Colored Pillows (Solitaire XXI – From the Pillowbook XVI)

Another lonely day gave me the idea to spice up the six standard pillows into domino type puzzle pieces by coloring them like so:

ColorPillows deluxe

Below is a less pretty but easier to cut version, assembled in a 5×2 rectangle,

Boundary 1 sol

which solves what a mathematician would call a boundary value problem:

Boundary 1

Here is another puzzlable boundary contour for your solitary enjoyment. The rule is to place the puzzle pieces so that they fit & match in color when they meet:

Boundary 2

These are nice little puzzles, not too easy, not too hard, but 10 is an awkward number (why don’t we have 16 fingers, like everybody else out there?), and it is somewhat annoying to have to turn around some of the pieces by 180º to see whether they finally fit, so I decided to modify the coloring a bit, like so:


The 16 puzzle tiles above must not be rotated anymore. Equivalently, the horizontal and vertical color gradients need to match with adjacent fitting pieces. The pieces above all fit together to form a 4×4 square which periodically tiles the plane, moreover, this square is symmetric across one of its diagonals. Can you find other such square, tiled by using each of the 16 colored pillows exactly once? There are a few, but not too many.


These 16 puzzle pieces would make great 2-person games, for horizontal and vertical players… Their time will come. For now, enjoy the two boundary value problems above. One of them is very very very hard.

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