Puzzling # 129 NINE EASY PIECES

One day while doing research on making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, I ran across the incredible suggestion that the same nine geometric shapes could be used to make up a square, a Greek cross, and an octagon as well! This teaser came from Harry Lindgren’s Recreational Problems in Geometric Dissections and How to Solve Them. To save you the time wasted in running to the library to try to look up the answer, let me quote, “… to illustrate them would be wasteful and ridiculous excess.” I had to do it myself – and so do you!


Each little component piece is labelled with three letters – the first having to do with its placement in the square, the second for the Greek cross, and the third for the octagon. When the pieces are positioned correctly into one of the shapes, a more or less appropriate nine-letter phrase will be revealed out of the proper letters, starting with the top leftmost piece and then moving left to right and top to bottom. For example, the assembled shape would be read BLOBS. Note that the top most point of a piece determines the placement of its letter.

Unless you are an absolute genius at spatial perception, the easiest way to solve this is to make a tracing of each piece, cut out the tracings, and play with them individually. (Norm Hitzges might not appreciate it if I suggested cutting holes in his Back Page.) Do not labor for a geometrically perfect drawing of the solution. A rough freehand drawing will show when you’ve solved it. Under each shape write the phrase derived from the letters. You may leave the letters off the individual pieces.


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