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The Tapiser's Puzzle


Then came forward the Tapiser, who was, of course, a maker of tapestry, and must not be confounded with a tapster, who draws and sells ale.

He produced a beautiful piece of tapestry, worked in a simple chequered pattern, as shown in the diagram. "This piece of tapestry, sirs," quoth he, "hath one hundred and sixty-nine small squares, and I do desire you to tell me the manner of cutting the tapestry into three pieces that shall fit together and make one whole piece in shape of a perfect square.

"Moreover, since there be divers ways of so doing, I do wish to know that way wherein two of the pieces shall together contain as much as possible of the rich fabric." It is clear that the Tapiser intended the cuts to be made along the lines dividing the squares only, and, as the material was not both sides alike, no piece may be reversed, but care must be observed that the chequered pattern matches properly.

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