Sam Loyd’s Trick Mules

Sam Loyd’s “Trick Donkeys” is one of the most elegant puzzles ever invented, and if you’ve never seen it before, I urge you to give it a shot. Click on the image to the left, print out the page, and cut the figure into three parts along the solid lines. Now, position the strip onto the other two pieces so that it looks like each jockey is riding a donkey. Folding is not allowed.

This puzzle was created by one of America’s greatest puzzlists, Sam Lloyd (1844 -1911). Loyd sold his puzzle to P. T. Barnum, who marketed it as “P. T. Barnum’s Trick Mules.” It was printed on a card to be cut into the three pieces. Millions of the cards were sold, and supposedly Loyd earned a fortune — $10.000 — in just a few weeks.

Don’t give up — the solution is really quite simple! If you must, you can see the answer here.

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8 comments.

  1. Someday I’ll stop kicking myself for not figuring this one out sooner. D’OH!

    Good one.

  2. disappointment and grief. now, relief and suicidle thoughts. uhg!

  3. I think I’m missing some requirement, because I never saw what was so hard – you just have to put the guys on the donkeys, right?

  4. What self-respecting Jockey rides a donkey?

  5. digitaljosh obviously didn’t see the match race at Del Mar this summer between Black Ruby and Taz. :)

  6. OMG We did this in my Geometry class and no one got it… when I saw the answer just now I laughed and thought about how lame that really is… I think one of the other students had a nervous breakdown over it.

  7. Your puzzle is wrong, in your answer the horses are not back to back anymore.

  8. Never mind i figured it out