Meffert’s Challenge

By Shamus Posted Thursday Aug 24, 2006

Filed under: Nerd Culture 3 comments

This is what Meffert’s Challenge looks like solved:

Meffert's Challenge, Solved

And this is what mine looks like. All the time:

Meffert's Challenge, Hosed

Meffert’s Challenge should be a good deal easier than Rubik’s Cube. The number of permutations is clearly lower, since there are fewer “pieces” moving about. The problem is the thing changes shape as you work with it. In the first picture you see a face with lettering on it. There is an identical twin on the opposite side. My brain really wants to think of these as north / south poles on this globe, which is a mistake since they move around. You can get these two faces right next to each other. In fact, there is no move you can make that will not change the position of these two faces relative to one another. To put it another way: There is no equator division.

I had the same problem with Sqare-1. (which has an online version you can play here.) The lack of symetry just kills me. I can’t get me head around it.

Even allowing for my increasing senility as I ascend into my dotage, I can’t help thinking that the puzzle should not be as hard as it is. I can’t even make headway with it. I can’t even come up with any sort of process that will lead to a solution. I just spin the blasted thing until I go cross-eyed.

I usually have a puzzle in reach for when I need to do something like a large recompile, which will occupy my computer for a few minutes. These five-minute slices of time are annoying because they are too short to really make use of, but too long to spend idle. So, I keep a Rubik’s Cube or one of it’s decendants handy to keep my hands busy while I wait. But this one is really pissing me off. Arg.


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3 thoughts on “Meffert’s Challenge

  1. Holly says:

    UGh!! me too ive been tryign to get half circles so then i can still turn those pices but it still really limits the turns!!

  2. Stiny says:

    Hey, I was going through your archives looking for things to read, and clicked the link on this one. My AntiV popped up saying it leads to a site brimming with Malware. Don’t know if you read comments this old, but this is at least a warning to any other archive slummers.

  3. Stephen says:

    I used to have one of these when I was a kid, and was wondering, what is the proper name for this puzzle? I’ve often been apt to call it just “Meffert’s Challenge”, though now, having visited the Meffert’s website, I am aware that “Meffert’s Challenge” is the name of the whole series of puzzles, even though each has its own title. Also, I was wondering if you knew the year of its release, as I’m somewhat interested to find its origins. Being that it’s been around since I was a child, it must have been released prior to 1990. Any insight would be helpful AND appreciated. Thank you.

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