# Breakfast of Champions

“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?

# 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?

# Syllogism

Nothing is better than eternal happiness.

Eating a hamburger is better than nothing.

Therefore, eating a hamburger is better than eternal happiness.

# 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?”

P.R.S.V.R.Y.P.R.F.C.T.M.N.
V.R.K.P.T.H.S.P.R.C.P.T.S.T.N

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

# 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.”

# The Haberdasher’s Problem

Can you make three cuts in a square of cloth and rearrange the pieces to form an equilateral triangle?

# Knotty Thinking

The “Death’s-head Dungeon,” from Henry Dudeney’s Canterbury Puzzles (1908), in which a youth rescues a noble demoiselle from a dungeon belong to his father’s greatest enemy:

“… Sir Hugh then produced a plan of the thirty-five cells in the dungeon and asked his companions to discover the particular cell that the demoiselle occupied. He said that if you started at one of the outside cells and passed through every doorway once, and once only, you were bound to end at the cell that was sought. Can you find the cell? Unless you start at the correct outside cell it is impossible to pass through all the doorways once, and once only.”

# Chess Detective Work

Retrograde analysis involves looking into a chess game’s past, rather than its future. Here’s an example from Henry Ernest Dudeney (1917):

“Strolling into one of the rooms of a London club, I noticed a position left by two players who had gone. This position is shown in the diagram. It is evident that White has checkmated Black. But how did he do it? That is the puzzle.”

The solution is unique. Can you find it?

# “To — — –“

Here’s a valentine written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1846. His sweetheart’s name is hidden in it — can you find it?

For her these lines are penned, whose luminous eyes,
Brightly expressive as the starts of Leda,
Shall find her own sweet name that, nestling, lies
Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader.
Search narrowly these words, which hold a treasure
Divine — a talisman, an amulet
That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure —
The words — the letters themselves. Do not forget
The smallest point, or you may lose your labor.
And yet there is in this no gordian knot
Which one might not undo without a sabre
If one could merely comprehend the plot.
Upon the open page on which are peering
Such sweet eyes now, there lies, I say, perdus,
A musical name oft uttered in the hearing
Of poets, by poets — for the name is a poet’s too.
In common sequence set, the letters lying,
Compose a sound delighting all to hear —
Ah, this you’d have no trouble in descrying
Were you not something, of a dunce, my dear —
And now I leave these riddles to their Seer.

# Suburban Physics

You’re driving a car. The windows are closed. In the back seat is a kid holding a helium balloon.

You turn right. You and the kid sway to the left. What does the balloon do?