THE COSTERMONGER'S PUZZLE.
"How much did yer pay for them oranges, Bill?"
"I ain't a-goin' to tell yer, Jim. But I beat the old cove down
fourpence a hundred."
"What good did that do yer?"
"Well, it meant five more oranges on every ten shillin's-worth."
Now, what price did Bill actually pay for the oranges? There is only one
rate that will fit in with his statements.
AGE AND KINSHIP PUZZLES.
"The days of our years are threescore years and ten."
--_Psalm_ xc. 10.
For centuries it has been a favourite method of propounding arithmetical
puzzles to pose them in the form of questions as to the age of an
individual. They generally lend themselves to very easy solution by the
use of algebra, though often the difficulty lies in stating them
correctly. They may be made very complex and may demand considerable
ingenuity, but no general laws can well be laid down for their solution.
The solver must use his own sagacity. As for puzzles in relationship or
kinship, it is quite curious how bewildering many people find these
things. Even in ordinary conversation, some statement as to
relationship, which is quite clear in the mind of the speaker, will
immediately tie the brains of other people into knots. Such expressions
as "He is my uncle's son-in-law's sister" convey absolutely nothing to
some people without a detailed and laboured explanation. In such cases
the best course is to sketch a brief genealogical table, when the eye
comes immediately to the assistance of the brain. In these days, when we
have a growing lack of respect for pedigrees, most people have got out
of the habit of rapidly drawing such tables, which is to be regretted,
as they would save a lot of time and brain racking on occasions.
Next: MAMMA'S AGE.
Previous: THE BICYCLE THIEF.