Puzzles Editor Kabir Firaque is the author of the weekly column Problematics. A journalist for three decades, he also writes about science and mathematics.
Articles by Kabir Firaque
This week’s puzzles are somewhat less challenging, but interesting nevertheless. It is, incidentally, a landmark week of sorts: the 25th in an unbroken series of puzzling weeks.
Have you ever created something, like a poem or a word game, only to find that someone else has created something similar? This week's puzzles are one of those.
While the difference in the magnitude between the two earthquakes is a mere 0.3, the second one is two times bigger than the first, and released 2.8 times more energy, according to an online tool hosted by the US Geological Survey
Welcome to week 23 of Problematics! Here are this week's puzzles, admittedly not my own.
For any Monday’s puzzles, please send in your solutions by noon on Friday the same week. This will also be mentioned in the footnote every week. Let's get solving!
The death of French nun Lucile Randon, known as Sister André, at age 118 — in fact, 25 days short of her 119th birthday — has revived the perennial question: how long can a person realistically hope to live?
This week's fare is relatively simple, although the puzzles are not exactly sitters.
Ignore the second hand and concern yourselves only with the hour and minute hands. Like last week’s Christmas tree puzzle, this one too comes from something I had presented to readers 30 years ago.
I felt the puzzle would work better if I adapted it for readers who are three decades younger. I have changed the form of the original but retained the content.
Here's week 18 of Problematics.
Here's week 17 of Problematics.
For the first time, a nuclear fusion experiment has achieved ignition, generating more energy that it consumed. While there are miles to go before fusion can become the source of the world’s energy needs, the results mark a milestone in scientific terms
When someone identifies an error in someone else’s puzzle, it is called “cooking” the puzzle. Here's a simplified adaptation for readers of Problematics!
The Hollywood caper The Sting (1973) includes a memorable depiction of a poker game, in which a lot of cheating is going on. This too is about poker, and the rules of the game now may help you warm up for The Sting later.
In the test on a hydrogen-driven aero engine, Rolls-Royce and easyJet appear to have overcome a crucial challenge that is often mentioned when hydrogen engines are discussed — although hydrogen is meant to be a green fuel, it is produced using electricity, and generating that electricity can involve burning of fossil fuels.
The football World Cup provides the ideal occasion to release a puzzle that I had so far been holding on to. It’s not about football, but involves fans of the game. And it’s not extremely difficult, but it’s fun when you figure out how to solve it.
The World Cup is an occasion we cannot ignore. I hope you enjoy solving the following football-related puzzles as much as I enjoyed creating them.
Neither of this week’s puzzles is exceptionally tough, but one will require harder work than the other. That one is not mathematical, but a word puzzle that also requires some knowledge of Hollywood:
The following kind of puzzle is one involving two equations and three variables, whose values you need not determine while getting to the answers you are looking for.
Different kinds of bridges require different factors to be taken into consideration. HT explains:
It would be a stretch to describe what follows as an original puzzle, but I have tinkered with a couple of existing forms of puzzles and merged them into one using my own variables.
To modify any variety of a crop so that it incorporates the desirable qualities from another variety, the obvious approach is to breed one with the other.
To better understand how the brain works, scientists have now cultured human and mouse neurons in a dish and trained them to play a computer game outside the body.
This week’s puzzles remain mildly challenging, like most of the previous ones.
Green crackers seek to produce the same light-and-sound effect as conventional crackers but emit lower amounts of pollutants. To know what ingredients they use, it is necessary to first understand what goes into a conventional cracker.
Apart from his stories, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland, created a number of delightful puzzles, one of which I have loosely adapted for you.
There is a gem of a puzzle hidden in old cinema shots of a moving stagecoach.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry, awarded on Wednesday, honours three scientists “for the development of click chemistry and bio-orthogonal chemistry”. These innovative chemistries provide efficient ways to build new molecules that have significant uses, particularly in pharmaceuticals.
It is for their work on quantum entanglement that Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger shared the Nobel Prize in Physics announced on Tuesday.
What makes human beings human? What makes us different from our closest relatives, the now extinct Neanderthals and Denisovans, and what do we have in common with them?