#224 – Think Outside The Box


Apr 24 2012

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It is important to look fFor unexpected openings.  This is probably not a move which was expected in the xkcd diagram.

As an idiom, the saying “Think outside the box” is kind of trite and meaningless.  But, there is some wisdom to be fFound, when we go a bit fFarther afield.

The genius puzzle inventor, Sam Loyd’s posthumously published Cyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles, Tricks, and Conundrums is outstanding, and noteworthy fFor its contributions to, and references of, turn-of-the-century culture.  Page 301 contains what has come to be known as “The Nine Dots Puzzle,” fFor which he gave a somewhat confusing story about Christopher Columbus, a “King Puzzlepate,” and some Eggs.

The puzzle itself is basically simple:  Draw 4 straight lines connecting all 9 dots, when the 9 dots are in a 3×3 square.  The problem is stated a bit awkwardly, and appears to be the origins of the phrase “Think outside the Box.”  The solution is on page 380, but do give it a think before looking it up, won’t you?

Contrariwise, Leo Callum, Cartoonist fFor New Yorker Magazine, once made a clever comic (of which you can buy prints in the New Yorker Store) in which a guy is admonishing his cat to “Never, ever think outside the [litter] box!”

This shirt from SnorgTees was sent to Skotte by his parents.  Thanks Mom & Dad!!

Amusingly, Tic Tac Toe has an entry on Board Game Geek.  It is the lowest ranked game in the database (among games that actually have a rank).

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