Dog’s Mead

dog's mead puzzle

This puzzle was devised by W.T. Williams. The goal is to discover the age of Father Dunk’s mother-in-law (2 down), but the clues contain so much cross-reference and the grid so many interlocking solutions that practically the whole puzzle must be completed to find it.

The year is 1939. There are 20 shillings in a pound; 4840 square yards in an acre; a quarter of an acre in a rood; and 1760 yards in a mile.

ACROSS

1. Area in square yards of Dog’s Mead
5. Age of Martha, Father Dunk’s aunt
6. Difference in yards between length and breadth of Dog’s Mead
7. Number of roods in Dog’s Mead times 8 down
8. The year the Dunks acquired Dog’s Mead
10. Father Dunk’s age
11. Year of Mary’s birth
14. Perimeter in yards of Dog’s Mead
15. Cube of Father Dunk’s walking speed in miles per hour
16. 15 across minus 9 down

DOWN

1. Value in shillings per rood of Dog’s Mead
2. Square of the age of father Dunk’s mother-in-law
3. Age of Mary, father Dunk’s other daughter
4. Value in pounds of Dog’s Mead
6. Age of Ted, father Dunk’s son, who will be twice the age of his sister Mary in 1945
7. Square of the breadth of Dog’s Mead
8. Time in minutes it takes Father Dunk to walk 4/3 times round Dog’s Mead
9. The number which, when multiplied by 10 across, gives 10 down
10. See 9 down
12. Addition of the digits of 10 down plus 1
13. Number of years Dog’s Mead has been in the Dunk family

Hint: Start with 15 across, and keep your wits about you — most of the clues require some sort of insight or intelligent narrowing of the possible solutions; there’s very little mechanical plugging of numbers. With enough careful, dogged reasoning, it’s possible to complete the entire grid, but it’s stupendously hard.

Click for Answer

Nicknames

Incontrovertibly the greatest nickname in history is The Snodgering Blee, Charles Dickens’ name for his eldest son, Charley. Some further inventive handles:

  • Thorpedo – Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe
  • Bathing Towel – Robert Baden-Powell
  • “Chariots” – English former rugby league and rugby union footballer Martin Offiah
  • “Singing” – Spanish cyclist Miguel Indurain
  • Attila the Hen – Margaret Thatcher
  • The Prince of Whales – George, Prince of Wales, later George IV (Leigh Hunt was sent to prison for calling him “a corpulent man of fifty”)
  • The Lizard of Oz – former Australian prime minister Paul Keating, after putting his arm around the queen in 1992
  • The Ambling Alp – Italian boxer Primo Carnera (6’5″, 260 lbs.)
  • Starvation Dundas – British Tory politician Henry Dundas, who said in a 1775 debate that he was “afraid” that a bruited famine in the American colonies “would not be produced” by a trade-restricting bill

The Doubleday publishing company was founded in 1897 by Frank Nelson Doubleday, whose initials inevitably led Rudyard Kipling to dub him “effendi.” In Ogden Nash, Douglas M. Parker says this was “a nickname he would carry for his entire career.”

Shell Sense

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shell_burst_in_Glencorse_Wood.jpg

In All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque describes a battlefield reflex that is “far quicker, much more sure, less fallible, than consciousness”:

A man is walking along without thought or heed;–suddenly he throws himself down on the ground and a storm of fragments flies harmlessly over him;–yet he cannot remember either to have heard the shell coming or to have thought of flinging himself down. But had he not abandoned himself to the impulse he would now be a heap of mangled flesh. It is this other, this second sight in us, that has thrown us to the ground and saved us, without our knowing how.

Apparently this was a real phenomenon, at least in World War I. Stephen Foot, a British officer who spent three years on the western front, writes in his 1934 memoir Three Lives:

It was about this time that I suddenly realised that I had become acclimatised to shell fire; not that I liked or had ceased to fear it, but that I was able to discriminate between a shell that was coming near and one that was far enough away not to worry about. Some officers recently arrived from England were responsible. They were in charge of one of the working parties, and while we were standing in a group, not far from Plug Street, we heard the whine of a German shell. I looked instinctively in the direction of the church to see the usual cloud of dust and stones, and at the same time I realised that the officers with me had ducked. I was certainly no braver than they were — quite the contrary; but my ear had somehow become attuned, so that as soon as the first sound was heard I knew approximately where the shell would burst.

Foot calls this sense “a great relief to one’s nervous system” and speculates that the worst cases of nervous breakdown occurred in men who didn’t have it. “One cannot explain it,” Remarque wrote. “If it were not so, there would not be one man alive from Flanders to the Vosges.”

Black and White

carpenter chess problem

By Paud D. Carpenter. White to mate in two moves.

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Emptied Nest

Solve for x:

emptied nest problem

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Dolphin Rescues

In the summer of 1978, four men rowed a small boat into the deep water off Dassen Island, South Africa, to fish for barracuda. When mist overtook them, they weighed anchor and tried to return to shore, but visibility dropped so quickly that they were soon lost.

Mac Macgregor was in the bow, trying to peer through the mist, when he felt a bump on the right-hand side and discovered two dolphins there, repeatedly forcing the bow to the left, where two more dolphins were swimming.

“I realized that the dolphins’ odd behavior could be significant and shouted to Mr. [Kobus] Stander to steer to the left,” Macgregor said. “Mr. Stander pulled the tiller round wildly and we just managed to graze past the rocks.”

They continued some further distance through the mist, the dolphins continuing to force the prow to the left, and presently they just missed some further rocks — again on the right. “I was getting a strange feeling that we ought to leave our destiny to the dolphins,” Stander said, “since it was clear they had twice prevented us from running on to the rocks.”

The dolphins led the boat for half an hour until it entered calm water, then played around it briefly and disappeared. “When the mist cleared and the houses of Ysterfontein could be discerned, we were speechless,” Stander said. “We had intended going ashore at Dassen Island. We had never dreamed that the dolphins would guide us to Ysterfontein.”

In 1972, when her cabin cruiser sank in the Indian Ocean off Mozambique, a South African woman set out to swim the 25 miles to land. She was trailed by half a dozen sharks, attracted by a cut on her foot. But “as the sharks circled closer … two dolphins appeared at her side,” the New York Times reported. “The young woman, Yvonne Vladislavich, said that the dolphins guarded her against marauding sharks, escorted her as she swam and helped her stay afloat when her strength was failing.” They protected her until she was able to climb onto a buoy, from which she was later rescued.

(“Dolphins Rescue Fishermen,” South African Panorama, August 1978; “South African Reports a Rescue by Dolphins,” New York Times, Sept. 10, 1972.)

In a Word

desticate
v. to squeak like a rat

latrate
v. to bark like a dog

curkle
v. to cry like a quail

barr
v. to utter an elephant’s cry

frantling
n. the noise made by peacocks

“When did the world begin and how?”
I asked a lamb, a goat, a cow:
“What’s it all about and why?”
I asked a hog as he went by:
“Where will the whole thing end and when?”
I asked a duck, a goose, a hen:
And I copied all the answers too,
A quack, a honk, an oink, a moo.

— Robert Clairmont

A Golden March

fibonacci circle

Draw a circle whose circumference is the golden mean. Choose a point and label it 1, then move clockwise around the circle in steps of arc length 1, labeling the points 2, 3, and so on. At each step, the difference between each pair of adjacent numbers on the circle is a Fibonacci number.

Dairy Carry

https://www.google.com/patents/US359921

Allen Cowan patented this portable milking stool in 1887. From the look of the abstract, he had tested it extensively in actual practice:

In operation, the wearer buckles the waist strap around his or her waist, for this stool is peculiarly adapted for use by women, the stool hanging down behind out of the way, as shown in Fig. l of the drawings, leaving both hands free to carry two pails. As soon as the wearer is ready to sit down to milk, by merely leaning slightly forward, as one sits, the stool swings directly underneath the person, and one can sit down upon it without touching it with the hand.

“If the cow should move away a few feet or commence to kick,” he adds, “the person milking can get up quickly, and catch up the buckets with both hands without paying any attention to the stool, and follow up the cow, sitting down as before.”

Misc

  • What time is it at the North Pole?
  • The shortest three-syllable word in English is W.
  • After the revolution, the French frigate Carmagnole used a guillotine as its figurehead.
  • 823502 + 381252 = 8235038125
  • PRICES: CRIPES!
  • “Conceal a flaw, and the world will imagine the worst.” — Martial

When Montenegro declared independence from Yugoslavia, its top-level domain changed from .yu to .me.