Instant Insanity

Does anyone remember this? Wikipedia: Instant Insanity

This was a puzzle that was produced in the late 1960s, a stack of four plastic cubes, with the sides of each cube a seemingly random pattern of red, white, green, and blue sides. The object of the puzzle, once you unwrap it and scramble it, is to restack the cubes such that each side of the stack has all four colors. (Before you unwrapped it, the cubes were stacked in the solved solution.)

Here is the solution. These are front, right, left, and back colors. Start at the top, and there is only one cube that will fit each sequence.

blue red blue white
white green red green
red white green blue
green blue white red

I think I bought this puzzle when I was… 12 or 13, in 1967 or 1968. It was after our family had moved from southern California, to Cambridge, Illinois, a small Bradbury-esque town where we stayed for a few months in my grandfather’s house until my father bought a house in a Chicago suburb (Glen Ellyn), where we subsequently lived for three years while he worked as an engineering architect for what became known as Fermilab, and where I finished junior high school and started high school (at Glenbard East — everything is online these days!).

In my grandfather’s house in Cambridge, I brought home this cellophane-wrapped Instant Insanity puzzle, bought from the local drug store/soda fountain, Swan’s — which shows up now as a liquor store! — and where I wrote down and memorized the sequence of colors around each cube, the sequences I remember to this day.

That’s how much a geek I have always been.

(Years later was Rubik’s Cube. Another post.)

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