# It’s a Puzzlement

## By Terry Stickels

TERRY STICKELS MAY well be this country’s premier puzzle person, maybe even the best in the world. He has an impressive page on Wikipedia. He has his own website. He’s made a living writing logic puzzles, and writing about logic puzzles, for decades.

Stickels is widely known for his three internationally syndicated columns. Frame Games, seen in “USA Weekend” magazine, is read by over 48,000,000 people in 600 newspapers weekly. He concurrently writes Stickelers for King Features, appearing in over 200 newspapers daily. This column is carried by such papers as the “Washington Post,” “The Chicago Sun Times,” “The Denver Post,” and the “Toronto Star.” He also is the featured puzzle columnist for the “Guardian” newspaper, London’s largest newspaper.

Recently we asked Terry if he would be interested in contributing a few brain teasers of a science fiction bent that would challenge even the rocket scientists among us. And he did. So without further ado, we are happy to present a handful of thoroughly confounding enigmas, by Terry Stickels. Solutions can be found in next month’s issue.

**Hungry in Orbit**

Captain Marco Tyler and the crew of the star freighter *Othello* are in orbit around dwarf planet B-234, completing repairs. This could take days. They have enough water on board, but the accident destroyed their food supply. Only their cargo of Neptunian jerky remains edible.

When Captain Tyler eats jerky in the morning, he eats none in the afternoon. If he eats jerky in the afternoon, he has none in the morning.

In one period of time, he had no jerky on nine mornings and six afternoons, but there were thirteen days when jerky was eaten. How many total days were involved in that period?

Here are some tips that will help you solve this: There can be days when no jerky is eaten, but any day counts when jerky is eaten in the morning or afternoon, but not both.

**Solve for N**

The equation shown at the left was on the 2213 Astrogator Certificate exam. Can you solve it?

A solution for N is: 4, 9, 64, 128, or 256.

**Doing Time**

The warlike inhabitants of Zigmond VII have an unusual numbering system. It only includes the number 1. It isn't even binary. But they are humane in an odd way, presenting a puzzle with which their prisoners can determine their own lengths of incarceration. The Zigmondians recently captured a group of humans.

Usiing four ones and no more than two math operations or symbols, what is the smallest positive number you can create? For this puzzle, you can't use the factorial function (!) or trig functions. They don't exist on Zigmond VII. The freedom of your fellow humans is at stake.

**Dinner is Served**

The not-so-warlike inhabitants of Zigmond V have a numbering system much like that on Earth. They also worship mathematics. Yesterday, for example, they gave their prisoners (232 + 1) meals, which was completely divisible by the number of prisoners. Everybody was satisfied. Today they offered the same prisoners the choice of these numbers of meals, one of which is completely divisible by the same number of prisoners. Which number should the prisoners choose?

A. (216 + 1)

B. (216 - 1)

C. (7 × 223)

D. (296 + 1)

**Counting Cubes**

Rescue vessel *Cynthia Rose* received a distress call earlier. An image of this strange spaceship *[at right]* appeared on their long-range monitor, along with the information that, when translated, explained each cube housed a single individual. The rescue vessel will have to make accommodations for each one. How many cubes are in the configuration? All rows and columns run to completion unless you

actually see them end.

**Hanging Around**

Captain Janine Lao and her crew remain trapped in the Cave of the Ancients. In order to get out, they have to attach carved idols strewn on the floor to a mobile hanging from the ceiling. The mobile must be perfectly balanced on all levels. All the idols must be used. There is a 50-weight idol already in its proper position. The remaining idols are 10, 20, 30, 40, and 60.

**An Alien Puzzle**

Here's a game that is very popular with the youngsters from Flatland. It is usually associated with holidays. The correct solution wins the first bite of the roasted waterworm.

Nine identical sheets of ternium are used to create this design. A full-size sheet is shown as “I.” Sheets may be laid on top of each other. If sheet “D” were laid down first, and sheet “F” laid down seventh, in what order would sheet “G” be placed?

**Commuter Calc**

Molly drives her hovercar 42 kilometers to the robot factory. Due to construction, she can average only ten kph on the first 21 kilometers of the trip. How fast must Molly go on the second half of the trip to average 19 kph for the entire trip?

**Shell Game**

Remember the strange compartmentalized vessel from the “Counting Cubes” puzzle? The rescue vessel *Cynthia Rose* encountered another one, which has been broken into five parts and is drifting in space. The passengers and crew are located in one of the parts. The other parts are empty and can be ignored. Four of the parts are oriented the same. Only one of the parts is different in the way it is oriented in space, and that is the one with the passengers. Which part should the *Cynthia Rose* dock with?

**Ecology on Mars**

How many spitweeds and Martian bees are there if both the following statements are true?

1. If each Martian bee lands on a spitweed, one bee doesn't get a spitweed.

2. If two Martian bees share each spitweed, there are two spitweeds left alone.

**Battle Stations**

A photon torpedo gunner can hit the FTL drive compartment of the enemy vessel one out of three times. If the gunner shoots four shots in succession, what is the probability of successfully hitting the target at least once?

*Terry Stickels is the author of numerous puzzle books, calendars, card decks and posters featuring critical thinking skills. Stickels is a lifelong member of Mensa, One In A Thousand Society, the International High IQ Society, and the Epimetheus Society.*