The Eternity Puzzle

It was the puzzle to beat all puzzles

In June 1999 this puzzle was deemed to
be so difficult to solve that
a prize of one million pounds
was offered to whomever
solved it.

There are no pictures on
the pieces.
Each piece was oddly shaped
there were no edge pieces.

A piece could be used
right to left,
left to right
upside down.

The million pounds
would be a piece of cake
(I thought)
with my clever mind

and patiently I tried
and tried
and tried
and impatiently
found I could get
right down to one last piece

which didn’t fit
and I could see it wouldn’t
even before I got to it
but still,
had to try
because that’s what makes
a winner
Someone who doesn’t quit

until they announced on TV
in May of 2000
the puzzle had been solved
by no less than two
Cambridge mathematicians
with better brains than I

alas my 1999
and dreams I had of
winning a million pounds
ended as it had begun
with me unable to
complete the sum
of all 209 parts.


© Daydreamertoo *All rights reserved

This was called The Eternity Puzzle and was invented by Lord Christopher Monckton 3rd Viscount of Brenchley I don’t know if it was sold in the USA or elsewhere.
Always loved solving puzzles of any type. I love the metal ones that seem impossible to take apart, until you do!
They put it up for sale in June of 1999 and it drove me crazy for about a year, until they solved it and, then it lost some of its appeal. But it was on a piece of flat board and lived under the couch all the time when it wasn’t trying to be solved. LOL

Shared with dVersePoets #poetics 1999

Author: Daydreamer

I live on a beautiful island in Atlantic Canada.

18 thoughts on “The Eternity Puzzle”

  1. Kudos, you got to one last piece and that was by yourself, so those two have nothing on you. It took half of each of their brain cells to get 100% and yours alone to get 99% that is something! 🙂

  2. There were two of them (the winners) If you had someone to help, you may have beaten them. Next time there is another competition, give me a call.I’m hopless at maths, but I have a lot of confidence:)

  3. Clever metaphor sustained throughout – coming close is often what we do. And..regardless of how clever we are, talented, brilliant, charming, popular or delightful there are other (yes even more than one) who are so much better and by the way so much worse than we think we are when our self esteem descends. We have to find the essence of the fact that we are each unique.

  4. What a great poem, and a super story too! Don’t feel badly about the puzzle, you can always pass it along to someone else to try! The honesty here and wisdom is well woven into the story. An enjoyable read, and you did get further than I would have with that puzzle! 🙂

  5. Sigh. So sad you didn’t finish it.
    Sigh. So glad you didn’t finish it…or we’d never met online!

    Thanks for sharing…I can’t imagine where one would start a puzzle like that, much less finish it !

    Siggi in Downeast Maine

  6. Even for a million dollars, I would not have been able to match two pieces. I am confounded by puzzles. Horrible to be ONE PIECE AWAY from the solution!

  7. I like puzzles too, not sure though I’d dare to take this on. You’re right about being a winner though, and I think you showed in attempting. But note that it took two guys to solve it! Your poem is very well described and you were very precise in keeping me involved in both the details of the poem and your effort to solve it. Excellent work.

  8. Always someone out there that is better or at least better at disguising that they are..haha…that would have been great to try, just to see if my messed up head could solve it as the cat and Pat likes puzzles, sadly he just eats the pieces though.

  9. I would have thought the same thing … that it’d be a piece of cake given enough time and solitude. That sounds like a fascinating puzzle.

    I like the double meaning as well, all of us who think we’re capable, clever, smart trying to figure out the eternity puzzle, the life puzzle, and all the other kinds. Someone else always seems to have the better answers and the missing pieces while we’re left with empty hands and puzzled expressions.

    I really like your ending:
    “unable to
    complete the sum
    of all 209 parts”

  10. I am not good in puzzles but I can relate to your frustration of not finishing it and winning the prize ~

    I am not familiar with such a puzzle…maybe it is only available in your side of the world …:-0

  11. I wrote a long answer, but it left, as I did not put in the captcha code. Sigh. Don’t feel like writing it again. I will just say (using 1/4 of the words) that I’m impressed with someone who came so close. Damn those Captchas that allow comments to disappear totally if you don’t do it right.

  12. ha..this is very cool…love the whole poem…esp also the wisdom you weave into it…because that’s what makes
    a winner
    Someone who doesn’t quit…so very true…

  13. wow i missed out on this puzzle…how frustrating too to get so close…so after it was solved have you tried it since?

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