A correspondent, signing himself "Simple Simon," suggested that I should
give a special catch puzzle in the issue of _The Weekly Dispatch_ for
All Fools' Day, 1900. So I gave the following, and it caused
considerable amusement; for out of a very large body of competitors,
many quite expert, not a single person solved it, though it ran for
nearly a month.
"The illustration is a fancy sketch of my correspondent, 'Simple Simon,'
in the act of trying to solve the following innocent little arithmetical
puzzle. A race between a man and a woman that I happened to witness one
All Fools' Day has fixed itself indelibly on my memory. It happened at a
country-house, where the gardener and the cook decided to run a race to
a point 100 feet straight away and return. I found that the gardener ran
3 feet at every bound and the cook only 2 feet, but then she made three
bounds to his two. Now, what was the result of the race?"
A fortnight after publication I added the following note: "It has been
suggested that perhaps there is a catch in the 'return,' but there is
not. The race is to a point 100 feet away and home again--that is, a
distance of 200 feet. One correspondent asks whether they take exactly
the same time in turning, to which I reply that they do. Another seems
to suspect that it is really a conundrum, and that the answer is that
'the result of the race was a (matrimonial) tie.' But I had no such
intention. The puzzle is an arithmetical one, as it purports to be."

THE GARDEN WALLS. THE GENTLE ART OF STAMP-LICKING. facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail