Posted on by Gabriel | 6 comments
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Deal of the Week: If you've been following the blog for at least the last couple of weeks, then you might have heard about the deal of week. All you have to do is mention the name of my blog with your order at Sloyd's, and you get the discount of this week's featured puzzle. This week, you can get 15% off when you order the IQ9. For a limited time only, the discount will be available for a whole month (March 22nd), so you can combine it with the next few weeks' discounts. Note: The Sloyd puzzle shop will be closed until 4th of March, so all your orders will be processed after that date.

Jean Claude Constantin has a few interesting Packing Puzzles called IQ'plus the number of pieces used'. The one you see here today is the IQ9 (Sloyd has also the IQ17), and this might be the hardest packing puzzle yet. You up for a challenge?

The design of the puzzle is nothing fancy, although I like the different wood tones of the pieces contrasting with the reddish hue of the box. There's no lid on the box, but even if you don't have the puzzle solved, the pieces fit all in the box, albeit over the edge.

As the name suggests , the IQ9 consists of nine wooden pieces that have to be neatly packed inside the box. To give you a good idea of what's going on with this puzzle, let's look at the piece dimensions: The cube, for example, has a volume of 8 units, and the three identical squares have a 4 unit volume. Now, this would be like any ordinary packing puzzle if not for the box's odd dimensions. Looking at the piece dimensions, you'd expect a box with a unit area of 4x4, but that's not the case. The real area of the box is approximately 3.9x3.9 units. See the problem here?

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To solve the puzzle, you need to really think outside the box. The goal is to get all nine pieces inside the box, without showing any parts over the edges. Anything over 1mm is already too much. Any mathematical wiz would probably calculate the solution in a couple of minutes, but since I'm no mathematician, I'm left with rudimentary techniques.

Forget all the usual tactics of simply stacking the pieces in straight angles. I've tried that and failed. I believe the solution is counter-intuitive and involves packing the pieces in diagonals or any other crazy positions. Suffice it to say, I'm  yet to solve the puzzle. I have it for almost a year now, and although I've been trying on and off, I must have spent over a dozen hours on this thing, and the result is always the same, failure. This has got to be one of the hardest puzzles I've tried so far since I've started my collection, back in 2008.

Closing Comments:

If you like crazy-difficult puzzles, almost impossible to solve by a sane person, then the IQ9 is the ultimate puzzle for you. I'd like to hear from folks who solved it, or from those who didn't solve it as well, so I don't feel so stupid.

Availability: You can get a copy of IQ9 at Sloyd.fi for about €22. As usual, you can take advantage of a 15% discount just for mentioning the name of my blog when you place your order. For a limited time, the discount will be available for a whole month (March 22nd), so you combine it with the next few weeks discounts.



Unknown said...

Didn't it arrive in the solved state, so you could have a first clue?

Gabriel said...

No, it didn't. The pieces fit loosely on the box and don't occupy the entire volume. That's why you can have what appears to be a solved state, but if the pieces go over the edges, it's not solved. Tomas Lindén sent me a hint, but I'm still trying to solve it :P

Unknown said...

I've been trying this for a months now, on and off and I still can't make sense of it. I'm probably inclined to agree with you that straight angles is not necessarily the answer - although I can't be sure.

I'm almost sure that the upper layer will not be completely filled because of the dimensions - that it will have holes, or something.

Something what Tomas Lindén said while selling this to me was that the solution made him laugh and that has bugged my since...

Devious puzzle. Excellent, too.

Gabriel said...

Welcome to the club, Teemu ;-)
I'm yet to solve this, and with dozens of puzzles to review, I doubt I will solve it anytime soon...

There's also another one called IQ17, and judging by the difficulty of this one, I'm guessing it's pretty hard as well.

Unknown said...

I solved it! I was starting to clean up the kitchen but before I got started, I sat down beside the kitchen table where the IQ9 has been teasing me during breakfast. I just started to intuitively put the pieces to the boxes - imagine my surprise when I realized I had solved it! Subconscious been at it, I think.

I've been very near the solution at least once but didn't for some reason or another realize it. It's beautiful and there's even plenty of spare space in the box left.

Gabriel said...

Hi Teemu. Congratulations on your achievement! This is a really tough puzzle and I'm yet to solve it. It's hard to go back to other puzzles when I have so many new ones coming in all the time and having to write about them. I have to declare defeat... For now :-P

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