the canterbury puzzles by henry ernest dudeney

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Los acertijo de Canterbury son una recopilacin de acertijos y juegos matemticos medievales.


  • The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Canterbury Puzzles,by Henry Ernest Dudeney

    This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at

    Title: The Canterbury Puzzles

    And Other Curious Problems

    Author: Henry Ernest Dudeney

    Release Date: December 27, 2008 [eBook #27635]Language: English

    Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


    E-text prepared by Malcolm Farmer, Christine D.,and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team


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    The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Canterbury Puzzles, by Henry Ernest Dudeney

  • PRESS OPINIONS ON "THE CANTERBURY PUZZLES.""It is a book of remarkable ingenuity and interest."Educational Times.

    "The most ingenious brain in England ... a fascinating new book."Evening News.

    "A capital book of posers."Daily News.

    "The Puzzles ... reach the limit of ingenuity and intricacy; and it is well for the sanity of his readersthat the author gives a list of solutions at the end of the book."Observer.

    "A book that will provide much entertainment for Christmas gatherings ... ingenious puzzles andproblems invented by Sphinx, the Puzzle King."The Captain.

    "Mr. Dudeney, whose reputation is world-wide as the puzzle and problem maker of the age ... sureto find a wide circulation ... as attractive in appearance as its contents are fascinating."EnglishMechanic and World of Science.

    "An exceedingly ingenious constructor and solver of fascinating puzzles, mathematical and otherwise."School Guardian.

    "A book which ought to be highly popular ... it is all mighty ingenious, and very intelligently putbefore the reader."Sheffield Telegraph.

    "It is matter for delight that Mr. Henry E. Dudeney has collected into a volume those mysteriouspuzzles of his which have appeared in many journals ... contains quite a number of ingenious newmental problems ... a valuable introduction."The Lady.

    "For the long winter evenings Mr. Dudeneys book of puzzledom is to be recommended. Mr.Dudeney has made a study of every kind of puzzle there is ... he supplies you with every kind of brain-twister."The Daily Chronicle.

    "Took up more of the reviewers time than he could well afford to give it; he wanted to solve someof the curious problems that it contains, and for ingenious persons who want employment on a wetday, he promises from it abundant scope."Yorkshire Post.

    "A well-known master puzzler ... provides an abundance of seasonable occupation for theingenious, with an introduction on the general question of puzzles, which is one of the mostinteresting parts of the book. He is a skilful inventor."Nottingham Guardian.

    "Will enjoy the entertainment provided ... ingenious and witty."The Guardian."Extremely ingenious book, which abounds in problems that will keep the reader busy forhoursuntil in despair he turns to the answers at the end."Manchester Guardian.

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    The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Canterbury Puzzles, by Henry Ernest Dudeney

  • "The setting of these perplexities is novel ... a dramatic background being thus provided whichprevents too great aridity.... The book should be much in request."The Morning Leader.

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    First Edition, 1907

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    Second Edition(With Some Fuller Solutions and Additional Notes)THOMAS NELSON AND SONS, LTD.LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK1919

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    The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Canterbury Puzzles, by Henry Ernest Dudeney

  • Preface 9

    Introduction 11

    The Canterbury Puzzles 23

    Puzzling Times at Solvamhall Castle 58

    The Merry Monks of Riddlewell 68

    The Strange Escape of the Kings Jester 78

    The Squires Christmas Puzzle Party 86

    Adventures of the Puzzle Club 94

    The Professors Puzzles 110

    Miscellaneous Puzzles 118

    Solutions 163

    Index 251

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    PREFACEWhen preparing this new edition for the press, my first inclination was to withdraw a few puzzlesthat appeared to be of inferior interest, and to substitute others for them. But, on second thoughts,I decided to let the book stand in its original form and add extended solutions and some shortnotes to certain problems that have in the past involved me in correspondence with interestedreaders who desired additional information.

    I have also providedwhat was clearly needed for referencean index. The very nature and formof the book prevented any separation of the puzzles into classes, but a certain amount ofclassification will be found in the index. Thus, for example, if the reader has a predilection forproblems with Moving Counters, or for Magic Squares, or for Combination and Group Puzzles, hewill find that in the index these are brought together for his convenience.

    Though the problems are quite different, with the exception of just one or two little variations orextensions, from those in my book Amusements in Mathematics, each work being complete initself, I have thought it would help the reader who happens to have both books before him if Imade occasional references that would direct him to solutions and analyses in the later bookcalculated to elucidate matter in these pages. This course has also obviated the necessity of myrepeating myself. For the sake of brevity, Amusements in Mathematics is throughout referred to as A. in M.


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    The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Canterbury Puzzles, by Henry Ernest Dudeney

  • The Authors Club,July 2, 1919.

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    INTRODUCTIONReaders of The Mill on the Floss will remember that whenever Mr. Tulliver found himselfconfronted by any little difficulty he was accustomed to make the trite remark, "Its a puzzlingworld." There can be no denying the fact that we are surrounded on every hand by posers, someof which the intellect of man has mastered, and many of which may be said to be impossible ofsolution. Solomon himself, who may be supposed to have been as sharp as most men at solving apuzzle, had to admit "there be three things which are too wonderful for me; yea, four which I knownot: the way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midstof the sea; and the way of a man with a maid."

    Probing into the secrets of Nature is a passion with all men; only we select different lines ofresearch. Men have spent long lives in such attempts as to turn the baser metals into gold, todiscover perpetual motion, to find a cure for certain malignant diseases, and to navigate the air.

    From morning to night we are being perpetually brought face to face with puzzles. But there arepuzzles and puzzles. Those that are usually devised for recreation and pastime may be roughlydivided into two classes: Puzzles that are built up on some interesting or informing little principle;and puzzles that conceal no principle whateversuch as a picture cut at random into little bits tobe put together again, or the juvenile imbecility known as the "rebus," or "picture puzzle." Theformer species may be said to be adapted to the amusement of the sane man or woman; the lattercan be confidently recommended to the feeble-minded.[Pg 12]The curious propensity for propounding puzzles is not peculiar to any race or to any period ofhistory. It is simply innate in every intelligent man, woman, and child that has ever lived, though itis always showing itself in different forms; whether the individual be a Sphinx of Egypt, a Samsonof Hebrew lore, an Indian fakir, a Chinese philosopher, a mahatma of Tibet, or a Europeanmathematician makes little difference.

    Theologian, scientist, and artisan are perpetually engaged in attempting to solve puzzles, whileevery game, sport, and pastime is built up of problems of greater or less difficulty. Thespontaneous question asked by the child of his parent, by one cyclist of another while taking abrief rest on a stile, by a cricketer during the luncheon hour, or by a yachtsman lazily scanning thehorizon, is frequently a problem of considerable difficulty. In short, we are all propounding puzzlesto one another every day of our liveswithout always knowing it.

    A good puzzle should demand the exercise of our best wit and ingenuity, and although aknowledge of mathematics and a certain familiarity with the methods of logic are often of greatservice in the solution of these things, yet it sometimes happens that a kind of natural cunning andsagacity is of considerable value. For many of the best problems cannot be solved by any familiarscholastic methods, but must be attacked on entirely original lines. This is why, after a long andwide experience, one finds that particular puzzles will sometimes be solved more readily by

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    The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Canterbury Puzzles, by Henry Ernest Dudeney

  • persons possessing only naturally alert faculties than by the better educated. The best players ofsuch puzzle games as chess and draughts are not mathematicians, though it is just possible thatoften they may have undeveloped mathematical minds.

    It is extraordinary what fascination a good puzzle has for a great many people. We know the thingto be of trivial importance, yet we are impelled to master it; and when we have succeeded there isa pleasure and a sense of satisfaction that are a quite sufficient reward for our trouble, even whenthere