From the Publisher
The Time-Honored Fun of Brain Teasers
Since the dawn of civilization, we have been fascinated by conundrums, rebuses, riddles, and enigmas of all kinds. The historical record has made this quite obvious, demonstrating our innate propensity for puzzles and games that has no parallel in any other species. In this book, you’ll find a stimulating collection of the most popular puzzles in history. Here is a sneak preview of some of the head-scratchers in this book:
What’s an anagram and how does it work?
Anagrams are words or phrases created by rearranging the letters of other words or phrases. Their origin goes right back to the dawn of recorded history. In antiquity, however, these word games were hardly perceived as mere entertainment; rather, they were believed to harbor secrets or prophetic messages. Below is a classic nut in this genre, meant for enjoyment, not divination!
If you rearrange the letters of the word admirer you will get a word referring to two people in a legal union. What word is that?
How would you describe the legal status of people who are husband and wife?
- The rearranged word is married. Successfully married people are also admirers of each other, aren’t they?
Math: signs, signs
This type of puzzle was a favorite of some of the great puzzlists, including Loyd and Dudeney. It can certainly be a head scratcher.
Provide the missing signs (+, −, ×, ÷) that would make
the numbers provided work in the following equation:
34 ? 43 ? 6 = 71
You may have to try out a few possibilities. Just use your
basic math sense.
- 34 + 43 – 6 = 71.
Logic: missing letters
This puzzle was invented by math wizard Theoni Pappas, as far as we can tell. It may look simple, but it is truly a brain teaser.
What two letters are missing in this set:
A, H, I, M, O, T, U, V, W, ?, ?
Notice that there is something specific about the shape of the letters.
- X, Y. All these letters do not change when reflected in a mirror. The letters are listed alphabetically.
About the Author
MARCEL DANESI teaches on the history of puzzles at Victoria College of the University of Toronto. Danesi has written puzzles for Reader’s Digest, The Toronto Star, and also maintains a blog on puzzles for Psychology Today. He has also published several best-selling puzzle books, such as The Total Brain Workout and The Complete Brain Workout.