A couple weeks ago, I was at a Cub Scout event with my son. Each of us had a placemat with, among other things, a maze on it.
I approached the maze like I, as a mathematician, approach most problems: I inverted it. Rather than tracing out a line hoping to find a solution, I thought first about what a solution would look like. A good solution would never visit any dead ends. So, I started by identifying all of the dead ends…
…and marking off all the paths that led to them.
Doing so created some new dead ends…
…so I blocked those off as well.
What was left was the solution to the maze.
The good news is that I found the solution really quickly. The bad news is that I noticed that my son had picked up on what I did and was solving his maze the same way, so I probably just ruined mazes for him for life.