8:52am, Tuesday 21 September 2004

Me: "It's a Rubik's cube. Sort of a puzzle."
Joshua: twizzle twist twizzle "Can you put it back again?"
Me: "Errrr."

For future reference (i.e. the next time I forget) this is more-or-less the method I learned about ten years ago for solving the cube. I was impressed to find I could remember steps 2, 3 and 4 without too much difficulty. Step 1 completely eluded me, so I had to look it up on the web.

The moves are given in a (relatively) memorable way, by virtue of being pronounceable. The faces are denoted "f" (front), "t" (top), "r" (right) and "l" (left). "o" and "a" mean turn 90° clockwise and anticlockwise, respectively. "i" means a 180° turn. "m" means to turn the middle "slice" rather than the face. (This all sounds hideously complicated. It's much easier to demonstrate than describe!)

1. Position the corner pieces.
lotara tolata roti swaps the two corners at front-top-right and back-top-right. It rotates other corners but it doesn't move them. (Actually, this isn't the original method I learned; that only manipulated faces f/t/r, but I can't find a reference to that now.)
2. Orientate the corner pieces.
3x ratifa rotates the three corners at the back of the top face by one "step" clockwise. 3x fotiro does the equivalent anticlockwise turn.
3. Position the edge pieces.
to rom ti ram to moves the top-left, top-right and front-bottom edges one position clockwise along their cycle. ta rom ti ram ta is the anticlockwise equivalent.
4. Orientate the edge pieces.
4x ro tom flips the three back edges around the "waist" of the cube, and the bottom-right edge.
And that's it. You're now either holding a solved cube, or a scrambled mess...

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Dave Holland <dave@biff.org.uk>
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