Briefly

The puzzle of the girl of the red cross

The puzzle of the girl of the red cross

In the realm of riddles there is nothing more fascinating than the collection of problems concerning the Greek cross and its peculiar relations with the square, the parallelogram and other symmetrical figures. Instead of the known problem of converting a cross into a square by the least possible number of cuts, we propose the challenge of making two crosses from one with the least possible number of cuts.

It seems that one of our wounded soldiers upon returning home after a faithful young woman from the Red Cross saved her life, asked for the red cross she carried on her arm as a souvenir.

She kindly extracted her scissors and with some skillful cuts she divided the cross into several parts that could be perfectly joined to form two crosses of equal size.

It is a simple statement but of great beauty and the satisfaction of discovering it will be for you as if you had won a prize.

Solution

The following illustration shows how the Greek cross can be cut into five parts and how those parts can be combined to form two crosses of equal size.

Cut the cross as shown in figure 1 and then reposition the pieces as shown in figure 2.