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ISSUE 1469Thursday 3 June 1999

  Inventor's 1m jigsaw challenge
By Adam Lusher

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> Puzzle links - Yahoo

JIGSAW enthusiasts were faced with the ultimate challenge yesterday - a puzzle that will win the first person to solve it 1 million.

Christopher Monckton, the puzzle's inventor, at the launch of 'Eternity' at Hamley's toy store, London
"Eternity" is thought to have billions of possible solutions, but experts believe that its pieces can be put together in ways which number more than all the particles in the known universe. Christopher Monckton, its inventor, is gambling on Eternity becoming the Rubik Cube of the Millennium, allowing him to pay the prize from his royalties. He launched the puzzle at Hamleys toy store in Regent Street yesterday.

He said: "It won't be a computer which solves it and it won't be a mathematician either. It can only be done by a human, using intuition and visual skill and awareness. Ordinary people have as much chance as people in Mensa. It could be an eight-year-old child or a granny."

Mr Monckton, 47, was a member of the Downing Street policy unit during the Thatcher era. He said he gave a prototype of the puzzle to the former Prime Minister as a leaving present, and four years later received a telephone call begging for the solution.

The object of Eternity is to put the 209 pieces together to fit a dodecagonal board with no gaps or pieces missing. Mr Monckton, who has taken out insurance to cover the prize money, said the known solution had been sealed by loss adjustors in a vault. He hopes sales of the 29.99 puzzle will be to cover the prize, but said: "We are taking a huge gamble. Someone will solve the puzzle. It could be weeks, it could be months, it may be years."

5 November 1996: [Features] Favourite old toys live on
28 September 1996: [Features] Challenging chips off the old block

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