Browsing category puzzles

On Epiphanies

I had a fascinating conversation on Twitter the other day about, I suppose, different modes of solving a problem. Here’s where it started: Heh. You spend half an hour knee-deep in STEP algebra, solve it, then realise that tweaking the diagram a tiny bit turns it into a two-liner. —

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A tasty puzzle

Normally when I call something a tasty puzzle, it’s a lame local-paper pun about it being to do with cakes or something. In this case, it’s not even that. Sorry to disappoint. Instead, it’s a puzzle that came to me via reddit: Find $\sum_{i=1}^{10} \frac{2}{4^{\frac{i}{11}}+2}$. Eleventh roots? That’s likely to

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Mathematical Dingbats

When I was growing up, we had a game called Dingbats – it would offer a sort of graphical cryptic clue to a phrase and you’d have to figure out what the phrase was. For example: West Ham 4-1 Leicester City Chelsea 4-1 Man Utd Liverpool 4-1 Man City Everton

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Doubling

An excellent puzzle I heard from @panlepan (I paraphrase, as I’ve lost the tweet): When you move the final digit of 142857 to the front, you get 714285, which is five times as large. What is the smallest positive integer that is doubled when the last digit moves to the

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Two coins, one fair, one biased

When the redoubtable @cuttheknotmath (Alexander Bogomolny) poses the following question: Two Coins: One Fair, one Biased https://t.co/Rz2zR3LRDj #FigureThat #math #probability pic.twitter.com/HHhnyGjhkq — Alexander Bogomolny (@CutTheKnotMath) March 5, 2018 … you know there must be Something Up. Surely (the naive reader thinks) the one with two heads out of three is

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A calculator puzzle

“Your calculator has broken, leaving you with only the buttons for $\sin$, $\cos$, $\tan$ and their inverses, the equals button and the 0 that starts on the screen. Show that you can still produce any positive rational number.” When this showed up on Reddit, I knew I was in for

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A Handshake Problem From the MathsJam Shout

One of the puzzles in the MathsJam Shout looked impossible, so obviously I sat down with Mr Miller and had a go at it. I don’t have it in front of me, but it went something like: A couple hosts a party to which five other couples are invited. At

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The Problem Of The Nine-Coloured Cube

By way of @ajk_44 at NRICH, a belter of a puzzle: You have 27 small cubes – three each of nine distinct colours. Can you arrange them in a cube so that each colour appears once on each face? (Alison has created a Geogebra widget for you to play with,

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Another of Colin’s blasted puzzles

Before I begin: this post involves a puzzle and my attempt at a solution; everything above the horizontal rule is spoiler-free, but go beyond that at your peril. Some days, you can almost hear @colinthemathmo‘s chuckle as he innocently poses a question such as: Find all configurations of 4 points

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“Two-timing”

The square root of 2 is 1.41421356237… Multiply this successively by 1, by 2, by 3, and so on, writing down each result without its fractional part: 1 2 4 5 7 8 9 11 12... Beneath this, make a list of the numbers that are missing from the first

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