When a man says, "I have never solved a puzzle in my life", it is difficult to know exactly what he means, for every intelligent individual is doing it every day. The unfortunate inmates of our lunatic asylums are sent there expressly because they cannot solve puzzles - they have lost their power to reason. If there were no puzzles to solve, there would be no questions to ask; and if there were no questions to be asked, what a world it would be! We should all be equally omniscient, and conversation would be useless and idle.
It is possible that some few exceedingly sober-minded mathematicians, who are impatient of any terminology in their favourite science but the academic, and who object to the elusive x and y appearing under any other names, will have wished that various problems had been presented in a less popular dress and introduced with a less flippant phraseology. i can only refer them to the first word of my title and remind them that we are primarily out to be amused - not, it is true, without some hope of picking up morsels of knowledge by the way. If the manner is light, I can only say, in the words of Touchstone, that it is "an ill-favoured thing, sir, but my own; a poor humour of mine, sir."
As for the question of difficulty, some of the puzzles, especially in the Arithmetical and Algebraical category, are quite easy. Yet some of those examples that look the simplest should not be passed over without a little consideration, for now and again it will be found that there is some more or less subtle pitfall or trap into which the reader may be apt to fall. it is good exercise to cultivate the habit of being very wary over the exact wording of a puzzle. It teaches exactitude and caution. But some of the problems are very hard nuts indeed, and not unworthy of the attention of the advanced mathematician. Readers will doubtless select according to their individual taste.
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