Last month's trick. featured a puzzle that challenges the player to connect nine dots using only four lines, connected end-to-end, the solution being shown below:
Magic Mike of Salt Lake City, UT wrote with some imaginative solutions to this puzzle that I hadn't thought of.
Magic Mike's real name is Jay M Cottam and has been honored by the United States Department of Education for outstanding achievement in Drug and Alcohol education. When he isn't teaching, he can be found performing magic, playing in or conducting the Utah National Guard's 23rd Army Band or appearing on Christian television. It is my pleasure to introduce Magic Mike's innovative solutions to Connect the Dots.
First, the one-line solutions:
The simplest is to draw the line with a very wide paint brush and cover the entire picture with one stroke. Sorry, Mike, but that's stretching the definition of a line too far.
The second one-line solution is more clever. Transfer the drawing to paper and roll the paper into a tube. Then shift the edges of the tube so that the left dot of the top row is in line with the right dot of the second row. Now a single line around the tube will pass through all nine dots. The problem is that the line is not straight but helical. A straight line has only one dimension; a curved line requires two; but a helix exists in three dimensions.
Now, for the valid, 3-line solution:
The secret lies in the fact the the dots as they are drawn are larger than a single point. A line that passes through the top edge of a dot on one end and through the bottom edge of a dot on the opposite end of the same line will eventually meet a similar line slanted the opposite way through another row. This requires reaching WAY outside the box mentioned above, but then Ephesians 3:20 tell us that God 'is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.' Let's not confine God to the limited boxes of our plans, but trust Him for God-sized work in our lives.
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