MIRRORKAL / You and Mona Lisa

There are very few puzzles which make me think of nice memomories from my past.

This puzzle reminds me of two things:

When I was small, I played with a picture cube puzzle and assembled different pictures.

It remembers me also of my first simple sliding puzzle with which I played during my schooltime.

There are various developments of the 3 x 3 sliding puzzle by well-known puzzle designers.

But almost all ideas focus on the restriction of the movement of the pieces.

Moscovich accomplished a feat with this puzzle. He combined a picture search,

whereby new pictures appear and different pictures vanish, with a sliding puzzle.

The sliding principle of the puzzle corresponds to the principle of an ordinary Nine Sliding Piece Puzzle:

The puzzle consists of a frame and 9 cubes which lie in a 3 x 3 grid and an additional field.

Eight of the nine cubes can be slided everywhere in the 3 x 3 grid.

The ninth cube can only be slided between the extra field and the neighbouring field in the grid.

The ninth cube serves rather as closure so that all fields in the grid can be placed with a cube.

Cube example

The mechanics of the cubes is tricky. Each of the cube has a mirror which passes from the upper edge

to the opposite bottom edge (along the diagonals) and divides the cube into two parts.

To each of the four sliding directions (up, right, down and left),

there are at least two cubes of which the mirros have the same direction.

All nine cubes are transparent from above, the bottom side does not matter.

Three of the remaining four sides have pictures on the outside and the other one is transparent.

There are also pictures on the sides of the frame in the size of a cube side.

If a side with a picture is next to a transparent side, then you can see the side with the picture from above.

That is because the side with the picture was reflected by the mirror.

If you slide a cube, then the pictures of the neighbouring cubes or the picture of the cube which was moved may change.

There are two tasks:

The aim of the warmup challenge is to make the small Mona Lisa visible in the center and the remaining eight cubes shall work as mirrors.

No single cube picture other then the Mona Lisa shall be recognizable.

The problem is relatively easy to solve. The first step is to find the small Mona Lisa

which is depicted at one side of a cube. Then you have to think how the mirrors of two cubes have to be arranged.

To meet the challenge, the complete Mona Lisa has to be visible. This problem is more tricky,

as you search small pictures like in a normal jigsaw puzzle.

Moscovich succeeded in designing a puzzle which is a lot of fun for young and old.

Pictures disappear and reappear in a magical way.

It is one of the few puzzles which enchant from the beginning.