Puzzle Time

10 02 2011

This is one of those puzzles shown to me when I was younger.  (I guess I have always been drawn to problem-solving!)  Here are the rules: 

  • There are 16 line segments.
  • Draw one path through every line segment.
  • Only cross each segment once.  (Below is an example of an attempt.)


Looking back, I think the reason this puzzle stuck with me is because everytime I see it I remember being surrounded by my family.  Scraps of paper being passed everywhere, all of us talking, drawing, and working to find a solution.  There was a lot of laughter, sharing of ideas, and it is a fond memory of my family.  So I encourage you, even though you may attempt this puzzle alone, share it with others, work together, and reason out a solution.   After you have given it a good effort, or solved it, check the comments section for an additional thought and maybe leave one as well.  😉 


 “We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” – John W. Gardner

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2 responses

10 02 2011

At some point in this puzzle, as in real life, you get to the point where you realize that a solution is not found in random guessing but in critical thinking. The strength of your group is not in the answer you come up with, or whether it is “right” or “wrong.” The strength is in the means you agreed on an answer. Now we have a basis to solve some real problems!

11 02 2011
tom powers

I had a math teacher in middle school who really fired a passion for math in me (I think the term is “proto-geek”). He would do things like tell us he grew up in a Bavarian village where they did everything in base 12, and having math contests with pizzas as a prize. He showed us a similar problem that Leonardo DaVinci had worked in which a duke wanted to have a triumphal parade over every bridge in and out of his town (7 in all), only passing over each bridge once. He also wanted to start and end in the main town square. He was offering a cash prize for the first person who could design such a parade route. DaVinci was able to prove mathematically it is impossible if you have an odd number of bridges to end up on the side you started on, unless you cross a bridge twice. I don’t know if he got the prize.

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