304. BACHET'S SQUARE. One of the oldest card puzzles is by Claude Caspar Bachet de Méziriac,
first published, I believe, in the 1624 edition of his work. Rearrange the sixteen court cards (including the aces) in a square so that in no row of four cards, horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, shall be found two cards of the same suit or the same value. This in itself is easy enough,
but a point of the puzzle is to find in how many different ways this may (1/2)
SOLUTION TO 304. BACHET'S SQUARE. (2/4)
is one solution. But in each square we may put the letters in the top line in twenty-four different ways without altering the scheme of arrangement. Thus, in Diagram 4 the S's are similarly placed to the D's in 2, the H's to the S's, the C's to the H's, and the D's to the C's. It clearly follows that there must be 24×24 = 576 ways of combining the two primitive arrangements. But the error that Labosne fell into was that of
SOLUTION TO 304. BACHET'S SQUARE. (3/4)
assuming that the A, K, Q, J must be arranged in the form 1, and the D,
S, H, C in the form 2. He thus included reflections and half-turns, but not quarter-turns. They may obviously be interchanged. So that the correct answer is 2 × 576 = 1,152, counting reflections and reversals as different. Put in another manner, the pairs in the top row may be written in 16 × 9 × 4 × 1 = 576 different ways, and the square then
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