The Chompem Cannibals of Drybone Island (shown left) have the annoying habit of eating each other. In fact, Grandpa Chompem went missing only last week, and it was thought he'd lost his way home until his bits and pieces were found on the beach. One evening, the Chompems threw a dinner party, one of those bring-a-friend get-togethers. Six cannibals turned up and they decided to eat each other in turn. So someone was selected for everyone to eat (except the victim!), and when he had been eaten, someone else was selected, and so on. If it took one cannibal two hours on his own to devour one person, how long was it before just one consumer remained? ... Hint ... Solution  
Scatterbrain the Treasurer was a bit of a ... well, scatterbrain, and he had forgotten how many gold, silver and bronze coins were kept in the town vaults. So he decided to ask the three guards, each of whom guarded one type of coin, how many coins were in his charge. However, the guards were uncooperative, and the best that Scatterbrain could get from each was a statement about the numbers of coins in the other two vaults. Dimwit, who was guarding the gold, said there were 3000 silver and 5000 bronze coins; Thickplank, who was in charge of the silver, said there were 3000 gold and 5000 bronze; while Beefbrain, who was protecting the bronze, said there were 4000 gold and 3000 silver. Unfortunately, only one guard was being truthful, each of the other two stating at least one false amount. If there were 12000 coins altogether, how many of each type were there? ... Hint ... Solution
  When Sid Bone was murdered, in a rather compromising position, Inspector Twiggit suspected Sid's wife Nora. Nora however, steadfastly maintained that on the evening of the murder she was in a restaurant with a man friend. Twiggit had found an entry in Nora's diary for that evening which apparently confirmed her alibi as follows : TIPS THE BRUSHED CHEFS. However, Twiggit realised that the message was coded, and that each letter could be moved either one place forwards or one place backwards in the alphabet to reveal a startling confession. What was the hidden confession? ... Hint ... Solution  
The fair had arrived in town. "A prize for guessing the number of balls under the mugs," shouted one stall owner, as he placed four upturned mugs on the counter in front of him. Each concealed the same number of balls and on each mug was a statement about the number of balls underneath : One or four; Two or four; Two or three; One or two. Only one of the statements was correct. How many balls were under a mug and which statement is true? ... Hint .... Solution
  Alf and Bert were sitting in the pub pondering over a ring-shaped cardboard beermat (shown above). Bert said: "How can you move just half of the letters to form the words HAIL CLIP reading clockwise?" Alf produced a pair of scissors and with seven radial cuts and a new positioning of the letters completed the task. "Very nice," said Bert, "but I could have done it with only one cut." Two problems : (a) What is Alf's method; (b) What cut does Bert make? ... Hint ... Solution  
"I've always been 45 years older than your Dad", said Grandma to young Trickle (shown right). "But now the two digits in my age, both prime, are the reverse of the two in your Dad's age". How old is Grandma? ... Hint ... Solution
"Do you always believe what you see?" asked Snorkel, taking four cards from a regular pack of playing cards and discarding the rest. "What do you mean?" replied Twanger. Snorkel showed Twanger his four cards : an ace, a three, a ten and a jack. After secretly arranging them in a certain order, he dealt them face down in a line on the table. "I've seen this trick before!" cried Twanger. "You want me to tell you where the jack is." "The jack!" exclaimed Snorkel. "There are two jacks in these four cards." How is it possible and where are they in the four face-down cards? ... Hint ... Solution
  A medieval king (shown above) needed to work out how he could recruit fighting men for the battle ahead. However, there were so many distractions around the castle, his thinking became confused. So in order to change his daze into knights, he asked for a secluded walk to be made so he could ponder in peace. The head gardener was given the job of planting lines of high bushes. First, he planted a line running 100 paces east. Then from the end of that line he planted a line 100 paces north, then 100 west, 98 south, 98 east, 96 north, 96 west, and so on. This made a square spiral path 2 paces wide. If the king intended to walk down the middle of the path, how long was the path? .... Hint... Solution  
In the sum (shown left), the top row added to the middle row gives the bottom one. Working from top to bottom, remove one digit from each row, from any columns (closing the gaps) to leave three columns of digits, then a second digit from each row to leave two columns, and finally a third to leave one column so that a valid sum remains each time. What are the three sets of digits removed? ... Hint ... Solution
Shown is a lion lying down with its tail in the air. Move just one match so it looks dead! ... Hint ... Solution
  In a wood-cutting factory, four large sawing machines stand in a windowless room. Each machine has an on/off switch attached, there being no doubt as to which switch controls which machine. Outside the door to the room are four back-up on/off switches, one for each machine inside. The power for each machine must first pass through the back-up switch, and then the machine switch before reaching the saw. The problem is, the new manager cannot decide how these back-up switches match with the machines inside the room. One day, the manager's brother visits. The manager takes him inside the sawing room where all four machines are at work and explains the problem. The brother announces that he intends to leave the room and that when he returns he will be able to match correctly the four switches outside the room to the four machines inside. The brother works alone, cannot see the machines from outside the room and solves the problem purely by operating switches. How is it possible? ... Hint ... Solution  
  On the previous occasion that the Oar-Thrashers rowing club had met the Heaveho Rowing Club in an Eights event, the Thrashers had lost by several lengths. This time, with a judicious team selection, they had gone out on the river Eel and got even with their rivals. The local paper excitedly reported : "Eights event won on Eel - even!". If they could only manage to keep the same team and order they could maintain their success. However, only the reporter could remember which eight oarsmen had been selected from the 13 in the club and their positions in the boat. He reported that each of the eight crew had a unique team number from 0-12, the numbers of the club members and that number 3 was four places from 7, 4 sat somewhere in front of 2, and 5 was some place behind 0. Can you give the crew order viewed from the front of the boat? ... Hint ... Solution  
  At the livestock market, the sheep were secured in 36 pens arranged in a 6x6 grid, the number in each pen shown left. "I want to make a tidy sum out of it," said the farmer. So, in line with the farmer's wishes, the buyer bought all of the sheep in 12 of the pens. Delete 12 of the 36 numbers to leave four numbers in each row and column, so that each of the six horizontal lines and each of the six vertical lines totals 20. ... Hint ... Solution  
The Archaeologist Doug Wither-Trowel was excavating a site in France when he came upon a four-letter English word engraved on a stone. In his notebook, he wrote that no two letters were identical, if one replaced each letter in the word with a number giving its alphabetic position (A=1, B=2 etc) the total of the letters is 20, and the sum of any three of the numbers is exactly divisible by the fourth number. His French assistant, reading the entry in the notebook, claimed the word was French. What was the English word on the stone? ... Hint ... Solution
Whiskers the cat was enjoying a prowl one Saturday afternoon when he spied Dotty the duck in the nearby pond. Under cover of the wall at the top end of the pond, Whiskers tiptoed towards the water. He sat there watching and waiting, and when Dotty was close enough, the cat's head popped up from behind the wall scaring the duck away. Dotty is shown constructed from eight matches and two small coins. Can you move exactly two matches to change the duck into a cat? ... Hint ... Solution
 

It was puzzle time down the Pig and Bucket. "It's a real digital dilemma," remarked Bert as he supped his ale. Alf had the self-satisfied smile, he always wore when he was confident he had Bert over a barrel. Alf had drawn the equation below on card and given Bert the digits 1-6. Bert had to put two digits on each line, using each digit once and once only, to make a valid equation.

____ + ____ = ____

Using only the six digits and no further symbols, in how many ways can it be done? ... Hint ... Solution

 

This puzzle-poem of mine from October 1998 appeared in The Daily Telegraph (UK) and appears on the Island of Guernsey Poetry Page!

"Hey Daddy," said Jill, "I'm feeling quite ill",
"Today, I'm not a well daughter",
So he bent to her will and went up the hill,
To fetch five units of water.

On reaching the well, he suddenly fell,
And shattered his pail on the road,
But spying two lasses with cylindrical glasses,
He saw how to carry his load.

They're negligibly thick, he saw rather quick,
Praising himself for sagacity,
And what made it right was that both had same height,
Though obviously different capacity.

Sixteen and four were their volumes to pour,
And Dad filled the first up with water,
The second had none, but purely for fun,
He still took it back to his daughter.


"Just tell me", snarled Jill, going in for the kill,
"How we measure out five with these glasses?
Five down to sixteen, is a bit of a dream",
Dad wished he'd eloped with the lasses.

How can sixteen units be reduced to five using these two cylindrical glasses? ... Hint ... Solution

Tiny Tum's mathematics homework book (shown right) was the untidiest in the class. In one of his equations, the two different arithmetic signs were missing. What is the unknown whole number x that balances the equation? ... Hint ... Solution
  Arrange the digits 1-9 in a 3x3 square using each once only according to the following rules. Exactly one prime is directly above a prime two less. Each pair of opposite corners sums to the same square total and exactly two columns share another square total. Exactly one prime is directly to the left of a non-prime two greater. Directly above exactly one square digit is a digit four greater. Directly to the right of exactly one cubic digit is a digit one greater. ... Hint ... Solution  

If you enjoy these puzzles, Barry R. Clarke's book Puzzles for Pleasure is now available from amazon.com, crammed full of similar entertaining teasers! Ideal for anyone who enjoys thinking!