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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Probability Puzzle from Martin Gardner

Mr. Jones has a bunch of daughters. If you pick 2 of them randomly, there's a 50% chance that both will be blue eyed. How many daughters does he have and what color eyes do they have?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Yesterday this Mechanical Puzzle Correspondent received a phone call from a political pollster about the New York City race for Mayor. (Yes, it was during dinner.)

The first question: "Do you blog?"

"Yes, but nothing to do with politics."

"Sorry, we can't poll opinion makers."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tucker Jones Tavern Puzzles

The good folks at Tucker Jones - Donna & Dennis Sucilsky are running a contest.

"What is it?" Contest #1
Send us an email with CONTEST #1 as the subject line. Include your name and address (required).

Send your answer to

Be as specific as possible with your answer.
Hint: Visit our website for a clue to help you figure out what is shown in the photo.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Brain String

My friend Nancy in Canada is a big fan of entanglements. Brain String is interesting. You move the pegs and watch the inner strings form crazy knots. Good luck disentangling them! Brain String is the brain child of Guido Lap and Oskar van Deventer.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Puzzle King

Betsy Carter has written a novel about her great uncle Simon Phelps who was hailed by Time Magazine as The Puzzle King. Simon Phelps created die-cut jigsaw puzzles and made a mint. The novel is not really about puzzles. It's about Jews moving to America before the rise of Nazi Germany and then trying to get family members out. The first mention of puzzles appears on page 244! Nevertheless, it's still a good read. The real Puzzle King was Morris Einson.

Anne Williams - jigsaw puzzle scholar/expert was consulted by the author.

This blog is hoping that more novels & films will feature puzzlers as main characters!

By the way, look for the February 2010 issue of Games Magazine which will hit newsstands Dec 1. I have an article about MODERN jigsaws.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Puzzles in the News

Geek's puzzling present for traveling pal's nups

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Martin Gardner!!!!

Every 2 years there is a Gathering For Gardner. It's a convention that brings together people interested in puzzles, recreational mathematics, and magic. The next one will be in March 2010. Naturally, I'll be attending and covering the event for Games Magazine.

My favorite Martin Gardner puzzle is the one about the 5 men on an island gathering coconuts.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Microxylometagrabologist

Allan Boardman is the world's greatest Microxylometagrabologist. He specializes in making the tiniest interlocking puzzles. Check out the 3 piece Burr resting on FDR's nose. I believe Allan has attended all but 1 of the 29 International Puzzle Parties. (I've attended 9, by contrast.)

So, go buy his book!

Games Magazine (Sept 2006) has a 2-page article about Allan Boardman. Maybe you can buy an old copy by contacting the magazine. Or check ebay. If that fails, contact me.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Master Pyramorphinx

I've had my eye on getting this puzzle for more than 15 years. Finally, it is made available at

It's challenging! However, this Mechanical Puzzle Expert was able to decode it and come up with a solving algorithm. However, this puzzle can be JUMBLED. I did jumble it, and resorted to taking it apart.

What is JUMBLING? Jumbling is when you make a half turn, and then continue. So in this instance, a corner piece could be moved to an edge or center piece.

Jethro Tull wrote a song about this puzzle concept called Bungle in the Jumble. Most people thought he said Jungle.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Disco Ball

Who needs a disco ball when you can illuminate your party with the new Rubik's TouchCube? Very cool. But essentially the same puzzle.

See photo below.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rubik's TouchCube

Just got my new electronic Rubik's TouchCube. It's completely electronic and has a terrific glow. Since it's still daytime & I couldn't wait, I went into the closet to solve it. Will the editors at Games Magazine appreciate the suffering of this poor Mechanical Puzzle Correspondent?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Double Trouble

Double Trouble - by the legendary Larry Nichols - who invented the first 2x2x2 Rubik's Cube. The Grabarchuk Framily is hosting this little gem. It's an online puzzle that resembles the 15 puzzle. Here's the catch: you must shift 2 tiles at a time.

It would be great to have a mechanical version of this. But this online version is great anyway.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Turbo Mind Twister

The Turbo Mind Twister is essentially the same puzzle as Saturn. (See the previous post.) It's made by out friends at FoxMind. We wrote an article about the FoxMind puzzle products about 2 years ago for Games Magazine.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Saturn Puzzle

The Saturn Puzzle consists of 8 sliding tiles - tricky. A must for the sequential movement fan!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wriggle Puzzles for iphone You can play some wriggle puzzles on this site. They're small - but tough!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hyper Frame

Hyper Frame puzzles are very similar to Lab Mice Puzzles. They're fun & addictive. Just remember to eat & sleep.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


If you're a fan of pentominoes (I'm not), check out this online magazine that's devoted to them. Produced by Rodolfo Kurchan