The Confuzzle Video

Simplicity and confusion don’t often go hand in hand. Here’s a confusing puzzle, also known as Confuzzle, that can be made in minutes. Although this puzzle  involves simple geometric principles, it is surprising and even baffling for some people. In short, it’s a quick and easy toy you can prepare yourself in minutes, that is tons of fun when assembled and understood.

Most of you will quickly connect this post with our famous Preposterous Puzzle, which goes hand in hand with the original Impossible Triangle. Also, be sure to check Instructables for tutorial on how to create this toy for yourselves. You can see this puzzle in action via embedded video below. Hope you like it! Btw, you can see more of greeenpro2009’s optical illusions if you check out his YouTube channel.

36 Replies to “The Confuzzle Video”

  1. I’ve seen a few of these types of puzzles before. The blank area in the middle is small in comparison to the overall area of the puzzle. When rearranged, the area that had occupied the center is redistributed in a practically indistinguishable strip around the edges. If observed closely, the dark outline is almost imperceptibly thicker when the pieces are rearranged. To the casual observer it would appear that the overall area remains the same. Nevertheless, the illusion is very effective.

  2. the black border lines are more covered when the white square is in the center. when it creates the perfect square, you can see the whole border.

  3. The trick lies in the thickness of the black border. Although both squares fit within the edges of the border, the first one is actually a little larger. The difference is very small, but even a difference of 1/16 of an inch on an 8 1/4 inch square can change the area by more than a sqaure inch, which looks to about what the “extra” square is. This is so cool!

  4. It’s simple. At the beginning you don’t see the entire bold black edge of the square, because the 4 parts are covering it up. Afterwards however, you can see it. The small overlap on the edges accounts for the middle section that is lost.


    Missing dollar puzzle

    Three guests check into a hotel room. The clerk says the bill is $30, so each guest pays $10. Later the clerk realizes the bill should only be $25. To rectify this, he gives the bellhop $5 to return to the guests. On the way to the room, the bellhop realizes that he cannot divide the money equally. As the guests didn’t know the total of the revised bill, the bellhop decides to just give each guest $1 and keep $2 for himself.

    Now that each of the guests has been given $1 back, each has paid $9, bringing the total paid to $27. The bellhop has $2. If the guests originally handed over $30, what happened to the remaining $1?


    The initial payment of $30 is accounted for as the clerk takes $25, the bellhop takes $2, and the guests get a $3 refund. It adds up. After the refund has been applied, we only have to account for a payment of $27. Again, the clerk keeps $25 and the bellhop gets $2. This also adds up.

    There is no reason to add the $2 and $27 – the $2 is contained within the $27 already. Thus the addition is meaningless. Instead the $2 should be subtracted from the $27 to get the revised bill of $25.

    This becomes clearer when the initial and net payments are written as simple equations. The first equation shows what happened to the initial payment of $30:

    $30 (initial payment) = $25 (to clerk) + $2 (to bellhop) + $3 (refund)

    The second equation shows the net payment after the refund is applied (subtracted from both sides):

    $27 (net payment) = $25 (to clerk) + $2 (to bellhop)

    Both equations make sense, with equal totals on either side of the equal sign. The correct way to get the bellhop’s $2 and the guests $27 on the same side of the equal sign (“The bellhop has $2, and the guests paid $27, how does that add up?”) is to subtract, not add:

    $27 (final payment) – $2 (to bellhop) = $25 (to clerk)


    The “paradox” cleverly sets its room rates so that when we add the two terms $27 and $2, we nearly get $30. If not for this “near-miss”, we would be more inclined to ask if those two terms have to add up to $30 when we break down the situation this way (and to realize that they do not).

    With different prices, the illusion would vanish. Say the clerk initially accepted $30 but then learned that rooms are only $10 no matter how many people are in them, and sends back a refund of $20 via the bellhop. Again, the bellhop, seeing that $20 doesn’t evenly divide, gives each guest $6 (for a total of $18) and keeps the leftover $2 for himself. Therefore each of the three guests paid $4, bringing the total paid to $12; add that to the bellhop’s 2 dollars to get a total of $14. So where did the other $16 go?

    With this setup it is more clear that the guests’ new total amount paid ($12) is only the bellhop’s $2 away from the actual room price of $10, not the original room price of $30. The target price to account for is the new $10 bill, not the old $30 one. In the original riddle it is only the “near-miss” with $30 that makes $30 seem like the correct target of the operation.

    The riddle involves the phenomenon of ‘suspension of disbelief’ inherent in storytelling and its power over the human imagination. If one were to make the story a bit more complex and compelling the illusion is almost guaranteed to work in the moment of its telling and can be a good illustration for the explanation of the anomaly, although not a perfect one because there is an explanation. The more points added to the story cause the listener to pause and try to compute what each element may signify.

    There are dozens of variations to the riddle.

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