THE EIGHT STICKS.—solution

The first diagram is the answer that nearly every one will give to this puzzle, and at first sight it seems quite satisfactory. But consider the conditions. We have to lay "every one of the sticks on the table." Now, if a ladder be placed against a wall with only one end on the ground, it can hardly be said that it is "laid on the ground." And if we place the sticks in the above manner, it is only possible to make one end of two of them touch the table: to say that every one lies on the table would not be correct. To obtain a solution it is only necessary to have our sticks of proper dimensions. Say the long sticks are each 2 ft. in length and the short ones 1 ft. Then the sticks must be 3 in. thick, when the three equal squares may be enclosed, as shown in the second diagram. If I had said "matches" instead of "sticks," the puzzle would be impossible, because an ordinary match is about twenty-one times as long as it is broad, and the enclosed rectangles would not be squares.