SOMA Crystal
SOMA News 14 Nov 2011
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Why are the pieces labelled as they are

Once in a while someone ask me about the piece numbering. And now again.
This time Jonathan asked the question in slightly more details. After having answered, he suggested that I placed the information on the web.
So - Thank you for the questions - here is the explanation.

As we know, the SOMA and SOMA+plus piece numbering is: 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,$ or D,V,L,T,Z,A,B,P,I,Q,S


The question is of course, why did we select such a strange number/letter system.?

Well I could agree that the numeric method is not easy to remember, as it is shown on the initial pages.
http://www.fam-bundgaard.dk/SOMA/FIGURES/NOTATION.HTM

The story is simple though.

In the original version of SOMA, marketed by the corporation “Skjøde” (which produced the puzzle for Mr.Piet Hein), a small booklet was supplied together with the puzzle. In this booklet the figures were annotated with the numbers 1 through 7
http://www.fam-bundgaard.dk/SOMA/NMANUAL/NMANUAL.HTM

Later in January 1999 I learned about the lettering annotation, used by Mr. Sivy Farhi.
http://www.fam-bundgaard.dk/SOMA/NEWS/N990121.HTM

V L T Z A B P
The letters were simple to understand
V, L, T, Z resemble the shape quite direct
P is for the Pyramid shape of the seventh piece
Which leaves the two mirror shapes. Now ‘L’eft and ‘R’ight would be suitable, but L was used, and anyway it only makes sense in an English speaking community, so those who selected the letters, chose A and B quite arbitrarily.

Now we arrive at august 2000, where I propose to extend the SOMA puzzle. I call this extension SOMA+plus
http://www.fam-bundgaard.dk/SOMA/NEWS/N000814.HTM

But I need some way to annotate the new pieces.
I like the old V L T Z A B P method, and in the mean time, I felt that everyone on the web should understand English, so why not.?? I select the letters D I Q S like this
D = Double cube
I = a stick that resemble the letter “I” (Because T for trio, was already used)
Q = for Quad
S = is for a Square

As simple as that ;o)

Now then, what about those people who liked the old 1 through 7 numbers.?
I wanted to give them a uniform numbering also.
Knowing that if I did not suggest something, then different people would invent each their own. Making a chaos of sharing puzzle figures. So… I suggested a simple extension by 0, 8 and 9. But then I needed one more. I chose $ because it represent a ‘value’ for so many people on the earth. And it also looked like the S that I used in “Square”.

Therefore it became: D,V,L,T,Z,A,B,P,I,Q,S for those who like the letters, and 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,$ for the number people

Not the most likely combinations, but… Now you know the story :o)



Submitted by Thorleif Bundgaard <thorleif@fam-bundgaard.dk>

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