An update on How To Do It books on the Magic Cube:
There now seem to be 3 "officially" published books on the Cube, besides
an unknown number of privately printed books, pamphlets, and single-page
solutions. The three are:
1) "Notes on Rubik's Magic Cube", by David Singmaster, Enslow Publishers,
Bloy Street and Ramsey Avenue, Box 777, Hillside, New Jersey, 07205($5.95).
This is, of course, THE book on the magic cube. It has the history,
anecdotes, the math theory, and a solution. It is almost exactly the
same as the fifth printing of his privately printed pamphlets. His
solution is top, turn over, middle, top. The final face is done: orient
edges, position edges, position corners, orient corners.
2) "The Simple Solution to Rubik's Cube(TM)", by James G. Nourse, Bantam Books,
1981($1.95). Illustrated by Dusan Krajan. This is a somewhat revised edition
of Nourse earlier publication "Solution to Rubik's Magic cube", Storc
Publications. It contains a solution, plus a little other information on
the cube and some "other games to play" (speed, competition, pretty
patterns). The main thing new to me is the idea of pretty-patterning the
alphabet, and then spelling out 3 or 4 letter names around the cube. Some
are pretty stretched, but it's a nice idea.
His solution goes top-middle-bottom, and bottom is: place corners,
orient corners, place edges, orient edges. His moves tend to be longer
than "normal", but with the purpose of being able to recover fairly easily
from a mistake or from a dropped cube. He tries to move no more than one
cube from a previously solved position at a time, and to make it always
possible to back up only one step (rather than to the beginning). Each
section has error correction (in case you go wrong), and short cuts (to
speed things up once you get used to it). His notation uses Top, Bottom,
Front, Posterior, Left, Right. He tries to use Posterior as little as
possible (which I think is very good - but for the same reason, its
easier to turn the whole cube over after the first couple of steps to be
able to work on the top.)
The book is roughly paper-back size (though of course, much thinner),
and on crummy paper. But the layout and pictures are good. I noticed a
couple of errors - on page 45, you might have to error correct back to the
end of step 2, since an upper corner might be misplaced. On p. 46, Short
Cut 2 is a replacement for step 4C, not 4D, and the sequence should end
with B+ or B-.
3) "Mastering Rubik's Cube(TM), The solution to the 20th century's most
amazing puzzle", by Don Taylor, an Owl Book, Holt, Rinehart and Winston,
1980, $1.95. This is a straightforward solution book, with a few
additional games and pretty patterns, but not much. He does it top, turn
over, middle, top; and the final top is place corners, place edges, twirl
corners, and flip edges. He uses BFUDLR, place(to move), and position(to
orient). The moves are similar to Singmasters, but with some reductions.
This note is getting long. Does anybody know of any other published books
on the Cube? I notice that almost all the published solutions I've seen
are top-middle-bottom (or that turned over in the middle). Except that
Singmasters original solution was first all the corners, then all the edges.
Does anybody do edges before corners? I nowadays use a variant which is
easier for me: First I do all the top except one corner. Then I use that
corner to make it easier to get in the middle layer (except for one). Then
I finish off the top, and put in the last middle. I turn the cube over, and
orient first the edges, then the corners. With the top face now showing the
right colors, I find it easier to see where I am. I position the corners
(with a move that doesn't twist), and finally position the edges. What other
variants are around?