From New Scientist #1337, 23rd December 1982 [link]
Mr Pickwick and his friends, Mr Snodgrass, Mr Tupman and Mr Winkle spent last Christmas together. “No children this year, alas,” observed Mr Pickwick on Christmas morning, “I am very fond of children.” But just then there was a knock on the front door. Opening it, Mr Pickwick beheld more than half a dozen children, who thereupon sang God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. “Bless my soul!” he beamed and, fetching a tin of striped humbugs from the mantelpiece, shared them out equally and exactly among the children. The tin had once held a gross of humbugs but Mr Pickwick had already eaten some. Yet there were still enough (more than a hundred) to ensure that each child would receive more than half a dozen. In fact, if you knew how many Mr Pickwick had eaten himself, you could work out exactly how many each child got.
With the carollers gone, it was time for presents. As usual each person gave, and each received, one scarf, one pair of gloves and one bottle of port. Each gave a present to each. Mr Pickwick gave gloves to the person who gave Mr Snodgrass a scarf; and Mr Winkle gave port to the person who gave Mr Tupman gloves.
The dinner was a true feast — a sizzling goose, which weighed 8lb plus half its own weight, pursued by a pudding decked with holly and enriched with as many silver coins as you could place bishops on a chess board without any attacking any square occupied by another. Afterwards came cigars. “I would have you know”, remarked Mr Pickwick, puffing contentedly, “that if cigar-smokers always told the truth and others never did, then Mr Snodgrass would say that Mr Winkle would deny being a cigar smoker. Furthermore Mr Tupman would say that Mr Winkle would deny that Mr Snodgrass smokes cigars”. After these and other pleasant exchanges the quartet retired a trifle unsteadily to bed.
Thus were Mr Pickwick’s Yuletide jollifications exceedingly merry. He wishes similar Christmastide celebrations for revellers everywhere.
A few questions remain.
(1) How many humbugs had Mr Pickwick eaten himself?
(2) Who gave a bottle of port to whom? (four answers)
(3) What did the goose weigh?
(4) How many coins were hidden in the pudding?
(5) Was Mr Winkle a cigar-smoker?
(6) What are the four words of a, b, c, d letters in the sentences in italics [or bold] such that:
a³ – a = 20b and b² = 2bc and 2b² = c²d.
This puzzle completes the archive of Enigmas from 1982.
There are now 650 puzzles on the site, with a full archive from the start of Enigma in 1979 to the end of 1982 (192 puzzles) and also puzzles from January 2005 up to the end of Enigma in December 2013 (457 puzzles) — which is just over 36.5% of all Enigma puzzles.