outside the box




These days you frequently hear the phrase "think outside the box" but I'll bet that most people using that phrase don't know where it comes from.  It is used to mean thinking creatively or thinking beyond the usual limits.  All this comes directly from a puzzle that was used in various aptitude tests and is given here.

The Problem

Given the following pattern of nine dots, draw four successive straight lines, without lifting your pencil from the paper, that go through each of the dots one time only.



The Answer

is given below, about two pages down.  See if you can solve the problem before you look there!


















































The Answer

Many people will try to solve the problem within the square or box.  But there is no such solution.  To get a solution, you literally have to think "outside the box" -- thus getting a solution and justifying the phrase.  But this is where it originally came from!