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George Sicherman Mechanical Puzzles

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George Sicherman

George Sicherman is a puzzle designer, prolific crossword-sudoku creator and recreational mathematician famed for his eponymous dice. At the IPP38 Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition 2018, the designer and craftsman presented his new puzzle ‘Hide the Gold’.

George was born in 1949 in Buffalo, in New York State. He married in 1984 and has two sons, now grown and married. After a career as a computer programmer, he retired to take care of his wife Barbara and now lives quietly in New Jersey with a cat named Bullwinkle.

George came into the public eye in the late 1970s, when Martin Gardner published two of his puzzle ideas in _Scientific American._ One was Sicherman Dice. The other was the Pool Ball Difference Triangle, his first widely known puzzle.

Occasionally during the 1980s and 1990s, George posted an original puzzle to Usenet. Those puzzles had no common theme or pattern. Some are on his web page “Miscellaneous Puzzles“. All these puzzles were conceptual, requiring no manufacturing. Two have since appeared on the New York Times blog “Numberplay.”

As a high school student, George had been intrigued by Solomon Golomb’s articles on polyominoes in Recreational Mathematics Magazine. In 2003 he happened to think of Golomb’s studies on excluding a polyomino from a chessboard by excising squares and began to study the corresponding problem for polyiamonds. Eventually, he posted the results on his website.

In 2004 Erich Friedman, who was then unknown to George, saw his page and wrote to him inviting him to consider the latest problem on his website Math Magic. It turned out to be about polyform compatibility. George eagerly tackled the challenges and has been studying polyforms ever since. He has contributed frequently to Erich’s site, which is a fertile source of interesting problems.

In 2004 George printed his first geometric cutout puzzle, the Foxagon Puzzle. It consisted of four L hexiamonds with the cells on both sides coloured in three different colours. For years after that, he designed cutout puzzles and gave them to interested friends and acquaintances.

In December 2015 George sent all mathematical correspondents a puzzle in honour of the coming year: Fit 15 W-shaped pentacubes into a 4x4x5 box. Gary Antonick, who then operated the Numberplay blog, published it there. Dave Janelle, a talented woodworker, got in touch with him about making a wooden version of the puzzle. A mere week after the blog article appeared, Dave was offering copies for

After that, George designed more polycube puzzles. Some, like ‘Hide The Gold’, was inspired by conversations with László Molnár, a brilliant designer with a thorough knowledge of others’ designs. Though George is not a collector, he own several of László’s puzzles.

George is still inventing and solving problems in combinatorial geometry, and looking out for unexpected solutions that might make good puzzles. He is grateful to all correspondents for their support and encouragement … and for being fun to correspond with!


News of events: If you have information, or images to support this designer and puzzle craftsman page please feel free to get in touch.


Website: Checkout George’s personal webpage “Miscellaneous Puzzles” devoted to pentomino, puzzles, games and mathematics and another page devoted to polyform curiosities.

Designer Puzzles

Sicherman Dice* Poolazoid Puzzle* Foxagon Puzzle
Hide the Gold Colonel’s Forest Hexicator Puzzle
Con Ed Puzzle Triple Play Puzzle Livio Puzzle
2018 Puzzle N. W. D. Puzzle W’s Dilemma
Telegraph Puzzle Colonel’s Bouquet Kaleidoscope Cube
Wood’s Hole


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Hide the Gold by George Sicherman © Nick Baxter (Baxterweb)

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