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.
https://www.fam-bundgaard.dk/SOMA/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
https://www.fam-bundgaard.dk/SOMA/NEWS/N160817.HTM#MANUAL1967
Later in January 1999 I learned about the lettering annotation, used
by Mr. Sivy Farhi.
https://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
https://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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