Friday, January 22, 2010


When I was in grad school there was a popular bookstore called The Paper Place. It carried lots of Dover paperbacks on a huge variety of subjects such as chess, mathematics, physics, puzzles, and whatever else the back of the book catalog featured. In the store you could hear non-stop classical musical and smell pipe tobacco (later the place burned down).

I remember the Sam Loyd books (on all kinds of amusements). When Sam was younger he was considerably thinner but he kept the brushy mustache. I'm not sure what made his mind tick but he had some real teasers and brain benders. He was fond of chess but also many other things. Magazines of the day featured his chess (and other) puzzles.

I am going to give some URLs to further our proclivities to waste time, from Gary Kevin Ware. . Apparently Loyd invented the 14/15 version of the puzzle while I thought it was the whole 15. . This contains the comments to Ware's "offending" article about "Indians." He mentions that Shahade did not understand the pun. He gave her ample time by titling the article (which got him fired) at least a month in advance. Who was it who complained--ban this dude (or dudette). . This is a direct link to Gary's Gems. If you just want to go to his Home Page, it is: . . This is a co-written article on Sam Loyd by Gary and Dr. Steven Dowd. . This contains Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia (5000 puzzles)... unbelievable.

It's a known mathematical fact that when pairs of numbers are switched from the original 15 puzzle that the solutions are impossible without cheating. These could make for some profitable though immoral bar bets.

Thanks to Gary for the links and better luck in the future Gary.

Someday I'll have an article on the popularity, or most likely, unpopularity, of puzzles in the U.S. media.

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