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There are several possible ways to
solve the puzzle.
Way 1. Making just plain figures like in Solutions 1, 2, and 5
below.
Way 2. Less obvious. You have to make your starting and finish
shapes 3dimensional. One of the most "classic" solutions is based on
placing 9 crayons (which have to form the final shape with 3 squares)
along edges of a cube without one corner  you need exactly 9 crayons
for this. This shape has exactly 3 perfect squares.
Solutions 4 and 6 use this principle. Solution 6 describes how to
build the final shape.
Way 3. Using crayons to form digits/numbers like in Solution 3.
We show all the six winning solutions. 


Remove crayons a, b and c 





Solution 1 by Nicole Takahashi 





I would have had a hard time
describing a soln to the twelve crayons, so I drew a picture
(attached)*.
* Nice drawings Nicole! Thank you! 





Solution 2 by Joao Paulo 


Remove the red ones



Interesting puzzle I think the answer is
correct
Thank you for the great site 





Solution 3 by Jensen Lai 


Arrange 12 crayons into 4 lines with
3 crayons in each line. This yields the numbers 1, 1, 1, and 1. Each
is a perfect square. Take away three crayons and you are left with 1,1
and 1. Thus, you are left with 3 perfect squares. 





Solution 4 by Alex Packard 


Arranging twelve matchsticks to give
four perfect squares.
I cannot show this on a picture but it is a front square, a top
square, a side square, and a square adjacent to the side square. This
configuration is similar to a box with no bottom and missing one side.
This box has a 'lid'  the square adjacent to the side square.
Another way to put it is a die with two sides removed, and one more
side flipped up; keep that side intact.
Removing the three crayons which comprise the 'lid' of the box (or the
flipped up part that is not an integral part of the three sided die),
leaves only 3 perfect squares left. 





Solution 5 by Federico Bribiesca
Argomedo 


If we consider the following figure:
It's marking four different perfect squares with twelve crayons, if we
remove the three crayons outside the 2x1 rectangle, we'll have three
perfect squares and nine crayons, so we've accomplished our goal. 





Solution 6 by Jeffrey Czarnowski 


Set the match sticks up in a cube.
Then remove any three sticks that are perpendicular to each other
(i.e. remove a corner). 





Last Updated: July 8, 2007 
Posted: January 24, 2002 






