The nine dots puzzle extended to n^2 dots
Marco Ripà, sPIqr Society, Apr 01 2013

Fig 1: The 9 dots puzzle/solution

Problem 1:
Considering the nine dots puzzle (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking_outside_the_box) simplest extension, I show that you can solve it (4x4 dots grid fitting all dots into the center with straight, thin, lines) staring from any dots of the grid. Just take a look at the picture below:

Fig 2: The 16 dots // 6 lines puzzle solutions (starting from any dots).


Problem 2:
Considering a generic nxn grid, what is the minimum number of straight lines that you need to fit all the dots (without lifting the pencil from your paper)?

Answer: for n=1, you need (at least) 1 line; for n=2, you need (at least) 3 lines… and, for n≥3, you need (at least) 2*n-2 lines. To understand this result, you can look at the following solving pattern, using the same strategy to solve any nxn puzzle (for n>3). You can easily see that you need two more lines for any n’:=n+1 square.

Fig 3: To fit nxn dots (into the center and without lifting your pencil from the paper), for n≥3, you need (at least) 2n-2 straight lines.

N.B. A consequence of this proof is that, for n→∞, the size of the paper that you need to draw your solution with your pencil, tends to be the same one of the area encompassed by the most external dots.


Fig 4: Smart cheating...

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful