You've Been Framed

Posted on May 7, 2012 by Gabriel | 1 comments
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(Click to Enlarge)
You've Been Framed - Now that's a great puzzle name. I love when puzzles have these witty names with a play on words. This one, by Peter Hajek & Peter Knoppers, has quite the fitting name. There's actually another puzzle that shares the same name, by Jean Claude Constantin, although it has a different design.

The puzzle is a 2D Packing problem with only three pieces (Y O U) plus the frame. The Y and U pieces have a nice detail with a serif font, adding a little more complexity and less obvious solution. It is made from plywood and measures 12 x 8.7cm (4.7" x 3.4"). Plywood wouldn't be my first choice to use for a puzzle, though, but knowing that it was issued by a puzzle magazine here in Portugal for €6, you can't complain much, now can you?

The goal of the puzzle is simple. You have a frame with two different sizes and on both of them you're required to pack the pieces so they fit tightly inside the frame. The pieces, of course, don't fill the entire area, but after correctly placed, there will be very little room to wiggle.

(Click to Enlarge) - Left: Large Frame; Right: Small Frame

The larger frame measures 10 x 6.8cm (3.94" x 2.68") and the smaller measures 9.7 x 6.5cm (3.82" x 2.56"). That's 3mm (0.12") less in length and width, which is more than enough to give you a rather challenging task. Worth mentioning is that the inside of the frame slides up and down to create a gap with the same thickness as the pieces. Very nice design feature.

Solving the first task presents very little challenge, and considering that you are required to place the pieces in the correct order to spell Y O U, half of the problem is already solved on its own. The challenge, however, is to place the pieces inside the smaller frame. It just amazes me how only three pieces can offer such a tough challenge.

(Click to Enlarge) - Large Frame Challenge Solved (Easy)

Contrary to the first challenge, there are no restrictions as to how you place the pieces inside the smaller frame. There are at least two different solutions for this problem, although for the second one, only two pieces change their original positions. I have solved this puzzle about two years ago, but I do remember that it took me more than half an hour to find the first solution. It doesn't seem much, but considering that it's only three pieces... If you want to see the puzzle solved, here's solution 1 and solution 2.

Closing Comments:

The "You've Been Framed" puzzle is an excellent example of how to create a good puzzle with very few pieces and still provide a tough challenge. The concept is brilliant and the name fits like a glove. If you can get one, you won't be disappointed.

Availability: I got the "You've Been Framed" puzzle, as mentioned above, in a puzzle magazine a couple of years ago, and never saw it for sale anywhere. You might try to get a hold of one of the designers. I reckon Peter Hajek can be found at some puzzle parties (MPP, for example), so maybe you might be lucky if you're a regular attendee.


Anonymous said...

This is unfortunately a botched version of this puzzle. The original that I used as an IPP echange puzzle was presented with the smaller frame and sprang bottom, so the solver had to discover that the bottom can be pushed through, enlarging the frame. This commercial version has the bottom moving freely and so the key trick has been removed, making this just a standard 2D packing puzzle. Alas. Peter Hajek

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