Amusements in Mathematics by Henry Ernest Dudeney - HTML preview

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The problem of constructing magic squares with prime numbers only was first discussed by myself in The Weekly Dispatch for 22nd July and 5th August 1900; but during the last three or four years it has received great attention from American mathematicians. First, they have sought to form these squares with the lowest possible constants. Thus, the first nine prime numbers, 1 to 23 inclusive, sum to 99, which (being divisible by 3) is theoretically a suitable series; yet it has been demonstrated that the lowest possible constant is 111, and the required series as follows: 1, 7, 13, 31, 37, 43, 61, 67, and 73. Similarly, in the case of the fourth order, the lowest series of primes that are "theoretically suitable" will not serve. But in every other order, up to the 12th inclusive, magic squares have been constructed with the lowest series of primes theoretically possible. And the 12th is the lowest order in which a straight series of prime numbers, unbroken, from 1 upwards has been made to work. In other words, the first 144 odd prime numbers have actually been arranged in magic form. The following summary is taken from The Monist (Chicago) for October 1913:—

Order Totals of Square. of Series. Lowest Squares Constants. made by—

3rd 333 111 Henry E.


Dudeney (1900).


4th 408 102 Ernest Bergholt


and C. D. Shuldham.


5th 1065 213 H. A. Sayles.


6th 2448 408 C. D. Shuldham


and J. N. Muncey.

7th 4893 699 do.
8th 8912 1114 do.
9th 15129 1681 do.
10th 24160 2416 J. N. Muncey.
11th 36095 3355 do.
12th 54168 4514 do.

For further details the reader should consult the article itself, by W. S. Andrews and H. A. Sayles.

These same investigators have also performed notable feats in constructing associated and bordered prime magics, and Mr. Shuldham has sent me a remarkable paper in which he gives examples of Nasik squares constructed with primes for all orders from the 4th to the 10th, with the exception of the 3rd (which is clearly impossible) and the 9th, which, up to the time of writing, has baffled all attempts.



This is the form in which I first introduced the question of magic squares with prime numbers. I will here warn the reader that there is a little trap.

A fruit merchant had nine baskets. Every basket contained plums (all sound and ripe), and the number in every basket was different. When placed as shown in the illustration they formed a magic square, so that if he took any three baskets in a line in the eight possible directions there would always be the same number of plums. This part of the puzzle is easy enough to understand. But what follows seems at first sight a little queer.

The merchant told one of his men to distribute the contents of any basket he chose among some children, giving plums to every child so that each should receive an equal number. But the man found it quite impossible, no matter which basket he selected and no matter how many children he included in the treat. Show, by giving contents of the nine baskets, how this could come about.


Before Mr. Beauchamp Cholmondely Marjoribanks set out on his tour in the Far East, he prided himself on his knowledge of magic squares, a subject that he had made his special hobby; but he soon discovered that he had never really touched more than the fringe of the subject, and that the wily Chinee could beat him easily. I present a little problem that one learned mandarin propounded to our traveller, as depicted on the last page.

The Chinaman, after remarking that the construction of the ordinary magic square of twenty-five cells is "too velly muchee easy," asked our countryman so to place the numbers 1 to 25 in the square that every column, every row, and each of the two diagonals should add up 65, with only prime numbers on the shaded "T." Of course the prime numbers available are 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, and 23, so you are at liberty to select any nine of these that will serve your purpose. Can you construct this curious little magic square?


As we have just discussed the construction of magic squares with prime numbers, the following forms an interesting companion problem. Make a magic square with nine consecutive composite numbers—the smallest possible.


Here is a problem that has never yet been solved, nor has its impossibility been demonstrated. Play the knight once to every square of the chessboard in a complete tour, numbering the squares in the order visited, so that when completed the square shall be "magic," adding up to 260 in every column, every row, and each of the two long diagonals. I shall give the best answer that I have been able to obtain, in which there is a slight error in the diagonals alone. Can a perfect solution be found? I am convinced that it cannot, but it is only a "pious opinion."

Mazes And How To Thread Them

"In wandering mazes lost." Paradise Lost.

The Old English word "maze," signifying a labyrinth, probably comes from the Scandinavian, but its origin is somewhat uncertain. The late Professor Skeat thought that the substantive was derived from the verb, and as in old times to be mazed or amazed was to be "lost in thought," the transition to a maze in whose tortuous windings we are lost is natural and easy.

The word "labyrinth" is derived from a Greek word signifying the passages of a mine. The ancient mines of Greece and elsewhere inspired fear and awe on account of their darkness and the danger of getting lost in their intricate passages. Legend was afterwards built round these mazes. The most familiar instance is the labyrinth made by Dædalus in Crete for King Minos. In the centre was placed the Minotaur, and no one who entered could find his way out again, but became the prey of the monster. Seven youths and seven maidens were sent regularly by the Athenians, and were duly devoured, until Theseus slew the monster and escaped from the maze by aid of the clue of thread provided by Ariadne; which accounts for our using to-day the expression "threading a maze."

The various forms of construction of mazes include complicated ranges of caverns, architectural labyrinths, or sepulchral buildings, tortuous devices indicated by coloured marbles and tiled pavements, winding paths cut in the turf, and topiary mazes formed by clipped hedges. As a matter of fact, they may be said to have descended to us in precisely this order of variety.

Mazes were used as ornaments on the state robes of Christian emperors before the ninth century, and were soon adopted in the decoration of cathedrals and other churches. The original idea was doubtless to employ them as symbols of the complicated folds of sin by which man is surrounded. They began to abound in the early part of the twelfth century, and I give an illustration of one of this period in the parish church at St. Quentin (Fig. 1). It formed a pavement of the nave, and its diameter is 34½ feet. The path here is the line itself. If you place your pencil at the point A and ignore the enclosing line, the line leads you to the centre by a long route over the entire area; but you never have any option as to direction during your course. As we shall find in similar cases, these early ecclesiastical mazes were generally not of a puzzle nature, but simply long, winding paths that took you over practically all the ground enclosed.

In the abbey church of St. Berlin, at St. Omer, is another of these curious floors, representing the Temple of Jerusalem, with stations for pilgrims. These mazes were actually visited and traversed by them as a compromise for not going to the Holy Land in fulfilment of a vow. They were also used as a means of penance, the penitent frequently being directed to go the whole course of the maze on hands and knees.
The maze in Chartres Cathedral, of which I give an illustration (Fig. 2), is 40 feet across, and was used by penitents following the procession of Calvary. A labyrinth in Amiens Cathedral was octagonal, similar to that at St. Quentin, measuring 42 feet across. It bore the date 1288, but was destroyed in 1708. In the chapter-house at Bayeux is a labyrinth formed of tiles, red, black, and encaustic, with a pattern of brown and yellow. Dr. Ducarel, in his "Tour through Part of Normandy" (printed in 1767), mentions the floor of the great guard-chamber in the abbey of St. Stephen, at Caen, "the middle whereof represents a maze or labyrinth about 10 feet diameter, and so artfully contrived that, were we to suppose a man following all the intricate meanders of its volutes, he could not travel less than a mile before he got from one end to the other."

Then these mazes were sometimes reduced in size and represented on a single tile (Fig. 3). I give an example from Lucca Cathedral. It is on one of the porch piers, and is 19½ inches in diameter. A writer in 1858 says that, "from the continual attrition it has received from thousands of tracing fingers, a central group of Theseus and the Minotaur has now been very nearly effaced." Other examples were, and perhaps still are, to be found in the Abbey of Toussarts, at Châlons-sur-Marne, in the very ancient church of St. Michele at Pavia, at Aix in Provence, in the cathedrals of Poitiers, Rheims, and Arras, in the church of Santa Maria in Aquiro in Rome, in San Vitale at Ravenna, in the Roman mosaic pavement found at Salzburg, and elsewhere. These mazes were sometimes called "Chemins de Jerusalem," as being emblematical of the difficulties attending a journey to the earthly Jerusalem and of those encountered by the Christian before he can reach the heavenly Jerusalem—where the centre was frequently called "Ciel."

Common as these mazes were upon the Continent, it is probable that no example is to be found in any English church; at least I am not aware of the existence of any. But almost every county has, or has had, its specimens of mazes cut in the turf. Though these are frequently known as "miz-mazes" or "mize-mazes," it is not uncommon to find them locally called "Troy-towns," "shepherds' races," or "Julian's Bowers"—names that are misleading, as suggesting a false origin. From the facts alone that many of these English turf mazes are clearly copied from those in the Continental churches, and practically all are found close to some ecclesiastical building or near the site of an ancient one, we may regard it as certain that they were of church origin and not invented by the shepherds or other rustics. And curiously enough, these turf mazes are apparently unknown on the Continent. They are distinctly mentioned by Shakespeare:—

"The nine men's morris is filled up with mud,And the quaint mazes in the wanton greenFor lack of tread are undistinguishable."
A Midsummer Night's Dream, ii. 1.

"My old bones ache: here's a maze trod indeed,Through forth-rights and meanders!" The Tempest, iii. 3.

There was such a maze at Comberton, in Cambridgeshire, and another, locally called the "miz-maze," at Leigh, in Dorset. The latter was on the highest part of a field on the top of a hill, a quarter of a mile from the village, and was slightly hollow in the middle and enclosed by a bank about 3 feet high. It was circular, and was thirty paces in diameter. In 1868 the turf had grown over the little trenches, and it was then impossible to trace the paths of the maze. The Comberton one was at the same date believed to be perfect, but whether either or both have now disappeared I cannot say. Nor have I been able to verify the existence or non-existence of the other examples of which I am able to give illustrations. I shall therefore write of them all in the past tense, retaining the hope that some are still preserved.

In the next two mazes given—that at Saffron Walden, Essex (110 feet in diameter, Fig. 4), and the one near St. Anne's Well, at Sneinton, Nottinghamshire which was ploughed up on February 27th, 1797 (51 feet in diameter, with a path 535 yards long)—the paths must in each case be understood to be on the lines, black or white, as the case may be.

I give in Fig. 6 a maze that was at Alkborough, Lincolnshire, overlooking the Humber. This was 44 feet in diameter, and the resemblance between it and the mazes at Chartres and Lucca will be at once perceived. A maze at Boughton Green, in Nottinghamshire, a place celebrated at one time for its fair was 37 feet in diameter. I also include the plan of one that used to be on the outskirts of the village of Wing, near Uppingham, Rutlandshire. This maze was 40 feet in diameter.

The maze that was on St. Catherine's Hill, Winchester, in the parish of Chilcombe, was a poor specimen since, as will be seen, there was one short direct route to the centre, unless, as in Fig. 10 again, the path is the line itself from end to end. This maze was 86 feet square, cut in the turf, and was locally known as the "Mize-maze." It became very indistinct about 1858, and was then recut by the Warden of Winchester, with the aid of a plan possessed by a lady living in the neighbourhood.

A maze formerly existed on Ripon Common, in Yorkshire It was ploughed up in 1827, but its plan was fortunately preserved. This example was 20 yards in diameter, and its path is said to have been 407 yards long.

In the case of the maze at Theobalds, Hertfordshire, after you have found the entrance within the four enclosing hedges, the path is forced. As further illustrations of this class of maze, I give one taken from an Italian work on architecture by Serlio, published in 1537 (and one by London and Wise, the designers of the Hampton Court maze, from their book, The Retired Gard'ner, published in 1706 (Also, I add a Dutch maze

So far our mazes have been of historical interest, but they have presented no difficulty in threading. After the Reformation period we find mazes converted into mediums for recreation, and they generally consisted of labyrinthine paths enclosed by thick and carefully trimmed hedges. These topiary hedges were known to the Romans, with whom the topiarius was the ornamental gardener. This type of maze has of late years degenerated into the seaside "Puzzle Gardens. Teas, sixpence, including admission to the Maze." The Hampton Court Maze, sometimes called the "Wilderness," at the royal palace, was designed, as I have said, by London and Wise for William III., who had a liking for such things. I have before me some three or four versions of it, all slightly different from one another; but the plan I select is taken from an old guide-book to the palace, and therefore ought to be trustworthy. The meaning of the dotted lines, etc., will be explained later on.
The maze at Hatfield House (Fig. 16), the seat of the Marquis of Salisbury, like so many labyrinths, is not difficult on paper; but both this and the Hampton Court Maze may prove very puzzling to actually thread without knowing the plan. One reason is that one is so apt to go down the same blind alleys over and over again, if one proceeds without method. The maze planned by the desire of the Prince Consort for the Royal Horticultural Society's Gardens at South Kensington was allowed to go to ruin, and was then destroyed—no great loss, for it was a feeble thing. It will be seen that there were three entrances from the outside (Fig. 17), but the way to the centre is very easy to discover. I include a German maze that is curious, but not difficult to thread on paper (Fig. 18). The example of a labyrinth formerly existing at Pimperne, in Dorset, is in a class by itself (Fig. 19). It was formed of small ridges about a foot high, and covered nearly an acre of ground; but it was, unfortunately, ploughed up in 1730.

We will now pass to the interesting subject of how to thread any maze. While being necessarily brief, I will try to make the matter clear to readers who have no knowledge of mathematics. And first of all we will assume that we are trying to enter a maze (that is, get to the "centre") of which we have no plan and about which we know nothing. The first rule is this: If a maze has no parts of its hedges detached from the rest, then if we always keep in touch with the hedge with the right hand (or always touch it with the left), going down to the stop in every blind alley and coming back on the other side, we shall pass through every part of the maze and make our exit where we went in. Therefore we must at one time or another enter the centre, and every alley will be traversed twice.

Now look at the Hampton Court plan. Follow, say to the right, the path indicated by the dotted line, and what I have said is clearly correct if we obliterate the two detached parts, or "islands," situated on each side of the star. But as these islands are there, you cannot by this method traverse every part of the maze; and if it had been so planned that the "centre" was, like the star, between the two islands, you would never pass through the "centre" at all. A glance at the Hatfield maze will show that there are three of these detached hedges or islands at the centre, so this method will never take you to the "centre" of that one. But the rule will at least always bring you safely out again unless you blunder in the following way. Suppose, when you were going in the direction of the arrow in the Hampton Court Maze, that you could not distinctly see the turning at the bottom, that you imagined you were in a blind alley and, to save time, crossed at once to the opposite hedge, then you would go round and round that U-shaped island with your right hand still always on the hedge—for ever after!

This blunder happened to me a few years ago in a little maze on the isle of Caldy, South Wales. I knew the maze was a small one, but after a very long walk I was amazed to find that I did not either reach the "centre" or get out again. So I threw a piece of paper on the ground, and soon came round to it; from which I knew that I had blundered over a supposed blind alley and was going round and round an island. Crossing to the opposite hedge and using more care, I was quickly at the centre and out again. Now, if I had made a similar mistake at Hampton Court, and discovered the error when at the star, I should merely have passed from one island to another! And if I had again discovered that I was on a detached part, I might with ill luck have recrossed to the first island again! We thus see that this "touching the hedge" method should always bring us safely out of a maze that we have entered; it may happen to take us through the "centre," and if we miss the centre we shall know there must be islands. But it has to be done with a little care, and in no case can we be sure that we have traversed every alley or that there are no detached parts.

If the maze has many islands, the traversing of the whole of it may be a matter of considerable difficulty. Here is a method for solving any maze, due to M. Trémaux, but it necessitates carefully marking in some way your entrances and exits where the galleries fork. I give a diagram of an imaginary maze of a very simple character that will serve our purpose just as well as something more complex (Fig. 20). The circles at the regions where we have a choice of turnings we may call nodes. A "new" path or node is one that has not been entered before on the route; an "old" path or node is one that has already been entered, 1. No path may be traversed more than twice. 2. When you come to a new node, take any path you like. 3. When by a new path you come to an old node or to the stop of a blind alley, return by the path you came. 4. When by an old path you come to an old node, take a new path if there is one; if not, an old path. The route indicated by the dotted line in the diagram is taken in accordance with these simple rules, and it will be seen that it leads us to the centre, although the maze consists of four islands.

Neither of the methods I have given will disclose to us the shortest way to the centre, nor the number of the different routes. But we can easily settle these points with a plan. Let us take the Hatfield maze (Fig. 21). It will be seen that I have suppressed all the blind alleys by the shading. I begin at the stop and work backwards until the path forks. These shaded parts, therefore, can never be entered without our having to retrace our steps. Then it is very clearly seen that if we enter at A we must come out at B; if we enter at C we must come out at D. Then we have merely to determine whether A, B, E, or C, D, E, is the shorter route. As a matter of fact, it will be found by rough measurement or calculation that the shortest route to the centre is by way of C, D, E, F.

I will now give three mazes that are simply puzzles on paper, for, so far as I know, they have never been constructed in any other way. The first I will call the Philadelphia maze (Fig. 22). Fourteen years ago a travelling salesman, living in Philadelphia, U.S.A., developed a curiously unrestrained passion for puzzles. He neglected his business, and soon his position was taken from him. His days and nights were now passed with the subject that fascinated him, and this little maze seems to have driven him into insanity. He had been puzzling over it for some time, and finally it sent him mad and caused him to fire a bullet through his brain. Goodness knows what his difficulties could have been! But there can be little doubt that he had a disordered mind, and that if this little puzzle had not caused him to lose his mental balance some other more or less trivial thing would in time have done so. There is no moral in the story, unless it be that of the Irish maxim, which applies to every occupation of life as much as to the solving of puzzles: "Take things aisy; if you can't take them aisy, take them as aisy as you can." And it is a bad and empirical way of solving any puzzle—by blowing your brains out.

Now, how many different routes are there from A to B in this maze if we must never in any route go along the same passage twice? The four open spaces where four passages end are not reckoned as "passages." In the diagram (Fig. 22) it will be seen that I have again suppressed the blind alleys. It will be found that, in any case, we must go from A to C, and also from F to B. But when we have arrived at C there are three ways, marked 1, 2, 3, of getting to D. Similarly, when we get to E there are three ways, marked 4, 5, 6, of getting to F. We have also the dotted route from C to E, the other dotted route from D to F, and the passage from D to E, indicated by stars. We can, therefore, express the position of affairs by the little diagram annexed (Fig. 23). Here every condition of route exactly corresponds to that in the circular maze, only it is much less confusing to the eye. Now, the number of routes, under the conditions, from A to B on this simplified diagram is 640, and that is the required answer to the maze puzzle.

Finally, I will leave two easy maze puzzles (Figs. 24, 25) for my readers to solve for themselves. The puzzle in each case is to find the shortest possible route to the centre. Everybody knows the story of Fair Rosamund and the Woodstock maze. What the maze was like or whether it ever existed except in imagination is not known, many writers believing that it was simply a badly-constructed house with a large number of confusing rooms and passages. At any rate, my sketch lacks the authority of the other mazes in this article. My "Rosamund's Bower" is simply designed to show that where you have the plan before you it often happens that the easiest way to find a route into a maze is by working backwards and first finding a way out.

The Paradox Party

"Is not life itself a paradox?" C.L. DODGSON, Pillow Problems.


"It is a wonderful age!" said Mr. Allgood, and everybody at the table turned towards him and assumed an attitude of expectancy.

This was an ordinary Christmas dinner of the Allgood family, with a sprinkling of local friends. Nobody would have supposed that the above remark would lead, as it did, to a succession of curious puzzles and paradoxes, to which every member of the party contributed something of interest. The little symposium was quite unpremeditated, so we must not be too critical respecting a few of the posers that were forthcoming. The varied character of the contributions is just what we would expect on such an occasion, for it was a gathering not of expert mathematicians and logicians, but of quite ordinary folk.

"It is a wonderful age!" repeated Mr. Allgood. "A man has just designed a square house in such a cunning manner that all the windows on the four sides have a south aspect."


"That would appeal to me," said Mrs. Allgood, "for I cannot endure a room with a north aspect."

"I cannot conceive how it is done," Uncle John confessed. "I suppose he puts bay windows on the east and west sides; but how on earth can be contrive to look south from the north side? Does he use mirrors, or something of that kind?"

"No," replied Mr. Allgood, "nothing of the sort. All the windows are flush with the walls, and yet you get a southerly prospect from every one of them. You see, there is no real difficulty in designing the house if you select the proper spot for its erection. Now, this house is designed for a gentleman who proposes to build it exactly at the North Pole. If you think a moment you will realize that when you stand at the North Pole it is impossible, no matter which way you may turn, to look elsewhere than due south! There are no such directions as north, east, or west when you are exactly at the North Pole. Everything is due south!"

"I am afraid, mother," said her son George, after the laughter had subsided, "that, however much you might like the aspect, the situation would be a little too bracing for you."

"Ah, well!" she replied. "Your Uncle John fell also into the trap. I am no good at catches and puzzles. I suppose I haven't the right sort of brain. Perhaps some one will explain this to me. Only last week I remarked to my hairdresser that it had been said that there are more persons in the world than any one of them has hairs on his head. He replied, 'Then it follows, madam, that two persons, at least, must have exactly the same number of hairs on their heads.' If this is a fact, I confess I cannot see it."

"How do the bald-headed affect the question?" asked Uncle John. "If there are such persons in existence," replied Mrs. Allgood, "who haven't a solitary hair on their heads discoverable under a magnifying-glass, we will leave them out of the question. Still, I don't see how you are to prove that at least two persons have exactly the same number to a hair."

"I think I can make it clear," said Mr. Filkins, who had dropped in for the evening. "Assume the population of the world to be only one million. Any number will do as well as another. Then your statement was to the effect that no person has more than nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine hairs on his head. Is that so?"

"Let me think," said Mrs. Allgood. "Yes—yes—that is correct."

"Very well, then. As there are only nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine different ways of bearing hair, it is clear that the millionth person must repeat one of those ways. Do you see?"

"Yes; I see that—at least I think I see it."

"Therefore two persons at least must have the same number of hairs on their heads; and as the number of people on the earth so greatly exceeds the number of hairs on any one person's head, there must, of course, be an immense number of these repetitions."

"But, Mr. Filkins," said little Willie Allgood, "why could not the millionth man have, say, ten thousand hairs and a half?"


"That is mere hair-splitting, Willie, and does not come into the question."

"Here is a curious paradox," said George. "If a thousand soldiers are drawn up in battle array on a plane"—they understood him to mean "plain"—"only one man will stand upright."

Nobody could see why. But George explained that, according to Euclid, a plane can touch a sphere only at one point, and that person only who stands at that point, with respect to the centre of the earth, will stand upright.

"In the same way," he remarked, "if a billiard-table were quite level—that is, a perfect plane—the balls ought to roll to the centre."

Though he tried to explain this by placing a visiting-card on an orange and expounding the law of gravitation, Mrs. Allgood declined to accept the statement. She could not see that the top of a true billiard-table must, theoretically, be spherical, just like a portion of the orange-peel that George cut out. Of course, the table is so small in proportion to the surface of the earth that the curvature is not appreciable, but it is nevertheless true in theory. A surface that we call level is not the same as our idea of a true geometrical plane. "Uncle John," broke in Willie Allgood, "there is a certain island situated between England and France, and yet that island is farther from France than England is. What is the island?"

"That seems absurd, my boy; because if I place this tumbler, to represent the island, between these two plates, it seems impossible that the tumbler can be farther from either of the plates than they are from each other."

"But isn't Guernsey between England and France?" asked Willie.


"Yes, certainly."


"Well, then, I think you will find, uncle, that Guernsey is about twenty-six miles from France, and England is only twenty-one miles from France, between Calais and Dover."


"My mathematical master," said George, "has been trying to induce me to accept the axiom that 'if equals be multiplied by equals the products are equal.'"


"It is self-evident," pointed out Mr. Filkins. "For example, if 3 feet equal 1 yard, then twice 3 feet will equal 2 yards. Do you see?"


"But, Mr. Filkins," asked George, "is this tumbler half full of water equal to a similar glass half empty?"


"Certainly, George."


"Then it follows from the axiom that a glass full must equal a glass empty. Is that correct?"


"No, clearly not. I never thought of it in that light."


"Perhaps," suggested Mr. Allgood, "the rule does not apply to liquids."


"Just what I was thinking, Allgood. It would seem that we must make an exception in the case of liquids."

"But it would be awkward," said George, with a smile, "if we also had to except the case of solids. For instance, let us take the solid earth. One mile square equals one square mile. Therefore two miles square must equal two square miles. Is this so?"

"Well, let me see! No, of course not," Mr. Filkins replied, "because two miles square is four square miles."


"Then," said George, "if the axiom is not true in these cases, when is it true?"

Mr. Filkins promised to look into the matter, and perhaps the reader will also like to give it consideration at leisure.
"Look here, George," said his cousin Reginald Woolley: "by what fractional part does four-fourths exceed three-fourths?"

"By one-fourth!" shouted everybody at once.


"Try another one," George suggested.


"With pleasure, when you have answered that one correctly," was Reginald's reply.


"Do you mean to say that it isn't one-fourth?"


"Certainly I do."

Several members of the company failed to see that the correct answer is "one-third," although Reginald tried to explain that three of anything, if increased by one-third, becomes four.

"Uncle John, how do you pronounce 't-o-o'?" asked Willie.


"'Too," my boy."


"And how do you pronounce 't-w-o'?"


"That is also 'too.'"


"Then how do you pronounce the second day of the week?"


"Well, that I should pronounce 'Tuesday,' not 'Toosday.'"


"Would you really? I should pronounce it 'Monday.'"


"If you go on like this, Willie," said Uncle John, with mock severity, "you will soon be without a friend in the world."


"Can any of you write down quickly in figures 'twelve thousand twelve hundred and twelve pounds'?" asked Mr. Allgood.


His eldest daughter, Miss Mildred, was the only person who happened to have a pencil at hand.


"It can't be done," she declared, after making an attempt on the white table-cloth; but Mr. Allgood showed her that it should be written, "£13,212."

"Now it is my turn," said Mildred. "I have been waiting to ask you all a question. In the Massacre of the Innocents under Herod, a number of poor little children were buried in the sand with only their feet sticking out. How might you distinguish the boys from the girls?"
"I suppose," said Mrs. Allgood, "it is a conundrum—something to do with their poor little 'souls.'"

But after everybody had given it up, Mildred reminded the company that only boys were put to death.


"Once upon a time," began George, "Achilles had a race with a tortoise—"

"Stop, George!" interposed Mr. Allgood. "We won't have that one. I knew two men in my youth who were once the best of friends, but they quarrelled over that infernal thing of Zeno's, and they never spoke to one another again for the rest of their lives. I draw the line at that, and the other stupid thing by Zeno about the flying arrow. I don't believe anybody understands them, because I could never do so myself."

"Oh, very well, then, father. Here is another. The Post-Office people were about to erect a line of telegraph-posts over a high hill from Turmitville to Wurzleton; but as it was found that a railway company was making a deep level cutting in the same direction, they arranged to put up the posts beside the line. Now, the posts were to be a hundred yards apart, the length of the road over the hill being five miles, and the length of the level cutting only four and a half miles. How many posts did they save by erecting them on the level?"

"That is a very simple matter of calculation," said Mr. Filkins. "Find how many times one hundred yards will go in five miles, and how many times in four and a half miles. Then deduct one from the other, and you have the number of posts saved by the shorter route."

"Quite right," confirmed Mr. Allgood. "Nothing could be easier."

"That is just what the Post-Office people said," replied George, "but it is quite wrong. If you look at this sketch that I have just made, you will see that there is no difference whatever. If the posts are a hundred yards apart, just the same number will be required on the level as over the surface of the hill."

"Surely you must be wrong, George," said Mrs. Allgood, "for if the posts are a hundred yards apart and it is half a mile farther over the hill, you have to put up posts on that extra half-mile."

"Look at the diagram, mother. You will see that the distance from post to post is not the distance from base to base measured along the ground. I am just the same distance from you if I stand on this spot on the carpet or stand immediately above it on the chair."

But Mrs. Allgood was not convinced.


Mr. Smoothly, the curate, at the end of the table, said at this point that he had a little question to ask.

"Suppose the earth were a perfect sphere with a smooth surface, and a girdle of steel were placed round the Equator so that it touched at every point."
"'I'll put a girdle round about the earth in forty minutes,'" muttered George, quoting the words of Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

"Now, if six yards were added to the length of the girdle, what would then be the distance between the girdle and the earth, supposing that distance to be equal all round?"


"In such a great length," said Mr. Allgood, "I do not suppose the distance would be worth mentioning."


"What do you say, George?" asked Mr. Smoothly.


"Well, without calculating I should imagine it would be a very minute fraction of an inch."


Reginald and Mr. Filkins were of the same opinion.


"I think it will surprise you all," said the curate, "to learn that those extra six yards would make the distance from the earth all round the girdle very nearly a yard!"

"Very nearly a yard!" everybody exclaimed, with astonishment; but Mr. Smoothly was quite correct. The increase is independent of the original length of the girdle, which may be round the earth or round an orange; in any case the additional six yards will give a distance of nearly a yard all round. This is apt to surprise the non-mathematical mind.

"Did you hear the story of the extraordinary precocity of Mrs. Perkins's baby that died last week?" asked Mrs. Allgood. "It was only three months old, and lying at the point of death, when the grief-stricken mother asked the doctor if nothing could save it. 'Absolutely nothing!' said the doctor. Then the infant looked up pitifully into its mother's face and said—absolutely nothing!"

"Impossible!" insisted Mildred. "And only three months old!"

"There have been extraordinary cases of infantile precocity," said Mr. Filkins, "the truth of which has often been carefully attested. But are you sure this really happened, Mrs. Allgood?"

"Positive," replied the lady. "But do you really think it astonishing that a child of three months should say absolutely nothing? What would you expect it to say?"

"Speaking of death," said Mr. Smoothly, solemnly, "I knew two men, father and son, who died in the same battle during the South African War. They were both named Andrew Johnson and buried side by side, but there was some difficulty in distinguishing them on the headstones. What would you have done?"

"Quite simple," said Mr. Allgood. "They should have described one as 'Andrew Johnson, Senior,' and the other as 'Andrew Johnson, Junior.'"


"But I forgot to tell you that the father died first." "What difference can that make?"


"Well, you see, they wanted to be absolutely exact, and that was the difficulty."


"But I don't see any difficulty," said Mr. Allgood, nor could anybody else.


"Well," explained Mr. Smoothly, "it is like this. If the father died first, the son was then no longer 'Junior.' Is that so?"


"To be strictly exact, yes."

"That is just what they wanted—to be strictly exact. Now, if he was no longer 'Junior,' then he did not die 'Junior." Consequently it must be incorrect so to describe him on the headstone. Do you see the point?"

"Here is a rather curious thing," said Mr. Filkins, "that I have just remembered. A man wrote to me the other day that he had recently discovered two old coins while digging in his garden. One was dated '51 B.C.,' and the other one marked 'George I.' How do I know that he was not writing the truth?"

"Perhaps you know the man to be addicted to lying," said Reginald.


"But that would be no proof that he was not telling the truth in this instance."


"Perhaps," suggested Mildred, "you know that there were no coins made at those dates.


"On the contrary, they were made at both periods."


"Were they silver or copper coins?" asked Willie.


"My friend did not state, and I really cannot see, Willie, that it makes any difference."

"I see it!" shouted Reginald. "The letters 'B.C.' would never be used on a coin made before the birth of Christ. They never anticipated the event in that way. The letters were only adopted later to denote dates previous to those which we call 'A.D.' That is very good; but I cannot see why the other statement could not be correct."

"Reginald is quite right," said Mr. Filkins, "about the first coin. The second one could not exist, because the first George would never be described in his lifetime as 'George I.'"


"Why not?" asked Mrs. Allgood. "He was George I."


"Yes; but they would not know it until there was a George II."


"Then there was no George II. until George III. came to the throne?"

"That does not follow. The second George becomes 'George II.' on account of there having been a 'George I.'"
"Then the first George was 'George I.' on account of there having been no king of that name before him."

"Don't you see, mother," said George Allgood, "we did not call Queen Victoria 'Victoria I.;' but if there is ever a 'Victoria II.,' then she will be known that way."


"But there have been several Georges, and therefore he was 'George I.' There haven't been several Victorias, so the two cases are not similar."


They gave up the attempt to convince Mrs. Allgood, but the reader will, of course, see the point clearly.

"Here is a question," said Mildred Allgood, "that I should like some of you to settle for me. I am accustomed to buy from our greengrocer bundles of asparagus, each 12 inches in circumference. I always put a tape measure round them to make sure I am getting the full quantity. The other day the man had no large bundles in stock, but handed me instead two small ones, each 6 inches in circumference. 'That is the same thing,' I said, 'and, of course, the price will be the same;' but he insisted that the two bundles together contained more than the large one, and charged me a few pence extra. Now, what I want to know is, which of us was correct? Would the two small bundles contain the same quantity as the large one? Or would they contain more?"

"That is the ancient puzzle," said Reginald, laughing, "of the sack of corn that Sempronius borrowed from Caius, which your greengrocer, perhaps, had been reading about somewhere. He caught you beautifully."

"Then they were equal?"

"On the contrary, you were both wrong, and you were badly cheated. You only got half the quantity that would have been contained in a large bundle, and therefore ought to have been charged half the original price, instead of more."

Yes, it was a bad swindle, undoubtedly. A circle with a circumference half that of another must have its area a quarter that of the other. Therefore the two small bundles contained together only half as much asparagus as a large one.

"Mr. Filkins, can you answer this?" asked Willie. "There is a man in the next village who eats two eggs for breakfast every morning."


"Nothing very extraordinary in that," George broke in. "If you told us that the two eggs ate the man it would be interesting."


"Don't interrupt the boy, George," said his mother.

"Well," Willie continued, "this man neither buys, borrows, barters, begs, steals, nor finds the eggs. He doesn't keep hens, and the eggs are not given to him. How does he get the eggs?"
"Does he take them in exchange for something else?" asked Mildred.

"That would be bartering them," Willie replied.


"Perhaps some friend sends them to him," suggested Mrs. Allgood.


"I said that they were not given to him."


"I know," said George, with confidence. "A strange hen comes into his place and lays them."


"But that would be finding them, wouldn't it?"


"Does he hire them?" asked Reginald.


"If so, he could not return them after they were eaten, so that would be stealing them."


"Perhaps it is a pun on the word 'lay,'" Mr. Filkins said. "Does he lay them on the table?"


"He would have to get them first, wouldn't he? The question was, How does he get them?"


"Give it up!" said everybody. Then little Willie crept round to the protection of his mother, for George was apt to be rough on such occasions.


"The man keeps ducks!" he cried, "and his servant collects the eggs every morning."


"But you said he doesn't keep birds!" George protested.


"I didn't, did I, Mr. Filkins? I said he doesn't keep hens."


"But he finds them," said Reginald.


"No; I said his servant finds them."


"Well, then," Mildred interposed, "his servant gives them to him."


"You cannot give a man his own property, can you?"


All agreed that Willie's answer was quite satisfactory. Then Uncle John produced a little fallacy that "brought the proceedings to a close," as the newspapers say.



"Here is a diagram of a chessboard," he said. "You see there are sixty-four squares—eight by eight. Now I draw a straight line from the top left-hand corner, where the first and second squares meet, to the bottom right-hand corner. I cut along this line with the scissors, slide up the piece that I have marked B, and then clip off the little corner C by a cut along the first upright line. This little piece will exactly fit into its place at the top, and we now have an oblong with seven squares on one side and nine squares on the other. There are, therefore, now only sixty-three squares, because seven multiplied by nine makes sixty-three. Where on earth does that lost square go to? I have tried over and over again to catch the little beggar, but he always eludes me. For the life of me I cannot discover where he hides himself."

"It seems to be like the other old chessboard fallacy, and perhaps the explanation is the same," said Reginald—"that the pieces do not exactly fit."


"But they do fit," said Uncle John. "Try it, and you will see."

Later in the evening Reginald and George, were seen in a corner with their heads together, trying to catch that elusive little square, and it is only fair to record that before they retired for the night they succeeded in securing their prey, though some others of the company failed to see it when captured. Can the reader solve the little mystery?

Unclassified Problems

"A snapper up of unconsidered trifles." Winter's Tale, iv. 2.



Anderson, Biggs, and Carpenter were staying together at a place by the seaside. One day they went out in a boat and were a mile at sea when a rifle was fired on shore in their direction. Why or by whom the shot was fired fortunately does not concern us, as no information on these points is obtainable, but from the facts I picked up we can get material for a curious little puzzle for the novice.

It seems that Anderson only heard the report of the gun, Biggs only saw the smoke, and Carpenter merely saw the bullet strike the water near them. Now, the question arises: Which of them first knew of the discharge of the rifle?


There is a certain village in Japan, situated in a very low valley, and yet the sun is nearer to the inhabitants every noon, by 3,000 miles and upwards, than when he either rises or sets to these people. In what part of the country is the village situated?



If the end of the world should come on the first day of a new century, can you say what are the chances that it will happen on a Sunday?



The illustration represents one of the most ancient of all mechanical puzzles. Its origin is unknown. Cardan, the mathematician, wrote about it in 1550, and Wallis in 1693; while it is said still to be found in obscure English villages (sometimes deposited in strange places, such as a church belfry), made of iron, and appropriately called "tiring-irons," and to be used by the Norwegians to-day as a lock for boxes and bags. In the toyshops it is sometimes called the "Chinese rings," though there seems to be no authority for the description, and it more frequently goes by the unsatisfactory name of "the puzzling rings." The French call it "Baguenaudier."

The puzzle will be seen to consist of a simple loop of wire fixed in a handle to be held in the left hand, and a certain number of rings secured by wires which pass through holes in the bar and are kept there by their blunted ends. The wires work freely in the bar, but cannot come apart from it, nor can the wires be removed from the rings. The general puzzle is to detach the loop completely from all the rings, and then to put them all on again.
Now, it will be seen at a glance that the first ring (to the right) can be taken off at any time by sliding it over the end and dropping it through the loop; or it may be put on by reversing the operation. With this exception, the only ring that can ever be removed is the one that happens to be a contiguous second on the loop at the right-hand end. Thus, with all the rings on, the second can be dropped at once; with the first ring down, you cannot drop the second, but may remove the third; with the first three rings down, you cannot drop the fourth, but may remove the fifth; and so on. It will be found that the first and second rings can be dropped together or put on together; but to prevent confusion we will throughout disallow this exceptional double move, and say that only one ring may be put on or removed at a time.

We can thus take off one ring in 1 move; two rings in 2 moves; three rings in 5 moves; four rings in 10 moves; five rings in 21 moves; and if we keep on doubling (and adding one where the number of rings is odd) we may easily ascertain the number of moves for completely removing any number of rings. To get off all the seven rings requires 85 moves. Let us look at the five moves made in removing the first three rings, the circles above the line standing for rings on the loop and those under for rings off the loop.

Drop the first ring; drop the third; put up the first; drop the second; and drop the first—5 moves, as shown clearly in the diagrams. The dark circles show at each stage, from the starting position to the finish, which rings it is possible to drop. After move 2 it will be noticed that no ring can be dropped until one has been put on, because the first and second rings from the right now on the loop are not together. After the fifth move, if we wish to remove all seven rings we must now drop the fifth. But before we can then remove the fourth it is necessary to put on the first three and remove the first two. We shall then have 7, 6, 4, 3 on the loop, and may therefore drop the fourth. When we have put on 2 and 1 and removed 3, 2, 1, we may drop the seventh ring. The next operation then will be to get 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 on the loop and remove 4, 3, 2, 1, when 6 will come off; then get 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 on the loop, and remove 3, 2, 1, when 5 will come off; then get 4, 3, 2, 1 on the loop and remove 2, 1, when 4 will come off; then get 3, 2, 1 on the loop and remove 1, when 3 will come off; then get 2, 1 on the loop, when 2 will come off; and 1 will fall through on the 85th move, leaving the loop quite free. The reader should now be able to understand the puzzle, whether or not he has it in his hand in a practical form.

The particular problem I propose is simply this. Suppose there are altogether fourteen rings on the tiring-irons, and we proceed to take them all off in the correct way so as not to waste any moves. What will be the position of the rings after the 9,999th move has been made?


In a suburban villa there is a small staircase with eight steps, not counting the landing. The little puzzle with which Tommy Smart perplexed his family is this. You are required to start from the bottom and land twice on the floor above (stopping there at the finish), having returned once to the ground floor. But you must be careful to use every tread the same number of times. In how few steps can you make the ascent? It seems a very simple matter, but it is more than likely that at your first attempt you will make a great many more steps than are necessary. Of course you must not go more than one riser at a time. Tommy knows the trick, and has shown it to his father, who professes to have a contempt for such things; but when the children are in bed the pater will often take friends out into the hall and enjoy a good laugh at their bewilderment. And yet it is all so very simple when you know how it is done.


Here is a really hard puzzle, and yet its conditions are so absurdly simple. Every reader knows how to place four pennies so that they are equidistant from each other. All you have to do is to arrange three of them flat on the table so that they touch one another in the form of a triangle, and lay the fourth penny on top in the centre. Then, as every penny touches every other penny, they are all at equal distances from one another. Now try to do the same thing with five pennies—place them so that every penny shall touch every other penny—and you will find it a different matter altogether.


Our friend Professor Rackbrane is seen in the illustration to be propounding another of his little posers. He is explaining that since he last had occasion to take down those three volumes of a learned book from their place on his shelves a bookworm has actually bored a hole straight through from the first page to the last. He says that the leaves are together three inches thick in each volume, and that every cover is exactly one-eighth of an inch thick, and he asks how long a tunnel had the industrious worm to bore in preparing his new tube railway. Can you tell him?


This is a puzzle based on a pretty little idea first dealt with by the late Mr. Sam Loyd. A man had nine pieces of chain, as shown in the illustration. He wanted to join these fifty links into one endless chain. It will cost a penny to open any link and twopence to weld a link together again, but he could buy a new endless chain of the same character and quality for 2s. 2d. What was the cheapest course for him to adopt? Unless the reader is cunning he may find himself a good way out in his answer.



I have come across the following little poser in an old book. I wonder how many readers will see the author's intended solution to the riddle.

Christians the week's first day for Sabbath hold; The Jews the seventh, as they did of old; The Turks the sixth, as we have oft been told. How can these three, in the same place and day, Have each his own true Sabbath? tell, I pray.


The annals of Scotland Yard contain some remarkable cases of jewel robberies, but one of the most perplexing was the theft of Lady Littlewood's rubies. There have, of course, been many greater robberies in point of value, but few so artfully conceived. Lady Littlewood, of Romley Manor, had a beautiful but rather eccentric heirloom in the form of a ruby brooch. While staying at her town house early in the eighties she took the jewel to a shop in Brompton for some slight repairs.

"A fine collection of rubies, madam," said the shopkeeper, to whom her ladyship was a stranger.

"Yes," she replied; "but curiously enough I have never actually counted them. My mother once pointed out to me that if you start from the centre and count up one line, along the outside and down the next line, there are always eight rubies. So I should always know if a stone were missing."Six months later a brother of Lady Littlewood's, who had returned from his regiment in India, noticed that his sister was wearing the ruby brooch one night at a county ball, and on their return home asked to look at it more closely. He immediately detected the fact that four of the stones were gone.

"How can that possibly be?" said Lady Littlewood. "If you count up one line from the centre, along the edge, and down the next line, in any direction, there are always eight stones. This was always so and is so now. How, therefore, would it be possible to remove a stone without my detecting it?"

"Nothing could be simpler," replied the brother. "I know the brooch well. It originally contained forty-five stones, and there are now only forty-one. Somebody has stolen four rubies, and then reset as small a number of the others as possible in such a way that there shall always be eight in any of the directions you have mentioned."There was not the slightest doubt that the Brompton jeweller was the thief, and the matter was placed in the hands of the police. But the man was wanted for other robberies, and had left the neighbourhood some time before. To this day he has never been found.

The interesting little point that at first baffled the police, and which forms the subject of our puzzle, is this: How were the forty-five rubies originally arranged on the brooch? The illustration shows exactly how the forty-one were arranged after it came back from the jeweller; but although they count eight correctly in any of the directions mentioned, there are four stones missing.


Here is a curious mechanical puzzle that was given to me some years ago, but I cannot say who first invented it. It consists of two solid blocks of wood securely dovetailed together. On the other two vertical sides that are not visible the appearance is precisely the same as on those shown. How were the pieces put together? When I published this little puzzle in a London newspaper I received (though they were unsolicited) quite a stack of models, in oak, in teak, in mahogany, rosewood, satinwood, elm, and deal; some half a foot in length, and others varying in size right down to a delicate little model about half an inch square. It seemed to create considerable interest.



The illustration, by a British artist, is a sketch of Jack climbing the beanstalk. Now, the artist has made a serious blunder in this drawing. Can you find out what it is?



The worthy vicar of Chumpley St. Winifred is in great distress. A little church difficulty has arisen that all the combined intelligence of the parish seems unable to surmount. What this difficulty is I will state hereafter, but it may add to the interest of the problem if I first give a short account of the curious position that has been brought about. It all has to do with the church hymn-boards, the plates of which have become so damaged that they have ceased to fulfil the purpose for which they were devised. A generous parishioner has promised to pay for a new set of plates at a certain rate of cost; but strange as it may seem, no agreement can be come to as to what that cost should be. The proposed maker of the plates has named a price which the donor declares to be absurd. The good vicar thinks they are both wrong, so he asks the schoolmaster to work out the little sum. But this individual declares that he can find no rule bearing on the subject in any of his arithmetic books. An application having been made to the local medical practitioner, as a man of more than average intellect at Chumpley, he has assured the vicar that his practice is so heavy that he has not had time even to look at it, though his assistant whispers that the doctor has been sitting up unusually late for several nights past. Widow Wilson has a smart son, who is reputed to have once won a prize for puzzle-solving. He asserts that as he cannot find any solution to the problem it must have something to do with the squaring of the circle, the duplication of the cube, or the trisection of an angle; at any rate, he has never before seen a puzzle on the principle, and he gives it up.

This was the state of affairs when the assistant curate (who, I should say, had frankly confessed from the first that a profound study of theology had knocked out of his head all the knowledge of mathematics he ever possessed) kindly sent me the puzzle.

A church has three hymn-boards, each to indicate the numbers of five different hymns to be sung at a service. All the boards are in use at the same service. The hymn-book contains 700 hymns. A new set of numbers is required, and a kind parishioner offers to present a set painted on metal plates, but stipulates that only the smallest number of plates necessary shall be purchased. The cost of each plate is to be 6d., and for the painting of each plate the charges are to be: For one plate, 1s.; for two plates alike, 11¾d. each; for three plates alike, 11½d. each, and so on, the charge being one farthing less per plate for each similarly painted plate. Now, what should be the lowest cost?

Readers will note that they are required to use every legitimate and practical method of economy. The illustration will make clear the nature of the three hymn-boards and plates. The five hymns are here indicated by means of twelve plates. These plates slide in separately at the back, and in the illustration there is room, of course, for three more plates.



A Cockney friend, who is very apt to draw the long bow, and is evidently less of a sportsman than he pretends to be, relates to me the following not very credible yarn:—

"I've just been pheasant-shooting with my friend the duke. We had splendid sport, and I made some wonderful shots. What do you think of this, for instance? Perhaps you can twist it into a puzzle. The duke and I were crossing a field when suddenly twenty-four pheasants rose on the wing right in front of us. I fired, and two-thirds of them dropped dead at my feet. Then the duke had a shot at what were left, and brought down threetwenty-fourths of them, wounded in the wing. Now, out of those twenty-four birds, how many still remained?"

It seems a simple enough question, but can the reader give a correct answer?



A correspondent, signing himself "Simple Simon," suggested that I should give a special catch puzzle in the issue of The Weekly Dispatch for All Fools' Day, 1900. So I gave the following, and it caused considerable amusement; for out of a very large body of competitors, many quite expert, not a single person solved it, though it ran for nearly a month.

"The illustration is a fancy sketch of my correspondent, 'Simple Simon,' in the act of trying to solve the following innocent little arithmetical puzzle. A race between a man and a woman that I happened to witness one All Fools' Day has fixed itself indelibly on my memory. It happened at a country-house, where the gardener and the cook decided to run a race to a point 100 feet straight away and return. I found that the gardener ran 3 feet at every bound and the cook only 2 feet, but then she made three bounds to his two. Now, what was the result of the race?"A fortnight after publication I added the following note: "It has been suggested that perhaps there is a catch in the 'return,' but there is not. The race is to a point 100 feet away and home again—that is, a distance of 200 feet. One correspondent asks whether they take exactly the same time in turning, to which I reply that they do. Another seems to suspect that it is really a conundrum, and that the answer is that 'the result of the race was a (matrimonial) tie.' But I had no such intention. The puzzle is an arithmetical one, as it purports to be."


Here is an interesting little puzzle suggested to me by Mr. W. T. Whyte. Mark off on a sheet of paper a rectangular space 5 inches by 3 inches, and then find the greatest number of halfpennies that can be placed within the enclosure under the following conditions. A halfpenny is exactly an inch in diameter. Place your first halfpenny where you like, then place your second coin at exactly the distance of an inch from the first, the third an inch distance from the second, and so on. No halfpenny may touch another halfpenny or cross the boundary. Our illustration will make the matter perfectly clear. No. 2 coin is an inch from No. 1; No. 3 an inch from No. 2; No. 4 an inch from No. 3; but after No. 10 is placed we can go no further in this attempt. Yet several more halfpennies might have been got in. How many can the reader place?


One summer day in 1903 I was loitering on the Brighton front, watching the people strolling about on the beach, when the friend who was with me suddenly drew my attention to an individual who was standing alone, and said, "Can you point out that man's wife? They are stopping at the same hotel as I am, and the lady is one of those in view." After a few minutes' observation, I was successful in indicating the lady correctly. My friend was curious to know by what method of reasoning I had arrived at the result. This was my answer:—

"We may at once exclude that Sister of Mercy and the girl in the short frock; also the woman selling oranges. It cannot be the lady in widows' weeds. It is not the lady in the bath chair, because she is not staying at your hotel, for I happened to see her come out of a private house this morning assisted by her maid. The two ladies in red breakfasted at my hotel this morning, and as they were not wearing outdoor dress I conclude they are staying there. It therefore rests between the lady in blue and the one with the green parasol. But the left hand that holds the parasol is, you see, ungloved and bears no wedding-ring. Consequently I am driven to the conclusion that the lady in blue is the man's wife—and you say this is correct."

Now, as my friend was an artist, and as I thought an amusing puzzle might be devised on the lines of his question, I asked him to make me a drawing according to some directions that I gave him, and I have pleasure in presenting his production to my readers. It will be seen that the picture shows six men and six ladies: Nos. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 are ladies, and Nos. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 are men. These twelve individuals represent six married couples, all strangers to one another, who, in walking aimlessly about, have got mixed up. But we are only concerned with the man that is wearing a straw hat—Number 10. The puzzle is to find this man's wife. Examine the six ladies carefully, and see if you can determine which one of them it is.

I showed the picture at the time to a few friends, and they expressed very different opinions on the matter. One said, "I don't believe he would marry a girl like Number 7." Another said, "I am sure a nice girl like Number 3 would not marry such a fellow!" Another said, "It must be Number 1, because she has got as far away as possible from the brute!" It was suggested, again, that it must be Number 11, because "he seems to be looking towards her;" but a cynic retorted, "For that very reason, if he is really looking at her, I should say that she is not his wife!"

I now leave the question in the hands of my readers. Which is really Number 10's wife?

The illustration is of necessity considerably reduced from the large scale on which it originally appeared in The Weekly Dispatch (24th May 1903), but it is hoped that the details will be sufficiently clear to allow the reader to derive entertainment from its examination. In any case the solution given will enable him to follow the points with interest