My puzzles

Solution: Quatro

This is the solution for the Quatro puzzle.

This puzzle is certainly the one at this time I found the hardest to solve. Even with the correct ideas, it is easy to end with just one big stack of nodes impossible to unbind. (I must admit that while searching the solution I had to cut a rope 2 times then restart the initial state with a drop of glue…). In my humble opinion, this puzzle should have longer ropes (with of course also bigger rings to respect ratios and the impossibility to push a ring through a string) to be easier to handle.

Quatro solution - Start

Solution steps:

While searching to solve this puzzle, it happens frequently that we investigate on the symetric changes because all the 4 rings and their strings are perfectly symetric. Nevertheless, the solution is executed by handling only one of the 4 parts. In this solution, I’ll word with the red rope. I posted above the start photo of my version because the rope colours are not always in the exact same order and I also found some with different rope colours. Take special care to write down the mappings between my version and yours so that you won’t make a mistake with the colours in the coming explanations.

The solution is split in 3 steps: going from initial configuration where the red ring is bound to the 3 other ones to a configuration where it is bound to only 2, then to a configuration where it is bound to only 1, then having it completely free. The first step is the hardest and the one that is the most prone to have a big stack of nodes, even when you exactely know what to do, be aware !

  1. Quatro solution - Step 1
    The first step is to take the red rope extremity and have it go through the white rope then the green rope as shown above by arrow 1. Next, the rope extremity must be stretched to go around its own ring as shown by arrow 2.
  2. Quatro solution - Step 2
    Once the rotation around its ring is complete (arrow 1), the red rope must go through the green one, from the inside (between the green rope and the red ring) to the outside as shown by arrow 2.
  3. Quatro solution - Step 3
    Once it went through the green arrow, the red rope should go around its ring again in the other direction (warning, this can start to be difficult due to tensions in the ropes).
  4. Quatro solution - Step 4
    Once back on the other side, the red rope must go through the yellow one, from the outside (between the yellow rope and the green ring) to the inside then it should start again a rotation around its own ring. This is maybe the hardest part because if the ropes are not in their most flexible position, the rotation is nearly impossible due to the tensions that exist in the big nodes bag you probably have in your hands.
  5. Quatro solution - Step 5
    After finishing this new turn around the ring, the red rope must go through the green one again, but this time from the outside to the inside. Next, the red rope can do again a rotation around its ring.
    Remark: For the explanation picture on this step, I “cheated” a bit by using the same picture as the step 2 one. The reason is: the ropes on this step are so tightly bound to each other that it looks basically like a big bag of nodes and it was virtually impossible to take a correct picture where the explanations for thise step could be clearly shown.
  6. Quatro solution - Step 6
    Once the last rotation around the ring is done, it should be easy to move the red rope in the opposite way as was done on step 1; first through the green rope then through the white one to end up the first phase of the solution: the red part is freed from the white one! Only two phases left (which basically follow the same procedure) to complete the puzzle!
  7. Quatro solution - Step 7
    Like in the first step, the red ropt can go through the two ones that are bound to it: first through the yellow then through the green as shown by the arrow.
  8. Quatro solution - Step 8
    The rope can start rotating again around its ring.
  9. Quatro solution - Step 9
    Once on the other side, the red ring must go through the green again from the inside (between the red ring and the green rope) to the outside as shown by arrow 2.
  10. Quatro solution - Step 10
    The rope can do the rotation trip back to the other side (arrow 1) the go through the yellow rope (only the yellow!) from the inside to the outside as shown by arrow 2.
  11. Quatro solution - Step 11
    The last move on step 10 will free the red rope from its binding with the yellow one. It is now only bound to the green!
  12. Quatro solution - Step 12
    The red rope must now go again do the rotation around its ring.
  13. Quatro solution - Step 13
    Once completed, it must go through the green one from the outside to the inside. This move will completely free the red ring.
  14. Quatro solution - Step 14
    The 3 others can now be easily separated.

Quatro solution - Done

To put things back in place, all the steps must be executed in the opposite direction.




  1. […] See the Quatro solution (WARNING, by looking the solution you’ll loose all the fun and pride that self-solving it always […]

    Pingback by Quatro « My puzzles — September 7, 2008 @ 5:14 pm | Reply

  2. Im stuck at getting it back together. I got the three of them together, but don’t know how to get white back on :S

    Comment by GJ — November 4, 2008 @ 7:54 pm | Reply

  3. If you made it back to picture 6 where white is only around yellow, don’t forget that you must continue backward with the red one and not the white one.


    Comment by tharnjaggar — November 6, 2008 @ 12:03 am | Reply

  4. This is the best puzzle ever! I solved it a few years ago, then I forgot the solution, thus finding yours has been a relief!

    Comment by lesath82 — November 6, 2008 @ 7:33 pm | Reply

  5. thanks. this is truly the hardest puzzle I faced so far

    Comment by tharnjaggar — November 23, 2008 @ 5:39 pm | Reply

  6. This is indeed a really hard puzzle. Thanks for the solution! It really helped. However, I’m stuck at putting it back together. I made it to step 6 (whith only the white one freed from the red one). I see GJ had the same problem… I know I have to continue with the red one, but in what way?!

    Best regards,
    Martijn Senden

    Comment by Martijn — January 6, 2009 @ 10:03 pm | Reply

  7. From memory, during the trip back (arrow 2) of step 5, the red loop goes through the loops green then yellow then white (not 100% sure for the white) to reach step 6.
    A friend borrowed the puzzle so I can’t check for sure for now…

    Hope that helps you find out

    Comment by tharnjaggar — January 7, 2009 @ 7:17 pm | Reply

  8. Tharn,

    Thank you so much for posting this and putting me out of my misery!



    Comment by Sirfin — January 13, 2009 @ 7:34 pm | Reply

  9. You’re welcome. This is the solution which get me the most thanks it seems… and knowing how hard this puzzle is, I really understand why 🙂

    Comment by tharnjaggar — January 14, 2009 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

  10. The tension got too great that i broke the wooden ring. And now i just cant do it because the tension is too much.

    Comment by rich — February 4, 2009 @ 5:32 pm | Reply

  11. step 4 to 5 is impossible.

    Comment by rich — February 4, 2009 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

  12. you broke the ring ?!?! wow… can’t believe the pressure broke the ring before the rope glue…

    Comment by tharnjaggar — February 4, 2009 @ 6:06 pm | Reply

    • Greetings Tharn !

      All the solutions I’ve come across as yet on the Web does not come close to the expert job you’ve done with yours in regards to the Quatro puzzle.

      Excellent job, my friend !
      Great photos and excellent down-to-earth explanations.
      I commend you highly.

      Best Wishes,

      Comment by Richard — March 21, 2010 @ 1:19 am | Reply

  13. It is not impossible… but it is clearly the worst step to handle. if it seems clearly impossible to get it to the other side, bring it back and move a little the other ropes to try to have them a bit more loose

    Comment by tharnjaggar — February 4, 2009 @ 6:08 pm | Reply

  14. Hi guys! Unluckily someone has broken one of the loop now that I have repaired it, I’m attempting to make the trip back without having had success in the ordinary way. I’m blocked at step 6 going backward. I really don’t know how to go back to the step 5. I think there are to many passages hidden behind.



    Comment by Alberto — March 21, 2009 @ 5:09 pm | Reply

  15. This is the hardest puzzle I’ve ever tried and have been trying it for years. Sadly I finally resorted to having a peek at a solution – so thanks for posting this. The hint that you only manipulate the same single loop at each step is probably all many people will need to keep them in the right direction.
    My puzzle is probably a bit easier to track the moves because the rings are the same colour as their respective loops.

    Comment by robin — March 17, 2010 @ 11:23 am | Reply

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