I had read about this Eiffel Six Cube Puzzle a while back. This was a blog post by Allard Walker sometime in September last year. At that time, I commented on his post that I would give this puzzle a miss. Apparently Allard had quite a struggle with it, so did puzzler Stephen Chin and a couple others.
The Eiffel Six Cube was designed and manufactured by Alistair Morris of the UK. It also served as his first Exchange Puzzle at IPP37 in Paris last year. I had played with one of Ali’s earlier designs a while back, the very brilliant Bolt & Nut Puzzle, which stumped quite a few puzzlers too.
The object of the puzzle is to form a cube with each of the 6 faces bearing the image of the Eiffel Tower. Like most puzzlers that have played with this puzzle, the initial impression is that it would not be too difficult. But it remained unsolved for me for more than several days over the past week.
“EIFFEL FOR IT”
Yes, I did…I FELL FOR IT! This was the title that puzzler Lionel Depeux had suggested to Allard to use for his blog post. Why? Ali had cunningly designed the Eiffel Six Cube in a way that if you are not observant, you will “fall” for his trick. During my sessions with this puzzle, many a times I had come to the final stages of forming a cube but the last piece would always elude me. And this came to a point where I wondered if Ali had mistakenly printed the Eiffel images on the wrong places or mis-glued his cubes which resulted in the wrong shape of a piece. The correct solution just seemed impossible to achieve.
I decided to ask Allard for a clue and so shot him a message. After a couple of cryptic responses which I didn’t find of much help, his last reply to me before I went to bed (yes, Singapore is about 7 hours ahead of the UK) was to examine the puzzle carefully. The next morning I took out the Eiffel Cube again and this time I played with it more slowly than I did before, taking my time and looking at how each piece interacted with the rest. Suddenly it hit me….and I found the solution! I first reaction…WTF! At last I got to build a cube with the Eiffel Tower on each of the six faces. What an incredible A-ha moment! Totally brilliant design and a real surprise ending!