Reproduced here are various Mathematical Puzzles from
The Old Farmer's Almanac,
published continuously since 1792. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
Each autumn I used to
anxiously await the appearance of the newest edition of The Old Farmer's
Almanac on the store shelf, and such was the case with this 1980 issue. It is not that I was/am an avid farmer,
just that I enjoy reading the anecdotes, tales, and interesting historical
tidbits included amongst the pages along with tables of high and low tides,
moon and sun rising and setting times, astronomical events, and weather
patterns expected for the year that lay ahead. Most of all, I liked working
the puzzles and riddles. Over the years the difficulty levels gradually got
lower and lower (aka dumbed down), to the point where for the last decade or
so I have not even bothered buying the OFA. Now it is full of
numbnut stuff. Because quite a few
of the Mathematical Puzzles from the older editions are worthy of an engineer's cerebration, contemplation,
and deliberation, I am posting the ones I own here on RF Cafe. Answers to
numbers 1 through 11 are provided at the bottom of the page. Puzzles 12
through 15 were not solved for you, but were used as a contest for readers
to submit answers, with the best ones rewarded with a bit of moola. Enjoy!
Old and New Mathematical Puzzles
Blanton C. Wiggin, Editor
For 1980, we have received several unusual puzzles. The 15 puzzles are graded
for difficulty, so that there should be something of interest for everyone.
We hope you find them challenging. No calculus, computers or tricks. We try
to include specialized knowledge, if needed, in the puzzle statement.
We will award one prize of $50 for the best set of solutions to puzzles 12
through 15, received before March 1, 1980. The answers to these four are omitted
here. For the prize set, we use a point system to judge as objectively as possible.
A basic, unadorned, correct answer is 20 points. For a thorough analysis, an
elegant or novel answer, up to 5 points extra. Numerical errors lose only 2
or 3 points, if the method is understood.
After April 1, we will send the answers to puzzles 12-15, together with a
discussion of other answers, to anyone sending 25¢ and a self-addressed stamped
envelope to "Puzzle Answers," Yankee, Inc., Dublin, New Hampshire 03444.
We'll pay $15 for any original puzzles we use in the 1981 OLD FARMER'S ALMANAC.
Closing date for submission is March 1, 1980. Entries become the property of
Yankee, Inc., and cannot be acknowledged or returned.
1979 saw another close contest. The winner was David G. Phillips, Poughkeepsie,
NY, with 81, followed by Jerry D. Curtright, Carpentersville, Illinois. The
puzzles were a little tougher last year! Congratulations, gentlemen.
Posted October 2, 2020