Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Construct a subtracting magic square with the first sixteen whole numbers that shall be "associated" by subtraction. The constant is, of course, obtained by subtracting the first number from the second in line, the result from the third, and the result again from the fourth. Also construct a dividing magic square of the same order that shall be "associated" by division. The constant is obtained by dividing the second number in a line by the first, the third by the quotient, and the fourth by the next quotient.


Friday, September 21, 2012


It is said that the inhabitants of Montenegro have a little dice game that is both ingenious and well worth investigation. The two players first select two different pairs of odd numbers (always higher than 3) and then alternately toss three dice. Whichever first throws the dice so that they add up to one of his selected numbers wins. If they are both successful in two successive throws it is a draw and they try again. For example, one player may select 7 and 15 and the other 5 and 13. Then if the first player throws so that the three dice add up 7 or 15 he wins, unless the second man gets either 5 or 13 on his throw.

The puzzle is to discover which two pairs of numbers should be selected in order to give both players an exactly even chance.


Saturday, September 15, 2012


In a cricket match, Dingley Dell v. All Muggleton, the latter had the first innings. Mr. Dumkins and Mr. Podder were at the wickets, when the wary Dumkins made a splendid late cut, and Mr. Podder called on him to run. Four runs were apparently completed, but the vigilant umpires at each end called, "three short," making six short runs in all. What number did Mr. Dumkins score? When Dingley Dell took their turn at the wickets their champions were Mr. Luffey and Mr. Struggles. The latter made a magnificent off-drive, and invited his colleague to "come along," with the result that the observant spectators applauded them for what was supposed to have been three sharp runs. But the umpires declared that there had been two short runs at each end—four in all. To what extent, if any, did this manÅ“uvre increase Mr. Struggles's total?


Monday, September 10, 2012


The ingenious manner in which a box of treasure, consisting principally of jewels and precious stones, was stolen from Gloomhurst Castle has been handed down as a tradition in the De Gourney family. The thieves consisted of a man, a youth, and a small boy, whose only mode of escape with the box of treasure was by means of a high window. Outside the window was fixed a pulley, over which ran a rope with a basket at each end. When one basket was on the ground the other was at the window. The rope was so disposed that the persons in the basket could neither help themselves by means of it nor receive help from others. In short, the only way the baskets could be used was by placing a heavier weight in one than in the other.

Now, the man weighed 195 lbs., the youth 105 lbs., the boy 90 lbs., and the box of treasure 75 lbs. The weight in the descending basket could not exceed that in the other by more than 15 lbs. without causing a descent so rapid as to be most dangerous to a human being, though it would not injure the stolen property. Only two persons, or one person and the treasure, could be placed in the same basket at one time. How did they all manage to escape and take the box of treasure with them?

The puzzle is to find the shortest way of performing the feat, which in itself is not difficult. Remember, a person cannot help himself by hanging on to the rope, the only way being to go down "with a bump," with the weight in the other basket as a counterpoise.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Mr. Goodfellow has adopted a capital idea of late. When he gives a little dinner party and the time arrives to smoke, after the departure of the ladies, he sometimes finds that the conversation is apt to become too political, too personal, too slow, or too scandalous. Then he always manages to introduce to the company some new poser that he has secreted up his sleeve for the occasion. This invariably results in no end of interesting discussion and debate, and puts everybody in a good humour.

Here is a little puzzle that he propounded the other night, and it is extraordinary how the company differed in their answers. He filled a wine-glass half full of wine, and another glass twice the size one-third full of wine. Then he filled up each glass with water and emptied the contents of both into a tumbler. "Now," he said, "what part of the mixture is wine and what part water?" Can you give the correct answer?