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THE COMPASSES PUZZLE.





(Patchwork Puzzles)
It is curious how an added condition or restriction will sometimes
convert an absurdly easy puzzle into an interesting and perhaps
difficult one. I remember buying in the street many years ago a little
mechanical puzzle that had a tremendous sale at the time. It consisted
of a medal with holes in it, and the puzzle was to work a ring with a
gap in it from hole to hole until it was finally detached. As I was
walking along the street I very soon acquired the trick of taking off
the ring with one hand while holding the puzzle in my pocket. A friend
to whom I showed the little feat set about accomplishing it himself, and
when I met him some days afterwards he exhibited his proficiency in the
art. But he was a little taken aback when I then took the puzzle from
him and, while simply holding the medal between the finger and thumb of
one hand, by a series of little shakes and jerks caused the ring,
without my even touching it, to fall off upon the floor. The following
little poser will probably prove a rather tough nut for a great many
readers, simply on account of the restricted conditions:--
Show how to find exactly the middle of any straight line by means of the
compasses only. You are not allowed to use any ruler, pencil, or other
article--only the compasses; and no trick or dodge, such as folding the
paper, will be permitted. You must simply use the compasses in the
ordinary legitimate way.


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