Designer Andrew Crowell writes about his design:
"Skeleton Key accomplished something very few of my previous puzzle designs has. I often leave puzzles out when non-puzzling friends come over, and the puzzles generally go untouched. They claim they are 'too difficult' or they just have no interest. I have been trying unsuccessfully for years to design a puzzle that these people would just want to try and not be 'scared' of messing up somehow. I also wanted that same design to appeal to those who do enjoy puzzling. So, how to come up with a puzzle that is both approachable to those new to puzzles and enjoyable for the puzzle aficionados. Enter the Gold Skeleton Key! This puzzle gets picked up by everyone who sees it. They have to move the key around and push the buttons. Some can solve it, others just like fiddling with it. The best part is that when some of them did solve it, they were so excited I thought I had made new converts to the puzzling world. Alas! They didn't want to try any of my other designs. Oh well.
This puzzle has four buttons (burr type pieces) which can not be removed from the frame. Part of what makes it attractive to new puzzlers... You won't forget where the button pieces go, because they only can be in one location. They can move in, out, and sideways a little bit, but only the Golden Key can be removed from the puzzle... And it takes 28 moves to get the key out, with several dead ends. So it isn't exactly easy... but it is approachable since there is only 1 piece to keep track of during the solve."
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