“Slipping Into Place”

While my image is of a more recent version, the “slide numbers into order” puzzle was one of my favorite toys. The aim is to scramble the tiles all around and then manipulate them into the numerical array shown above. It actually turns out to be a lot harder than it seems it would be.

Working this puzzle taught me something new that has been useful in life. It didn’t pay to overthink the actions. Since I have an advanced degree in overthinking according to those who know and love me, this was a challenge. When I really focused on the movements the sequence got worse. When I relaxed and just casually slid them hither and yon I was able to solve the game. (Speaking of hither and yon, I once had an art student who made crocheted objects spaced some distance apart in the room and called them “hither and yon.” Now you have another clue to why I loved working at the college.)

Paying less attention to things and letting them fall into place will probably never be my strong suit. But I clearly remember the joy I experienced each time I picked up the puzzle, scrambled the numbers and moved them back where they belonged. Without trying.

27 thoughts on ““Slipping Into Place”

  1. I always liked that puzzle as it seemed doable. But I never liked the more complex Rubik’s Cube and didn’t even try it. But I know so many young people who can put it back together in seconds!


  2. That was one of my favourite ‘toys’….surprisingly for someone who could be a bit short of patience (even at that age) I would work at it until – like you – there was that little thrill seeing the numbers line up in the correct order. I rediscovered that thrill many years later when I found them on sale in a $2 shop – the grandchildren weren’t in the least bit interested. Like Susanne (above) Rubik’s Cube left me cold.
    Hope all is well with you Elizabeth and your little- now much bigger – dog are enjoying summer


    1. Our dog has just been given the ok to run again after being spayed. It was the longest two weeks on record as she was leash confined. I suppose electronic games can’t compare to our little amusements.


  3. I used to love these and made it into a game, timing myself to see how quickly I could solve the puzzle. This post reminds me that I once taught a third-grader who used to solve the Rubik’s Cube routinely. When his classmates asked him how he learned to do that, I remember his response. “My dad taught me the algorithm.” I smiled, realizing most third-graders don’t have “algorithm” in their vocabulary. Thanks for this memory, Elizabeth. It might be worthy of a future blog post.


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