Puzzle gymnastics

Do you like logic puzzles? I do! In this article I am describing an attempt to create some logic puzzles that requires “out of the box thinking” to solve. If that sounds intriguing, read on!

When I was a kid my father subscribed to “Reader’s Digest” (maybe he still does, I don’t know). I used to read it and remember particularly enjoying two types of articles. One kind was a type of story that typically told the thrilling story of some guy who went out into the wilderness, got stuck under a fallen tree and eventually had to carve his limbs off with a pocket knife to get loose and then crawl all the way home without bleeding to death.

The other kind of article I enjoyed was “IQ tests”. The tests they published was pretty standard ones where you had to try to figure out which image out of 3 or 4 that belonged in another series or images. To solve them you had to find how the series progressed – this was usually by rotations, additions and subtraction of elements in the pictures.

Now, I don’t particularly see the value of “intelligence tests”, but I do enjoy the puzzle aspect of them. As a kid I was very thrilled by these puzzles – they gave me a lot of fun challenges.

If you google for “IQ test” you will find many that are similar to the ones “Reader’s Digest” published. However, most of these tests are constructed following a few standard patterns (rotations, add, subtract etc) and I recently started thinking that it might be fun to try to construct similar puzzles – but without following the usual patterns. I started out and quickly realized that the process of creating puzzles like this is a great, fun and different challenge. Hopefully they will be fun for you too, trying to solve them.

So, here is a set of three puzzles. The objective in all three is to find out which image (A, B, C or D) that is supposed to replace the one(s) marked with ‘?’ in the image grid.

Please post feedback in the comments section. Enjoy!

Puzzle #1


Puzzle suggestions

Puzzle #2


Puzzle suggestions

Puzzle #3


Puzzle suggestions

7 Responses to “Puzzle gymnastics”

  1. someguy Says:

    I’m probably going to fail to convey the idea but…

    There is no correct answer to all this kind of “tests”. I you think carefully you can’t find a good reason not to choose A,B,C, or D.

    In nother words, given a set of points in 2-D, you can allways find a y=f(x) that goes trought all the points.

    I’m sure I failed so I’ll leave it here.

  2. Jens Says:

    Very tricky…

    1D 2D 3BB?

  3. sicher Says:

    @Jens: 3 was correct.

  4. Jens Says:

    Hmm. For #1, C was also an option, but I thought D was more symmetrical. #2 was less sure about, and I can’t figure out a reason for it being anyone of the others. #3 I’m pretty sure I didn’t solve it the way you planned, but I was fairly certain it was correct.

    I still think about that puzzle-game we planned to do some times…

  5. sicher Says:

    @Jens: What kind of symmetry do you see in #1?

    #2 is perhaps borderline unfair. Each step involves two operations where rotation is one.

    Out of curiosity. How did you solve #3?

    Yeah, I’m also thinking about that at times. Having high hopes “The Witness” will capture some of that, but we’ll see.

  6. Jens Says:

    #1, Using D, You have 4 lines, each starting with a block and ending with a unique number. Each of the numbers end up in either the top/bottom/left/right part of the bigger square. Using C, you also get lines that start end well, but without that last piece of symmetry.

    #3, I spent some time at this one trying to reorder all pieces to create a unified pipe with no borders and that didn’t touch the edges of the bigger square. I ignored rotation as that would make the problem to complex. I never succeeded doing finding a 4×4 combination that had a single pipe, but I while trying to, I discovered which edge-pieces were missing to even make it remotely possible.

    Yeah, I’m very much looking forward to that game as well.

  7. sicher Says:

    #1, did you consider the lengths? :)

    #3, yeah, imagining they were bricks or cards and taking them one by one starting from top left and “place them” next to each other to create a unified pipe there’s only one way you could make that happen.

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