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The Clerk Of Oxenford's Puzzle


The silent and thoughtful Clerk of Oxenford, of whom it is recorded that "Every farthing that his friends e'er lent, In books and learning was it always spent," was prevailed upon to give his companions a puzzle. He said, "Ofttimes of late have I given much thought to the study of those strange talismans to ward off the plague and such evils that are yclept magic squares, and the secret of such things is very deep and the number of such squares truly great. But the small riddle that I did make yester eve for the purpose of this company is not so hard that any may not find it out with a little patience." He then produced the square shown in the illustration and said that it was desired so to cut it into four pieces (by cuts along the lines) that they would fit together again and form a perfect magic square, in which the four columns, the four rows, and the two long diagonals should add up 34. It will be found that this is a just sufficiently easy puzzle for most people's tastes.

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