Intriguing Puzzles Book 1

November 12th, 2018

Intriguing Puzzles Book 1 is now available for purchase.

Intriguing Puzzles Book 1 contains 50 puzzles selected from the many puzzles on this blog and includes complete solutions and the mathematics you need to solve them.

Intriguing Puzzles Book 1 is divided into four sections: Puzzles, Hints, Solutions and an Appendix with mathematical information and procedures.

If you have wondered about the solution to a puzzle on this blog, you might discover the solution in Intriguing Puzzles Book 1.

Available in the formats epub and mobi.

Click here for the shopping cart

The Forgotten Hat

October 27th, 2018

It was well known amongst his colleagues that professor Ambrose Helleborus would leave the house and later return without his hat, as a matter of fact, according to his housekeeper, Mrs. MacGillicuddy, this would regularly occur once after every four excursions on the town.

On a windy winter’s day, professor Ambrose Helleborus went to the university library to do some research on the legendary Kingdom of Agartha, after which he went to enjoy a tasty lunch at the Chez Antoine café, whereafter he spent a leisurely afternoon with cronies at the Jolly Hills Chess Club.

Subsequently, professor Ambrose Helleborus returned home without his hat, facing extensive interrogation by Mrs. MacGillicuddy, who would have to retrace his steps and retrieve the hat, as it was a treasured gift from professor Einstein.

But Mrs. MacGillicuddy didn’t mind as she by now had developed a circle of chat friends along professor Ambrose Helleborus’ usual excursion routes.

What are the respective probabilities that professor Ambrose Helleborus left his hat at the university library, Chez Antoine’s and the Jolly Hills Chess Club?

 

The Road Crossing

October 23rd, 2018

Seymore, a green frog, wanted to cross the road to get to his favorite pond where frog mates were plentiful. However, the road was a dangerous place to cross, and Seymore was worried he might get run over by a passing motor vehicle.

Brer Rabbit had told Seymore that on the average about a 100 cars would pass per hour along this stretch of road, which was valuable information indeed.

Seymore needed one minute to hop across the road and any car passing by could be fatal.

So he looked up at his lucky star and got ready to jump.

What would you say is the probability that no car would pass while Seymore was crossing the road and destroy his froggy dream to arrive at his favorite mating pond?

The Chess Match

October 22nd, 2018

One Sunday afternoon, a chess match was being held at the King’s Hills Chess Club where bets were being made on Henry MacDuff versus Melvin Longspur. Henry MacDuff was rated as a three times better player than Melvin Longspur.

Judge Roy Bean decided that they would play ten rounds and whoever won three consecutive times would win a copy of the famous Royal Diamond Chess set.

How many rounds would have to be played for Henry MacDuff to have a good chance of winning three consecutive games?

The Emperor’s Triangular Array

October 17th, 2018

To emulate and surpass the famous emperor Qin’s necropolis achievement, emperor Wu Shu, who preferred to be known as “He Who Cannot Be Counted,” decided that after the end of his life he wanted to be buried at the head of an army of 10,440 terracotta soldiers standing at attention in a triangular array of rows.

“Chow Sao, I want to know the cumulative Grand Sum of the number of ways of arranging soldiers in each respective row,” said emperor Wu Shu to his Feng Shui advisor.

“This Grand Sum must be perfectly divisible by 12, the number of heavenly animals in the Shengxiao zodiac,” added emperor Wu Shu.

“Yes, my glorious emperor,” moaned Chow Sao, “your wish is my command,” starting to genuflect reversing himself out of the emperor’s lush palace quarters.

“If the Grand Sum is not perfectly divisible by 12, I want you to tell me exactly which rows of soldiers must be removed to obtain a zero remainder,” commanded emperor Wu Shu.

“As you wish, my illustrious emperor,” said Chow Sao, shuffling more rapidly to increase his reverse velocity as he saw empress Soo Lao enter the palace room.

“This grand sum must be perfectly divisible by 12. Empress Soo Lao has informed me that I shall suffer great misfortune in the heaven life unless this is so,” emphasized emperor Wu Shu, waving his scepter.

“This is so, Chow Sao,” said empress Soo Lao sternly, “any mistakes, and I will have sorceress Ba Fa turn you into stone and place you as the first soldier in the first row.”

“The Gods forbid,” said Chow Sao accelerating his backward velocity at a phenomenal rate and absconding from the emperor’s quarters in a great hurry to begin his calculating task.

Would you say that this Grand Sum was divisible by 12, and if not, would any rows of soldiers have to be removed from the triangular array of soldiers envisioned?

 

Intriguing Puzzles Book 1, containing 50 fascinating puzzles selected from Ken’s Blog, is now available in the e-book formats mobi and epub.

Click here for more details.

 

The Dice Club Project

September 30th, 2018

One Saturday afternoon, as Jack, a new member, entered the Snake Eyes Dice Club he saw many people busy throwing dice at various felt-covered tables.

“Why are you repeatedly throwing that die, Vince, won’t you get a sore arm,” asked Jack.

“Hope not. I’m checking how many throws are needed to get all die faces from one to six to appear at least once,” said Vince.

“Any conclusion so far?” asked Jack.

“Seems that about 14 throws will do the job,” said Vince, after checking some marks on a notepad. “We’re running a project to check the results for different numbers of dice,” added Vince.

“So you’ll soon be using two dice to see how many throws are needed to get all the doubles?” said Jack.

“That’s the next step,” agreed Vince, “probably take quite a bit longer. Maybe I’ll pass the job on to Joe over there,” said Vince, rubbing his elbow.

“Charlie at the big table yonder is working on getting all the triples, but he’s been at it for a really long time,” said Vince.

“Anybody working out the probability for n dice?” said Jack.

“Yeah, my cousin Lennie at the desk over there is doing the theory and checking it out on a PC. He’s quite good at math,” said Vince.

“Good luck with the project, Vince. Seems a bit complicated to me, so I’ll be heading for the lounge,” said Jack.

Can you offer a formula for calculating the number of throws with n dice needed to get all the n-tuples?

 

Bags with Gold and Silver Coins

September 29th, 2018

“Jack and Jill, which bag do you choose for a chance of winning ten thousand dollars,” hailed the cheerful game show host Dusty Farlone, “the blue bag with three gold and seven silver coins, or the red bag with four gold and three silver coins. What do you say?”

“Dusty, what were the conditions, again?” asked Jack.

“You can pick six coins out of the blue bag with ten coins, or you can pick six coins out of the red bag with seven coins, in both cases replacing the coin each time. Whichever bag you choose, if you manage to pick three gold coins, you will win ten thousand dollars plus all the coins in the bag, of course,” said Dusty Farlone, smoothing his slick hairdo.

“Our charming Marlene will bring you the bag you select so you can pick the six coins, and help you put them back into the bag again,” said Dusty Fallon, indicating the svelte Marlene. “You have a minute to decide while the music plays.”

Jack turned to Jill. “You took a course in probability theory. Which bag seems the most promising for winning the prize, Jill, the blue or the red one?”

“Hmm… good question,” said Jill, “quick, hand me your scientific calculator, Jack.”

Which bag would you say has the greatest probability of success for picking three gold coins and winning the game show prize of ten thousand dollars?

A Basket of Fruit

September 24th, 2018

“I hear the jingle of the fruit vendor Zoltan passing by, Lennie,” said mommy. “Won’t you please run out and buy some fruit for your lunch box next week, and take this basket.”

“Sure, mommy.” Lennie ran out with the basked to catch Zoltan before he rode away on his bicycle stand.

“Mommy wants me to buy some fruits for my lunch box,” said Lennie eagerly as he arrived breathing heavily at the fruit stand.

“Fruits are good for you, young man,” replied Zoltan, “I have five apples, four pears and three plums. What would you like for your lunch box.”

“I’ll take three apples, two pears and one plum, please,” said Lennie.

“That will be one dollar and twenty cents, my little friend,” said Zoltan.

“Ooops, I forgot to bring some money,” said a flustered Lennie.

“Young man, if you can tell me how many different baskets you could fill with apples, pears and plums, taking none or any number of each of these fruit types each time, you won’t have to pay,” laughed Zoltan, who had taken a shine to the bright boy.

“Ok, sir, I’ll think about it,” said Lennie, scratching his head full of hair…

“Mommy, here are some fruits for my lunch box next week,” said Lennie, handing over the basket with the fruits.

“How much did it cost,” asked mommy.

“I didn’t have to pay because I gave the right answer,” said Lennie.

Can you work out how many baskets Lennie told Zoltan could be filled with the fruits on display?

 

The Small Bouquet

September 20th, 2018

One cold, snowy winter evening on Valentine’s Day, Jasper was in a hurry to buy a bouquet for his sweetheart Molly while rushing on the way to her birthday party.

The only flower shop Jasper found open among the swirling snow flurries was the Thrifty Flower Emporium, where a total of fifteen flowers were left, namely five Lily of the Incas, four anemones, three carnations and three daffodils.

Since Jasper didn’t have much money on him, he decided to buy just three flowers, one for each of the years he had known Molly.

However, there was the problem of choosing the right combination of flowers, which caused a mental block to occur in Jasper, and he stepped from one foot to the other in complete indecision.

The shop attendant, Susan, noticed Jasper’s panicky bewilderment, and informed him that they had just bought a Smart Pick flower randomizer which could select from among the available flowers and have Jasper’s bouquet for Molly ready in a jiffy.

This good news put a big smile on Jasper’s face, and in no time Jasper walked out of the Thrifty Flower Emporium proudly exhibiting a bouquet with three flowers in his hand, in a sprint to reach Molly’s birthday party on time.

What would you say were the number of possible triple-flower bouquets that could be made with the fifteen flowers available at the Thrifty Flower Emporium?

And what is the probability that all the flowers were different?

 

The Chinese Round Table

August 31st, 2018

One fine evening, Jack and Jill were dining at the Fu Manchu Magic Noodle House, their favorite Chinese restaurant. They sat at a round table served by their regular waitress, Wang Shu.

A number of dishes containing delicious tidbits for plucking off with their chopsticks were situated in front of them on a rotatable round tray.

Jack and Jill sampled the many delectable Chinese morsels to their heart’s content.

“Pick a fortune cookie, Jack,” said Jill, pointing at the decorated cookie jar in the center of the table.

“The cookie says: ‘Good fortune. Soon get special dessert’,” said Jack.

“Hmm,” said Jill, “what does it mean, Wang Shu?”

“Now, special desert,” announced Wang Shu while clearing up after dinner.

Wang Shu placed four dishes containing fried ice cream balls and spicy chocolate truffle balls – delicious Chinese desserts.

In each of the first three dishes there were two fried ice cream balls and eight spicy chocolate truffle balls. The fourth dish contained six fried ice cream balls and four spicy chocolate truffle balls.

“Fortune cookie offer special dessert,” said Wang Shu.

“How generous,” replied Jack.

“Bring it on, Wang Shu,” said Jill.

“Close eyes,” said Wang Shu, “you too,” addressing Jill. Wang Shu spun the dessert tray with the four dishes.

“Please, keep eyes closed and pick one dessert from dish,” said Wang Shu to Jack. Jack picked a dessert ball, which Wang Shu quickly replaced from a large pot containing both dessert types.

Jack opened his eyes and saw a fried ice cream ball melting in his hand, which he promptly ate to his great satisfaction.

“You guess which dish ball from, you no pay. Boss say special promotion,” informed Wang Shu.

“We like that,” said Jill.

Jack scratched his head and then wrote some figures on a napkin, Jill peeping on. Then Jack pointed to a dish.

“Correct dish you choose. Boss say, this time free, next time you pay plenty,” said Wang Shu with a big smile.

Jill was already busy munching away at the balls on the dessert dishes.

“Doggie bag, please,” said Jack.

Was Jack just lucky or had he worked out a probable dish to pick?

Which of the dishes do you think Jack chose?