Monday, February 15, 2016

Popplock T10

An intimidating lattice of  brass and steel
A lock that needs no introduction, the latest creation of Rainer Popp! This lock has been a long time coming, taking almost double the average release time of a Rainer creation, but not without good reason. The functionality of this particular padlock is truly representative of an amazing feat of machining and design.

As per usual, the droves of Popp-crazed puzzle fanatics(myself included) bought Rainer out within a half hour of his initial email. The resellers were empty in a day. If you are looking for one, Grand Illusions is the last vendor that has yet to list their inventory of these locks. I can't speak to how many will be made available there, but Rainer mentioned in his email that they would be selling, as they have in the past.(Update: Grand Illusions has sold out.) Sloyd, Puzzlemaster, and Mr. Puzzle have already sold their stock. Be warned, the average price from re-sellers was $600 USD or 540 EUR. Regardless, the Popplocks have proven to be a worthy investment, with auctions ranging in the thousands of dollars for previous releases.

This is, in typical Rainer fashion, a monstrosity of brass and steel. It seems that his locks grow in size as they grow in complexity! It's as heavy as the T9, but the lock body is slightly larger, one of his largest to date. As with any great puzzle lock, you take the key, put it in the keyhole and turn, expecting fantastic and immediate results.

The elusive and enigmatic bottom of the lock.
Well, the results are both fantastic and immediate, but not because the lock pops open! It becomes apparent that you have a lot of work to do in solving this lock. A careful examination reveals some helpful hints, but three days of fruitless attempts at solving makes those helpful hints seem like the hints of diminishing returns. It's very obvious what needs to be done in order to open this padlock, but accomplishing it is a whole different story.

I had recently brought this puzzle along to NYPP and it received mixed reviews. Many respected puzzlers and designers found it altogether too complicated, others seemed to enjoy it. I think one of the first moves is incredibly hard. I've solved every padlock I own without the help of others or manuals, but John Rausch gave me a hint that is crucial to solving the puzzle, and I can say with certainty that without it, I would not have been able to open this padlock. The trick is logical, but it is a stretch to have the "divine inspiration" to fathom such a movement. Once that difficult bit is out of the way, it becomes a string of relatively simple maths with some kinks thrown in here and there.

The second stage of solving(arguably 95% of the solve) is very enjoyable. I resisted using a pencil and paper as Popp suggests, but it certainly would make for an easier time. The sense of triumph in opening this lock is immense. It is undoubtedly the most difficult of the Popplocks to date, including the legendary Popplock T1. I'd go so far as to say it's the most difficult trick padlock in the history of locks and keys. Solving reminds me of a combination of the T2 and T9, where you are making specific moves based on feedback from the padlock. It is hard to estimate the amount of moves, given the nature of the solve, but I'd say somewhere in the thirties. Four days and one crucial hint later, the puzzle is open!

I hope you've enjoyed this little Popplock T10 review. If you are not an owner, keep your eyes peeled on Grand Illusions for a chance at snagging one. If you are an owner and struggling to find the crucial trick, but don't want to spoil the purity of the sealed solution packet, send me an email and I can provide a hint or two to promote your "divine inspiration."

The battle to reach this point...


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Eric, great review. I have to say the first 'move' took me two weeks to find ! The engineering is second to none. A very complexed lock, and for the amount of time it took me to solve great value for my money !!

    1. Certainly a tremendously difficult lock! I don't know of another more difficult out of my entire collection.

  3. Great review Eric! I'm still working on mine, but feel I'm pretty close now. Grand Illusions sold out before they ever listed their stock online, which is pretty impressive even for a Popplock!

    1. Thanks for the info, I've updated to reflect that.

      Any further progress?

  4. Oh, you are so damn right. This is the hardest popplock since T1. Without the description I would not be able to solve the first step. In fact, I was really upset about this step, because I handle my locks with care and this step is a little opposite. :-( But nevermind, this is a really great lock.