Kangaroo Words

Kangaroo words contain smaller versions of themselves. INDOLENT, for example, contains the letters I-D-L-E, in order. Can you find the hidden synonyms in each of these words?

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Round and Round


A chess puzzle set on a Mobius strip, via Lawrence Kesteloot’s puzzles page.

There are no pieces on the hidden sides, and don’t worry about the direction of the black pawn. White to move and mate in two.

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Breakfast of Champions

Christopher Columbus's Egg Puzzle

“Christopher Columbus’s Egg Puzzle,” as it appeared in Sam Loyd’s Cyclopedia of Puzzles (1914):

The famous trick-chicken, Americus Vespucius, after whom our great country was named, showed a clever puzzle wherein you are asked to lay nine eggs so as to form the greatest possible number of rows of three-in-line. King Puzzlepate has only succeeded in getting eight rows, as shown in the picture, but Tommy says a smart chicken can do better than that!

Can you?

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The Smith Jones Robinson Riddle


On a train, Smith, Robinson, and Jones are the fireman, the brakeman, and the engineer (not necessarily respectively). Also aboard the train are three passengers with the same names, Mr. Smith, Mr. Robinson, and Mr. Jones.

(1) Mr. Robinson is a passenger. He lives in Detroit.

(2) The brakeman lives exactly halfway between Chicago and Detroit.

(3) Mr. Jones is a passenger. He earns exactly $20,000 per year.

(4) The brakeman’s nearest neighbor, one of the passengers, earns exactly three times as much as the brakeman.

(5) Smith is not a passenger. He beats the fireman in billiards.

(6) The passenger whose name is the same as the brakeman’s lives in Chicago.

Who is the engineer?

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Holiday for Vowels

“In an old church in Westchester county, N.Y., the following consonants are written beside the altar, under the Ten Commandments. What vowel is to be placed between them, to make sense and rhyme of the couplet?”


— Charles Bombaugh, Facts and Fancies for the Curious From the Harvest-Fields of Literature, 1860

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The Spider and the Fly

dudeney, the spider and the fly

Another puzzle from Henry Ernest Dudeney, The Canterbury Puzzles, 1908:

“Inside a rectangular room, measuring 30 feet in length and 12 feet in width and height, a spider is at a point on the middle of one of the end walls, 1 foot from the ceiling, as at A, and a fly is on the opposite wall, 1 foot from the floor in the centre, as shown at B. What is the shortest distance that the spider must crawl in order to reach the fly, which remains stationary? Of course the spider never drops or uses its web, but crawls fairly.”

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