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WEEKLY WHINE

Let’s solve your cube

You may recall that we talked about cubes a while back. Let’s hope you remember the topics we discussed back then, because we’re going to put them in action. We’re going to solve your 3×3×3 cube.

First off, remember the notation we talked about. Each face of the cube has a letter:

  • F: Front face
  • B: Back face
  • U: Top [“up”] face
  • D: Bottom [“down”] face
  • L: Left face
  • R: Right face

When we give you one of those letters, we mean to turn that face 90° clockwise as you’re looking at that face. A letter followed by a prime sign means to turn that face anticlockwise 90°, and a letter followed by a 2 means to turn that face 180°.

All right. Let’s get going. This solution is based on the one that you will find here, and it depends on a few algorithms that are not that long. So this will end up being a relatively easy solution to remember.

1. BOTTOM LAYER

We’re going to solve one layer at a time, starting with the bottom layer. Then we’ll do the middle layer, and finally the top layer.

First, pick which face on your cube will be the bottom layer. We’ll use white.

Recall that the centre cubies are always going to stay the same. They will never, ever move in relation to one another. That means that to solve the white face, you have to put all the white sides of each cubie next to the white centre cubie, and you have to use the right cubies so that the adjacent faces are matched, like this:

FRONT BACK

Note: Throughout this solution, we’ll use black for cubies that could be anything; we don’t care about them just yet.

1.a. Bottom Layer Cross

The point of this first step is to make a white cross so that the edge cubies match up with their centre cubies, like this:

FRONT BACK

To do that, all you have to do is find the four edge cubies that have one white side. Adjust the face that cubie is on until you line up one side with its centre cubie, and then turn that face the right way:

BEFORE U F2

Do that three more times, and you have your cross.

1.b. Bottom Layer Corners

Now we are going to pop the bottom corner cubies in. Find your four corner cubies that have one white side. If one of them is on the top layer, you can pop it in with one of these three algorithms. First, turn the top layer so that the cubie is above the slot where it needs to go. Then, depending upon how the cubie is oriented, use one of these three algorithms:

F' U F
R U' R'
R U' R' F' U2 F

Sometimes a corner cubie will already be on the bottom layer, but either in the wrong place or with the wrong orientation. If so, just pop it out with one of the above algorithms, and then pop it back into the right place.

2. MIDDLE LAYER

So, now your bottom face is all white, and you have an inverted T on each side face. Now we’re going to fill in the gaps between the Ts so that the bottom two thirds of each side face is correct:

FRONT BACK

Find your four edge cubies that have no white or yellow; these are the ones that need to go into the middle layer. If it’s on the top layer, just turn the top layer so that the cubie is aligned with the colour on the side face. Then use one of these two algorithms, depending upon which direction it needs to go:

U R U' R' U' F' U F
U' L' U L U F U' F'

You might have one or more edge cubies already in the middle layer. If it’s in the wrong place, who cares? Just use one of the above algorithms to put another cubie there. But if one of the edge cubies is already in the right place with the wrong orientation, here’s what to do:

R U' R' U F' U2 F U F' U2 F

3. TOP LAYER

Okay, so now the bottom two layers are solved. Now we’ve got to arrange the cubies in the top layer, but we have to be careful to do it without disrupting what we’ve already done.

3.a. Top Layer Cross

We are going to arrange the top layer’s edge cubies so that the yellow sides are all facing toward the top, like this:

FRONT BACK

Note that we don’t yet care about the other sides of these edge cubies. Just make a cross on the top, using one or both of these two algorithms:

F U R U' R' F'
F R U R' U' F'

And if all of your edge cubies have yellow outward, just use one of the above algorithms, turn the top face so the yellow matches one of the above pictures, and then use the other algorithm.

3.b. Top Layer Edges

Now that the edge cubies on the top layer are all oriented correctly, we also have to rearrange them so that they are in the right place:

FRONT BACK

Turn the top face until two of the edge cubies are in the right place. You may have all four in the right place if you’re lucky, but otherwise you can always turn the top face to put two of them in the right place. If the two correct ones are on neighbouring faces, start with those neighbouring faces toward the front and the right, and then use this algorithm:

F U F' U F U2 F' U
FRONT BACK  

If the two correct edge cubies are opposite one another, start with those neighbouring faces to the left and right, and then do the above algorithm. Rearrange the top face until you have two neighbouring faces that match, put them on the front and right, and then repeat the above algorithm.

3.c. Top Layer Corner Positions

Now, we want to place the corner cubies into the right positions on the top layer [but not necessarily the right orientations]. So it might look like this:

FRONT BACK

You might have all four cubies in the right place, or one out of four, or zero out of four. If you have one, turn your cube so that the correct one is on the right side of the front face, and then do this algorithm:

U R U' L' U R' U' L
FRONT BACK  

If they’re still not right, do it a second time. If you started with one out of four correct, you will have to do this algorithm either once or twice.

If none of the four corner cubies were correct, do the above algorithm once, and it will put one of the four in the right place. Then turn your cube so that the correct one is on the right side of the front face, and redo the algorithm up to two more times.

3.d. Top Layer Corner Orientations

The corner cubies on the top layer are now in the right place, but they may not be pointing in the right direction. If that’s your situation, turn your cube so that one of the incorrect ones is on the right side of the front face, and then do this algorithm:

R' D' R D R' D' R D
FRONT BACK  

You will note that this disrupts the bottom two layers:

FRONT BACK

That doesn’t matter, because you’re still not done. If the corner in the front right still doesn’t have its yellow side up, do the above algorithm again. If it does, turn the top face [not the whole cube] so that one of the other incorrect corners is on the right side of the front face, and do the above algorithm again until it’s correct. Once you have solved all the corners on the top layer, you will note that the bottom two layers of your cube have automagically returned to their proper arrangements, like this:

FRONT BACK

And that means your cube is solved! Yaaaay!

So now that you’ve learned this method... forget it. Sometime in the future, we are going to show you another method that is much more fun and that also has only a few algorithms to memorise.

ALGORITHM SUMMARY

  • 1.b. Bottom Layer Corners: Pop corner into bottom layer
    • F' U F
    • R U' R'
    • R U' R' F' U2 F
  • 2. Middle Layer: Slide edge into middle layer
    • U R U' R' U' F' U F
    • U' L' U L U F U' F'
    • R U' R' U F' U2 F U F' U2 F
  • 3.a. Top Layer Cross: Orient top layer edges
    • F U R U' R' F'
    • F R U R' U' F'
  • 3.b. Top Layer Edges: Slot top layer edges into position
    • F U F' U F U2 F' U
  • 3.c. Top Layer Corner Positions: Put top layer corners into position
    • U R U' L' U R' U' L
  • 3.d. Top Layer Corner Orientations: Orient top layer corners
    • R' D' R D R' D' R D

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