Title:
3-D puzzle including a block and interlocking sliding keys
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A puzzle and a method of solving thereof are disclosed. The puzzle includes a block defining an interior and an exterior, the block including at least three panels arranged perpendicularly to each other, wherein each panel defines a wall and wherein each panel defines at least one slot through each wall. A plurality of keys, each configured to be fully insertable through each slot on each wall from the exterior toward the interior when there are no other keys in the block are provided. The keys and the slots are configured such that, if each key is inserted into a correct slot and in a correct sequence with respect to the others keys, all of the plurality of keys can be fully inserted into the block, and, if at least one of the plurality of keys is inserted into an incorrect slot or in an incorrect sequence with respect to the other keys, at least one of the keys cannot be fully inserted into the block.



Inventors:
Lucas, Jeffrey M. (Hopkins, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/891037
Publication Date:
02/12/2009
Filing Date:
08/07/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/156
International Classes:
A63F9/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MERCHANT & GOULD P.C. (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A puzzle comprising: a block defining an interior and an exterior, the block including at least three panels arranged perpendicularly to each other, wherein each panel defines a wall and wherein each panel defines at least one slot through each wall; and a plurality of keys, each configured to be fully insertable through each slot on each wall from the exterior toward the interior when there are no other keys in the block; wherein the keys and the slots are configured such that, if each key is inserted into a correct slot and in a correct sequence with respect to the others keys, all of the plurality of keys can be fully inserted into the block, and, if at least one of the plurality of keys is inserted into an incorrect slot or in an incorrect sequence with respect to the other keys, at least one of the keys cannot be fully inserted into the block.

2. A puzzle according to claim 1, wherein the block defines at least six panels arranged perpendicularly to each other to form a cube, each key defining an elongate body configured to enter the cube from one face and at least a portion of the body configured to protrude out from the cube at an opposite face.

3. A puzzle according to claim 2, wherein the puzzle includes twenty-seven keys and wherein each panel defines a first type of slot and a second type of slot, wherein the first type of slot is configured as an entry and exit slot allowing each key to be inserted thereinto and protrude therefrom after having been inserted, wherein the second type of slot is only an exit slot allowing each key to protrude therefrom after having been inserted, wherein the puzzle includes thirty-three first type slots and twenty one second type slots.

4. A puzzle according to claim 1, wherein the keys form a snap-fit locking arrangement with the panels when fully inserted.

5. A puzzle according to claim 1, wherein, in the event of an incorrect insertion, either with respect to the slot or with respect to the sequence of insertion, the full insertion of a key is prevented by contact with another key previously inserted within the block.

6. A puzzle according to claim 1, wherein, each key defines a certain color, wherein if each key is inserted into a correct slot and in a correct sequence with respect to the others keys, all of the plurality of keys will result in a predetermined color arrangement formed by the color of the keys.

7. A puzzle according to claim 1, wherein the block is made from a transparent material allowing viewing of the interior from the exterior.

8. A puzzle according to claim 1, wherein each key includes at least a pair of elongate parallel legs, both of which include at least portions configured to extend through the slots.

9. A puzzle according to claim 1, wherein there is only one correct sequence of insertion and only one correct slot associated with each of the keys to end up with all of the keys fully inserted into the block.

10. A puzzle according to claim 1, wherein there is more than one correct sequence of insertion and more than one correct slot associated with each of the keys to end up with all of the keys fully inserted into the block.

11. A puzzle comprising: a first key, a second key, and a third key, each key including a body defining at least one keyslot, wherein all of the keys are configured to cooperatively form a predetermined interlock arrangement among the keys if the keys are interlocked in a correct arrangement and in a correct sequence with respect to each other, wherein, if the keys are interlocked in the correct arrangement, each of the first key, the second key, and the third key includes one of the other two keys inserted through its at least one keyslot.

12. A puzzle according to claim 11, wherein each key includes at least a pair of elongate parallel legs between which are defined the keyslots.

13. A puzzle according to claim 11, wherein each key is oriented in a perpendicular arrangement with respect to the other keys when the keys are interlocked in the correct arrangement.

14. A puzzle according to claim 11, wherein the first key defines at least one keyslot, the second key defines at least two keyslots, and the third key defines at least three keyslots.

15. A method of assembling a puzzle, comprising: providing a block defining an interior and an exterior, the block including a first panel, a second panel, and a third panel, each panel arranged perpendicularly to one another, wherein each panel defines a wall and wherein each panel defines at least one slot through each wall; providing a first key, a second key, and a third key, each key configured to be fully insertable through each slot on each wall from the exterior toward the interior when there are no other keys inserted into the block; inserting all of the first key, the second key, and the third key into each of the slots defined by the first panel, the second panel, and the third panel, respectively, until all of the first key, the second key, and the third key are fully inserted into the block, wherein the first key, the second key, and the third key must be inserted into the slot of a correct panel and in a correct sequence with respect to the rest of the other keys, wherein if any of the first key, the second key, and the third key is not inserted into the correct slot or is not inserted in the correct sequence with respect to the other keys, at least one of the keys will prevent at least one of the other keys from being fully inserted into the block.

16. A method according to claim 15, wherein, each key defines a certain color, wherein if each key is inserted into the slot of a correct panel and in a correct sequence with respect to the others keys, all of the plurality of keys will result in a predetermined color arrangement formed by the color of the keys.

17. A method according to claim 15, wherein the block is made from a transparent material allowing viewing of the interior from the exterior.

18. A method according to claim 15, wherein the keys form a snap-fit locking arrangement with the panels when fully inserted.

19. A method according to claim 15, wherein there is only one correct sequence of insertion and only one correct slot associated with each of the keys to end up with all of the keys fully inserted into the block.

20. A method according to claim 15, wherein there is more than one correct sequence of insertion and more than one correct slot associated with each of the keys to end up with all of the keys fully inserted into the block.

Description:

FIELD

The inventive aspects of this disclosure pertain to games in the form of puzzles. More particularly, the disclosure pertains to a 3-dimensional puzzle including a plurality of slidable interlocking keys inserted into a block in a specific arrangement for completion of the puzzle.

BACKGROUND

Games of skill in the form of puzzles have been known. There are types of puzzles that exist in which a plurality of puzzle pieces are assembled or organized to form a unitary structure. In the case of many of these conventional types of puzzles, the proper assembly or organization of the pieces is easily memorized such that the puzzle does not present a continuing challenge to one who has previously solved the puzzle. Other conventional puzzles exhibit the opposite problem. Certain types of puzzles are very difficult, sometimes, virtually impossible to solve because there is no systematic or logical process for assembling or organizing the pieces, and, the entire assembly procedure may thus be left solely to chance. In summary, many conventional puzzles, being either too difficult or too easy to solve for the average person, do not provide the personal reward or satisfaction which an individual may seek in puzzles.

New designs for puzzles are desired.

SUMMARY

The present disclosure relates to a 3-dimensional puzzle including a plurality of slidable interlocking keys inserted into a block in a specific arrangement for completion of the puzzle.

According to one inventive aspect, a puzzle includes a block defining an interior and an exterior, the block including at least three panels arranged perpendicularly to each other, wherein each panel defines a wall and wherein each panel defines at least one slot through each wall. A plurality of keys, each configured to be fully insertable through each slot on each wall from the exterior toward the interior when there are no other keys in the block are provided. The keys and the slots are configured such that, if each key is inserted into a correct slot and in a correct sequence with respect to the others keys, all of the plurality of keys can be fully inserted into the block, and, if at least one of the plurality of keys is inserted into an incorrect slot or in an incorrect sequence with respect to the other keys, at least one of the keys cannot be fully inserted into the block to solve the puzzle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of the specification, illustrate several aspects of the present disclosure and together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the disclosure. A brief description of the drawings is as follows:

FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a puzzle having features that are examples of inventive aspects in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure, the puzzle including a block shown from a perspective view and a four different types of keys used in the puzzle shown from a side view;

FIG. 2 illustrates the puzzle of FIG. 1 in a fully completed arrangement;

FIG. 3 is a front, top, right perspective view of the block of the puzzle of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 illustrates an exploded view of the block of FIG. 3 showing the different faces and the construction of the block;

FIG. 5 is a top view of the block of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a top, perspective view of a first type of key of the puzzle of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a side, perspective view of the first type of key of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a side view of the first type of key of FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is a side view of a second type of key of the puzzle of FIG. 1;

FIG. 10 is a side view of a third type of key of the puzzle of FIG. 1;

FIG. 11 is a side view of a fourth type of key of the puzzle of FIG. 1;

FIG. 12 illustrates the block of FIG. 1 with one of the keys fully inserted into the block and another key partially inserted into the block;

FIG. 13 illustrates the block of FIG. 1 with a number of keys fully inserted into the block;

FIG. 14 illustrates the block of FIG. 1 with a number of keys fully inserted into the block, the block shown with two of its faces removed to expose the interior of the block and to show the interlock arrangement formed by the inserted keys;

FIG. 15 illustrates the keys of FIG. 14 without the block to show the interlock arrangement formed by the keys;

FIG. 16 is a chart showing the quantity provided for each of the keys of the puzzle of FIG. 1 and illustrating a color-coding arrangement that can be used with the puzzle of FIG. 1 to increase the difficulty of the puzzle; and

FIGS. 17A-17O are diagrammatic views illustrating the sequence of steps of one example method of completing the puzzle of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference will now be made in detail to the exemplary aspects of the present inventive features that are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.

FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a puzzle 10 having features that are examples of inventive aspects in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure. The puzzle 10 includes a block 12 that is configured to receive a plurality of key pieces 14 in a particular arrangement to complete the puzzle 10. As shown in FIG. 1, in the embodiment illustrated, the puzzle 10 utilizes four different types of keys 14a-14d, each one being provided in a certain given quantity, as will be described herein below.

The object of the game provided by the puzzle 10 is to insert as many of the provided keys 14 into the block 12 as possible, utilizing the slots 16 provided on the block 12.

It will be clear based on the below description that there are various different types of games that might be played using the puzzle 10. For example, in one game, the object of the game might be to try to complete the puzzle 10 by successfully inserting every key piece 14 provided into the block 12. In another example game, the puzzle 10 might be used to play a game involving a group of people wherein the last person to be able to fully insert a key piece 14 into the block 12 would win the game. Other games or variations thereof are certainly possible.

FIG. 2 illustrates the puzzle 10 in a completed configuration wherein every provided key piece 14 has been inserted into the block 12. As will be described in further detail below, the provided key pieces 14 must be inserted into the block 12 in a certain arrangement and sequence in order to complete the puzzle 10. In the depicted embodiment of the puzzle 10, there are four different types of keys (14a-14d) provided for insertion into the block 12. Each type of key 14 is provided in a given quantity and each type of key 14 involves a different level of difficulty in insertion thereof, as will be discussed in further detail.

Referring now to FIGS. 3-5, the block 12 of the puzzle is illustrated in isolation. In the depicted embodiment, the block 12 defines a hollow cube structure 18 that is assembled from six panels 20 that interfit together. Once assembled, the block 12 defines a cube 18 having a front face 22, a back face 24, a right face 26, a left face 28, a top face 30 and a bottom face 32. As shown in FIG. 4, each panel 20 defines a wall 34 and a plurality of slots 16 formed through the wall 34. In the depicted embodiment, there are two types of slots 16 provided through the walls 34: 1) a full slot 16a and 2) a divided slot 16b. The full slot 16a defines a generally rectangular configuration. The divided slot 16b defines two smaller square-like holes 15 separated by a divider 17. As shown in the drawings, the width and length of each full slot 16a is equal to the width and the total length of the divided slot 16b, which includes the two smaller holes 15 and the divider 17.

As shown, in the depicted puzzle 10, on each face of the block 12, the slots 16 are provided in three rows and three columns. The slots 16 are provided in a particular arrangement such that they will all be filled when the puzzle 10 is finally completed. The full slots 16a are normally used as both entry and exit slots. The divided slots 16b are generally used as only exit slots since the divider 17 will contact the key 14 near a head portion thereof before the key 14 is fully inserted into the divided slot 16b, as will be described in further detail below.

In certain embodiments of the block 12, the block 12 can be manufactured out of a transparent material such that the keys 14 in the inside are visible to the outside of the cube 18 when the keys 14 are being inserted in. In other embodiments, the block 12 may be made from an opaque material which may significantly increase the difficulty of the game.

FIGS. 6-11 illustrate the various different types of keys 14 that are used with the puzzle 10.

Referring now to FIGS. 6-8, a first type of key 14a (hereinafter “the first key 14a”) is illustrated in isolation. In the depicted embodiment, the first key 14a is generally the most difficult key to insert into the puzzle 10. As shown, the first key 14a defines body 36 with a first end 38 and a second end 40. The first key 14a, as in the other keys 14b-14d, includes a pair of leg portions 42 extending from a head portion 44 (i.e., handle portion) of the body 36 in a direction from the first end 38 to the second end 40. In the first key 14a, the legs 42 are connected together by three bridge portions 46. The bridge portions 46 define three closed keyslots 48 and one open keyslot 50 between the legs 42. The closed keyslots 48 are sized to accommodate both legs 42 of the other keys 14 going through the keyslots 48.

The legs 42 of all of the keys 14 are sized such that each key 14 is slidably insertable through the full slots 16a defined on the block 12. Each leg 42 is also sized to be insertable into the holes 15 of the divided slots 16b on the block 12.

In the depicted embodiment, the head portion 44 of the keys 14 are made larger than the slots 16 provided on the block 12 and are configured to contact the panel walls 34 to stop insertion. The head portion 44 includes two pairs of perpendicularly arranged flanges 56 that make contact with the panels 20 when the keys 14 are inserted. When fully inserted, the head portions 44 protrude out of the block 12, as shown in FIGS. 12 and 13.

According to the depicted embodiment, adjacent each head portion 44 is defined a pair of flexible cantilever arms 52. The cantilever arms 52 are configured to flex toward and away from the body 36. The cantilever arms 52 are provided with tabs 54. The tabs 54 of the cantilever arms 52 are configured to provide a snap-fit interlock with the block 12 when a key 14 has been fully inserted through a slot 16. Once the key 14 is inserted through a full slot 16a, the wall 34 is captured between the tabs 54 of the cantilever arms 52 and flanges 56 defined by the head 44.

While one type of snap-fit structure has been described in accordance with the disclosure, it should be noted that other designs for or types of snap-fit interlock arrangements between the keys 14 and the block 12 are also possible. It should also be noted that while a snap-fit arrangement between the keys 14 and the block 12 is preferable, in other embodiments, the puzzle 10 may be provided without such a snap-fit feature.

Referring now to FIG. 9, a second type of key 14b (hereinafter “the second key 14b”) is illustrated. As will be discussed below, since the second key 14b defines a longer open keyslot 50 than the first key 14a, the second key 14b is less challenging to insert into the block 12 for completion of the puzzle 10 than the first key 14a. The longer open keyslot 50 of the second key 14b is long enough to accommodate and receive another key 14, whereas the shorter open keyslot 50 of the first key 14a is only long enough to accommodate a wall 34 of the block 12 during insertion (please refer to FIGS. 14 and 15).

As in the first key 14a, the second key 14b may include an identical head 44 configuration that includes the cantilevered snap-fit structure. The legs 42 of the second key 14b, however, are bridged together by only two bridge sections 46, creating two closed keyslots 48 and one longer open keyslot 50, as discussed.

Referring now to FIG. 10, a third type of key 14c (hereinafter “the third key 14c”) is illustrated. The third key 14c is less difficult to insert for completion of the puzzle 10 than either of the first and second keys 14a, 14b. The third key 14c defines an even longer open keyslot 50 than the second key 14b. The open keyslot 50 of the third key 14c is dimensioned to accommodate and receive two other keys 14. The legs 42 of the third key 14c are bridged together by only one bridge section 46, creating one closed keyslot 48 and one long open keyslot 50, as discussed above.

Referring now to FIG. 11, a fourth type of key 14d (hereinafter “the fourth key 14d”) is illustrated. In the embodiment of the puzzle 10 shown, the fourth key 14d is the easiest to insert than any of the first, second or third keys 14a-14c for completion of the puzzle 10. As such, the fourth keys 14d are normally inserted as the last ones after all of the other three types of keys 14a-14c have been inserted. The fourth key 14d does not include a bridge portion connecting its legs 42 and defines one long open slot 50 between the legs 42 that can accommodate and receive three keys 14.

Table 1, below, lists a number of example dimensions (referenced throughout the drawings) for each of the block 12, the first key 14a, the second key 14b, the third key 14c, and the fourth key 14d. It should be noted that the listed dimensions refer simply to one working example embodiment of the puzzle 10 and no restriction is intended by the listed dimensions. As listed, different letters (A, B, C, D, . . . and so on) refer to different dimensions referenced throughout the drawings.

TABLE 1
Sample Dimensions in reference to FIGS. for Puzzle Structures (unless
otherwise specified, all dimensions are in centimeters (cm))
ABCDEFGHI
2.1101.60.81.510.50.40.4
JKLMNOPQR
1.60.80.50.5880.31.61

Referring now to FIG. 16, as noted above, each of the four types of keys 14 are provided in given quantities for the puzzle. FIG. 16 illustrates a chart showing the denominations of the different types of keys 14 for the depicted embodiment of the puzzle 10. In the depicted embodiment, the puzzle 10 includes twenty-seven total keys 14. Out of the twenty-seven keys 14, nine are first keys 14a, twelve are second keys 14b, three are third keys 14c, and three are fourth keys 14d.

It should be noted that the difficulty of the game can be increased by providing more of the first and second keys 14a, 14b and less of the third and fourth keys 14c, 14d. The puzzle 10 can also be simplified by providing more of the easier-to-insert keys such as the third and fourth keys 14c, 14d.

Referring now to FIGS. 12-15, as discussed above, a user plays the puzzle 10 by trying to insert as many key pieces 14 into the block 12 as possible, limited and challenged by the specific configuration of the slots 16 and the configurations of the individual key pieces 14 and the sequence of insertion thereof.

As shown in FIGS. 14 and 15, when the keys 14 are inserted, depending upon the type of key 14 and the available space within the cube 18, three keys 14 meeting at one point may form an interlock configuration 58. As such, the key pieces 14 will be locked with respect to each other and the one that was inserted last has to be removed in order to unlock the interlock 58. This described interlock arrangement 58 may occur among a number of the keys 14 within the block 12 such that only by removing the last inserted keys 14 first, can the interlock 58 be unlocked and the other keys 14 removed.

As noted above, the first key 14a, since it only has an open keyslot 50 that is just long enough to accommodate the divider 17 on a wall 34 of the block 12, is normally the type of key 14 that is inserted first. If the first key 14a is inserted and there is another key 14 in its path (e.g., at a perpendicular angle thereto), the first key 14a cannot be inserted all the way through to the other side of the block 12.

For example, as seen in FIGS. 14 and 15, in the interlock 58 formed, the first key 14a had to have been inserted first before the second key 14b that is going perpendicularly through the middle closed keyslot 48 of the first key 14a. Otherwise, the open keyslot end of the first key 14a would have contacted that second key 14b and stopped insertion. Whereas, since a second key 14b has an open keyslot 50 that is long enough to accommodate another key 14 (e.g., at a perpendicular angle thereto) in its path and still have its legs 42 go all the way through the block 12, it had to have been inserted after the first key 14a in this arrangement.

The example interlock arrangement 58 shown in FIGS. 14 and 15 is formed by first inserting the second key 14b in a direction from bottom to up. Then, the two first keys 14a are inserted in a parallel manner, with the rightmost first key 14a going through the closed keyslot 48 of the inserted second key 14b. Last, the other second key 14b is inserted from left to right with this second key 14b passing through the middle closed keyslot 48 of the leftmost first key 14a and the intersection of the rightmost first key 14a and the first inserted second key 14b being accommodated by the open keyslot 50 of the last inserted second key 14b.

As discussed above, a third key 14c (shown in FIG. 10) includes only one bridge 46 connecting its legs 42. Thus, the long open keyslot 50 of the third key 14c is able accommodate two keys 14 that are perpendicularly arranged in its path. A fourth key 14d (as shown in FIG. 11) has no bridge and thus can be inserted at anytime during the solving of the puzzle 10. Accordingly, it is a type of key 14 that is normally inserted last since it can go through the block 12 to the other side thereof regardless of how many keys 14 are perpendicularly in its path.

As discussed above, once a key 14 is inserted, it may snap lock into the block 12 such that it does not fall out. If a player inserts a key piece 14 and realizes that a different key 14 should have been inserted instead to advance the puzzle 10 and wants to remove it, he or she can simply pull on the handle 44 of the key 14. Once there is enough pull force applied to overcome the bias provided by the flexible cantilever arms 52, the key piece 14 can be slid out.

As noted above, the full slots 16a on the block 12 can act as entry or exit slots, whereas the divided slots 16b should only be used as exit slots. The legs 42 of the key pieces 14 protrude out of the divided slots 16b from an inward to outward direction after having passed through the block 12. If a key 14 is mistakenly inserted into a divided slot 16b for entry (e.g., even if it is a fourth type key 14d), it will contact a face of a panel 20 prematurely before being inserted all the way through the block 12.

FIGS. 17A-17O diagrammatically illustrate the sequence of steps for completing the depicted example of the puzzle 10. It should be noted that the depicted example of the puzzle 10 is difficult enough where there is only one correct method to fit all of the key pieces 14 into the block 12. Other easier versions, where there is more than one way of completing the puzzle 10, are certainly possible. As discussed above, changing the level of difficulty of the puzzle 10 can be accomplished in a number of different ways. For example, by increasing the number of “easier-to-insert” key pieces 14c, 14d relative to the “more-difficult-to-insert” key pieces 14a, 14b or by increasing the number of full slots 16a relative to the divided slots 16b, or by changing the arrangement of the slots 16, the puzzle 10 can be simplified.

It should be noted that the described embodiment of the puzzle 10 above is simply one example. Many variations of the puzzle 10 are contemplated. For example, the shape and the size of the block 12 can be changed. The number of slots 16 including the number of rows and the number of columns can be varied. The particular arrangement of the slots 16 on different faces of the block 12 can be varied to increase and decrease the difficulty of the puzzle 10. The number of the keys 14, the configuration of the keys 14, or the quantity in which each type of key 14 is provided can be varied to vary the difficulty of the game.

For example, according to one embodiment, the slots 16 may be configured such that the divider 17 that separates the holes 15 of the divided slot 16b may be made as a removable or insertable piece. As such, a divided slot 16b may be turned into a full slot 16a by removing the divider piece 17. Likewise, a full slot 16a can be turned into a divided slot 16b by inserting the divider 17. In one example, the divider 17 may be snap-fitted into the walls of the block 12 to convert the type of the slot 16. As such, even though one “generic” block 12 may be provided as part of the puzzle 10, the arrangement of the slots 16 on the block 12 and the difficulty of the puzzle 10 can be varied by the end user. In FIG. 3, one of the dividers 17′ has been illustrated as a removable/insertable divider 17′.

According to one embodiment, the concept of utilizing removable pieces to vary the configuration of the puzzle 10 can also be applied to the keys 14. In such an embodiment, the keys 14 may be provided with removable/insertable bridge portions 46. As such, a certain type of a key may be transformed into a different type of a key. For example, the puzzle 10 may be provided with all of the keys 14 being the same type (e.g., a fourth key 14d) and the user may set the configuration and the difficulty of the puzzle 10 by adding bridge portions 46 to the keys 14 as desired.

It is contemplated that in one embodiment, the keys 14 may be provided with tracks on the legs portions 42 of the keys 14 wherein insertable/removable bridge portions 46 may be slid along the legs 42 and snap-fit into desired positions to form different types of keys 14.

In FIG. 9, one of the bridge portions 46′ has been illustrated with dashed lines to depict removability/insertability.

It should be noted that, although a cube block has been disclosed, the block 12 can be of different box-like configurations having different-sized faces, wherein different types of keys having different lengths can be used.

As will also be discussed in further detail below, a color-coding scheme can be implemented to increase the difficulty of the game, wherein each key 14 would be associated with a given color and would have to be placed adjacent to keys 14 having the same or similar color schemes.

Referring now back to FIG. 16, a chart showing a color-coding arrangement that can be used with the puzzle 10 of FIG. 1 is illustrated. In such a color-coding arrangement, each key piece 14 is associated with a given color. As a result, when the puzzle 10 is completely solved, the key pieces 14 end up displaying a color-coded arrangement. Adding a color element to the puzzle 10 increases the difficulty of the game. In the sequence of the steps illustrated in FIGS. 17A-17O, the colors of the key pieces 14 are also noted such that the completed puzzle 10 is in accordance with the contemplated color coding scheme. If the sequence of steps are followed exactly in accordance with FIGS. 17A-17O, each of the faces of the block 12 will end up with key pieces 14 that are arranged in columns having the same color group, going from darkest to lightest of the same color going down in rows. In addition, if the sequence of FIGS. 17A-17O is followed, the three columns on each face will be arranged from the lightest color (yellow) to the darkest color (blue) with green being in the middle column.

In the diagram shown in FIGS. 17A-17O, LY stands for light yellow, MY stands for medium yellow, DY stands for dark yellow, LG stands for light green, MG stands for medium green, DG stands for dark green, LB stands for light blue, MB stands for medium blue, and DB stands for dark blue.

It is, of course, contemplated that the coloring arrangement resulting from the keys 14 shown in FIG. 16 can be varied. In other embodiments of the game, the keys 14 can be colored in a different arrangement than that shown in FIGS. 16 and 17A-17O to end up with a different coloring arrangement than the one described above. In other embodiments, for example, all of the keys 14 of the same general color may end up on one side of the block 12. And, with all of the same colored keys 14 on one side of the block 12, the color of the keys 14 could get lighter or darker as one goes down in rows. Or, with all of the same colored keys 14 on one side of the block 12, the color of the keys 14 could get lighter or darker as one goes from left to right in columns, etc. Different colors than those listed can certainly be used. There are many different possibilities that are contemplated by the inventive features of the disclosure.

Although in the foregoing description of the puzzle 10, terms such as “top”, “bottom”, “front”, “back”, “right”, and “left” were used for ease of description and illustration, no restriction is intended by such use of the terms. The puzzle 10 can be used in any orientation.

Moreover, it will be understood that, although particular sizes for one example embodiment of the puzzle 10 have been provided, the puzzle 10 including the block 12 and the keys 14 can be scaled to any degree.

In the above description, although the puzzle 10 has been described as a 3-dimensional physical object, a software version of the puzzle 10 is also contemplated, wherein electronic images of the block 12 and the keys 14 can be manipulated by the user in assembling the electronic version of the puzzle.

The above specification, examples and data provide a complete description of the manufacture and use of the inventive features of the disclosure. Since many embodiments of the disclosure can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosure, the inventive features reside in the claims hereinafter appended.