The 9 Dots 4 Lines Puzzle (spoiler alert)

The challenge:

To connect these 9 dots with 4 straight lines.

The rules:
All lines must be straight
The pen must remain on the paper.

The same line can't be drawn again (no retracing the path).

The extensions:

Can you do it with 3 lines?

Can you do it with 1 line?


This puzzle is an oldie but a gooodie and it really is a challenge in thinking outside the box.  That's a clue!

The key to the common solution is to extend most of the lines beyond the frame of dots.



For 3 lines it could be that a long line running at a slight angle could be used to zig zag back and forth across the shape while still catching every point.

And, for 1 straight line how about a really fat pen?


Sometimes our patterns of thinking constrain us from seeing the answer.

If you're struggling it can be great to check whether you're introducing an uneccessary limitation.


These two takeaways can apply to real life too.