# “The Scissors Entangled”

“An old but a capital puzzle.” How can you extricate the scissors from the twine?

# Steadfast

By W. Bone. White to move and mate in four.

The catch: He must mate with the queen — and she’s glued to the board.

# Measuring the River

A traveler reaches a river at the point A and wishes to know the width across to B. As he has no means of crossing the river, what is the easiest way of finding its width?

From Henry Dudeney.

# “Cryptic Addition”

From Henry Ernest Dudeney. Can you prove that this sum is correct?

# Fire Escape

You’re new to hell, and you’re given a choice: You can go directly to the fourth circle, or you can play simultaneous chess games against Alexander Alekhine and Aron Nimzowitsch. Alekhine always plays black and smokes a pipe of brimstone. Nimzowitsch plays white and wears cufflinks made of human teeth. Neither has ever lost.

If you can manage even a draw against either player, you’ll be set free. But if they both beat you, you’ll go to the eighth circle for eternity.

What should you do?

# “Who Can Read Franklin’s Cipher?”

Benjamin Franklin wrote from Passy, in 1781, a letter to M. Dumas. He said:— ‘I have just received a 14, 5, 3, 10, 28, 2, 76, 203, 66, 11, 12, 273, 50, 14, joining 76, 5, 42, 45, 16, 15, 424, 235, 19, 20, 69, 580, 11, 150, 27, 56, 35, 104, 652, 20, 675, 85, 79, 50, 63, 44, 22, 219, 17, 60, 29, 147, 136, 41, but this is not likely to afford 202, 55, 580, 10, 227, 613, 176, 373, 309, 4, 108, 40, 19, 97, 309, 17, 35, 90, 201, 100, 677.’ This has never been deciphered. The state department at Washington has no key to it. I submit it for the consideration of the whole world.

— Elliott Sandford, New York World, cited in Henry Williams, A Book of Curious Facts, 1903

04/09/2014 Now solved!

12/30/2014 Oops, that link seems to have gone bad. Here’s another one. The numbers are keyed to the text of a book that Franklin’s correspondent Charles Dumas had sent to him. The message reads, “I have just received a neuu comiissjon joining me uuith m adams in negodiaions for peace but this is not likely to afford me much employ at present.”

# Two Many

How many people are in “two pairs of twins twice”?

# The English Officer

Here’s a poser adapted from a 1923 intelligence test:

“I was so sorry to hear of Harold’s death, Mary.”

“Thank you, Mildred.”

“May I ask the circumstances?”

“Of course. He had fallen asleep in church during the sermon and was dreaming that an executioner was approaching to cut off his head. He had witnessed some rather gruesome things during the Boxer Rebellion in China some years ago, you know. Just as the sword was falling, I happened to touch him on the back of his neck with my fan, to awaken him. The shock was too great, and he fell forward dead.”

What’s wrong with this story?

# King Walk

By J. Kling. White to mate in 64 moves, forcing the black king to occupy every square on the board:

1. Rb8+ Ka7 2. Qc7+ Ka6 3. Qb7+ Ka5 4. Qb6+ Ka4 5. Rc4+ Ka3 6. Qe3+ Ka2 7. Rc2+ Ka1 8. Ra8+ Kb1 9. Rcc8 Kb2 10. Qc1+ Kb3 11. Ra3+ Kb4 12. Qc3+ Kb5 13. Rc5+ Kb6 14. Qa5+ Kb7 15. Rd3 Kb8 16. Rb5+ Kc8 17. Qa8+ Kc7 18. Qb8+ Kc6 19. Rb6+ Kc5 20. Qd6+ Kc4 21. Rd4+ Kc3 22. Qb4+ Kc2 23. Re6 Kc1 24. Rc4+ Kd1 25. Qb1+ Kd2 26. Qc1+ Kd3 27. Rc3+ Kd4 28. Qe3+ Kd5 29. Re5+ Kd6 30. Qc5+ Kd7 31. Rf3 Kd8 32. Rd5+ Ke8 33. Qc8+ Ke7 34. Qd8+ Ke6 35. Rd6+ Ke5 36. Rf7 Ke4 37. Qf6 Ke3 38. Qd4+ Ke2 39. Rh6 Ke1 40. Re7+ Kf1 41. Qg7 Kf2 42. Rh1 Kf3 43. Qg1 Kf4 44. Qg2 Kf5 45. Qg3 Kf6 46. Qe5+ Kg6 47. Qe6+ Kg5 48. Qf7 Kg4 49. Rh5 Kg3 50. Qf5 Kg2 51. Qf4 Kg1 52. Rg5+ Kh1 53. Qe4+ Kh2 54. Kf7 Kh3 55. Qg2+ Kh4 56. Rg4+ Kh5 57. Re5+ Kh6 58. Qc6+ Kh7 59. Ke8 Kh8 60. Rh4+ Kg7 61. Kd8 Kg8 62. Rg5+ Kf7 63. Rh7+ Kf8 64. Qf6#