Click here to read the rules, to find other contests, or to learn how to participate in current contests.

8/27-28/02 Contest:

You are making a game that uses cubes made of wood. To your dismay, you find that you need two times the surface area that you have. How do you get this without adding additional cubes or using more wood?

NOTE: This was taken from The Moscow Puzzles: 359 Mathematical Recreations. I reworded the puzzle so that if it appears in its original form on a web site, search engine querries would be less likely to find it.

Answer: From the book: "... cut each cube into 8 smaller cubes... The surface of each small cube is clearly (there's an illustration in the book) one-fourth that of the large cube, so the total surface area is doubled." The most common answer was to cut each cube in half, but this not only does not double the surface area, but makes the cubes no longer cubes. A total of 3 cuts will produce 8 equal-sized cubes from each cube. This one was pretty tough.

Winner: Anne Vincent, Alexandria, OH, High School Spec. Ed. Teacher. 8 people answered this one correctly.

8/23-27/02 Contest:

Here you have a set of numbers, with one number missing (the ?). Following the logic that is
consistent within the set, determine what the missing number is (it could have 1 OR 2 digits).

Answer: 5. In each row, subtract the middle number from the number on the right. Take the first letter of the answer to that, and write its number (from 1-26) on the left. So, you have
8 - 3 = 5. Five begins with F, so you write 6 on the left, as F is the 6th letter of the alphabet. Next is 7 - 1 = 6. Six begins with S, the 19th letter of the alphabet. And so on. Yep, this one was a tad tricky.

Winner: I'm sad to say that we had no winner, even after issuing this puzzle twice, and with some hints in the last issue. Sometimes they're just too tough, I guess.

8/22-23/02 Contest:

HOMOPHONETICS 101

Determine which 2 words are used in the following problems that sound very similar, but are different in spelling and meaning. You must answer all of these correctly to be entered to win:

1. A public walk or a hammer (4 letters each)

2. Solid masonry or a match (4 letters each)

3. A device for separating light rays or an amorous drink (6 and 7 letters, respectively)

Answers:

1. mall and maul

2. pier and peer

3. filter and philter or philtre. The definition of philter is technically "love potion," but "amorous drink" was used to make this one a little tougher.

Winner: Only Dawn Newman and Judith Sprouse got all of these. Dawn was randomly determined the winner - Dawn D M Newman, Senior Partner, Newman Editorial & Prepress Services. Somebody else win next time. Dawn is taking all of my best prizes from http://www.Puzz.com/prizes.html !

8/21-22/02 Contest:

Today's quiz has 2 parts (3, if you include that the first problem requires 2 answers):

1. The Acme Lock Company installs an
electronic lock for an office. It consists of 5 buttons, numbered one through five. A
combination of a certain 4 numbers, in order, will unlock the door to the office. 4
different numbers are used in the code. What chance is there of someone punching in the
code, if they:

A. Push in 4 numbers completely at random (1 or more numbers might be used more than
once)

OR

B. Push in 4 different numbers completely at random?

2. If you take 7/8 of 234323432 peanuts from 2/9 of 53232341123 peanuts, what do you
have?

Answers (from the winner):

"1. A. Your chances are 1 in 625. B. Your chances are 1 in 120.

2. If you take 205033003 peanuts, you will have 205033003. Who had them in
the first place, anyway, and why are they letting you have them?"

1. For the first one, the chances at random are 5x5x5x5, and if you eliminate a number with each step (by not pressing that number again, and leaving it out of the pool of possibilities), you have have 5x4x3x2 for the second one.

2. This is my variant of the old trick question that goes like "there are 17 apples, and you take away 3. How many do you have?" Answer: 3 apples. The fact that 2/9 of 53232341123 was not a whole number was not intentional, and I don't know how I missed that. HOWEVER, it made working with it seem odd (as many of you noted), and underscored all that much more that it was a trick quesion, with an atypical answer. No, I won't use these cheap shots too often, folks! In attempting to answer Dawn's question, I can't say who had them or why they gave them to me, but to quote the fine film Kung Pow! Enter the Fist: "That's a lotta nuts!"

Winner: Dawn D M Newman, Senior Partner, Newman Editorial & Prepress Services.

8/20-21/02 Contest:

O E S N R S H S ?

The last letter in the series above is missing. What in the world is it?

Answer:

Y. The letters are the last letters of the planets in our solar system, but in reverse order: mercurY venuS eartH marS etc.

Winner: Devinder Singh. We had 6 correct submissions for this one.

8/19-20/02 Contest:

Even in working my magic, I sometimes omit something. Take the word below, for
example. What 2 letters did I leave out?

ZIYZWZXZI??

Answer: From the Winner -

"YZ are the last two letters

The word is 'abracadabra' reversed and with a simple letter substitution of
a=z, b=y, et cetera."

Winner: Doris Quigley, Rock Island, Illinois

8/16-17/02 Contest:

Here is a 2 part puzzler. You must get both parts right to be entered to win:

1. Monday lily Island tide

A word is associated with all of the above items. What is the word?

2. 92278622?

Above is the answer to the first problem, but written in an unusual way. The last number
is missing. What is it?

Answers: From Shawn Asmus, Jackson, MO -

1. Easter

2. 922786222
Starting with the "e" in Easter, take each letter's position starting from the end of the alphabet (z=1, y=2, etc.). So Easter spelled forward would be 22 26 8 7 22 9. Reversing that number, we have the answer, 922786222

Winner: Both Shawn and Kazza in West Oztralia answered the two parts correctly. Kazza was randomly chosen the winner, but congratulations to you both!

8/15-16/02 Contest:

A waiter hands you a bill (or check - I've never known why they call a bill a check) at a restaurant. Your response can be translated as:

Answer: "I ought to owe nothing, for I ate nothing." Talk about shooting yourself in the foot! I made a remark about being able too find answers to easily online yesterday, and as soon as I send out the newsletter, I do a quick search for 102004180. And DUH, I found a couple of sites right away. I did not, however, find the answer on those sites, but perhaps some of you did...

Winner: Dawn D M Newman, Senior Partner, Newman Editorial & Prepress Services.

8/14/02 Contest:

Title: Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl

Carrick Chester Cornwall Rothesay

What do all of the above have in common (hint: it is related more to a person than to a location)?

Answer: These are all titles that belong to Prince Charles: Earl of Carrick, Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, and Duke of Rothesay. He has other titles, too. This one was way too easy. Al Siller indicated that he immediately found a site listing all of this info with searches on the names.

Winner: Tonya Edwards of Boonville IN.

8/13/02 Contest:

Title: Even Karl Might Be Proud If You Get This One

Firefly Flywheel Grunion Driftwood Quale Loophole Keck

Answer: These are all surnames of characters played by Groucho Marx in movies. The "Karl" hint in the title was a reference to Karl Marx (no relation to Groucho, as best I know, but the common last name might have been useful to know for solving the puzzle... or may have served as a red herring!)

Winner: Donna Smock of Monmouth, IL. There were 10 correct submissions, and Donna's number came up - that's 2 wins in a row for the Smockmeister!

8/9/02 Contest:

Title: Love Story

Four men and four women are shipwrecked on a desert island. Eventually each one falls in love with one other, and is himself loved by one person. John falls in love with a girl who is, unfortunately, in love with Jim. Arthur loves a girl who loves the man who loves Ellen. Mary is loved by the man who is loved by the girl who is loved by Bruce. Gloria hates Bruce and is hated by the man whom Hazel loves. Who loves Arthur?

Answer: Each number ends with the letter "n." The next number is 37.

Winner: SUNDAR. We had 8 correct answer submissions.

8/7/02 Contest:

A cryptogram! If you're unfamiliar with these things, an A could actually be an M, and all A's in the puzzle will be M's in this case (but M's are not necessarily A's if so). You have to determine what is being said, and who said it by replacing the correct letters:

Answer: I knew I was grown up when I ran back into our burned-out house to put on make-up for the cute firemen.

- Marlee Matlin (8/24/1965)

Winner: Al Siller. We had close to 30 correct answer submissions.

8/6/02 Contest:

What in the World - other than all starting with the letter W, what feature is
most unique about the following 7 words? This could take you all day to solve, but
certainly not all month :-)

wishbones wayfarers without wait water welcome ways

Answer: This is not totally unlike my "Back to Front" puzzle on http://www.Puzz.com/puzzles.html - the clues I gave were "all day" and "all month." I would have said "all week," but I
thought that would make it too easy (fat chance, right?). Take the last letter of the last word, then the next to last letter of the next to last word, then the 3rd to last letter of the 3rd to last word, and you have:

Yes, this was pretty tough, and I apologize. You guys have been knocking 'em
down with so many correct answers lately that I thought I'd try to slow you down,
but I went too far, I guess.

Winner: No one. Quite a contrast from the last couple of contests! I need to find a middle ground... let's see how I do (see today's contest).

8/5/02 Contest:

Nero crab roof Devil

The 4 words above have a word in common. What is the word?

Answer: fiddle or fiddler. With close to 50 correct submissions for this one, I think it may have been a little too easy for you guys.

Winner: Warren D.

8/2/02 Contest:

Here's a two part quiz. You must get both parts right to win:

1. What fifty coins have a total value of exactly one dollar?

2. How can you divide seven apples among 12 people such that everyone will have exactly equal portions? Each apple is not to be cut into more than 4 pieces.

1. Forty pennies, 2 dimes, and 8 nickels (this is the answer in the book, but there are other answers, which I of course scored as correct if they worked).

2. Cut 4 apples into 3 pieces each, and 3 apples into 4 pieces each. Distribute a 1/3 and 1/4 piece to each person.

Winner: Kim Dietz. We had over 20 completely correct submissions.

8/1/02 Contest:

Apple center dude is to Manticore as Strutting and speaking is to ?

NOTE: I made this one myself for a change. Yippee!! :-)

Answer:

Jabberwock or Jabberwocky. Lewis Carroll wrote of the Jabberwock/y and you can find
his work at http://www.jabberwocky.com/carroll/jabber/jabberwocky.html A Manticore is a mythological creature, and a Jabberwock is at least a fictional or mythical creature if not a mythological one. I received walkie talkie and a few other answers, but they lacked the "creature" aspect you get from Manticore and Jabberwock, or did not adequately
use "Strutting and speaking" in the names or words.

Winner: Only one person answered this one correctly - Kate DeMello of Brooklyn, NY. Congratulations, Kate!