Monday, 1 December 2014

Topological puzzles: do it yourself

As you may already know I like a lot topological puzzles, like those from Dimiter Vakarelov (I talked about them in an older post here).

I saw in a book that I have had since quite long time 2 puzzles that seem to be topological.
You can try them at home, no need for expensive things.
They seem impossible, especially the second one...but of course they are solvable :-)

Hope you will have fun. So here we go:

Topological puzzle 1

What you need: a pair of scissors and a rope.

How to do: put the rope through the pair of scissors like in the pictures below:

Then you can either ask a friend to hold the 2 movable ends of the rope (right of the picture) or you can put your feet on it. The purpose is that the end of the rope becomes unusable. Indeed if nobody holds the end of the rope or if there are some marbles at the end, the puzzle becomes easier.

The goal: free the pair of scissors without cutting the rope or your friend because your friend will be useful for the second puzzle below :-)

This is quite challenging, and reassembling it is more difficult...
Even if you know the solution, if you don't pay attention you may create knots.

Topological puzzle 2

What you need: two ropes and a friend

How to do: just follow the picture below, it is easy to understand:

The goal: you have to be freeded without cutting the rope (or your friend). You are not allowed to untie the knots, of course!

Let me know if you have tried those topological puzzles and share your feeling about them.
You see, puzzles can be quite easy to make, but that does not mean they are easy to solve.
My friends are astonished when I solve them, and when they try to solve them....they fail ;-)
Enjoy !!!


  1. I tried the first puzzle and it is quite nice. Care is needed in threading the rope correctly, if not it may be unsolvable. I have seen the second puzzle before. I'm curious to know what book these are from.

    1. They are from a book with many enigmas, mazes... but there are only 2 puzzles in the book (those 2).
      Try the second puzzle :-)

    2. The second puzzle is mentioned in the book "Winning Ways for your Mathermatical Plays (Vol. 4)" and I have solved it many times.