Archive for the ‘Puzzles’ Category.

12th October 2019, 02:16 pm

6th June 2019, 01:43 pm

I found this puzzle on Facebook:

**Puzzle.** Solve this:

1+4 = 5,

2+5 = 12,

3+6 = 21,

5+8 = ?

97% will fail this test.

Staring at this I decided on my answer. Then I looked at the comments:
they were divided between 34 and 45 and didn’t contain the answer that
initially came to my mind. The question to my readers is to explain the
answers in the comments and suggest other ones. Can you guess what my
answer was?

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21st April 2019, 12:42 pm

4th April 2019, 12:41 pm

My friend Alice reminds me of me: she has two sons and she is never
straight with her age. Or, maybe, she just isn’t very good with numbers.

Once I visited her family for dinner and asked her point blank, “How old are you?” Here is the rest of the conversation:

Alice: I am two times older than my younger son was 5 years ago.

Bob: My mom is 12 times older than my older brother.

Carl: My younger brother always multiplies every number he mentions by 24.

Bob: My older brother is 30 years older than me.

Carl: My mom is 8 times older than me.

Alice: My older son always multiplies every number he mentions by 2.

How old is everyone?

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4th March 2019, 05:51 pm

Last year, when I read an application file of Wayne Zhao to PRIMES, I
got very excited because he liked puzzles. And I’ve always wanted to
have a project about puzzles. After Wayne was accepted to PRIMES we
started working together. Wayne chose to focus on a variation of Sudoku
called Sudo-Kurve.

We chose a particular shape of Sudo-Kurve for this project, which ended up being very rewarding. It is called *Cube Sudo-Kurve*.
The Cube Sudo-Kurve consists of three square blocks. The
gray bent lines indicate how rows and columns continue. For
example, the
first row of the top left block becomes the last column of the middle
block and
continues to the first row of the bottom right block. As usual each row,
column, and square region has to have 9 distinct digits.

Wayne and I wrote a paper *Mathematics of a Sudo-Kurve*, which has been published at Recreational Mathematics Magazine.

A Cube Sudo-Kurve needs at least 8 clues to have a unique solution. Here
we have a puzzle with 8 clues that we designed for our paper.

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3rd March 2019, 02:31 pm

I’ve been invited to help with the Puzzle Column at the MSRI newsletter *Emissary*. We prepared six puzzles for the Fall 2018 issue.

I love the puzzles there. Number 2 is a mafia puzzle that I suggested. Number 6 is a fun variation on the hat puzzle I wrote a lot about. Here is puzzle Number 3.

**Puzzle.** Let A = {1,2,3,4,5} and let P be the set of all nonempty
subsets of A. A function f from P to A is a “selector” function if f(B)
is in B, and f(B union C) is either equal to f(B) or f(C). How many
selector functions are there?

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2nd February 2019, 02:12 pm

4th January 2019, 11:13 am

14th December 2018, 12:19 pm

Alex Bellos sent me his new book Puzzle Ninja: Pit Your Wits Against The Japanese Puzzle Masters. What has he done to me? I opened the book and couldn’t close it until I solved all the puzzles.

This is a fantastic book. There are many varieties of puzzles, including
some types that I’ve never seen before. Also, the beautifully designed
puzzles are great. Often puzzles of the same type target different
solving ideas or have varied cool themes.

This book is more than a bunch of puzzles; it also contains poetic
stories about puzzle histories and Japanese puzzle designers. Fantastic
puzzles together with a human touch: this might be my favorite puzzle
book.

I present two puzzles from the book. The puzzle type is called *Wolf and Sheep Slitherlink*.
The Slitherlink is a famous puzzle type with the goal of connecting
some of the neighboring dots into a single non-self-intersecting loop. A
number inside a small square cell indicates how many sides of the
square are part of the loop. *Wolf and Sheep Slitherlink* is a variation of *Slitherlink* in which all sheep should be kept inside the fence (loop) and all the wolves outside.

Ignore the numbers in the title as they just indicate the order number
of Wolf and Sheep Slitherlink puzzles in the book. The number of ninja
heads shows the level of difficulty. (The hardest puzzles in the book
have four heads.) The difficulty is followed by the name of the puzzle
master who designed the puzzle.

The first puzzle above is slightly easier than the second. I like the
themes of these two puzzles. In the first one, only one cell—lonely
wolf—marks the relationship to the fence. In the second one, the wolf in
the center—who needs to be outside the fence—is surrounded by a circle
of sheep who are in turn surrounded by a circle of wolves.

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5th December 2018, 12:50 pm