50 Years – April Fools Edition

50 Years – April Fools Edition


Here’s an April Fool’s mind bender!

It looks very simple – a cute little village scene. Only five pieces to put together. Easy, right?
Would we trick you? Would we cause you to suffer endless frustration? Of course we would!

Five Easy Pieces was first introduced as an April Fool’s joke in April 1989. This puzzle has a long history of frustrating people all over the world including our Chief Tormentor, Steve! The puzzle has no solution....that’s right! It was designed as a joke. But Steve found out that no one wanted a puzzle that didn’t go together. There was much name calling and threats to his personal safety. One frustrated puzzler even asked Steve if he knew what an Uzi was (jokingly, of course). Steve waved the white flag and refunded everyone their money. The puzzle was pulled from Stave’s offerings and retired to the archives. Steve swore he would never, ever sell this puzzle again – EVER!

And he’s right....you can’t buy it! But we’ve decided to go against the grain (in historic Stave fashion) and pull Five Easy Pieces out of the ashes one more time. Here’s your opportunity to own a piece of Stave history.

Place an order of $1,500* or more and get Five Easy Pieces FREE!
When shopping online, enter APRIL FOOLS in the comments section at checkout.

*$1,500 applies to new orders placed by April 12, 2024. Applies to net order after all discounts. Excludes
shipping. One free puzzle per household.

Puzzle Pranks

“Why do I let you do this to me? Why did it take me 30 minutes to realize the pieces.....? Why didn’t I know it the minute I saw the puzzle? It still took time after I realized the trick, but I should have seen it right from the start! Why didn’t I?”

Hee, hee, hee...these are words we hear often from unsuspecting victims of Champ — our four-lightning bolt Trick puzzle first introduced in March 1990. Named after Vermont’s version of the Loch Ness Monster who reputedly haunts the waters of Lake Champlain, Champ is one of our most evasive Trick puzzles to date! With only 44 pieces and 32 different contortions, there is only one correct solution —and that is to get Champ to bite his tail! It does not involve flipping pieces upside down, or standing pieces on end to create “a bridge,” and no crossing pieces back over the body. Trust us when we say that after having sold over 1,300 of this slippery sea creature, we’ve seen every “solution” there is.

Here’s the Chief Tormentor’s original challenge:
“If you can correctly vanquish this 44-piece Champ in 44 minutes, we’ll give you a $44 certificate.
If, on the other hand, it takes you 4.4 hours (or 44 hours), we’ll give you 44¢.”


Flash forward to over 30 years later and a very eager (new to Stave) puzzler, we’ll call him D.K., purchased Champ as his first Trick puzzle. A few months went by, then he called us to confirm he had the correct solution and to say he had found nine other iterations for the puzzle (a few shown above).

Here’s a record of how our conversation went:

“I have completed 10 iterations of Champ, including the correct one. I know there are 32 “contortions”. Do they all use all 44 pieces and go from head to tail?”

“You’ve found 10 of the Champ “solutions” already??? That’s amazing!!! I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone try (?) to find anything more than the correct solution. Usually they quit after finding it :) I admire your drive! Steve, our Chief Tormentor, was a math major so it’s figured by the number of trick places that will swap with another. If you’d like me to confirm the 32 contortions with conviction, I will reach out to our Chief Tormentor, Steve, and ask him to blow the dust off his brain to see if he remembers. He’s still pretty sharp!”

“Here’s my method: These are the segments I’ve found that can be swapped,
labeled X1-4 to X1-4. For example, X1 and X3 will each fit into X2 and X4, etc.”

You didn’t actually think we were going to share that method with you, did you? All solvers of Champ wear that badge proudly and hold the solution close to their chest.

Written by Jennifer

Jennifer runs the company with Paula and is proud to keep Steve's legacy of puzzle torment alive. Jennifer has been with Stave since 1987, making her Stave's most seasoned crafter! She told Steve many, many years ago that she didn't want his job, but today she is rocking it! Jennifer is a tried-and-true puzzlenut. Jennifer enjoys crosswords, sudoku, and word puzzles in addition to the Stave puzzles she has crafted for her family. She also enjoys a good mystery book like Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. Have you read them? Jennifer also loves a good concert; she hopes to see Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Adele, and Bruno Mars someday!