Thursday 18 May 2023


A mate of mine managed to procure a copy of Shutout from Osanori Yamamoto for me recently and I think it’s excellent and deserves to be shouted about.

The design is that pure and simple that it seems like someone should have tried it ages ago… but when you try and solve it, you’ll probably understand why that hasn’t happened until Osanori did it: you might well think it’s not possible!

As with all of these puzzles from Osanori-san, the goal is to make an apparent cube inside a frame. The frame in this case is most of a cube with a couple of slits on opposite sides that are perpendicular to one another. One goes deeper than the other, but apart from that they’re unremarkable…

The pieces on the other hand are intriguing – you are given 6 T-tetrominoes – no weirdly shaped pieces that need to dance around one another, just six T’s…

…and if at this stage you’re thinking to yourself that this is going to be simple, you’d be best to remember who the designer is, and take things slowly…

No matter how slowly you take things it won’t take you long to tie yourself in tiny little knots – start dropping pieces in and you realise they start blocking the very slot you need to drop the last few pieces into… getting most of the pieces in is simple – getting them all in turns out to be impossible.

Step 1. Tick.

Having realised this isn’t going to be a simple case of dropping pieces into the frame, you reassess your options and engage Think (c)…

..and experiment a bit and learn how some of the pieces interact and move, and then experiment a whole lot more… along the way convincing yourself that no amount of manipulation is actually going to help – Yup! Step 1 (again). Tick.

…and then when the epiphany finally comes you realise that you can in fact get to that strange intermediate state you’ve been chasing for a while and then it is finally possible to insert the last piece – cue fat smile – and huge appreciation for a disarmingly cunning design from a true master.


  1. Love the apparent cubic packing... But your "solved" photo apparently has a gap, so there is no illusion of a cube. I believe there is more to be done. -Tyler.

    1. ;-) it's done... and I agree that's not a solved pic.

    2. πŸ‘
      Now it remains to figure out how many non-apparent-cube solutions do exist. Or, just be happy that you solved the ultimate goal... πŸ˜ƒ

    3. ....being a lazy puzzler... ;-)