HoKey CoKey Lock – Steve Nicholls & Ali Morris

I’ve never done a puzzle lock before. Not sure why, but I just never pulled the trigger when I saw them for sale. Maybe I was too addicted to wood in years past. But today, I have my hands on the HoKey CoKey Lock. I’m not sure what to expect, but let’s take a look.

Looks like a lock, acts like a lock. But, keys don’t work. What to do?

Since this puzzle has been available for many years, I’d assume that most serious puzzlers have probably already solved it. Maybe it’s to the point where all the people who solved it are now forgetting the solution (or not), so perhaps this will be a trip down memory lane. But for me, this is brand new, I know nothing about this lock.

My first impression is that this sure looks like a normal lock. I don’t see any indication that this is a puzzle. The only strange thing that I notice is that the 2 provided keys do not match. Also, the teeth on the keys themselves look very small. I have done a bit of lockpicking as a hobby, so have a general understanding of lock mechanisms and how keys work, etc. Maybe that knowledge will help here? But for now, I have a normal lock and 2 mismatched keys. Let’s continue.

The shackle has a bit of movement, but nothing out of the ordinary. At this point, all I can do is try the keys.

Ok. Both keys go into the keyway with no problem. But, as one might guess, I can’t turn either key. (It wouldn’t be much of a puzzle if the keys worked) Right. Ok. Now what? I have a couple of ideas. let’s see if either of them are fruitful.

You do the HoKey CoKey and you turn yourself around.

Nope. neither idea worked. Nothing happened. Still sitting here with a normal lock and 2 mismatched keys.

Time to do some thinking.

Well, the lock sat unsolved for 3 weeks. Occasionally I’d pick it up and tinker a bit, but really, there was nothing to tinker with. I’d insert the key and unsurprisingly, it wouldn’t work. I’d insert the other key and again, nothing would happen. WTF. Is this a trick? Is the thing broken. I’d run out of options and had no clues or ideas left.

That is until last night. I was deep in a conversation and blindly fiddling with the lock. I looked down and was very surprised to see something that had escaped my observation. Miraculously, there had been a change. It seems that all my fiddling had in fact accomplished something.

From this point, the solution was obvious, but it was still a very exciting moment. I had solved my very first puzzle lock. It felt great and I marveled at the design and workmanship. The design is classic. Keep the solver in an endless loop. Convince them that they are almost there. Keep them focused on the clear solution. Meanwhile, hide the real solution somewhere else.

Puzzle is solved! Shackle has been removed!

For years, I’ve been on the fence about puzzle locks. They are usually pretty pricey and I wasn’t quite sure whether I’d enjoy them or not. Wood puzzles are still preferable to me, but this opens the door to more puzzle locks. I’m not quite up for spending the money on a popplock, but there are still a ton of classic locks out there that are in the $100-$200 dollar range. Looks like I have some shopping to do.