Tantalizing Tessellating Mazes

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Available from Amazon.

From the Introduction:

A tessellation is a shape that can be arranged to fill the plane; a very simple example is a honeycomb of hexagons. The artist M.C. Escher owes much of his fame and following to his wonderful tessellation patterns. Although existing puzzle books have mazes that use tessellation patterns, none has, as far as I know, used tessellations as a theme.

All of the mazes in this book are made from tessellation patterns. Some are geometric while others have shapes that suggest people, animals, or things we use. There are two related reasons for using tessellations as the organizing theme. First, tessellation patterns are interesting and have visual appeal. Second, tessellation shapes make wonderful building blocks for intriguing and challenging mazes.

The tessellation designs used in these mazes came from several sources. One began as a doodle fifty years ago when I was in high school. Pictures in a book about the mathematics of tilings were the source or inspiration for many geometric patterns. I discovered other patterns playing with two computer programs that run on abandoned operating systems, TesselMania and Tess. Searching the Internet to see what others have done was the inspiration for other patterns. Each pattern then had to be made into a specialized typeface to display the maze, which in some cases was a challenge.

Tantalizing Tessellating Mazes contains 70 mazes, some of which have multiple tessellation patterns. The solutions are created by blocking up all the dead-end paths, leaving only the correct path through the maze. The advantage of this way of showing solutions--in a larger- than-usual size--is that it emphasizes the tessellation pattern(s) of each maze, and some people may find the tessellation patterns more interesting than the mazes. (If you want more tessellating mazes, there are over 20 with tessellating letters in my Amusing Alphabet Mazes.)

The mazes in this book are fairly easy. It was my intention to have mazes that would appeal to children when they are old enough to appreciate the beauty of tessellation patterns, which my guess is often when they are about nine to twelve years old. The mazes are probably too difficult for most children younger than seven or eight and too easy for most adults.

These mazes were produced using software programs that I developed two decades ago, partly to produce two books of mazes that Dover Publications published, Fascinating Mazes (1994) and Maze Madness (1996). The programs generate a maze as an array of numbers and then convert the numbers into a set of letters, which allows the maze to be displayed with maze typefaces I design.

I hope you enjoy solving these mazes almost as much as I enjoyed creating them. And I apologize in advance for any mistakes that are in the book.

Robert Schenk February 2012

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