A Bolt from the Blue – Ali Morris

A Bolt from the Blue, is a very sturdy bolt puzzle offered by Two Brass Monkeys. I’ve never owned or worked on a bolt puzzle, but for some reason, this one spoke to me and beckoned for me to purchase it. When it arrived, I was bit shocked at how big the bolt was. This thing is very sturdy with some real heft.

Having never worked on a bolt puzzle, I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, it’s a bolt, how much “puzzle” can there be? It is really a puzzle or more of a magic trick?

The bolt comes enclosed in a plastic tube/case thingy. It seemed a bit strange to me, but upon more reflection, I can see why this is a good thing. First, it allows one to display the puzzle on the shelf. Second, it has the name of the puzzle on it, so the collector’s like me don’t get confused or forget which puzzle is which. And lastly, well, crap, I forgot the last point. oh well.

Once the bolt is removed from the case, it can be worked on. Again, my initial impression is, man, this is a big beefy bolt. The bolt has a fixed nut, a brass washer and a locking nut. The goal is to remove the washer. It would seem that the only way to accomplish this would be to remove the locking nut. Ok, with that obvious observation out of the way, let’s proceed.

Remove the Washer and you will be victorious.

For a long time, I examined the puzzle. And, I kept examining the puzzle. Unfortunately, there is not much to examine; there is not much to do. It’s a bolt with a washer and a nut. No matter how many times I rotated it and studied the details, it remained a bolt with a washer and a nut. What was I supposed to do? It felt like a SD puzzle where I was just staring at it hoping something would come to me, yet making zero progress. It’s a bit demoralizing. I like to push parts back and forth and follow mazes of moves and do trial and error experiments, but with this, there were no moves to be had, no dead ends, no mazes and no trial and error. It was just a bolt with a washer and a nut.

I wasn’t stumped forever though and I eventually discovered a clue. I really can’t say any more without giving it away but needless to say, I found a path forward and that quickly lead to the solution which had me smiling and shaking my head.

The washer has been removed! No spoilers here.

With my first bolt puzzle solved, I have to admit that I’m ready for another one. It was really fun solving this. It was a great moment when that wall of impossibility was knocked down. I can’t wait to show this one to others at a party or event. I imagine that it will be really fun to watch someone struggle with this, all the while knowing that the solution is SO CLOSE!

Once again, I am reminded of why I puzzle. It’s to overcome obstacles. It’s to persevere in the face of doubt and despair. It’s to experience the glory and rush of endorphins when the solution is finally revealed. It’s the feeling of tangible accomplishment. Solving puzzles is fun and all, but it’s also a life skill. The same methodology and mindset can be applied to any of life’s problems. Learning to puzzle is learning to live.

Well, the puzzle is solved and I come away enlightened. I can’t compare this to other bolt type puzzles, but on its own merit, it’s a fun puzzle that has now earned its rightful place on my display shelf. It’s definitely a dinner party puzzle, or something to toss to the guys on gameday and see how they fare.

Kudos to the Two Brass Monkeys crew for providing entertainment and an opportunity for glory and self-reflection.