All posts by Tim Boester

Puzzle Books

The sidebar of the logic article I wrote in Imagine contains several books about puzzles. Here is an extended, annotated version of that list:

Books by and about Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, 1832-1898):

Two books detailing his mathematical puzzles, including sections on “game of logic”:

Lewis Carroll in Numberland: His Fantastical Mathematical Logical Life by Robin Wilson (W. W. Norton & Co., 2010)

The Universe in a Handkerchief, Lewis Carroll’s Mathematical Recreations, Games, Puzzles, and Word Plays by Martin Gardner (Copernicus, 1998)

Lewis Carroll’s two major works of logic are now published as one volume:

Symbolic Logic and the Game of Logic by Lewis Carroll (Dover Publications, 1958)

A collection of Lewis Carroll’s puzzles that remained unfinished upon his death:

Rediscovered Lewis Carroll Puzzles, Newly Compiled and Edited by Edward Wakeling (Dover Publications, 1996)

A new edition of the absolutely authoritative and exhaustive guide to both classics: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Extensive annotations concerning the background and influences of the work, the historical context, and how the works comment on the state of mathematics:

The Annotated Alice: 150th Anniversary Deluxe Edition by Lewis Carroll, Introduction and Notes by Martin Gardner, Original Illustrations by John Tenniel (W. W. Norton & Company, 2015)

A selection of books by Raymond M. Smullyan (ordered chronologically):

What Is the Name of This Book? The Riddle of Dracula and Other Logical Puzzles (Dover Publications, 1978)

The Lady or the Tiger? and Other Logic Puzzles (Random House, 1982)

Satan, Cantor and Infinity: Mind-Boggling Puzzles (Dover Publications, 1992)

The Riddle of Scheherazade and Other Amazing Puzzles (Harcourt, 1997)

King Arthur in Search of His Dog and Other Curious Puzzles (Dover Publications, 2010)

The Gödelian Puzzle Book: Puzzles, Paradoxes and Proofs (Dover Publications, 2013)

Books about Sudoku and other number logic puzzles:

A mathematical exploration of Sudoku, including how many Sudoku puzzles there are, how many clues are necessary, and different fields of mathematics that can help us better understand Sudoku:

Taking Sudoku Seriously: The Math Behind the World’s Most Popular Pencil Puzzle by Jason Rosenhouse and Laura Taalman (Oxford University Press, 2009)

For more background on Latin Squares and other mathematical concepts that Sudoku are based upon:

Before Sudoku: The World of Magic Squares by Seymour S. Block and Santiago A. Tavares (Oxford University Press, 2009)

For a thorough guide of basic and advanced solving strategies (this excellent book is unfortunately out of print):

Teach Yourself Advanced Sudoku and Kakuro by Nick Afka Thomas (McGraw-Hill, 2006)

For many, many more examples of different types of number puzzles (another excellent book that is currently out of print):

Japanese Number Puzzles by Anthony Immanuvel (Running Press, 2006)

Masters of Deduction

Imagine magazine has graciously allowed me to share with everyone the logic article I wrote for their most recent issue!

Click on the above thumbnails to open jpegs of each page, or use this link for a PDF

I mentioned some of my own puzzles in the article:

• I’ve written several logic puzzles (organized both chronologically, in the order they were published, and thematically), including a few special holiday logic puzzles.

• Two logic puzzles were specifically styled after Raymond Smullyan’s “knights and knaves” or “truth tellers and liars” puzzles. The first Castaway puzzle (based on the reality television show Survivor), adds people who sometimes lie and sometimes tell the truth. Smullyan calls these people “normals”. The second Castaway puzzle, not mentioned in the article, defines different ways in which people might lie based on whom they are speaking to. I have not found a similar Smullyan puzzle (although by no means have I read them all).

• The rubber stamp puzzles were directly influenced by battleship puzzles I had seen in Games magazine. Another example of a grid-based number puzzle, albeit one I created and not based on one of the Nikoli puzzles, are the gerrymandering puzzles. Another example of a puzzle I created that was inspired by a different puzzle are the space pods puzzles. I wrote a blog entry about how I tried to improve upon another Games magazine puzzle I had seen.

The article also includes a sidebar of puzzle books. I’ve listed those in a separate blog post if you’re interested in details and links.

Again, I’d like to thank Imagine and my editor, Melissa Hartman, for giving me the opportunity to write an article like this, in addition to my continued puzzle contributions. If you like the article and Knossos Games in general, please consider subscribing.

Welcome Logic Fans

If you’re here because you read the article I wrote on logic and puzzlemaking in the recent issue of Imagine, you might want to check out the following:

There are “origin story” blog entries for some of the logic puzzles I’ve written: the Coin Box problem, the Two-Year Garden problem, and the Castaway (Part 1) problem. I’m working on more.

I also wrote about the updates (part 1, part 2) of the logic puzzles for the most recent version of the web site.

Finally, here’s the blog entry that started it all, where I discuss how making puzzles and my job as an educational psychologist are really two sides to the same coin.

More Gerrymandering

FiveThirtyEight.com also got into the puzzle-themed election spirit with some of their own Gerrymandering puzzles (one easy, one way hard). They come from Eli Ross at Brilliant.org, which also has a small selection of gerrymandering puzzles on its site.

FiveThirtyEight’s weekly The Riddler column has an excellent variety of difficult math puzzles. Scroll to the end to also get a curated collection of new puzzles appearing in the last week.

Fall ’16 Updates Just Around the Corner

It was an active summer here at Knossos Games HQ, with two warm-weather themed updates (Park Trails and Park Cleanup Logic puzzle). But the big news was that Tim moved to Chicago to start his new job as the Director of the Mathematical Sciences Learning Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

As always, the Knossos Games summer hiatus was spent preparing updates and puzzles for the magazine and website (as well as packing and unpacking a lot of boxes!). As I’ve commented before, several things are always going on at once, and the summer was spent writing puzzles, preparing site updates, and generally getting things organized. There are a lot of exciting updates coming!

Site Updates: June 2016

An ongoing catalogue of Knossos Games website issues and minor updates.


Updated through WordPress 4.5.3

Fixed a bug I discovered in the old version of the Categories listing (from the Version 6 section of the site) that occurred when I updated the Greek Temple puzzles in April. That listing is not regularly updated, but is maintained to support the Version 6 section of the website.

This month’s major updates included the Park Trails puzzle in celebration of National Trails day (June 4) and Logic puzzle #19: Park Cleanup in celebration of the solstice (June 20).

Unfortunately, the Park Trails puzzle wasn’t completely finished in time for June 4 as planned. The solution page was later updated to include a detailed solution and the photo on the instruction page was updated to fix a resolution problem (using the standard trick of having a higher resolution image, in this case 800 x 600, displayed at a lower resolution, 400 x 300).