# Questions tagged [puzzle-history]

The history of puzzles and their creation, as well as any methodologies which have developed over time. For puzzles about history, use the [history] tag instead.

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### Was “Crook's algorithm” for Sudoku really only developed in the 21st century?

The following algorithm for simplifying (and very often completely solving) Sudoku puzzles: Label each cell with the set of all possible values it could take. Pick a row/column/block and for a value ...
196 views

### Find the result of this dual key cipher

I came up with a neat little cipher that I'm calling the dual key cipher. The basic premise is that there are two cipher keys that, when used together can decode the cipher text against a given ...
344 views

### Copycat Chess, Again

Your task is to reconstruct a chess game, which was played according to standard chess rules, given the following information: the first 7 moves by white were exactly copied by black (i.e. if white ...
385 views

### What's the origin of the story about the inheritance of 17 animals in certain fractional parts?

From TIME to TIME to TIME someone poses a riddle about an inheritance of 17 animals to be distributed to three sons in specified fractions. My version, complete with an answer, goes like this: A ...
304 views

### Were there any real-life 'escape rooms' before Real Escape Game in Japan?

According to Wikipedia, the first official 'escape room' was Real Escape Game in Japan. However, I can't find anything about a physical escape-the-room type activity before that, and I seem to recall ...
2k views

### Source of: Two Doors with Two Guards - 1 lies 1 tells the truth riddle?

I am looking for the source to the riddle that involved two doors: safety/destruction two guards: one always lies/one always tells the truth time for a single question from a single gaurd. I first ...
476 views

### Edward and Bruce

Turning my back on you A la a dramatic insult Like Edward and Bruce Q U W Z T F Z ' Q A Q ...
481 views

### Another literacy test question

This comes from the 1964 Louisiana literacy test for eligibility to vote. Write every other word in this first line and print every third word in same line (original type smaller and first line ...
496 views

### Puzzle that consists of all possible combinations of pieces containing 5 squares

When I was a child my father gave me a wooden puzzle that consisted of pieces that represented every possible combination of 5 squares. The goal was to arrange the pieces in various rectangular ...
220 views

### Labyrinthus Londoninensis, or The Equestrian Perplexed

This is far from an original puzzle, but I thought it fit our current fortnightly challenge so well that it ought to be included here. I saw it on the Futility Closet website, but it was originally ...
375 views

### History of “Bulls and Cows”

Bulls and Cows is a game that predates Mastermind but is closely related. The wikipedia has for first dates of Mastermind as 1970. What is the earliest reference to the game Bulls and Cows?
13k views

### Protagoras's Paradox. An Unsolved Court Case

Many years ago, a Law teacher came across a student who was willing to learn but was unable to pay the fees.The student struck a deal saying, "I will pay your fee the day I win my first case in the ...
2k views

### A Chess Puzzle With a Twist

You enter a chess club and see pieces arranged on a board like this: Someone tells you that 2 players were playing a game (according to standard chess rules). At the end white announced a mate in 4, ...
4k views

### A ship departs from Le Havre

In the puzzling community, the French mathematician Édouard Lucas is well-known as the inventor of the Towers of Hanoi. Beyond the Towers of Hanoi, Lucas' recreational math book "Récréations ...
12k views

### Plant 9 trees in 10 rows of 3

"Tree-planting" puzzles are also known as "points and lines" puzzles. The English puzzle author and mathematician Henry Ernest Dudeney was very fond of them. In 1917, Dudeney published a collection ...
5k views

### Unsolved Mysteries: D'Agapeyeff cipher

The D'Agapeyeff cipher is an as-yet unbroken cipher that appears in the first edition of "Codes and Ciphers", an elementary book on cryptography published by the cryptographer Alexander D'Agapeyeff in ...
2k views

### A man bought several liters of wine

Diophantus of Alexandria was a Greek mathematician who lived in the third century (AD). Diophantus wrote a series of books called "Arithmetica", most of which are lost. Among many other problems, the ...
3k views

### Turning wine into water

Niccolò Tartaglia was an Italian mathematician, engineer and bookkeeper, living in the 16th century in the Republic of Venice. Tartaglia published many books, including his "General Trattato di Numeri"...
6k views

### A man possesses a large quantity of stamps

James Joseph Sylvester was one the greatest British mathematicians of the 19th century, who made many fundamental contributions to number theory, combinatorics, and invariant theory. In 1884, he ...
2k views

### The grazing cows of Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton's book "Arithmetica Universalis" contains the following famous puzzle: In $4$ weeks, $12$ cows graze bare $3\frac13$ acres of pasture land, and in $9$ weeks, $21$ cows graze ...
496 views

### What is the best name for true-tellers, liars and normals

In the world exists a lot of puzzles based on variations of true-tellers, liars and normals (sometimes lies, sometimes not). There are plenty of names for these characters, for example see the ...
8k views

### Alternative solutions to the riddle of the Sphinx? [closed]

One of the oldest known riddles is the riddle (ainigma) of the Sphinx. In ancient Greek tradition the Sphinx devoured all those who failed to solve it, but she destroyed herself instead when Oedipus ...
3k views

### Kits, Cats, Sacks, Wives; How Many Were Going to St Ives?

As I was going to St Ives, I met a man with seven wives. Each wife had seven sacks, Each sack had seven cats, Each cat had seven kits. Kits, cats, sacks, wives; How many were going ...
2k views

### What's the oldest recorded puzzle?

So this starts out as a pretty simple question: what's the oldest recorded puzzle? I'm aware that we could get into "what's the definition of a puzzle" here, and I don't want to get sidetracked by ...
596 views

### origin of the “missing dollar puzzle”

I am wondering when the missing dollar puzzle first appeared. I am sure I read it forty years ago or so, but maybe it is much older. Does anyone knows it?
2k views

### An arithmetic puzzle from 1645

The following problem is found in the first Norwegian arithmetic, published in 1645 by Tyge Hansøn: Three hundred oxen large and small, A cattle owner wanted to buy: 3 for 63 daler he got. ...
2k views

### The smallest crossword

I heard Martin Gardner in one of his books presented a crossword, which looks like 3x3 square. Could you help me to find it? Also, have been there a smaller crossword puzzle created?
1k views

### Are there any popular puzzles with polynomial-time algorithms?

First, a little background: as I noted in my answer to another question here, most of the puzzles that seem to stay popular for extended periods of time are canonically 'hard' in an algorithmic sense: ...
646 views

### What kind of glues are not conducive to long-term puzzle preservation?

If one has a very large puzzle of an image that one desires to mount and frame; what kind of glues would damage the puzzle piece over time? I have heard of 'puzzle glues', but question if this is ...