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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?

-- Stan

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