Where are good puzzles found? I enjoy puzzles that challenge my thinking. Though, puzzles that just make me use my thinking are boring. As an example, here's what I don't like:
A. Tom and Bill are Brothers.
B. Tom likes cats.
C. Bill likes Dogs.
D. Bill's cat ate cheese yesterday.
Who is sitting next to Arthur's pig?
I find those types silly. They mean to make you create a chart and figure it out. It is extremely difficult to do in the head, which is a bad sign already, and, like Mastermind, you can use the process of elimination to figure it out in an easy standardized method. Overall, it is just plain boring. Yet when I see magazines and books about logic puzzles, that's all they are! Those very types of questions. Many of them.
There are also puzzles that try to make you think outside the box. The concept is nice, but they take it *way* too far. Such as:
Q: A guy got into an elevator and asked someone else to hit his floor button. Why?
A: He was a midget.
Sure, they sugar-coat the question, but in the end, they want you to come up with the one out of a thousand answers they they deemed the most plausible. That's just plain stupid. Some books call it "lateral" thinking. I'd advise steering clear of those books.
And then there's the Mensa books. The fact that it's Mensa book scares me (though I just bought one with their approval) and on the inside are general picture puzzles such as:
Here's five pictures. Which is the odd one out. Or, what is the next picture in the sequence? The puzzles are so arbitrary to how you look at them, they're ridiculous.
So, what type of puzzles do I like? Glad you asked. I like puzzles that challenge my thinking, or one's that make me think outside the box, or rather, to challenge the artifical boundaries that I placed on myself. Such as:
There are nine dots arranged in a 3x3 pattern:
. . .
. . .
. . .
With four consecutively connected lines, where the end of the first line touches the beginning of the second line, and so on, go through all nine dots. People naturally cynpr na vzntvanel obeqre ba guvf chmmyr, and rack their brains over it. Then someone shows them the answer, be ubcrshyyl rkcynvaf gur obeqre vffhr, and the puzzle is easy as a nice round pi.
Another example of challenging thought, would be to trick the person into believing flawed logic, and then having the person answer a question that they themselves agree with:
Three people walked into a hotel and asked to rent a room for the night. The owner said that the charge was thirty dollars. They each paid ten dollars, and went to their room. Later on, the owner realized that he overcharged them for the room, and that the cost was really twenty-five dollars. He immediately called the bellboy and gave him five dollars, and asked him to give it back to the three men. The bellboy couldn't figure out how to divide five dollars amongst three people, so he decided to give each man one dollar, and pocketed the other two dollars.
Now, let's figure this out. Each man originally paid ten dollars and got one dollar back. That means that each paid nine dollars, for a total of twenty-seven dollars. The bellboy kept two dollars, which added to the twenty-seven, brings the total to twenty-nine. Where's the thirtieth dollar?
The trick here is abg gb svther bhg jurer vg vf, ohg engure, gb svther bhg jul gur dhrfgvba vf jebat. It can drive you crazy if you don't realize the answer, yet the answer is so painfully obvious.
Then there's the puzzles that seemingly logically cannot be proven. Rkprcg, gurl pna or cebira ol fubjvat jung vg pna'g or:
Three boys were playing on the beach, and all had mud on their foreheads. And old man came up to them and asked each to look at both of their freinds foreheads to see if they had mud on them. All three looked at both of their friends' foreheads. He then asked each boy to raise their hand if one or both of their freinds had mud on their foreheads. All three raised their hands.
"Now", he said, "for a dollar, who can tell me if they do or do not have mud on their own forehead, and tell me why?" For a while all three just thought about it, not being able to figure it out. All of a sudden, one boy screamed, "Aha!". He then explained that he obviously had mud on his forehead. When the man asked how he knew that, he explained his reasoning to the old man's satisfaction, who then gave him a dollar.
What was his reasoning?
Especially these last two, are not to be done on paper. There are no charts, and not too many details to remember. It can all be done in the head, and end up being delightfully challenging. But why are puzzles like these so rare? Why do most books ignore these enjoyable challenges and instead use the boring, standard logic-chart puzzles?
A couple other example of puzzles are the quick ones, such as "How many weighings does it take to find the counterfeit coin?" Or, "With two pitchers that hold such and such amounts of water, measure such an amount." Or, "You have two strings that if lit, would burn for one hour each. How can you burn them to time fourty-five minutes?" If a book even had mostly the quick ones, and one or two really good ones, I'd probably want to get it.
Do such books exist? Or must I live with the very few really good puzzles that I happen to chance upon?