Saturday, October 25, 2008

Introducing logic puzzles

Since so many mums here seem to be taken with the model method for maths, I want to introduce you to my world of logic puzzles. I've been doing these for oh, I don't know, 15 years? I do them mostly at night in bed, before I go to sleep because that's the time I know I won't be interrupted by kids or work or other distractions. Also since I'm a night owl, I'm most alert at 1am in the morning when everyone else is asleep, so what better thing to do? (Kenneth says this habit is what will save me from Alzheimer's).

In my opinion, the best logic puzzles are by Dell and Penny Press (which incidentally are the same company!) I subscribe to both magazines which publish 6 issues a year each.

I realise this topic has absolutely nothing to do with kids and education, but I want to share the love for puzzles and if I have to justify this post, I'll say logic puzzles increase your mental capacity which is educational, so there!

So what are logic puzzles? They're word puzzles which you solve using deduction skills (a little like models in maths). Dell rates the difficulty of each puzzle from 1 to 5 stars (5 being the most difficult) so you can choose to do whatever you're comfortable with. Each puzzle has a little introduction of a (usually kooky) scenario, followed by a series of clues. Then a grid or diagram is provided for you to fill in your answer.

I won't bother to post a 1-star puzzle, those are very basic. This is an example of a 2-star puzzle:

Family Barbecue

Before putting their grill away for the season, the Livingstone family decided to have one more barbecue out on their patio. The family is comprised of a father, a mother and four school-age children (identified as the oldest, second-oldest, third-oldest and youngest). Each person made a shish kebab using one of three kinds of meat (beef, chicken and pork). Each also ate one of two kinds of grilled vegetables (corn on the cob and yellow squash). From the clues that follow, can you match each Livingston with his or her role in the family and the type of meat and vegetable he or she consumed? Note: Females are Denise, Marlene and Tanya and males are Kristopher, Preston and Sherman.

1. Sherman and Preston are both older than Tanya; a boy is the youngest child.

2. The two oldest children ate the same kind of meat.

3. Neither the father nor the mother ate the same kind of meat as the second-oldest child.

4. The only child who consumed the same type of vegetable as the mother is the oldest sibling.

5. The father didn't eat both pork and corn on the cob; at least one daughter ate both chicken and corn on the cob.

6. Denise and Preston ate the same type of meat; Denise and Sherman didn't eat the same type of vegetable.

7. At least one family member older than Marlene didn't have the same type of vegetable as Marlene.

8. The father didn't eat chicken but the mother and two of the children did.

This is the grid provided for solving the puzzle.

This is an example of a 3-star puzzle:

R is For Rosebud

Someone had been purloining the rosebuds right off of Clara Peabody-Clarke's prize-winning bushes. The distraught Clara asked her dear friend Jean Marble (known by her neighbours as the "Super Snooper") to ferret out the guilty party. After only one day of nosing around, Jean discovered seven different items, each of which belonged to a different suspect. Each of the suspects lives on a different street in the nearby village and has a different day job. As it turns out, all of the suspects were guilty and they all chipped in to buy Clara an expensive new vase to show off her lovely blossoms. From the information provided, can you determine the order in which Jean found each item, the full name of the suspect to whom it belonged, the name of each suspect's street, and each person's day job? Note: Women are Amy, Elizabeth and Margaret and men are Andrew, Charles, Edwin and William.

1. The owner of the third item Jean found, Margaret, and the one surnamed York are the antiques dealer, the travel agent and the postmistress (who is a woman), in some order. The owner of the seventh item Jean found, the suspect who left behind a button from his or her jacket, and the resident of Chandlers Alley are the grocer, the publican and the vicar, in some order.

2. The first item Jean found and the objects belonging to Ms Butler and the carpenter are the gardening glove, the initialed handkerchief and the boot, in some order. The items Jean found belonging to Edwin, the resident of Hastings Square and the grocer are the button, the bowl of potpourri and the secateurs, in some order.

3. The owner of the boot matching the bootprint Jean found in Clara's garden, Mr Jones and the travel agent live on High Street (which is where a female suspect resides), Lamplighters Lane and Queen's Circle, in some order. The owner of the sixth item Jean discovered, Charles and the one surnamed MacDonald live on Hastings Square, Peabody Road and Riverside Way (which is the location of a male suspect's home), in some order.

4. The suspect whose sleeve caught on the garden gate's latch and left a purple thread Jean found, William, and the publican, own the second, fourth and sixth items Jean discovered, in some order. The one surnamed Llewellyn, Amy and the antiques dealer are the owners of the first, third and fifth items Jean found, in some order.

5. The surnames of the owner of the seventh item Jean found, Andrew and the postmistress are Jones, MacDonald and York, in some order. The surnames of the owner of the secateurs Jean tripped over near the birdbath in Clara's garden, Margaret and the carpenter are Llewellyn, O'Rourke and Smith, in some order.

6. The suspect who left behind the purple thread as evidence, the one surnamed O'Rourke and the one who lives on Lamplighters Lane are Amy, Elizabeth and William, in some order. The owner of the fourth piece of evidence Jean collected, the one who misplaced the gardening glove and the vicar are Andrew, Charles and Edwin, in some order.

Note: when the clue says "in some order", it means it's not necessarily in the respective order that it was listed. This is the solving grid:

Since I'm been doing these for a long time, I generally prefer the 4 and 5-star puzzles as they're more challenging. The 5-star ones are usually so mind-bending that they can keep me up for many nights (sometimes to the point where I give up and take a peek at the answer for a clue!) But for newbies, the 2 and 3-star puzzles should be enough to keep you occupied for a while.

I'll post the answers maybe tomorrow and depending on the response, I might post more puzzles. Happy solving!


Anonymous said... I understand why you are such a good 'model' mom. :) Very nice of you to type in all these puzzles for mad mama like me...

Actually I must make a confession here. When Lilian said I did my "model" solutions like assessment book, that was because I found it easier to use digital media. When I make a mistake, it is easier to erase and redo. I see that you do it on paper, must be very trained to be able to hit the model right away...for me, I may be killing more trees.

In exams, do they provide rough paper for working? btw, do you know that there is a "model" template sold to draw such models for the kids to use during exams?


monlim said...

Hi qx, I do it on paper not cos I'm so good I can get it right, sometimes it takes a few tries. But I'm such a dunce in digital applications, I'll never be able to create those great models like you! Use recycled paper lor, we have a whole tray of those :)

I asked Lesley-Anne whether they're given rough paper for working, she says no but they've been told to use pencil for models so they can be erased. Definitely not heard of any model templates :)

Alcovelet said...

Monica, so lao qwee abt the math questions - I can't even begin to read them - my eyes keep dodging, like got vision problems like that, haha! This one appeals to me though - used to love doing puzzles till work and real life took over. I did the 1st one this morning but think I won't have time for the 2nd time till much later, so I'll post my answer for the 1st now.

Father-Sherman, beef, squash
Mother - Marlene, chicken, corn
#1 - Preston, pork, corn
#2 - Denise, pork, squash
#3 - Tanya, chicken, corn
#4 - Kristopher, chicken, squash

monlim said...

Ad: these puzzles are very addictive! Sometimes, when I can't solve one, it'll keep me up till 3am and by then, I'm too keyed up and annoyed about not being able to get it to fall asleep!

Your answers not quite right, I'll post the solution tomorrow, including the "how to". Don't worry, it just takes getting used to (like models!!)

Alcovelet said...

(Lao qwee) X 2!!!

monlim said...

Haha, no lah, you're new at this mah...

breve1970 said...

Wa... so happening. Will try my hardest lah.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...for some strange house has run out of recycled paper to be used as rough paper. Most of our recycled paper are already used both sides and we recycle them into little paper boxes to contain our little garbage.

Oh, the template was unknown to me until my kid's Math teacher told me about it. I was told it was available in Popular but I got mine by chance when roaming around in a HDB stationery store. The brand of the template is "Elsoon" if you are keen to get it.


monlim said...

Template for models? *faints* Told you I'm very clueless. Just only realised from MD on Lilian's blog that DSA got General Ability Test. Never heard before. Lesley-Anne going for DSA next year some more!! Sigh...

Lilian said...

Wahhh, that Father didn't take pork AND corn threw me way off. Tried 3 times before giving up. Gotta go to sleep now, it's 1040pm in Tokyo.

monlim said...

WAHHH!!!! Lilian, I kowtow to you - you're in Tokyo on holiday and still take time to read blog and try puzzles!!!! You're a true blue member of IAA!!

Anonymous said...

Oh seems like we are off thrown off track by the dad's diet..LOL..

Anyway, I am also a clueless mom, so I have to read YOUR blogs!!!


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