Maybe this is not a true mathematical blunder but I still left the whole situation a little embarrassed. Over New Year’s, I started playing with a “Rubik’s Cube” variant at the in-law’s. It’s apparently called Square 1 or Cube 21.
As has always been my approach with such puzzles, I began by just make small adjustments to determine some of the patterns that I could come up with, each time reversing what I had done, so as to leave it in pristine condition. What happened next kind of reminds me of the old Simple Simon game: the one with the lights that you have to keep mimicking in a longer and longer pattern, which by the way you can play here: Simple Simon.
Anyways, I went too far and could not remember my pattern and was unable to reverse it. From that point on, it was downhill fast. First, I couldn’t get the colors in the right place but was still able to return it to a cube. Before long, there was no hope of returning it even to the right shape. Did I mention that it wasn’t even mine? It belonged to the in-laws and we were about to leave shortly after, so I had to leave it in the most wretched of conditions hoping that they could repair the damage. Just so you know, I tried to blame the two year old but no one bought it.
I received a forward just today with some tips in case you ever get yourself in that situation with a square 1.: (Back to) Square One / Cube 21. I hope they worked. To the victims of my blunder, I’m sorry.