07 August, 2007

Back to the Cube

It’s tiny, Dad!

Nearly a couple of months back, I wrote here about the big Rubik’s Revenge cube that I bought, and the normal Rubik’s Cube. Today, I finally bought the tiny one, for the sum total of only $12.95— quite cheap, really.

It’s tiny! Only three million combinationsSo far, I’ve already scrambled it, put it back together (that surprised me!), AND scrambled it again. It might only have three million combinations (hah. only he says), but it's proving slightly tricky to put it back to rights. As with its really big brother, the 4x4x4 Rubik’s Revenge, it came with its own Solutions Booklet. Most of the pages described what a face was, what colours were on the cube, and what was in the pamphlet. Of the 16 pages, only one page showed actual moves that could be used on the cube to swap pieces around or to rotate them. Yes, this cube only has three sets of moves that get used to solve it.

Sell! Sell! Sell!

Oh yes, and the obligatory marketing for more of the Rubik’s products. For example, until today, I was unaware that there was also a Rubik’s Tangram (14 tangram pieces, which can of course be combined into many clever diagrams. I don't (yet) think I’ll be buying this one, much as I like playing with tangrams. As an aside, there is a Gtk program called gtans which shows a variety of shapes to fill in using the pieces. Quite challenging for some people. Anyhow, I’m sure you’ve all seen some of the other products produced as part of the company.

Missing link puzzleI came across one a couple of weeks after I bought the Revenge. It was a darn sight simpler, known as the “Missing Link.” You’d think it was relatively simple, but there’s a slight twist to it. Isn’t there always? The twist is—you can’t move the two middle sections independently, as they’re fixed in place, though you can still slide tiles through them. So really, it’s like a reorganised “15” puzzle. It took me quite a few minutes, but I solved it. Better results than I get with normal 15-puzzles.

Tick tock, time’s a’ running out

One other puzzle that I already have from the Rubik’s family I forgot to mention is the Clock puzzle. It’s got two sides, and nine clock faces on each side, linked by cogs and sliding elements that make it just a bit more tricky than you’d normally expect.Clock puzzle Of course, the aim is to set all the clocks to 12 ’clock. Laughs can be had by seeing if you can set each clock from 1 through to 9—I haven’t found out if this can be done yet. According to the wikipedia page for the puzzle, it’s a lot easier than the other puzzles, purely because the clock faces are linked.


And with that said, I must thank the authors of the related wikipedia.org articles I used for this blog, and also my thanks go to the owner of the Missing Link picture.

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