The Myth of Big Tangle 10x10
When the original tangle puzzles were released,
there were four sets of them, all based on the same pattern.
The only difference between them is, that each time a
different piece is doubled. This piece is:
Hence, from the solution of Tangle1, it is immediate to derive
solutions for the other tangles: just cycle the colors!
There was a rumour (apparently claimed in the booklet
accompanying the tanglebox)
that with the four puzzles together, it is possible
to make a tangle of 10x10.
This was discussed to be impossible in 1992 and 1996 in the
Cube_Lovers forum (ftp://ftp.ai.mit.edu/CubeLovers).
In 1999/2000, (unknowing the discussions of the Cube_Lovers),
Sieuwert van Otterloo
and I restarted some investigations.
As we both only have Tangle1, we first made speculations about
what other types of rope could be used on the other three.
After we found out (the disappointingly unimaginative way) how the
Tangles 2-4 are derived, we started writing programs to
search the solution of the mysterious big tangle.
As this risked to take much computer time, Sieuwert made
a distributed computer research program (12 fellows joined
All in vain!
My program, on a 300MHz PC, took 15 days to find ...
that there is no solution!
Then we exchanged again our opinions speculating how this scandal
perhaps Rubik (or the producer, or -equivalently- the person
that proved that there is a solution) chose the wrong set of
Indeed, with certain (different) sets of 4 tangles, there are
one or more solutions.
As an example, if we replace the original set 'Tangle2' by a
variant ('Tangle5': ), then the set of four
1,3,4,5 has 17 solutions; most of them (but not all) are very
Here is one of them:
1. this solution is composed of 6 composed tiles of 2x2 pieces, one of these
composed tiles is repeated 5 times along the diagonal from top-left to bottom-right;
the other composed tiles are repeated on the lines parallel to the diagonal.
2. if the solution would be extended with a sixth repetition of each of the 6
composed tiles, then the board of 12x12 is itself a tile that can be repeated
infinitely in both directions.
Patrick Hahn - (7.4.1) -