Sorry if I don't know details, but I got e-mail response from "Newman" and I couldn't re-contact him by e-mail. If Newman would send me his exact e-mail address, I'd respond to him more fully on this circle and strips problem.
Anyway, Newman says someone has solved this already, which doesn't surprise me, since it's actually an old puzzle: it goes like this:
Can one cover a diameter 20 disk (= circle + interior) with 19 strips (= rectangles) each of width 1 ?
The answer is no, and Newman relates it's been generalized. I agree the answer is no, I agree the method generalizes, but I pose the question in the same spirit as many posted here: namely, can someone who hasn't done the problem think of a way to do it?
Or at least, if someone *knows* the solution, could he/she give the gist of the solution method, and not just a reference?
[Generally, if anyone mails private e-mail to someone, isn't it standard procedure to include his/her e-mail address? More than once I've tried unsuccessful replies to folks who mail things without including their e-mail address]