Puzzles are as old as history itself, following an arc like that of technology: centuries of slow progress, followed by rapid expansion in the 1800s, and an explosion of activity in the twentieth century. This collection by bestselling author David Wells, a Cambridge math scholar and teacher, follows that pattern. Its first part is devoted to puzzles from ancient Egypt and Babylon and subsequent sources, featuring those devised by Lewis Carroll, Eduard Lucas, Sam Loyd, and other master puzzlers of the Victorian era. The second part demonstrates the tremendous variety of twentieth-century puzzles.
More than 560 puzzles are included, from the "mind sharpeners" of a medieval monk to the eighteenth-century Ladies' Diary, the Hindu Bhakshali manuscript, and riddles and popular rhymes. None requires any mathematics beyond the most elementary algebra and geometry — and few require even that. Complete answers appear at the end.
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