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Solution to Puzzle Delayed

November 06, 1986|JOHN DREYFUSS

Puzzle lovers may have to struggle a few weeks longer than expected to solve the latest handiwork of Erno Rubik, the inventor of Rubik's Cube.

A book giving a solution to the new Rubik's Magic puzzle, will be out "in time for the holidays," considerably beyond the last-month release date originally advertised, a spokeswoman for Dell Publishing Co. said.

Last month Dell announced the fastest publication blitz in company history: a volume to be published in eight days that would reveal a solution to Rubik's Magic--a flat 4x8 1/2-inch, eight-panelled plastic gadget with three rings printed across the panels. The panels are hooked together with "magic" hinges.

Solving the puzzle requires manipulating the hinged panels to link the rings.

But Dell ran up against a puzzle of another sort when Rubik objected to the book, written by Ashwin Belur and Blair Whitaker, a couple of graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania.

Rubik and lawyers and Dell got together, and agreed Rubik should get a royalty from the book, "A Classical Solution to Rubik's Magic" ($2.95). Nobody's saying how much, but 8% to 10% is typical.

"Mr. Rubik looked at the book and said, 'It's not my solution, but it shows a lot of creativity,"' said Frank Curtis, a partner in the New York law firm of Rembar & Curtis, which represented Seven Towns Ltd., the licensing agent for Rubik.

Although Rubik thought enough of the Dell book to write a laudatory forward to it, he plans to bring out his own solution in another volume early next year.

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