Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Matchstick Made in Heaven

Table Games
Part One
So, where exactly can I buy coloured matchsticks, and what on earth would I use them for? The Wandering Puzzler is on the road, shopping as usual, and is getting to grips with the basics of matchstick puzzles

Hooray I’m on my holidays, and although I really do genuinely love my job, it’s great to kick back and relax for a few days.

So what do I do when I’m not planning the television viewing of Britain? I go shopping for matchsticks, yes matchsticks, no not matches matchsticks, coloured ones, perhaps I ought to explain.

If you’d recorded all my conversations for the last couple of weeks and made a chart of all the most common themes, then matchsticks, after my job, would probably come up a lot. The conversations generally go a little bit like this:

“Where can I buy some coloured matchsticks?”

“Coloured matchsticks?”

There would then follow an explanation of what I meant, despite it not being hard to follow. Matchsticks, rather than matches, in different colours were what I wanted and I knew I’d seen them somewhere before. They weren’t in my usual craft haunt however, so I was a bit of a loss – I’d probably seen them when I was Christmas shopping last year so really they could have been anywhere.

Thankfully Google provided the information I needed and today I managed to pick some up from The Works in Leeds along with a few other bits and pieces for the blog including some new buttons!

I digress, the point of the post is to tell you why I wanted coloured matchsticks, rather than explain my shopping habits. Matchstick puzzles are one of my favourite kinds of puzzles. On the whole I love physical puzzles more than any other, which is why you’ll often see me working through a physical visualisation of a puzzle before transferring to a graph and finally to a written solution.

Matchstick puzzles are essentially tests of geometric reasoning, occasionally they are puns and often they require a little general knowledge. Ultimately they involve looking at a diagram composed of matches, and working out how to add , remove or rearrange matches to give a specified result.

Of course I wanted coloured matchsticks so that I could clearly indicate which matches had been moved without resorting to computer trickery – not that I’d know where to start with said trickery. I didn't want to use real matches because, as you know, I have dyspraxia and dyspraxia and fire making equipment do not mix.

So once more I am in debt to my dear work colleagues who put up with this nonsense on a daily basis. Before we start tackling cryptic crosswords – and in my head the jaws theme plays every time I say that – we have a little diversion in the shape of a puzzle.

Well actually it’s in the shape of a square and you can tackle it by watching the video below. A warning here, the video contains some guidance on how to solve Matchstick Puzzles along with a few to have a go at yourself. Go and find something to use as matchsticks before you play the video so you can set up the puzzle and have a play before you get tempted to watch the whole thing!

Matchstick Puzzles

That will of course be the first of many, many matchstick problems some of them will include buttons as well, although you could use pennies if you're not, you know, obsessed by buttons. Get used to the manipulation of objects in space, one day soon it will come in very handy!

Thanks for reading and keep on puzzling!

No comments:

Post a Comment