Notes from Puzzle Palace

Thursday, October 4, 2012

O'Beirne's cube

Today's puzzle was exchanged by Peter Hajek. It is really a bunch of puzzles in one. When he explained it during the exchange, I've got to admit that I really wasn't sure what he was on about. (not that that means much, at the end of an exchange day I don't even really know my name. It's truly an overwhelming experience that I'll never get tired of.) I did gather that it was a packing puzzle and a fitting puzzle and that's about as much as I managed to take in.

It is first off a puzzle of how to build a box. Now that may seem easy to some but remember this is Rox we are talking about. There are twelve bits that form two boxes. Ok putting together two boxes I can do. Then I noticed that the boxes fit one inside the other! Ha! There's more to this than meets the eye. And I have to say I'm glad. I was worried about how I was going to manage to fit the blocks inside the frame if there was a big hole under the frame. (yes, that thought did cross my mind).

Now here comes the cool part. The REAL puzzle. How does one go about making the bits fit into the frame? There are 6 bits that need to fit into 6 frames. Each bit and each frame is a different size and orientation. So here we have 6 puzzles. But wait! There is more than that! It seems that we get two more puzzles tacked on top of the 7 (or 8 depending on how you count) that we already have. There are two different ways to pack the 6 bits into the box that has been provided. So now we have 9-10 puzzles in one. Value for money or what?

It's fun too. I've managed to sort out how to make the boxes-and let me tell you, that was an all teeth moment. I've also sussed out two of the six frame puzzles. I've got four more to go and for me, this isn't one of those puzzles that I will do once and remember. I'm sure there is some mathematical equation I could do to work out the solution but I much prefer the puzzle talking to me so trial and error it is.


  1. When I put my box together, it cracked. Bwaa! But it is still workable.

    John Rausch has put a nice historical article about this puzzle on his web site:

  2. I should mention the above link contains spoilers!

  3. My box has a tiny chip, but it's on one of the connecting joints, not the puzzling bit. Thanks for telling me the link is a spoiler. I'll look after I work out the other 4 boxes.