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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).

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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.

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Fig 4: Smart cheating...