Kentucky Boy Solves Rubik's Cube In Record Time A 14-year-old boy from Lexington, Ky., has solved a Rubik's Cube in less than five seconds. As Guinness World Records declares this a record-breaker, we hear how NPR covered a Rubik's Cube competition in 1981.
NPR logo

Kentucky Boy Solves Rubik's Cube In Record Time

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/457277949/457277950" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Kentucky Boy Solves Rubik's Cube In Record Time

Kentucky Boy Solves Rubik's Cube In Record Time

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/457277949/457277950" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Listen now as a 14-year-old boy sets a new world record to complete a Rubik's Cube at a competition in Maryland.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Those rapid clicks are from the fingers of Lucas Etter of Lexington, Ky., and when he stopped and the other contestants looked at the clock, they were shocked.

(CHEERING)

MCEVERS: Etter finished in under five seconds - 4.904 seconds, to be exact. Today Guinness World Records confirmed his win. But how good it must've felt right after it happened on Saturday.

(CHEERING)

SHAPIRO: These contests have been going on since the 1980s when Rubik's Cubes first burst onto the scene, and the winning times have gotten shorter and shorter. NPR first mentioned a Rubik's Cube competition on November 6, 1981.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: All right, everybody. Thirty seconds to look at it. Do not mix it up. Ready? Go.

SHAPIRO: The winning time then - 48.31 seconds.

MCEVERS: And remember, Lucas's win was under five seconds.

SHAPIRO: There's a trick to being fast at solving the complex puzzle. Here's mathematician Matt Parker, on the site Numberphile, explaining how he does it.

MATT PARKER: I memorized a lot of combinations of twists. That's pure rote. And then what I'm doing is, I've just got to spot what I need to do and then do it at the same time. The more advanced people will spot two different things they want to do at the same time and then do those together.

SHAPIRO: Simple, right?

Copyright © 2015 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.