Answer To:
The Vanishing Leprechaun

Believe it or not, the answer is not leprechaun magic or an optical illusion. It is a matter of mathematics applied to artistry.

To make the explaination easier to understand, I have rearranged the leprechauns from highest to lowest. See the pictures below. Also, I have combined the top two panels into a single long panel.

So, where did that 15th leprechaun disappear to? When the panels are shifted, each of the original leprechauns gains a small body piece. Notice that the first guy on the left gains a knee cap. The second guy loses a knee cap but gains a leg and toe. The third guy loses the leg and toe but gains two legs. And so on down the line, each gaining more than he loses.

Can you see that each of the leprechauns in the bottom picture are slightly taller than their counterparts in the upper picture? They have each gained approximately 1/14 in size. So, if 14 leprechauns each gain 1/14, then that means one whole leprechaun has been used up. Thus, there is one fewer.

I haven't been able to discover who originally designed this puzzle, but whoever it was must have been quite ingenious. Even though I know technically how it was done, I'm still impressed with its skill and presentation.


If you like this puzzle and want to see another version, especially one that you can print, check the web site for Debreuil Digital Works. http://www.debreuil.com/ddw/puzjava/picmove.htm . He has a cute version called 'Who Turned to Doggie Doo?' The artistry is first rate.

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