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Get Off the Earth





Get Off the Earth puzzle
A famous vanishment puzzle by Sam Loyd, first published in 1896. The picture is made from a rectangular background of card on top of which a circular card, representing the world, can be rotated. Parts of a number of men, supposed to be Chinese, are on each piece. With the world orientated so that the large arrow on it points to the N.E. point on the background, 13 Chinamen can be counted. But when the Earth is turned slightly, so that the arrow points N.W., there are only 12 characters. Where did the thirteenth Chinaman go?

The cleverness of the puzzle is that there are many bits of Chinamen – arms, legs, bodies, heads, and swords – and each has tiny slivers missing. When the Earth is turned, these pieces get slightly rearranged. In particular, each of the 12 Chinamen gains a sliver of a Chinaman from his neighbor.


Own your own!
Get Off the Earth puzzle
Excellent, fully-working replicas of Loyd's puzzle available from The Sam Loyd Company. Cost US$8.00 + $3.00 shipping (from Australia). For more details, go to samloyd.com or e-mail here

Related entry

   • mechanical puzzles


Related categories

   • GAMES AND PUZZLES
   • ILLUSIONS AND IMPOSSIBLE FIGURES