Wherever there are human beings, setting and solving
puzzles - sometimes after hours of head-scratching - have
always been among their principal passions. The first
surviving 'think of a number' problem dates back to an
Egyptian papyrus of around 1650 BC ...

The Arabs drew on the intricacies of Islamic inheritances, the Babylonians divided fields, the Chinese investigated magic squares - this collection of logical and mathematical puzzles, none requiring specialist knowledge or more than pencil, paper and a few counters, brings together examples from earliest times up to the inexhaustible riches of the present day. Sources include the 'mind-sharpeners' of a medieval monk named Alcuin, the eighteenth-century Ladies' Diary, the Bhakshali Hindu manuscript, the work of the great nineteenth-century masters (Lewis Carroll, Sam Loyd, Henry Ernest Dudeney), riddles and popular rhymes. Some are truly demanding, others require a single 'easy' but easily missed lateral leap - so turn to the solutions or endure days of delicious frustration! Yet whether they concern Prisoner's Dilemmas, Delightful Discounts, Pandigital Products, fast-breeding rabbits, liars and truthtellers or Prince Rupert's cube, one thing is sure: endless entertainment is guaranteed.


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