 2021: There have been some very informative blogs *without spoilers* that you may wish to read about other peoples experiences with this puzzle.
Allard from Puzzling Times
Trivial facts about the puzzle:
- start with 600grams solid brass
- after machining, there are only 200 grams left
- 23 individual parts
- another 21 parts are glued into the body and never actually come out of the puzzle