Fork Spoon Puzzle

I’ve always been attract­ed to puz­zles. Not ones involv­ing gim­micks or trick­ery, but those that are real­ly ingen­u­ous. In many cas­es, they are edu­ca­tion­al as well. My most favorite one was the fork spoon puz­zle.

It is my favorite because the efforts that you put in solv­ing it are more than reward­ed when you see the result! The solu­tion is noth­ing short of mirac­u­lous and most peo­ple don’t believe their eyes when they see it. It is a fun edu­ca­tion­al tool for chil­dren as well as adults.

Before We Begin

  • If you already know about this one, feel free to share your expe­ri­ence via com­ments!
  • If you are able to solve it, don’t give away the solu­tion in the com­ments. Let oth­ers have fun too!

What You Need

  • A Spoon (steel, not plas­tic)
  • A Fork (prefer­ably from the same set)
  • A Match-Stick (wood­en, prefer­ably square)
  • A Glass (with a straight, sharp edge, prefer­ably wide-mouthed)

Goal

Bal­ance the fork and spoon on the glass using the match-stick, such that nei­ther the fork nor the spoon touch the glass or the ground. Also, the match-stick can touch the glass at only one point. Yes, you read that right.

Guidelines

  • If you want to, you can cheat using the Inter­net. You’ll lose out on all the fun if you do.
  • Feel free to ask ques­tions if any, via com­ments.
  • Feel free to invite your friends and blog-mates if you wish.
  • Remem­ber: the solu­tion is based on a sim­ple sci­en­tif­ic prin­ci­ple, there are no tricks or gim­micks involved.

All the best, have fun! 🙂

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  • Hey, Mahen­dra!
    I solved it, and sent you an email with the proof. Did ya get it?

  • Hi Ramana: my sin­cere apolo­gies — I for­got to include the rule that the match-stick can touch the glass at only one point (have updat­ed the post now).

    I’d replied to your email think­ing that it was a pho­to­graph­ic trick, but then saw it more clear­ly. Giv­en the ear­li­er con­straints, I con­cede you did “solve” the puz­zle. But now it’s more inter­est­ing, right? 🙂

  • Aaaargh!
    More exer­cise of fee­ble, dwin­dling cere­bral neu­rons!!

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  • I made a men­tal sticky note to try this out some­time, but since I did­nt use the orig­i­nal 3M sticky note and instead used a shady, cheap, chi­nese vari­ant, it fell off some time. I am in the process of try­ing this out now. One clar­i­fi­ca­tion — Any restric­tions on the match­stick touch­ing the ground? You didn’t men­tion explic­it­ly, so I ask

  • //shady, cheap, Chi­nese variant…it fell off…// LOL!!!

    No, no restric­tions on the match­stick touch­ing the ground; but the glass should be tall enough that the length of an ordi­nary match­stick will not tra­verse from the edge of the glass to the ground! The point is to bal­ance the fork and the spoon on the glass, so the ground doesn’t come into the pic­ture, except for the glass. Now is that a hint?

  • I had a hunch that join­ing the fork and the spoon might lead to some­thing. But I am hav­ing trou­ble bal­anc­ing it using the match. The sur­face of the match keeps slip­ping off the edge

  • Yes, it does lead to that ‘some­thing’. The match­stick should be wood­en, with rough edges, not a pol­ished one. Use an ordi­nary steel glass with a thin edge. I said sharp edge above in the post…

  • I suck at these kinds of puz­zles and so I am sure this is not what you were think­ing : http://arunk.freepgs.com/tmp/fork_spoon_stick_glass.jpg

  • Arun: I would think that in your solu­tion, the fork and the spoon were touch­ing the glass…that’s against the rules…

    I reit­er­ate, the solu­tion is so ele­gant, so beau­ti­ful, that you will not believe what your’re see­ing!

  • Oh I did­nt respond because I’d been there done that albeit with 2 match­sticks (because my spoon and fork were from dif­fer­ent set). But the trick is the same. I wish they had shown such stuff to us in school, learn­ing con­cepts about COG would have been MUCH eas­i­er 🙂

  • Duh! Although I was sure I must have been break­ing the rules since I spent a grand total of 5 min­utes think­ing about it

  • ha-ha! I real­ize now my orig­i­nal attempt was even more pathet­ic — I had a knife instead of a spoon 🙂

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