The problem that no one got even though (a) I ran it twice over a period of many weeks, (b) gave big fat hints, and (c) told you you could cheat shamelessly. The problem was: “If you’re flying in an aeroplane at night and happen to see the reflection of the full moon in a large river like the Ganges below, you’ll find the reflection’s so big that it no longer fits into the width of the river. Why?” And the answer is: Since the height of the plane is negligible compared to the distance of the moon, the moon’s image will appear to have the same size from the ground and the plane. However, the width of the river will definitely appear to shrink as we go up. Hence there will come a point above which the river will appear narrower than the reflected moon.
Okay moving on to analogies now. You know how it works, right? Here’s an example: NOSE is to SMELL as EAR is to? . . . and the answer is HEAR. Here are eight more in increasing order of difficulty. If you get even four right send it in. HEEL is to ACHILLES as BOX is to?; NIGHT is to DAY as NOCTURNAL is to?; TEETH is to HEN as NEST is to?; 60 is to 59 as NEO is to?; SEA is to LITTORAL as RIVER is to?; CIVIL is to PAPAL as AMBASSADOR is to?; LENIN is to PSEUDONYMOUS as LENINGRAD is to?; RUTHLESS is to MYRMIDON as IMITATIVE is to?
The first puzzle concerned two famous fast gunmen of the Wild West who faced a probability problem during a shootout contest.
The probability of Morgan Earp equalling OR bettering Bat Masterson’s record is 0.14453125. So was Bat right in arguing that he was better? He would have been right 219 times out of 256. I’d say he was darn right considering how negligible the ratio of him being wrong to him being right is. (A very bad 0.16894977). -- Sarvesh C K, firstname.lastname@example.org
The second problem was: “How to get 1/3 litre water out of a flat rectangular straight-sided pan four units long, three units broad and one unit deep holding exactly one litre of water, with no other means of measuring except a level surface kitchen table.”
Tilt the pan and fill water such that it forms a straight line edge along the diagonal of the base. This produces a right triangular pyramid. The volume is 1/6 lbh so repeat this twice to get 1/3rd. Hope fully you have a bowl to transfer else it might need more complicated tilts. -- Subramanian C A, email@example.com
And the third one was simple: “What’s the next most appropriate word in this series: AID, NATURE, WORLD, ESTATE, COLUMN, SENSE, ?”
The answer is: FIRST aid, SECOND nature, THIRD world, FOURTH estate, FIFTH column, SIXTH sense . . . giving us, SEVENTH CLOUD? – Dr V N Parameshwaran, firstname.lastname@example.org (Good try Doc but not quite as the following will highlight -- MS)
The logic is using the ordinals in sequence, hence: FIRST Aid, SECOND Nature, THIRD World, FOURTH Estate, FIFTH Column, SIXTH Sense. The next would therefore be SEVENTH HEAVEN or SEVENTH ART (cinema). -- Hema Parthasarathy, email@example.com
Eighth silly problem. After FIRST Aid, SECOND Nature, THIRD World, FOURTH Estate, FIFTH Column, SIXTH Sense comes SEVENTH HEAVEN. And regarding the number of colours needed for dough nut -- it is seven too. Persons familiar with topology know it and anyone who can Google can find it. (Perhaps the problems in endgame should have some spark and fire but not drab with the only skill required being just to hit the search button). -- A V Ramana Rao, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Firstly AVRR half the problems at the end are usually reader submissions and not mine; and secondly how come you didn’t attempt the two un-drab puzzles I set right in the beginning. Is it because they can’t be Googled? -- MS)
Four others who also got it right were: Seshadri Nathan Krishnan, email@example.com; Ramakrishna Bhogadi, firstname.lastname@example.org; Seshagiri Row Karry, email@example.com; Narayana Murty Karri, firstname.lastname@example.org
BUT GOOGLE THESE NOW
1. What comes next in the series 10, 9, 60, 90, 70, 66 . . . ? -- Zaid Bankapur, email@example.com
2. In my garden I have two posts, one five feet high and the other seven feet high. I tie a clothesline from the top of each post to the base of the other. What is the height from the ground where the two clotheslines cross?
— Sharma is a scriptwriter and former editor of Science Today magazine.