Other solutions: Octominoes

The solution below is by Michael Keller of Baltimore, forming all 369 octominoes into a single 51x58 rectangle. Notice his strategy for solving this monster: he used the complicated pieces first and saved the easy, more cooperative shapes to the last, where they are clustered in the lower left quadrant. The six unfillable holes are dotted with a contrasting color. Michael is one of the world's top polyform puzzlists and once self-published, for 16 years, an excellent magazine, WGR. WGR stood for World Game Review, but through a labyrinth of legalities he ended up losing the right to call it that and gave up publishing it altogether. The superb editorial contents may eventually be preserved online.

This is the solution that fit into the original (1989) custom-built wooden showcase with scratch-resistant clear window. It was magnificent. Sorry, no photo of it exists. That was in the days before digital.

Here is a stunning solution by Lewis Patterson of all 369 octominoes forming a 20x148 rectangle, with 8 single holes symmetrically arranged at each end. Lewis also used up the difficult pieces first, left to right, saving the easier, chunkier pieces to the last. Wow.

See more of Lewis Patterson's amazing solutions on his blog, including his latest achievement, a giant rectangle of 79x147 with the 1285 enneominoes (9 squares in each piece), solved by hand, not a computer: Enneominoes solution by Lewis Patterson.

John Greening in Ireland is another of the world's great solvers of huge puzzles. On March 1, 2023, we received this spectacular octagon solution of the 1285 enneominoes (count them: 9 squares per piece, all different) with the holey pieces arranged in a beautiful X emanating from the four-way symmetrical cross piece in the very center. John doesn't know who solved it, though it is believed to be by David Bird; you can see the solver's strategy of saving the "chunky" pieces to the end where they are grouped mostly in the upper left quadrant. That's a clue that this was a human, hands-on solution, not done by a robot.

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