Amusements in Mathematics HTML version

"lightning calculators," who now and again surprise the world by their feats, lose all their
mysterious powers directly they are taught the elementary rules of arithmetic.
A boy who was demolishing a choice banana was approached by a young friend, who,
regarding him with envious eyes, asked, "How much did you pay for that banana, Fred?"
The prompt answer was quite remarkable in its way: "The man what I bought it of
receives just half as many sixpences for sixteen dozen dozen bananas as he gives bananas
for a fiver."
Now, how long will it take the reader to say correctly just how much Fred paid for his
rare and refreshing fruit?
Three countrymen met at a cattle market. "Look here," said Hodge to Jakes, "I'll give you
six of my pigs for one of your horses, and then you'll have twice as many animals here as
I've got." "If that's your way of doing business," said Durrant to Hodge, "I'll give you
fourteen of my sheep for a horse, and then you'll have three times as many animals as I."
"Well, I'll go better than that," said Jakes to Durrant; "I'll give you four cows for a horse,
and then you'll have six times as many animals as I've got here."
No doubt this was a very primitive way of bartering animals, but it is an interesting little
puzzle to discover just how many animals Jakes, Hodge, and Durrant must have taken to
the cattle market.
A number of men went out together on a bean-feast. There were four parties invited—
namely, 25 cobblers, 20 tailors, 18 hatters, and 12 glovers. They spent altogether £6, 13s.
It was found that five cobblers spent as much as four tailors; that twelve tailors spent as
much as nine hatters; and that six hatters spent as much as eight glovers. The puzzle is to
find out how much each of the four parties spent.
Seven men, whose names were Adams, Baker, Carter, Dobson, Edwards, Francis, and
Gudgeon, were recently engaged in play. The name of the particular game is of no
consequence. They had agreed that whenever a player won a game he should double the
money of each of the other players—that is, he was to give the players just as much
money as they had already in their pockets. They played seven games, and, strange to
say, each won a game in turn, in the order in which their names are given. But a more
curious coincidence is this—that when they had finished play each of the seven men had
exactly the same amount—two shillings and eightpence—in his pocket. The puzzle is to
find out how much money each man had with him before he sat down to play.