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The "Squaring Off" Puzzle
Object: Remove the handle from the square maze.
Difficulty: Difficult
Dimensions: Maze: 4 1/2" (11.5 cm) square
Handle: 7 1/2" (19 cm) long
Materials used: Nickel-plated 1/8" (3.2 mm) wire

Squaring Off comes directly from the pages of "Creative Puzzles of The World" by Peter van Delft and Jack Botermans. Although we have been working on improving this puzzle for many years, it has remained unchanged: it's pretty tough to improve on perfection!

At first glance, Squaring Off appears to belong to the more logical Ladder Ring class of puzzles. With this type of puzzle, it is generally true that the more rungs present on the puzzle, the more laborious the solution. For some reason however, Squaring Off seems to defy convention. Solving it requires only four steps, and for some reason, most people run into a brick wall at the third step. We believe that with most Ladder Ring puzzles, the individual eventually adapts to working through the numerous rings, but with Squaring Off, there are not that many rings, and the solver is somewhat off balance when required to thread the handle through more than one ring to complete the third step.

Although not completely a logical puzzle, Squaring Off does not fit into the usual lateral-thinking puzzle category either. Based on feedback we've received over the last decade and a half, no particular type of person does better at it than any other. If it is any indication, it ranks #2 in the "request for solution" department (after Pentangle).

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