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 1981 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 1981 we present an assortment of 15 timely and classical puzzles. They 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 $50.00 for the best set of solutions to puzzles 12
through 15 received before March 1, 1981. The answers to these four are omitted
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 May 1, we will send the answers to these four, together with a discussion
of other answers, to anyone sending 25¢ and a self-addressed stamped envelope to
"Puzzle Answers," Old Farmer's Almanac, Dublin, New Hampshire 03444.
We'll pay $25.00 for any original puzzles we use in the 1982 Old Farmer's Almanac.
Closing date for submission is March 1, 1981. Entries become the property of Yankee,
Inc., and cannot be acknowledged or returned.
We received more replies and good answers than ever in 1980. The winner was Richard
D. Collier of Watervliet, N.Y. (94 points), closely followed by Charles Bahne, Jr.,
Cambridge, Mass. (92.5 points). Next came Leon Kreidler, Sheboygan, Wis. (91.5),
followed by Burton Kaliski, Jr., Manchester, N.H. (91). There were two 90.5's, Wayne
E. Russell, Davenport, la., and Lloyd T. Prathers, Twain Harte, Cal. Right behind
them were Newton Amos, St. Louis, Mo., Herbert L. Hess, Wahiawa, Hawaii, and D.
L. Mabbott, Glenburnie, Md., at 90. There were 15 others with scores over 82. A
real horse race! Congratulations to all.
Posted May 1, 2021