Enigmatic Code

Programming Enigma Puzzles

Tag Archives: by: Martin Hollis

Tantalizer 427: Pub crawl

From New Scientist #978, 4th December 1975 [link]

Peter Pickle has drawn up this handy map of the twenty pubs in his town. On crawling nights he starts with a pint at The Swan and then moves off along the lines stopping at each pub he passes. (He may visit the same pub more than once).

He follows a formula on stepping out of The Swan: P, Q, R, Q, P, Q, P, S, S, P, S, P, Q, R, Q. In the formula P, Q, R and S stand for north, east, south and west (not necessarily in that order). The final Q brings him to The Bull (the red dot on the map) for the first and only time.

Can you mark the Swan on the map?


Tantalizer 428: Sisters of mercy

From New Scientist #979, 11th December 1975 [link]

Faith, Hope and Charity had “adopted” an old couple in their neighbourhood and a random one of the drops in each morning to jolly things along. Tom and Annie, the oldsters, take it in good part, especially since they started having a flutter on who the next ministering angel will be.

“Tell you what”, Tom proposed slyly one evening, “Let’s have an extra bet. Who do you bet it will be for the next two days?”
“Faith both days”, said Annie.
Tom replied, “And I bet it will be Hope, followed by Faith. £1?”
“Very well”, said Annie, “but what if we are both wrong?”
“Then the bet stands until such time as Faith arrives either for the second day running (and you win) or on the day after Hope (and I win).”
“Done”, said Annie.

What are Tom’s chances of winning?


Tantalizer 429: Merry Christmas

From New Scientist #980, 18th December 1975 [link]

Gloom or no gloom, the call for toys rises and Santa has taken on three extra reindeer this year, Starlight, Snowflake and Rudolf. He has been planning a monster sleigh, pulled by them and his old friends Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen, Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen.

But then a horrid thought struck him. What if this pantechnikon and all eleven reindeer were hijacked? So dreadful is the prospect that he has changed tack entirely. Instead he will make a series of deliveries, each in a modest sleigh pulled by a different pair of reindeer. It has not been easy to arrange, since the reindeer think he is being feeble and have offered very varying degrees of cooperation. Indeed only Rudolph and Cupid will be making the same number of deliveries. But it will work as proposed and you can go ahead and hang your sock up.

Rudolf is boasting that he will be doing exactly twice as many deliveries as Blitzen. Blitzen maintains that this is not true. Santa asks you to work out which is right. Meanwhile he wishes you a Merry Christmas.


Tantalizer 430: Hop, skip and jump

From New Scientist #981, 1st January 1976 [link]

To shake down the plum pud, the five adults held three post-prandial athletic events. Each competitor scored the number of the place gained in each event, with the aim of totalling as few points as possible overall. Thus Uncle Arthur came second in the hop and scored 2 points for it. There were no ties in any event or in the overall totals and no one took the same place in two or more events.

Aunt Barbara, although bottom in one event, was top at skipping, Mother having been forced down to third place by a fit of hiccoughs. Father did better than Uncle Charlie at hopping. Uncle Arthur did not win the jumping. Mother did better at jumping than at hopping. Aunt Barbara was not second overall. The overall winner did not win the hopping.

As your post-prandial exercise, would you care to list the order in each event?

The puzzle can be solved as presented, but has two solutions. To arrive at the published single solution we seem to need an extra fact — “Uncle Arthur finished in third place overall”.

This puzzle completes the archive of Tantalizer puzzles from 1976. There is a full archive from this puzzle to the final Tantalizer puzzle in May 1977 (when the Puzzle series started).


Tantalizer 431: Hand signals

From New Scientist #982, 8th January 1976 [link]

Here is a strange fact about the parish council at Loose Chippings. The left-handed members always tell the truth but the right-handed members never do. Or perhaps it is the other way round. At any rate ambidextrous members certainly make just one true statement in every two.

And here is what five members have to say about each other:

Alfred: “Bernie is left-handed. Edward is left-handed.”
Bernie: “Alfred is right-handed. David is right-handed.”
Charles: “Alfred is ambidextrous. I am ambidextrous.”
David: “Charles is left-handed. I am right-handed.”
Edward: “Alfred is left-handed. Bernie is ambidextrous.”

Who is what?


Tantalizer 432: A way with the ladies

From New Scientist #983, 15th January 1976 [link]

The Rätselgarten in Vienna is famous for its twenty goddesses, whos statues stand at the junctions of its paths. The task of keeping them spick and span belongs to Stephan Schnitzel. Once a month he dusts and polishes them, following a route of his own design which, without leaving the paths show, takes him to each goddess exactly twice.

Each goddess has a different letters on the plan in his office and his order of visiting is, he tells me:

P A D M O I C T F K G B J R H N L Q E S P A L Q J R H N D M O I C T S F E K G B.

But, as you will no doubt spot without even being told which letter to put at which junction, he has made a small error in the telling. He has inadvertently put two consecutive letters in the wrong order somewhere.

Can you work out which they are?


Tantalizer 433: Service break

From New Scientist #984, 22nd January 1976 [link]

Once a year, when the sand is right for sand castles, the trout are rising nicely in the streams and the hart is doing its proverbial panting, the New Scientist decides to remove the grime from its typewriters and moth from its editors. The latter then take off for the hills, having summoned the old team of Amble, Bumble, Crumble and Dimwit to attend the former.

The task always takes longer than it should because the four worthies are not all available. Three years ago Amble, Bumble and Crumble did it in 12 days. Two years ago Bumble, Crumble and Dimwit managed it in 15 days. Last year Amble, Crumble and Dimwit knocked it off in 18 days. And this year Amble, Bumble and Dimwit were expecting to romp through it in 20 days, until Amble and Bumble fell under a bus.

If the whole job falls on Dimwit, how many days will it take?


Tantalizer 434: Limited editions

From New Scientist #985, 29th January 1976 [link]

Boremaster’s commentary on Hegel being a basic book, our library has several copies. It is not exactly a jolly read, as you will know if you have ever waded through its 36 chapters, but is much in demand on the ground that it is less painful than Hegel himself. Even so I was surprised to meet my friend Jones leaving the library with three copies under his arm.

“Steady on, old bean!” I exclaimed, “there are other readers to think of.”

“The other copies are all on the shelf”, he replied airily, “but I had to take three to get a complete text. Some rotter has snipped whole chapters out of every copy.”

“Well, surely two copies would have done?”

“No. No two copies would yield a full text.”

“Do you mean that I shall have to check every copy, if I want to be sure of a full text?”

“Oh no. Just take any three at random, as I did. You are bound to get a full text, even through no chapter is present in all copies. For each pair of chapters there is at least one copy with only one of them.”

For this to be true, how few copies need the library have in total?


Tantalizer 435: Compleat idiots

From New Scientist #986, 5th February 1976 [link]

The landlord of the Compleat Idiot likes to add spice to the day’s angling. Each angler starts by predicting everyone’s catch and there is a double scotch for each correct prediction afterwards. Yesterday no one was right about anyone, each man having predicted too few for those who beat him and too many for those who did not (including himself). Everyone caught at least one fish and all caught a different number. If I tell you the predictions (predictors down the left, persons predicted for across the top), can you work out the actual catches?


Tantalizer 436: Rhyme and reason

From New Scientist #987, 12th February 1976 [link]

The poems of Prudence Meek are for all estates and conditions of men. They can be bought bound in velvet or in rags, printed in silver or in grey, scented with myrrh or with soap.

“Selling like hot cakes?” she was asked recently on a radio chat show.

“Verily”, she replied, “27 bound in velvet, 29 printed in silver, 34 scented with myrrh in less than a week. Half those scented with myrrh were printed in silver”.

“How about those scented with soap?”

“Three were not only printed in silver but also bound in velvet.”

“And total sales?”

“57”, the poetess confessed coyly, “but I’ll have you know that I had sold more luxury editions (the sort with velvet, silver and myrrh) than the total sales of Beverley Bunion’s disgusting odes”.

Knowing Bunion’s sales figure, the interviewer could then announce Miss Meek’s score in luxury editions.

What is it?

I’ve marked this puzzle as “flawed”, as, although it is possible to solve it and get a unique answer, the answer I found was different from the published solution. So it seems the setter had a different puzzle in mind.


Tantalizer 437: Miniatures

From New Scientist #988, 19th February 1976 [link]

When Pestle arrived at Mortar’s house last night for their weekly game of chess, he had forgotten to bring the pieces. Unsmilingly Mortar produces a board and a supply of Brandy, Gin, Kirsch, Rum, Vodka and Whisky in miniature bottles. Captures having been drunk, the game declined in quality, finally reaching this position. But Mortar had the harder head as well as the white pieces and delivered mate on the move.

The black circled pieces are black (white ones having had their tops removed at the start of play) and each kind of piece was represented by a different drink. Whenever a Vodka threatened a Gin, the Gin also threatened the Vodka. Whenever a Brandy threatened a Whisky, the Whiskey did not threaten the Brandy. Whenever a Kirsch did not threaten a Rum, the Rum did not threaten the Kirsch.

What was Mortar’s mating move?


Tantalizer 438: Spring collection

From New Scientist #989, 26th February 1976 [link]

The task of collecting funds for the Red Cross in our little town falls on five married couples. Each spring they make a sort of race of it. The last occasion was very exciting. The couples all started on a different day but, having started, kept at it until the last Friday in March. Each collected the same amount each day but the amount in question was different for each couple.

A different couple was in the lead at nightfall on the final Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. In other words, each couple led once in the final week. At the close on Friday, Pamela and Albert held the position held by Edward and his wife on Monday night. At the close on Friday Queenie and Bill held the position held by Desmond and wife on Monday night. Similarly Rose and husband finished where Charlie and wife had been on Monday night and Sue and husband finished where Bill and Queenie had been on Monday night. Sue and husband were in the lead on Tuesday night. Queenie and Bill overtook Tania and husband during the final week. All couples had collected something by Monday nightfall.

What was the order at close of play?


Tantalizer 439: High life

From New Scientist #990, 4th March 1976 [link]

The Enigma Quartet all live on different floors of a mammoth block of flats. Amble and the drummer are on adjacent floors. The harpist lives four floors above Bumble. Crumble and the flautist are ten floors apart.

None of the four lives on a floor served by a lift. For, although there are three lifts all serving floor 0, one stops only at every third floor, one only at every fourth and one only at every fifth. Apart from floor 0, no floor has three lifts stopping.

Since no musician will ever walk up stairs. Amble has no way of visiting the trombonists flat without walking down at least four sets of stairs. Which instrument does Dimwit play and which floor does he live on?


Tantalizer 440: Grunt

From New Scientist #991, 11th March 1976 [link]

Grunt is an after-shave lotion so maddening to women that the wearer can count on at least a broken leg in the rush. How curious then that some mad males are still using Phew. The makers of Grunt are so puzzled that the recently hired Judy the judo champion to look into it.

Judy soon discovered that she found both products equally repellant. So she decided she had better work scientifically. Boarding a strike-bound London bus, all of whose passengers were male, she set to with a questionnaire. Each passenger in turn informed her, “I am using Grunt myself. The man you have just asked is using Phew”. Each, that is, except the first man, who said only, “I am using Grunt”, but added afterwards, “The last man you asked is using Phew”.

Puzzled herself, Judy then asked a few selected passengers how many men were using Phew. The ugliest man said “19”, and then man she had originally interviewed next but three after him said “24”. The fattest said “13” and one she had originally interviewed next but four after him said “28”. The rudest said “24”, and the one she had originally interviewed next but five after him said “13”.

Given that each man used one of the other and that all and only those using Grunt told the truth, can you say how many were using Phew?


Tantalizer 441: Luck of the draw

From New Scientist #992, 18th March 1976 [link]

Dopey confessed that he had never learnt to play chess and was appointed umpire. The other six dwarves settled down to play a five-round tournament. Grumpy drew with everyone but Sneezy and finished equal bottom with Doc, whom he had played in the first round. Sneezy drew with Doc, Happy and Sleepy. Bashful drew with Sleepy. There were no other draws.

There was at least one draw in each round and each dwarf drew in at least two consecutive rounds. The two equal winners did not play each other in the second round.

What were the pairings in the final round?


Tantalizer 442: What’s the score?

From New Scientist #993, 25th March 1976 [link]

The usual five football teams entered our local cup and played the usual one game against each of the others. Exactly three of the games were won by the home side. No two teams won the same number of games. There were no drawn games. Each team played two games at home.

The Ayfield Aces won two games. The Barnley Bears were at home to the Aces and to the Cornfield Casuals. The Casuals were at home to the Aces. Ditching Dynamos were at home to the Eggplant Eagles.

What was the result in each of the ten games?


Tantalizer 443: Roses, roses all the way

From New Scientist #994, 1st April 1976 [link]

Our local council recently planted some white rose bushes but they all died. So they replaced each bush with as many red rose bushes as they had originally planted white bushes. These all died too. Gritting their teeth, the replaced each red bush with as many yellow rose bushes as they had previously planted red bushes. This time they were luckier. Only as many yellow bushes died as red bushes had died before.

Moved by such dogged devotion to horticulture, twelve leading citizens offered to pay for all the surviving yellow bushes, provided that meant that each could pay for the same number of bushes. The Council have lost their record of the number of survivors and do not have the face to spend ratepayers’ money of getting them counted. Yet they would like to know whether they are in a position to accept the offer.

Can you help?


Tantalizer 444: Mutual admiration

From New Scientist #995, 8th April 1976 [link]

At the AGM of the Mutual Admiration Society the six officers go in for a fair bit of self-congratulation. They also pat each other on the back. This is only prudent, since compliments are on a strictly reciprocal basis.

The President had kept above the recent scandal and was loud in his praise of all the others. The Vice-President too had been scarcely involved and felt free to congratulate all but one of his colleagues. The Treasurer, having pocketed so much else, managed to pocket his pride and speak well of four of the others. But the Secretary, the Press Officer and the Master of Ceremonies each omitted two of his comrades for his public list of adulatory mentions.

The Secretary was positively fulsome about the Press Officer. Whom did the Master of Ceremonies fail to praise?


Tantalizer 445: Key problem

From New Scientist #996, 15th April 1976 [link]

Uncle Tom’s bungalow is well endowed with doors, as you can see. He locks them each night, to keep out things that go bump. He would dearly love to do it by passing through each door just once and locking it behind him, so as to finish safely locked up in his bedroom. Alas, it cannot be done. Ah, but wait a minute. It could be done, if he had one of the doors bricked up. By Jove, that’s it.

Precisely which door would he be better without?


Tantalizer 446: Unready reckoners

From New Scientist #997, 22nd April 1976 [link]

Mrs Green and Mrs Brown were conversing about their young in honeyed tones. The topic was prowess at simple arithmetic. Under a mantle of mutually admiring words, they had soon agreed to a duel. The offspring were summoned from the sand pit and set the task of adding seven, three and two.

Little Willie Green wrote done 7 + 3 + 2 = 12 in barely the time it takes to boil an egg. Tommy Brown was still chewing his pencil. Several minutes elapsed before he arrived at SEVEN + THREE + TWO = TWELVE. But Mrs Green’s consoling noises were short lived. Young Tommy, it emerged, had treated the problem as one in cryptarithmetic, with each different letter standing for a different digit.

What was his (correct) numerical rendering of TWELVE?


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