A good puzzle is part problem-solving and part magic. In the following quiz, we test your knowledge of some of the world's most mystifying 3-D puzzles. Are you ready to get stumped?
What is considered to be the oldest mechanical puzzle in the world?
Made from a 14-piece dissection of a square, the Loculus of Archimedes required solvers to arrange the pieces in specific shapes, like elephants and ducks. A 2003 computer simulation found 536 distinct solutions to the ancient puzzle.
What is the only 3-D puzzle made by the popular 3-D jigsaw puzzle company Wrebbit to be pulled from shelves for religious reasons?
The Saudi Arabian government specially ordered a 3-D jigsaw puzzle of Mecca, but then rejected the finished product as idolatrous because it looked "too realistic."
How many 3-D puzzles was the 3-D puzzle company Wrebbit churning out every day at its single Canadian factory to keep up with the pre-holiday rush in the late 1990s?
3-D puzzles were all the rage back in 1997, when The New York Times reported that Wrebbit was cranking out 30,000 puzzles a day.
What was Paul Gallant's day job before he struck it rich as the amateur inventor of 3-D jigsaw puzzles?
Gallant worked as a marketer and distributor for a Quebec-based classical music record label when he thought of the idea for 3-D jigsaw puzzles made from polyethylene foam.
How many possible color combinations can be made with a classic 3X3 Rubik's Cube?
43,000 trillion combinations, but only one possible solution.
How many videos are there on YouTube featuring the Rubik's Cube?
Among the 43,000 clips available are a 3-year-old Chinese girl solving the cube in 114 seconds, a Rubik's rap and lots and lots of speedcubing.
The current world record for the fastest solve in an official speedcubing competition is how many seconds?
Feliks Zemdegs of Australia pulled off the lightning fast time of 5.6 seconds in the Melbourne Winter Open in 2011. His average for his five solves was 7.64 seconds.
In a 2007 Rubik's world championship competition, how many times in a row did Hungary's Matyas Kuti solve a Rubik's Cube blindfolded?
In the blindfolded competition, solvers are given 15 seconds to examine a scrambled cube and then blindfolded. Kuti solved 18 puzzles; average solve times hover around a minute.
What is the slowest recorded solve time for the Rubik's Cube?
Graham Parker of Portchester, England claims to have solved his cube after more than two decades of nearly continuous frustration.
Which of the following is NOT the name of a method for solving the Rubik's Cube?
The Ortega method is recommended for beginners, while most speedcubers use the Fridrich method, including the current world record holder, Feliks Zemdegs.
What is the maximum number of sequential moves required to open the world's most complicated puzzle box?
According to puzzle box lore, a few very large puzzle boxes have been handcrafted in Japan that require more than 100 moves to open. This one takes 125 moves to solve.
According to calculations by IBM researchers, how many possible combinations can be arranged with a seemingly simple six-piece Burr puzzle?
It took 2.5 years for IBM supercomputers to calculate the 35 billion possible positions and combinations that could be attempted with the six pieces of a Burr puzzle.
True or False: There is a class of 3-D puzzles called "Impossible Puzzles."
The late Harry Eng was a master of the impossible puzzle, filling glass bottles with solid objects that are way too large to have passed through the bottle's opening, like solid pieces of wood, decks of cards and padlocks.
The Puzzle of Fifteen, a sliding block puzzle in a box, sparked a worldwide obsession with puzzles in what year?
The craze began in America and Europe in 1880, then spread to Asia and beyond. A literally impossible version of the game, called the 14-15, or the Boss Puzzle, followed in its wake with several phony solvers claiming to have bested it.
When the Rubik's Cube was first released in Hungary, it was called Buvos Kocka, meaning what in English?
Architect and professor Erno Rubik's ingeniously simple "Magic Cube" would go on to sell over 350 million units worldwide.
True or False: The Rubik's Cube world championship features an event where contestants solve the cube using their feet.
Other events include one-handed solving, blindfolded solving, and solving variations on the cube, including 4X4, 5X5, 6X6, and 7X7 cubes.
What's the world record for the most Rubik's Cubes solved in a single day?
Milan Baticz of Hungary completed this 4,786-cube marathon solving session on November 17, 2008.
The "New York, New York" 3-D puzzle created by Wrebbit is the largest on record. How many pieces does it include?
The 3,141-piece puzzle encompasses the entire New York City skyline as viewed from Lower Manhattan, including the former Twin Towers.
In what city is the world's largest Rubik's Cube located?
Created for the 1982 Knoxville World's Fair (parodied brilliantly on The Simpsons), the 10-foot (3.04-meter) tall, 1100-pound (498.95-kilogram) cube actually functioned through a series of motors.
The Pentamix is arguably the world's hardest variation on the Rubik's Cube. How many individual moving pieces does it hold?
The 12-sided cube contains 975 individual moving pieces, is about the size of a large grapefruit and is nearly impossible to solve when fully scrambled.
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