# Cryptarithm

A “cryptarithm,” originally published by Henry Dudeney in the July 1924 Strand:

Each letter stands for a different digit. Can you identify them?

# The Poe Cryptographic Challenge

Edgar Allan Poe was fascinated by cryptograms. He once offered a free magazine subscription to any reader who could stump him, and he claimed to have solved all 100 ciphers that were sent in.

That mania ultimately created a mystery that lasted 150 years after the writer’s death. In 1840 Poe published two ciphers sent in by a “Mr. W.B. Tyler” and challenged readers to solve them. No readers succeeded, and in fact the first cipher wasn’t cracked until 1992, when University of Illinois English professor Terence Whalen decoded a passage from Joseph Addison’s 1713 play Cato.

The second puzzle was even harder, a polyalphabetic substitution cipher using several different symbols for each English letter — and containing several mistakes. It was finally solved in 2000 by Toronto software engineer Gil Broza:

It was early spring, warm and sultry glowed the afternoon. The very breezes seemed to share the delicious langour of universal nature, are laden the various and mingled perfumes of the rose and the –essaerne (?), the woodbine and its wildflower. They slowly wafted their fragrant offering to the open window where sat the lovers. The ardent sun shoot fell upon her blushing face and its gentle beauty was more like the creation of romance or the fair inspiration of a dream than the actual reality on earth. Tenderly her lover gazed upon her as the clusterous ringlets were edged (?) by amorous and sportive zephyrs and when he perceived (?) the rude intrusion of the sunlight he sprang to draw the curtain but softly she stayed him. “No, no, dear Charles,” she softly said, “much rather you’ld I have a little sun than no air at all.”

Probably it’s a quote from a novel of the time.

Interestingly, some scholars think Poe himself composed the ciphers, as city directories show no W.B. Tyler in that period. We’ll never know for sure, but Poe himself once wrote:

Ye who read are still among the living; but I who write shall have long since gone my way into the region of shadows. For indeed strange things shall happen, and secret things be known, and many centuries shall pass away, ere these memorials be seen of men. And, when seen, there will be some to disbelieve, and some to doubt, and yet a few who will find much to ponder upon in the characters here graven with a stylus of iron.

# The Monty Hall Problem

Suppose you’re a contestant on Let’s Make a Deal. Monty Hall shows you three doors. One hides a sports car; the other two hide goats. You choose Door #1.

Before opening Door #1, though, Monty opens Door #3, revealing a goat. Now you can stick with Door #1 or switch to Door #2. Which should you do?

# Hotel Puzzle

Three men stop at a hotel and agree to share a room for \$30. Each gives the desk clerk \$10.

Later, the clerk realizes he’s overcharged them for the room by \$5. He gives the bellboy five \$1 bills and tells him to return the money to the three men. The unscrupulous bellboy keeps \$2 for himself and gives \$1 to each of the three men.

So the men paid \$9 each for the room, for a total of \$27. The bellboy has \$2. What happened to the other dollar?

# No Tips Either Way

Okay, you’re a chef. Which of these trays was requested for a singer’s dressing room, and which is the last meal of a Texas death-row inmate?

A. Neil Diamond (“Love on the Rocks”)
B. Nelly (“Hot in Herre”)
C. Smokey Robinson (“Tears of a Clown”)
D. B.B. King (“The Thrill Is Gone”)
E. Cornelius Goss (beat a Dallas homeowner to death with a board)
F. Gerald Mitchell (shotgunned two customers during a Houston drug deal)
G. James Collier (shot two Wichita Falls residents while stalking his daughter)
H. James Powell (raped and murdered a 10-year-old in Beaumont)
I. Paul Nuncio (strangled a 61-year-old in Plainview)

1. BBQ chicken wings, chips, fruit, ginger ale
2. 1 apple, 1 orange, 1 banana, coconut, peaches
3. One pot of coffee
4. Enchiladas, burritos, chocolate ice cream, cantaloupe (whole, split in half)
5. Chinese takeout, coffee
6. 1 bag of assorted Jolly Ranchers
7. Baked salmon, french fries, fruit platter, salad, soda
8. Nothing
9. Thirty jumbo shrimp, cocktail sauce, baked potato, French fries, ketchup, butter, one T-bone steak, one chocolate malt, one gallon of vanilla ice cream, and three cans of Big Red

# What’s Odd?

How quickly can you find out what is unusual about this paragraph? It looks so ordinary that you would think that nothing was wrong with it at all and, in fact, nothing is. But it is unusual. Why? If you study it and think about it you may find out, but I am not going to assist you in any way. You must do it without coaching. No doubt, if you work at it for long, it will dawn on you. Who knows? Go to work and try your skill. Par is about half an hour.

# Trick Mules Puzzle

Sam Loyd was only 17 when his “Trick Mules Puzzle” swept the country in 1858. He finally sold it to P.T. Barnum for \$10,000.

Print this page and cut out the three pieces along the dashed lines. Now arrange them so that it looks like each jockey is riding a mule. You may overlap the pieces, but you mustn’t fold them.

It’s harder than it looks.

# Puzzling Brothers

Tom and Dick were born on the same day of the same year to same mother and father. They look almost exactly alike, yet they are not twins. How can this be?

# Okay

Can you name a common English word, besides sugar, in which the initial s is pronounced sh?

# The Underpass

A large truck had become wedged under an underpass. The driver couldn’t move it backward or forward, and traffic was beginning to back up behind it.

He was on the point of desperation when a little boy approached him and offered a suggestion. A few minutes later the truck was on its way. What did the boy tell the driver?