Take and Make: Superfluous Square from Ivan Moscovitch’s Supergames

Lauren SiegelWe think math is fun!Leave a Comment

Supergames by Ivan Moscovitch is a super fun book.

This puzzle was a puzzle to convert to CAD, until intern Quan Nguyen and I realized that the “missing square” might be the same as the other missing square puzzles.  In fact it is exactly the same.  You may be able to see it looking at the solution blocks below.  Corel, AI and SVG files to make your own puzzle are here.  Optional reading of  long ramble on how it works below:

The triangles at the perimeter are each half  of a 2 x 5 or a 3 x 8 rectangle.  In one placement they bulge outward slightly and in the other they bulge inward slightly because the slopes are not the same. So the rectangle that fits between them is either a 3×5 or 15 squares or a 2×8 or 16 squares.  On all 4 sides this leaves a difference of 4 squares.  The extra square in the puzzle is a 2 x 2.  The remaining funny shaped piece has area of 27 squares.  Depending on placement 15 of those 27 squares are in the missing piece triangle, with 12 more surrounding the center arrangement of 4 2×2 squares, or 16 of these 27 squares are in the exterior missing piece triangle with 11 more surrounding the center arrangement of 5 (2×2) squares.  Confused?  Me too!  That’s part of the fun of this one.  Corel, AI and SVG files here. It is a little tricky deciding how big to make the frame so its a puzzle.  There’s going to be some wiggle room.  We stained our wooden pieces with Bingo Daubers like these available on Amazon and elsewhere.

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