They're addictive, engrossing and maddening. Sliders have been around for well over a century, but how much do you know about these brain twisters?

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Question 1 of 20

What is the first sliding puzzle commonly known as?

Rubik's Slider

The 15 Puzzle

It took its name from its 4-by-4 grid with 15 tiles and one empty space.

Tic Tac Toe

Question 2 of 20

What shape were the pieces of the original sliding puzzle, the 15 Puzzle?

square

The pieces of the 15 Puzzle were all squares. Can you imagine trying to slide interlocking triangles?

triangular

circular

Question 3 of 20

How many 15 Puzzle configurations are solvable?

all of them

half of them

Exactly half the possible arrangements of the numbers can be returned to numerical order with the empty square at the end.

all except one

Question 4 of 20

The 15 Puzzle became popular in which year?

1880

The 15 Puzzle was a huge sensation in the early months of 1880. Though the craze died down by the summer, the 15 Puzzle is still popular today.

1980

1890

Question 5 of 20

Who was the inventor of the 15 Puzzle?

Sam Loyd

Noyes Chapman

Though Sam Loyd claimed be its inventor, the 15 Puzzle was actually the creation of postmaster Noyes Chapman.

P.T. Barnum

Question 6 of 20

How can sliding puzzle pieces be moved?

by jumping over another piece

by flipping them

by moving them into an empty space

Sliding puzzle pieces can only be rearranged by moving them into an empty space.

Question 7 of 20

True or False: The simpler a sliding puzzle's design, the easier it is to solve.

True

False

Some very simple sliding puzzles are extremely difficult to solve.

Question 8 of 20

Why was the Pennant Puzzle of 1909 harder to solve than earlier sliding puzzles?

It had no frame.

It used rectangular pieces.

Rectangular pieces complicated the solution of the Pennant Puzzle, also known as Dad's Puzzle.

The pieces were all the same color.

Question 9 of 20

True or False: Even computers have a hard time solving sliding puzzles.

True

The myriad of movement options and variables of these puzzles are so complex that they present a challenge to computers.

False

Question 10 of 20

Ma's Puzzle, released in 1927, introduced what element into sliding puzzles?

T-shaped pieces

L-shaped pieces

The L-shaped pieces of Ma's Puzzle added a new degree of complexity to its solution.

Z-shaped pieces

Question 11 of 20

What is the key to solving sliding puzzles?

moving two pieces at once

converting the puzzle to a mathematical formula

There is no key.

Sliding puzzles are difficult because there's no key or formula that tells you how to solve them. As with most things, patience is your best asset.

Question 12 of 20

The Japanese sliding puzzle Sokoban represents what kind of worker?

taxi dispatcher

warehouse manager

Sokoban is the Japanese word for "warehouse manager." In this puzzle, the manager (player) has to move boxes into their proper position.

airline pilot

Question 13 of 20

What makes Sokoban especially difficult?

Pieces can be pushed, but not pulled.

Because the boxes can only be pushed and not pulled, it's easy to reach a dead end.

The pieces are different colors.

The game has a warp factor that randomizes the tiles.

Question 14 of 20

What professional group has a history of sliding puzzle analysis?

mathematicians

While philosophers and psychologists may find these diversions fascinating, the principles behind solving sliding puzzles have long intrigued mathematicians.

philosophers

psychologists

Question 15 of 20

When mathematicians judge a puzzle PSPACE-complete, what does this mean?

The puzzle is complex and difficult to solve.

The term PSPACE-complete is a measure of mathematical complexity and difficulty.

The puzzle has a certain number of empty spaces.

The puzzle cannot be solved except by a computer.

Question 16 of 20

What claim is made for the computer-designed puzzle called Quzzle?

It's a puzzle no one has ever solved.

It's the best puzzle for a child.

It's the most difficult simple sliding puzzle.

Quzzle's inventor claims it is the hardest simple sliding puzzle to solve.

Question 17 of 20

Rubik's Cube, a relative of the sliding puzzle, created a sensation in which decade?

1880s

1960s

1980s

Rubik's Cube was all the rage during the early 1980s. A total of more than 350 million have been sold since the Cube was introduced.

Question 18 of 20

How long did it take chess champion Bobby Fischer to solve Rubik's Cube?

5 minutes

2.5 minutes

25 seconds

Fischer solved the puzzle in 25 seconds on the Tonight Show.

Question 19 of 20

What is the world's record for solving Rubik's Cube?

21.71 seconds

15.66 seconds

5.66 seconds

At a 2011 contest, Latvian puzzle whiz Feliks Zemdegs unscrambled the cube in 5.66 seconds to set a world's record.

Question 20 of 20

Which renowned puzzle inventor has an annual puzzle design award named for him?

Feliks Zemdegs

Nob Yoshigahara

Nob Yoshigahara, who died in 2004, was one of the world's leading puzzle designers. The Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition is held annually.

Junk Kato

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