The Colonel's Miscellaneous Puzzles

The identical is equal to itself, since it is different.
—Franco Spisani, Philosophical Foundations of Autogenetic Logic

Rack Your Brain (1977)

An old pool puzzle: rack up the 15 numbered balls in a triangle like this:

so that the number on each ball is the difference between the two just behind it. [ Solution ]

Bearing Down (1983)

Here's a backgammon puzzle:

You are bearing off. How do you play 6–4? [ Solution ]

Weird Science (1966)

Here's an imaginary oxidation-reduction reaction. Can you balance it?

Antimonic perchlorate, ammonium phosphate, and sodium hydroxide yield antimonic phosphate precipitate, nitric oxide evolute, sodium phosphate, sodium chloride, and water.

In symbols:

Sb(ClO4)5 + (NH4)3PO4 + NaOH → Sb3(PO4)5↓ + NO2↑ + Na3PO4 + NaCl + H2O

Thanks to Bryce Herdt for finding an error in my previous statement of the puzzle. [ Solution ]

The Three Trolls (1992)

I saw a rabbit roll
Into a rabbit hole;
It was out of control
Like a mole on a stroll.

Find the three trolls in this poem. [ Solution ]

The Nine Planets (1997)

Find each of the nine planets in this matrix by going from one letter to the next, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally:

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. [ Solution ]

Rob Mitchell, who suggested this puzzle, has pointed out that you can also spell Sun.

Purple Turtles (1990)

In my sewer pipe live some turtles. Some are purple and some are green. If four of the purple turtles turned green and then half the green turtles turned purple, I would have twice as many purple turtles as I would have if four of the green turtles turned purple and then half the purple turtles turned green. How many of my turtles are green? [ Solution ]

Calendar Reform (1990)

On January 1, 2012, the Great Wadidi, to celebrate his conquest of the whole world, decrees that henceforth
  1. Every week shall have an eighth day, Wadididay, following Saturday.
  2. Every month shall have one more day than it formerly had, the extra day to fall at the end of the month and to be called the Wadidith.
  3. Every year shall have a thirteenth month, Wadiduary, with thirty-two days, including the Wadidith.

On the Wadidith of Wadiduary of the same year, the Syndical Panarchy, to celebrate the overthrow of the Great Wadidi, abolishes Wadididay, the Wadidith of the month, and Wadiduary, effective the next day, and establishes the first Tuesday after the first Monday after Halloween as Election Day. On which day of 2013 does Election Day fall? [ Solution ]

Evaluating Pi (1994)

In a cryptarithm or alphametic, each letter stands for a different digit. Solve this cryptarithm:

[ Solution ]


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Col. George Sicherman [ HOME | MAIL ]