The Puzzle World
Intended to serve as an archive, puzzle laboratory and discussion corner,
this site is part of the Global Ivory Tower and as such open to contributions
from all corners, cultures and curious minds

Nine Stars Puzzle (logo of the Global Ivory Tower and the Mosul Vilayet Council)

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Problem:    Connect all nine stars with four straight lines without ever lifting the pen from the paper.

Author and origin: unknown (please share your related information with us)

Solution: Draw the first - diagonal - straight line from any corner to its opposite corner of the square which is outlined by the 9 stars, continue from that opposite corner towards either of the remaining corners but continue this second straight line beyond the limits of the square for a distance measuring half a square side, turn around at that point and draw the third straight line in such a way that it covers two of the remaining stars but, by a distance of half diagonal  line, again ventures beyond the square, turn again around at that point and draw the fourth straight line towards the fourth corner and beyond, thus covering the last remaining stars.

Comment: As in most daily problems, looking for a solution within the problem's apparent confines is unnecessarily limitative, confines one-self to worn-out tracks and often gets you nowhere.  Freeing one-self of artificial limitations is often the first order of business for creative and helpful thinking and actions.  And though it amounts to an intellectual quantum jump to dare venturing, in the given problem, beyond the square's limits, it is in this case at least the only way to solve the problem.  Remembering that may often be helpful - as may be training one-self in this challenging art and eventually adopting this discerning mindset.
 

2    Patriot Games   (New York Times, 6 July 2003; Acrobat needed: 3.24 MB)
 
 

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