by Julian M Bucknall

In which I continue solving a series of puzzles first posed as part of the programming course for my Mathematics degree. This time it’s the last puzzle of all, the fifth. (The others: one , two , three , four , or click on the Puzzles category beneath this post.) “Can we try on our new hats?” the dwarves begged Snow White one day. “All right,” she said, “but first shut your eyes.” When they had done so, she popped a red or a green hat on each. When they opened their eyes each could see the other...

READ MOREIn which I take a look at the fourth puzzle in the set of five that I had to solve in FORTRAN in my early programming days. The others are here: one , two , three . Without further ado: My friend Gogol is a whale for cryptarithmetic. He has two children called, of course, Fleur and Angio. Why ‘of course’ you may ask? Well, Fleur was born on FL/E/UR and Angio on AN/G/IO. Gogol himself was born on GO/G/OL, seeing that FLEUR + ANGIO = GOGOL. Each different letter stands for a different digit. Thus Angio...

READ MOREContinuing through this set of five puzzles from 40 years ago ( one , two ) that I had to solve using FORTRAN on punched cards on King’s College’s timeshare. The third puzzle is perhaps the most tedious of all so far. Let’s see what it says: One Christmas treat we, alas, never miss is Aunt Millicent’s smell game. She puts five of what she terms ‘substances’ in muslin bags and bids us take a good sniff in turn. Her sense of humour is very much her own as you will see from this record of guesses from...

READ MOREContinuing through this set of five puzzles from 40 years ago , presumably designed to be solved with FORTRAN, the language I used back then. Here’s the second puzzle, one that seems like a logical one: Five anglers were propping up the bar of The Compleat Idiot the other night, arguing about the day’s catch. As all were lying themselves blue, no information whatever emerged until the landlord finally intervened. “Look,” he said, “each of you has caught just one fish. The five fish together weigh...

READ MOREIn cleaning out our basement ready for our move, I came across the folders of my notes I’d laboriously written during the lectures for my Mathematics degree. There in the middle of Year 2’s notes were some notes on programming, and in there were a set of five puzzles. Presumably we were given these to see whether we could write a program to solve them. In FORTRAN, natch, because that’s all we had at the time. So let’s see how we do. Here’s the first puzzle. If OODDF is the square root of WONDERFUL...

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