Section: Age and Kinship Puzzles

"The days of our years are threescore years and ten." —Psalm xc. 10.

For centuries it has been a favorite method of propounding arithmetical puzzles to pose them in the form of questions as to the age of an individual. They generally lend themselves to very easy solution by the use of algebra, though often the difficulty lies in stating them correctly. They may be made very complex and may demand considerable ingenuity, but no general laws can well be laid down for their solution. The solver must use his own sagacity. As for puzzles in relationship or kinship, it is quite curious how bewildering many people find these things. Even in ordinary conversation, some statement as to the relationship, which is quite clear in the mind of the speaker, will immediately tie the brains of other people into knots. Such expressions as "He is my uncle's son-in-law's sister" convey absolutely nothing to some people without a detailed and labored explanation. In such cases, the best course is to sketch a brief genealogical table, when the eye comes immediately to the assistance of the brain. In these days, when we have a growing lack of respect for pedigrees, most people have got out of the habit of rapidly drawing such tables, which is to be regretted, as they would save a lot of time and brain racking on occasions.

  1. Problem: Mamma's Age
  2. Problem: Their Ages
  3. Problem: The Family Ages
  4. Problem: Mrs. Timpkin's Age
  5. Problem: A Census Puzzle
  6. Problem: Mother and Daughter
  7. Problem: Mary and Marmaduke
  8. Problem: Rover's Age
  9. Problem: Concerning Tommy's Age
  10. Problem: Next-door Neighbors
  11. Problem: The Bag of Nuts
  12. Problem: How Old Was Mary?
  13. Problem: Queer Relationships
  14. Problem: Heard on the Tube Railway
  15. Problem: A Family Party
  16. Problem: A Mixed Pedigree
  17. Problem: Wilson's Poser

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Project Gutenberg

  1. Dudeney, H. E.: "Amusements in Mathematics", The Authors' Club, 1917

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